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The Investiture of the Archangel Michael
The tendency to ignore The Enthronement (also called the Investiture, or Institution) of the Archangel Michael – a tendency exhibited by almost all English-writing commentators on the Gospel of Mark – may now be remedied by the availability of an English translation by Anthony Alcock of the Sahidic text of this composition. As Alin Suciu recently noted at his blog, The Investiture of the Archangel Michael was translated into several languages and dialects in ancient times but it was probably composed in an Egyptian language.
Because the composition-date for The Investiture of the Archangel Michael is centuries earlier than the production-dates of Armenian and Old Georgian manuscripts that are often mentioned by commentators as witnesses against the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20, The Investiture of the Archangel Michael should be mentioned in any future commentaries’ discussion of the ending of Mark that mention those versional copies, lest the authors risk being accused of cherry-picking the evidence deliberately as so many of their predecessors have done accidentally.
The author of The Investiture of the Archangel Michael covered a variety of topics, ranging from the rebellion of Satan (the story in this text resembles one that was known to Muhammad, and which is echoed in the Quran in surah 7:11-18) and the promotion of Michael to take Satan’s place, to the benefits of acts of piety done in the name of Jesus and Saint Michael, especially when they are done on the annual feast-day of the archangel Michael (the 12th of Hathor in the Coptic calendar). Along the way, the author utilized Matthew 26:29, Acts 3:6 (with the variant “rise and walk”), and Matthew , as well as the Gospels’ narratives about the death of John the Baptist. And in the 20th chapter, the author makes extensive use of Mark 16:15-18, depicting Jesus telling His apostles the following:
of the Investiture text.
See the Morgan Library's website
for the full-color image.
“Now then, my disciples, go forth into the world and preach the four gospels and the sweet teaching that I told you when I was teaching. . . . . Everything you eat, pray over it first, because everything is purified by prayer. Everything you embark on, pray first before you do it and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who believes and receives baptism will not be slighted. These signs will be revealed to those who believe. They will cast out demons in my name. They will speak other languages. They will seize serpents in their hands. Even if they drink poison, it will do them no harm. They will place their hands on the sick, who will be healed.”