The Gospel of Chloe: A New Contribution to “Q” Studies

While this corrupt tract, found pasted to the bottom of a patio table in Sharm el Sheik, dates from the second century, it does not seem to be connected with similar materials found in saunas and billiard table pockets.

Judging from the poor condition of the manuscript, multiple erasures, and detritus from camel faex, the original language seems to have been Aramaic, suggesting a Palestinian provenance for its most important ideas. A third character is a female disciple referred to only as “Daughter” by the male speakers. Extraneous ossuary evidence from Talpiot (תלפיות) shows almost decisively that the woman in question is the biological daughter of Judas and hence the niece of Jesus by Judas’s sister Tiffany.

While an interesting product of a syncretistic heretical movement, scholars have been unable to determine what relevance its contents may have for the serious study of the New Testament.


Jesus: Judas, do you [ ] me?

Judas: That depends on what you mean by [ ]

Jesus: Judas, do you [ ] Me?

Judas. Oh, that’s better, you ask louder and capitalize Me. It’s like I said, and it’s what the Daughter said. It is what it is, isn’t it?

Jesus: So you don’t?

Daughter: Like who said?

Jesus: Who will remember the Glory?

Daughter (rubbing eyes and adjusting veil): I will.

Judas. I never know what to answer. Ok, I will too. And just what is the glory?

Jesus: The Kingdom of God is like the night sky at noon.

Judas: Just don’t. People are already saying we’re gnostics. No, I say, he’s tired. He’s been with the multitudes again. He doesn’t bring lunch, again. Maybe blood sugar, knock on wood.

Jesus: But you must remember; that is why I came into the world
Daughter: Why do you say things like “came into the world”? We know where you’re from. You came in a cart just like the rest of us.

Jesus: It will be harder for a relatively fat man to prick his neighbor with a needle than for a camel to enter the mystery of the kingdom of God by the narrow gate. But I say to you, shake the dust off your sandals! Let him who has ears, etc.

Judas: Look, my job is to make sense of this. When you hired me, you said Judas, what I really need is a PR man, a people person. Ever since then, it’s Judas do you love me. Peter do you love me. It’s driving us all blithers. We need writers–professional people who can sell it. Frankly, the boys are saying you’ve lost it and that we’ll never get to Jerusalem.

Daughter: I know someone. His name is Chloe.

Judas: Chloe is a girl’s name.

Daughter: It’s a gender preference. He writes like a boy.

Judas: We can change his name to–something else.

Jesus: I like Chloe: Someday he’ll be famous, like the womb that bore me. Does Chloe love me?

Judas: Chloe doesn’t bloody know you. You talk, let Daughter write. Do your short thingies, not the long “I am the cherry in the middle of the chocolate”- stuff.

Daughter: I don’t know how to write. I have a good memory, though. I think it will help with the kerygma.

Jesus: The law is inscribed on the hearts of men though not one of seven bothers know what treasures it will own when the son of man comes like David on the heights. Not women though. It’s not inscribed there. The secret of the Kingdom lay hidden like a pearl under an oyster basket. Who among the daughters of men can shuck the oyster….

Judas: You can’t saaay that. In two thousand years people will say, Oh right: Jesus the liberator. Look what he says about women and oysters. And you don’t bloody make sense and you don’t stick to the point and without us you’d still be scrubbing spit off the floor in your father’s house.

Jesus: In my father’s house there are countless mansions. And my father will say to you, “Depart from me before I cast you among the swine like the pearls you are” or something like that.

Judas: Daughter, how much will Chloe want to sort this out?

Daughter: He’ll do it for thirty.

Judas: Thirty denarii? That’s great.

Daughter: Thirty pieces of silver. That’s real money.

Judas: It will break us. It might not even be worth it to clean up his language, but sometimes he sounds sane. And let’s face it, he’s the rockstar. Christ, if only he hadn’t wasted the nard.

Daughter: That’s right, blame me. He has really nice feet.

Jesus: Blessed be you Simon bar Jona, for flesh and blood sake now get behind me. Yes, there.

Judas: That’s disgusting. No wonder Peter ran off. He’s in one of his trances. Does Chloe know we can’t put his name on the scroll?

Daughter: Not yet. I still have to see if he’s got time. What do you suggest.

Judas: Discretion. People have to think he said it. No titles, no bylines. Thirty drachma, not a copper more. Just the sayings that make a little sense. No description–no lakes, or hill, or cliffs. We’ll fill that in later, after… you know.

Daughter: Got it. Just sort out the sayings.

Judas: Not all of them. I’ve got someone named John working on the worst ones. We’ll see how he goes, maybe publish a second volume. But John wants a byline. The pig.

Daughter: Just the sayings, no scenery, make them short.

Judas: Exactly: We can do this. “Chloe” Move it around your mouth. It has a nice qof thing going—k-k–k. That’s it, we’ll call it Q. Just us–us. No one outside knows. In two thousand years, who will guess?

18 thoughts on “The Gospel of Chloe: A New Contribution to “Q” Studies

  1. This is hilarious, ‘serious’ scholarship from the apocraphyl gospel to ‘qof’ as the last joke. Crikey: what a shame it seems ‘scholars’ are already considering its usefulness. Inevitable I suppose. It would have been better to discretely sneak it into the Vatican for hiding, before the Blithering-tons of menaces, of all extremes and variations, got hold of it. It’s a tragedy. I should have anticipated it, knowing the climate, instead of barking up the wrong tree. The articulation of Q described is horribly reminiscent of klu klux klan! Maybe it’s time to pick up my cello or maybe even go and study something less flammable, like gynaecology (not the virgin birth … or maybe a virgin birth)…


  2. Upon a third reading, it ought to be abundantly clear, even to the average Joe who enjoys picking the gum from underneath tables, that these are, indeed, some of the missing pages of the missing Gospel of Chloe that belong, not to the missing “Q,” but to the missing Testament of Monty Python.

  3. I can see that neither of you appreciates real archaeology. You will eat your words when this comes a poppin on the History Channel.

  4. Archaeology? I think I prefer gynaecology – new babies to ancient things, and I was never much good with a spade anyway. Can’t shoot a billiard ball straight (maybe because of the gin), and I’ve always been a bit squeamish around camel poo and dead things. Thank goodness I don’t watch television, eating my words isn’t appealing!

  5. Fact: Absolutely all that we know historially about Chloe is from 1 Cor. 1:1: Chleo and her household were in correspondence with the apostle Paul,
    Paul stood in absolute opposition with the Jerusalem Jesus Movement with their sayings tradition. It was Paul who severed the Jesus tradition from its Jewish roots to become the primary source of the fundamental tenets of Christianity. Hence Chloe and any related so-called gospel stood as far removed from Jesus traditions as history can show. Paul consistently evidenced a complete lack of understanding of the physochology or mechanics of God-man relationship . i.e. experience of Spirit as inspiration, revelation; rather Paul saw spirit as a thing sent uniformally, an automatic consequence of the rite of baptism. Thus Christianity with its primary tenets dreived from Pauline kerygma was not a legitimate religion (religion seen as the language of inspiratin – Ultimate Reality), it is commonsense perceived understanding . i.e. God is just, in obligation to His justice He could not accept sinful humanity until the proper sacrifice was offered.
    All mankind by procreation was infected by an irrestaible complusion to sin, only a divine being by Virgin birth could offer the sacrifice. But I’ve said enough.

  6. There is more than one man called Joe in tradition and there is more than one Mary, so, eternally suspicious, I’d be surprised if there was only one Chloe. After all, like Joe and Mary, Chloe is a beautiful name, and the name of my fragance, which was given to me by my beautiful niece, whom my sister chose to call Chloe, as well. But then the daughter might not have been Chloe – and anyway, gospels are often given names with no historical connection to the authors … oh what a tangled harp we’ve strung and what fun they are to play.

  7. Pingback: The Gospel of Chloe: A New Contribution to “Q” Studies (via The New Oxonian) | The New Oxonian

  8. @Joe,

    As you know, I’m no biblical scholar, but I do have an interest in NT history and criticism.

    I have a different take on Q than most. It may just be a brainstorm, but reconstructions of Q, are a sort of fanciful fictionalization which is supposed to piece together ‘original’ sayings.

    However, the question which always nags at me, is where did the logia come from that are familiar to the NT and other textual sources, such as the Gospel of Thomas? I mean, they must have come from somewhere.

    The way I see it is like this:

    These sayings were made up, and do not signify any original sayings but are part of an ongoing literary tradition. They may be fragments from earlier forms of Philosophical dialogs, only the most popular being preserved and cataloged, and then reassembled, and incorporated into religious texts like the NT.

    Q as an artifact, in any possible form or reconstruction, is not so farfetched when we think of it less along the lines of any actual “original” sayings and more along the lines of the missing link in an evolutionary literary transition from oral dialogs, such as the Socratic dialogs, to being collected and incorporated into popular religious texts.

    In other words, we can deduce that somewhere between a Philosophical dialog and a religious text there must be a more primitive written form that is not quite a dialog and not quite a full fledged religious compendium.

    Granted, what I am arguing means that an alternative Q tradition exists as a transitional stage between popular mediums in a literary progression. Therefore technically not a source for original sayings, but perhaps a link pointing back to the literary forms which possibly (and plausibly) came before the flood of religious writing.

    Anyway, it’s still a theory in progress.

    I wrote further ideas down here if your interested (It’s more of just a memo to myself and not an actual essay of any kind):

    • Hey Tristan: I am going to read your comments later this morning but I like your theory very much. You should be in touch with Stephanie Fisher who is working on Q for the PhD thesis.

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