Alin Suciu knows– because a Coptic text names them:
Among the unidentified Coptic literary manuscripts deposited in the collection of theRijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, there are two parchment fragments that bear the inventory number F 1976/4.31. According to the museum acquisition book, the items were purchased in 1976 together with other Coptic fragments from the Dutch antiquity dealer Johannes Möger. In the same lot of manuscripts was a fragment from John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Epistle to the Romans, which I identified in a previous post.
To the best of my knowledge, the two fragments inventoried as F 1976/4.31 were neither identified, nor discussed yet in any scholarly publication. That’s what I’ll try to do in the following lines.
And he does. Brilliantly. Here’s the fun bit:
If you want to know why they were seized, I will inform you […] …several lines are missing… (p. 105) […] of Herod and Pilate, because it is they who were guarding the law of the Romans at that time. They were afraid lest the emperor would hear and blame them. …several lines are missing… […] the three. Barabbas and Demas were Jews, Kestas was a Gentile which lived with them. And Barabbas was the chief of the thieves. Because of this, when Pilate said to the Jews mocking: ‘You want […]’ …several lines are missing…(p.106) […] will ask for a man because of which much blood was shed. But when they heard the name of Barabbas from the mouth of the Governor, they demanded to release him, being afraid that he […] …several lines are missing… (because) the Romans command that one should listen to the majority, Pilate was uncertain. He did not know what to do when he heard the voices of the crowds asking (him) to release […]
I’ve bold-faced the names of the thieves. Fun huh? sure, it’s an apocryphal bit but I like that someone somewhere wanted to know their names. Read the rest- it’s really a great post.