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New Testament apocrypha

New Testament apocrypha

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The New Testament apocrypha are a number of writings by early Christians
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 that claim to be accounts of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and his teachings, the nature of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with books regarded as "canonical". Not every branch of the Christian church agrees on which writings should be regarded as "canonical" and which are "apocryphal" (See, for example, the Gospel according to the Hebrews).

Definition


The word "apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

" means "things put away" or "things hidden" and comes from the Greek through the Latin. The general term is usually applied to the books that were considered by the church as useful, but not divinely inspired. As such, to refer to Gnostic writings as "apocryphal" is misleading since they would not be classified in the same category by orthodox believers. Often used by the Greek Fathers was the term antilegomena
Antilegomena
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

, or "spoken against", although some canonical books were also spoken against, such as the Apocalypse of John in the East. Often used by scholars is the term pseudepigrapha, or "falsely inscribed" or "falsely attributed", in the sense that the writings were written by an anonymous author who appended the name of an apostle to his work, such as in the Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Peter
The Gospel According to Peter , commonly called the Gospel of Peter, is one of the non-Canonical gospels which were rejected by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church's synods of Carthage and Rome, which established the New Testament canon, as apocryphal...

 or The Æthiopic Apocalypse of Enoch: almost all books, in both Old and New Testaments, called "apocrypha" in the Protestant tradition are pseudepigrapha. In the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, what are called the apocrypha by Protestants include the deuterocanonical books: in the Catholic tradition, the term "apocrypha" is synonymous with what Protestants would called the pseudepigrapha, the latter term of which is almost exclusively used by scholars.

Development of the New Testament Canon



That some works are categorized as New Testament Apocrypha is indicative of the wide range of responses that were engendered in the interpretation of the message of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 of Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

. During the first several centuries of the transmission of that message, considerable debate turned on safeguarding its authenticity. Three key methods of addressing this survive to the present day: ordination
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

, where groups authorize individuals as reliable teachers of the message; creed
Creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

s, where groups define the boundaries of interpretation of the message; and canon
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

s, which list the primary documents certain groups believe contain the message originally taught by Jesus (in other words, the Bible). In general, the earliest books about Jesus were the ones included in the canons; later amplifications and variant traditions are now termed apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

l
. Some of them were vigorously suppressed and survive only as fragments. The earliest lists of canonical works of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 were not quite the same as modern lists; for example, the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

 was regarded as disputed by some Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s (see Antilegomena
Antilegomena
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

), while Shepherd of Hermas was considered genuine by others, and appears (after the Book of Revelation) in the Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus is one of the four great uncial codices, an ancient, handwritten copy of the Greek Bible. It is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in the 4th century in uncial letters on parchment. Current scholarship considers the Codex Sinaiticus to be one of the best Greek texts of...

.

The works that presented themselves as "authentic" but that did not obtain general acceptance from within the churches are called New Testament Apocrypha. These are not accepted as canonical by most mainstream Christian denominations; only the Ethiopian Orthodox Church recognizes the Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement
First Epistle of Clement
The First Epistle of Clement, is a letter addressed to the Christians in the city of Corinth. The letter dates from the late 1st or early 2nd century, and ranks with Didache as one of the earliest — if not the earliest — of extant Christian documents outside the canonical New Testament...

, Acts of Paul
Acts of Paul
The Acts of Paul is one of the major works and earliest pseudepigraphal series from the New Testament also known as Apocryphal Acts, an approximate date given to the Acts of Paul is 160 CE. The Acts were first mentioned by Tertullian. Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to...

, and several Old Testament books that most other denominations reject, but it should be noted that this church does not adhere to an explicit canon.

The Syriac Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

, used by all the various Syrian Churches, originally did not include 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation (and this canon of 22 books is the one cited by John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

 (~347-407) and Theodoret
Theodoret
Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus was an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria . He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms...

 (393-466) from the School of Antioch
School of Antioch
The School of Antioch was one of the two major centers of the study of biblical exegesis and theology during Late Antiquity; the other was the catechetical school of Alexandria...

). Western Syrians have added the remaining five books to their New Testament canons in modern times (such as the Lee Peshitta of 1823). Today, the official lectionaries
Lectionary
A Lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion.-History:...

 followed by the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and the Chaldean Syrian Church
Chaldean Syrian Church
The Chaldean Syrian Church is an Indian Christian church that is currently an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East. Its members are part of the St. Thomas Christian community, who trace their origins to the evangelical activities of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are almost...

, also known as the Church of the East (Nestorian), still only present lessons from the 22 books of the original Peshitta.

The Armenian Apostolic church at times has included the Third Epistle to the Corinthians
Third Epistle to the Corinthians
The Third Epistle to the Corinthians is believed to be a pseudepigraphical text under the name of Paul of Tarsus. It is also found in the Acts of Paul, and was framed as Paul's response to the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul. The earliest extant copy is Bodmer Papyrus X.In the West it was not...

, but does not always list it with the other 27 canonical New Testament books. This Church did not accept Revelation into its Bible until 1200 CE. The New Testament of the Coptic Bible, adopted by the Egyptian Church, includes the two Epistles of Clement
Epistles of Clement
The Epistles of Clement are two letters ascribed to Clement of Rome :* First Epistle of Clement;* Second Epistle of Clement, not by the same author;...

.

Modern scholarship


Tischendorf and other scholars began to study New Testament apocrypha seriously in the 19th Century and produce new translations. The "standard" scholarly edition of the New Testament Apocrypha in German and English is that of Schneemelcher. The texts of the Nag Hammadi
Nag Hammâdi
Nag Hammadi , is a city in Upper Egypt. Nag Hammadi was known as Chenoboskion in classical antiquity, meaning "geese grazing grounds". It is located on the west bank of the Nile in the Qena Governorate, about 80 kilometres north-west of Luxor....

 library are often considered separately but the current edition of Schneemelcher also contains eleven Nag Hammadi texts.

Books that are known objectively not to have existed in antiquity are usually not considered part of the New Testament Apocrypha. Among these are the Libellus de Nativitate Sanctae Mariae
Libellus de Nativitate Sanctae Mariae
Libellus de Nativitate Sanctae Mariae is a text concerning the events surrounding the birth of Mary, mother of Jesus. It essentially originates as part of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, and was treated as an independent work around the ninth century....

 (also called the "Nativity of Mary") and the Latin Infancy Gospel. The latter two did not exist in antiquity, and they seem to be based on the earlier Infancy Gospels.

Canonical Gospels


Four gospels came to be accepted as part of the New Testament, or canonical. Many other documents (of various genres) given the title "gospel" were written subsequently.
  • Gospel according to Matthew
  • Gospel according to Mark
  • Gospel according to Luke
  • Gospel according to John

Infancy Gospels


The rarity of information about the childhood of Jesus in the canonical Gospels led to a hunger of early Christians for more detail about the early life of Jesus. This was supplied by a number of 2nd century and later texts, known as infancy gospels, none of which were accepted into the biblical canon
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

, but the very number of their surviving manuscripts attests to their continued popularity.

Most of these were based on the earliest infancy gospels, namely the Infancy Gospel of James (also called the "Protoevangelium of James") and Infancy Gospel of Thomas
Infancy Gospel of Thomas
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a pseudepigraphical gospel about the childhood of Jesus that dates to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It was part of a popular genre of biblical work, written to satisfy a hunger among early Christians for more miraculous and anecdotal stories of the childhood of Jesus...

, and on their later combination into the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew
Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew
The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is a part of the New Testament apocrypha, and sometimes goes by the name of The Infancy Gospel of Matthew, but the actual name of the text in antiquity was The Book About the Origin of the Blessed Mary and the Childhood of the Savior...

 (also called the "Infancy Gospel of Matthew" or "Birth of Mary and Infancy of the Saviour").

The other significant early Infancy Gospels are the Syriac Infancy Gospel, the History of Joseph the Carpenter
History of Joseph the Carpenter
The History of Joseph the Carpenter is one of the texts within the New Testament apocrypha concerned with period of Jesus' life before he was 12....

 and the Life of John the Baptist
Life of John the Baptist
The Life of John the Baptist is a book from the New Testament apocrypha, allegedly written in greek by Serapion Bishop of Thmuis in 390 AD.- External links :* - References :...

.

Jewish Christian Gospels



Jewish Christian sects within Early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 that retained a strong allegiance to Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, upholding Mosaic Law
613 mitzvot
The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses...

, used these Gospels as specific to themselves:
  • Gospel of the Ebionites
    Gospel of the Ebionites
    Gospel of the Ebionites is the conventional name given to the description by Epiphanius of Salamis of a gospel used by the Ebionites. All that is known of the gospel text consists of seven brief quotations found in Chapter 30 of a heresiology written by Epiphanius known as the Panarion...

     - 7 quotes cited, all by Epiphanius
    Epiphanius of Salamis
    Epiphanius of Salamis was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy...

  • Gospel of the Hebrews
    Gospel of the Hebrews
    The Gospel of the Hebrews , commonly shortened from the Gospel according to the Hebrews or simply called the Hebrew Gospel, is a hypothesised lost gospel preserved in fragments within the writings of the Church Fathers....

     - 7 quotes survive, six of them by Jerome
    Jerome
    Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

  • Gospel of the Nazarenes - 30 quotes survive in works by Jerome
    Jerome
    Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

     and Origen
    Origen
    Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...



Some scholars consider that the 2 last named are in fact the same source.

Non-Canonical Gospels


Other documents entitled "gospels" came into existence in the second and third Christian centuries. Sometimes, those attributed to the text state elsewhere that their text is the earlier version, or that their text excises all the additions and distortions made by their opponents to the more recognised version of the text. The Church Fathers insisted that these people were the ones making distortions, but some modern scholars do not. It remains to be seen whether any are earlier and more accurate versions of the canonical texts. Details of their contents only survive in the attacks on them by their opponents, and so for the most part it is uncertain as to how extensively different they are, and whether any constitute entirely different works. These texts include:
  • Gospel of Marcion
    Gospel of Marcion
    The Gospel of Marcion, called by its adherents the Gospel of the Lord, was a text used by the mid-2nd century Christian teacher Marcion to the exclusion of the other gospels...

     (mid 2nd century)
  • Gospel of Mani
    Gospel of Mani
    The Living Gospel was a 3rd century gnostic gospel written by Mani. It was originally written in Syriac and called the Evangelion , from the Greek: Ευαγγελιον and one of the seven original scriptures of Manichaeism...

     (3rd century)
  • Gospel of Apelles
    Apelles (gnostic)
    Little is known about Apelles . He was a disciple of Marcion, probably at Rome, but left the Marcionite society...

     (mid-late 2nd century)
  • Gospel of Bardesanes (late 2nd - early 3rd century)
  • Gospel of Basilides
    Basilides
    Basilides was an early Gnostic religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 AD, notes that to prove that the heretical sects were "later than the catholic Church," Clement of Alexandria assigns Christ's own teaching to the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius; that of the apostles,...

     (mid 2nd century)

Sayings Gospels


One or two texts take the form of brief logia—sayings and parables of Jesus—which are not embedded in a connected narrative:
  • Gospel of Thomas
    Gospel of Thomas
    The Gospel According to Thomas, commonly shortened to the Gospel of Thomas, is a well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library...



A minority of scholars regard the Gospel of Thomas as part of the tradition from which the canonical gospels eventually emerged; in any case both of these documents are important as showing us what the theoretical Q document might have looked like.

Passion Gospels


A number of Gospels are concerned specifically with the "Passion
Passion (Christianity)
The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion...

" (arrest, execution and resurrection) of Jesus:
  • Gospel of Peter
    Gospel of Peter
    The Gospel According to Peter , commonly called the Gospel of Peter, is one of the non-Canonical gospels which were rejected by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church's synods of Carthage and Rome, which established the New Testament canon, as apocryphal...

  • Gospel of Nicodemus (also called the "Acts of Pilate")
  • Gospel of Bartholomew
    Gospel of Bartholomew
    The Gospel of Bartholomew is a missing text amongst the New Testament apocrypha, mentioned in several early sources. It may be identical to either the Questions of Bartholomew, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ , or neither....

  • Questions of Bartholomew
    Questions of Bartholomew
    The Questions of Bartholomew is not to be confused with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, although either text may be the missing Gospel of Bartholomew , a lost work from the New Testament apocrypha....

  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ
    Resurrection of Jesus Christ (by Bartholomew)
    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is not to be confused with the Questions of Bartholomew, although either text may be the missing Gospel of Bartholomew , a lost work from the New Testament apocrypha....

     (which claims to be according to Bartholomew)


Although three texts take Bartholomew's name, it may be that one of the Questions of Bartholomew or the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is in fact the unknown Gospel of Bartholomew.

Harmonized Gospels


A number of texts aim to provide a single harmonization of the canonical gospels, that eliminates discordances among them by presenting a unified text derived from them to some degree. The most widely read of these was the Diatessaron
Diatessaron
The Diatessaron is the most prominent Gospel harmony created by Tatian, an early Christian apologist and ascetic. The term "diatessaron" is from Middle English by way of Latin, diatessarōn , and ultimately Greek, διὰ τεσσάρων The Diatessaron (c 160 - 175) is the most prominent Gospel harmony...

.

Gnostic texts



In the modern era, many Gnostic
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 texts have been uncovered, especially from the Nag Hammadi library
Nag Hammadi library
The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. That year, twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman...

. Some texts take the form of an expounding of the esoteric cosmology and ethics held by the Gnostics. Often this was in the form of dialogue in which Jesus expounds esoteric knowledge while his disciples raise questions concerning it. There is also a text, known as the Epistula Apostolorum
Epistula Apostolorum
The Epistula Apostolorum is a work from the New Testament apocrypha. The work was lost to the West until a complete version in Ethiopic translation was discovered and published in the early twentieth century. The text was used regularly by the relatively isolated Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was...

, which is a polemic against Gnostic esoterica, but written in a similar style as the Gnostic texts.

Dialogues with Jesus

  • Apocryphon of James
    Apocryphon of James
    The Apocryphon of James, also known by the translation of its title - the Secret Book of James, is a pseudonymous text amongst the New Testament apocrypha. It describes the secret teachings of Jesus to Peter and James, given after the Resurrection but before the Ascension.A major theme is that one...

     (also called the "Secret Book of James
    James the Just
    James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

    ")
  • Book of Thomas the Contender
    Book of Thomas the Contender
    The Book of Thomas the Contender, also known more simply as the Book of Thomas , is one of the books of the New Testament apocrypha represented in the Nag Hammadi library , a cache of Gnostic gospels secreted in the Egyptian desert...

  • Dialogue of the Saviour
    Dialogue of the Saviour
    The Dialogue of the Saviour is one of the New Testament apocrypha texts that was found within the Nag Hammadi library of predominantly gnostic texts. The text appears only once in a single Coptic codex, and is heavily damaged...

  • Gospel of Judas
    Gospel of Judas
    The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel that purportedly documents conversations between the Disciple Judas Iscariot and Jesus Christ.It is believed to have been written by Gnostic followers of Jesus, rather than by Judas himself, and probably dates from no earlier than the 2nd century, since it...

     (also called the "Gospel of Judas Iscariot
    Judas Iscariot
    Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

    ")
  • Gospel of Mary
    Gospel of Mary
    The Gospel of Mary is an apocryphal book discovered in 1896 in a 5th-century papyrus codex. The codex Papyrus Berolinensis 8502 was purchased in Cairo by German scholar Karl Reinhardt....

     (also called the "Gospel of Mary Magdalene
    Mary Magdalene
    Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

    ")
  • Gospel of Philip
    Gospel of Philip
    The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a text of New Testament apocrypha, dating back to around the third century but lost to modern researchers until an Egyptian peasant rediscovered it by accident, buried in a cave near Nag Hammadi, in 1945...

  • Greek Gospel of the Egyptians
    Greek Gospel of the Egyptians
    The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians is a Gnostic religious text. Its title is adopted from its opening line.- Dating :The suppressed Greek Gospel of the Egyptians, , perhaps written in the second quarter of the 2nd century, was already cited in Clement of Alexandria's miscellany, the...

     (distinct from the Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians
    Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians
    Two versions of the formerly lost Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit, also inappropriately called the Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians , were among the codices in the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in 1945.The main contents concern the Sethian Gnostic understanding of how the earth came into...

    )
  • The Sophia of Jesus Christ
    The Sophia of Jesus Christ
    The Sophia of Jesus Christ is one of many Gnostic tractates from the Nag Hammadi codices, discovered in Egypt in 1945. The title is somewhat coded, since although Sophia is Greek for wisdom, in a gnostic context, Sophia is the syzygy of Christ....


General texts concerning Jesus

  • Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
    Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
    The Coptic Apocalypse of Paul is one of the texts of the New Testament apocrypha found amongst the Nag Hammadi library. The text is not to be confused with the Apocalypse of Paul, which is unlikely to be related....

     (distinct from the Apocalypse of Paul
    Apocalypse of Paul
    The Apocalypse of Paul is a 4th-century text of the New Testament apocrypha. There is an Ethiopic version of the Apocalypse which features the Virgin Mary in the place of Paul the Apostle, as the receiver of the vision, known as the Apocalypse of the Virgin...

    )
  • Gospel of Truth
    Gospel of Truth
    The Gospel of Truth is one of the Gnostic texts from the New Testament apocrypha found in the Nag Hammadi codices . It exists in two Coptic translations, a Subachmimic rendition surviving almost in full in the first codex and a Sahidic in fragments in the twelfth.-History:The Gospel of Truth was...

  • Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
    Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
    The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter, not to be confused with the Apocalypse of Peter, is a text found amongst the Nag Hammadi library, and part of the New Testament apocrypha. Like the vast majority of texts in the Nag Hammadi collection, it is heavily gnostic. It was probably written around 100-200 AD...

     (distinct from the Apocalypse of Peter
    Apocalypse of Peter
    The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

    )
  • Pistis Sophia
    Pistis Sophia
    Pistis Sophia is an important Gnostic text, possibly written as early as the 2nd century. The five remaining copies, which scholars place in the 5th or 6th centuries, relate the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples , when the risen Christ had accomplished eleven...

  • Second Treatise of the Great Seth
    Second Treatise of the Great Seth
    Second Treatise of the Great Seth is an apocryphal Gnostic writing discovered in the Codex VII of the Nag Hammadi Codices and dates to around the third century. The author is unknown and the Seth referenced in the title appears nowhere in the text. Instead Seth is thought to reference the third...


Sethian texts concerning Jesus


The Sethians were a gnostic group who originally worshipped the biblical Seth
Seth
Seth , in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel, who are the only other of their children mentioned by name...

 as a messianic figure, later treating Jesus as a re-incarnation of Seth. They produced numerous texts expounding their esoteric cosmology, usually in the form of visions:
  • Apocryphon of John
    Apocryphon of John
    The Secret Book of John is a 2nd-century AD Sethian Gnostic text of secret teachings. Since it was known to the church father Irenaeus, it must have been written before around AD 180. It describes Jesus Christ appearing and giving secret knowledge to the apostle John...

     (also called the "Secret Gospel of John")
  • Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians
    Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians
    Two versions of the formerly lost Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit, also inappropriately called the Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians , were among the codices in the Nag Hammadi library, discovered in 1945.The main contents concern the Sethian Gnostic understanding of how the earth came into...

     (distinct from the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians
    Greek Gospel of the Egyptians
    The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians is a Gnostic religious text. Its title is adopted from its opening line.- Dating :The suppressed Greek Gospel of the Egyptians, , perhaps written in the second quarter of the 2nd century, was already cited in Clement of Alexandria's miscellany, the...

    )
  • Trimorphic Protennoia
    Trimorphic Protennoia
    The Trimorphic Protennoia is a Sethian Gnostic text from the New Testament apocrypha. The only surviving copy comes from the Nag Hammadi library ....


Ritual diagrams


Some of the Gnostic texts appear to consist of diagrams and instructions for use in religious rituals:
  • Ophite Diagrams
    Ophite Diagrams
    The Ophite Diagrams are ritual and esoteric diagrams used by the Ophite Gnostic sect, who revered the serpent from the Garden of Eden as a symbol of wisdom, which the malevolent Demiurge tried to hide from Adam and Eve....

  • Books of Jeu
    Books of Jeu
    -Efforts at dating:The books are estimated as written during a period spanning 100 A.D to 300 A.D ,in the time of the Roman rule of Egypt. perhaps toward the latter end of this period.-Contents:...


Acts



Several texts concern themselves with the subsequent lives of the apostles, usually with highly supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 events. Almost half of these are said to have been written by Leucius Charinus
Leucius Charinus
Leucius, called Leucius Charinus by the Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople in the ninth century, is the name applied to a cycle of what M. R. James termed "Apostolic romances" that seem to have had wide currency long before a selection were read aloud at the Second Council of Nicaea and rejected...

 (known as the Leucian Acts), a companion of John the apostle. The Acts of Thomas and the Acts of Peter and the Twelve are often considered Gnostic texts. While most of the texts are believed to have been written in the 2nd century, at least two, the Acts of Barnabas and the Acts of Peter and Paul are believed to have been written as late as the 5th century.
  • Acts of Andrew
    Acts of Andrew
    The Acts of Andrew , is the earliest testimony of the acts and miracles of the Apostle Andrew. The surviving version is alluded to in a 3rd century work, the Coptic Manichaean Psalter, providing a terminus ante quem, according to its editors, M.R. James and Jean-Marc Prieur in The Anchor Bible...

  • Acts of Barnabas
    Acts of Barnabas
    The text of the pseudepigraphical Acts of Barnabas claims to identify its author as "John Mark," the companion of Paul, as if writing an account of Barnabas, the Cypriot Jew who was a member of the earliest church at Jerusalem; through the services of Barnabas the convert Saul was welcomed into the...

  • Acts of John
    Acts of John
    The Acts of John is a collection of narratives and traditions concerning John the Apostle, well described as a "library of materials" , inspired by the Gospel of John, long known in fragmentary form...

  • Acts of the Martyrs
    Acts of the Martyrs
    Acts of the Martyrs are accounts of the suffering and death of a Christian martyr or group of martyrs. These accounts were collected and used in church liturgies from early times, as attested by Saint Augustine....

  • Acts of Paul
    Acts of Paul
    The Acts of Paul is one of the major works and earliest pseudepigraphal series from the New Testament also known as Apocryphal Acts, an approximate date given to the Acts of Paul is 160 CE. The Acts were first mentioned by Tertullian. Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to...

  • Acts of Paul and Thecla
    Acts of Paul and Thecla
    The Acts of Paul and Thecla is an apocryphal story— Goodspeed called it a "religious romance"— of St Paul's influence on a young virgin named Thecla. It is one of the writings of the New Testament Apocrypha.- The text :...

  • Acts of Peter
    Acts of Peter
    The Acts of Peter is one of the earliest of the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript. It is mainly notable for a description of a miracle contest between Saint Peter and Simon Magus, and as the first record...

  • Acts of Peter and Andrew
    Acts of Peter and Andrew
    The Acts of Peter and Andrew is a short 3rd-century text from the New Testament apocrypha, not to be confused with either the Acts of Andrew or the Acts of Peter...

  • Acts of Peter and Paul
    Acts of Peter and Paul
    The Acts of Peter and Paul is a late text from the New Testament apocrypha, thought to date from after the 4th century. An alternate version exists, known as the Passion of Peter and Paul, with variances in the introductory part of the text.-Synopsis:...

  • Acts of Peter and the Twelve
    Acts of Peter and the Twelve
    The Acts of Peter and the Twelve is one of the texts from the New Testament apocrypha which was found in the Nag Hammadi library.The text contains two parts, an initial allegory, and a subsequent gnostic exposition of its meaning...

  • Acts of Philip
  • Acts of Pilate
    Acts of Pilate
    The Acts of Pilate , also called the Gospel of Pilate, is a book of New Testament apocrypha. The dates of its accreted sections are uncertain, but scholars agree in assigning the resulting work to the middle of the fourth century...

  • Acts of Thomas
    Acts of Thomas
    The early 3rd century text called Acts of Thomas is one of the New Testament apocrypha, portraying Christ as the "Heavenly Redeemer", independent of and beyond creation, who can free souls from the darkness of the world. References to the work by Epiphanius of Salamis show that it was in...

  • Acts of Timothy
    Acts of Timothy
    The Acts of Timothy are a work of New Testament apocrypha, most likely from the 5th century, which are primarily concerned with portraying the apostle Timothy as the first bishop of Ephesus and describing his death during a violent pagan festival in the same town.- History :For many years these...

  • Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca
    Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca
    The Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca is an example of New Testament Apocrypha that dates from the third or fourth century. Regarding its place in literature, Moses Hadas writes: "Christians learned not only from pagan preachers but also from pagan romancers. The perfectly orthodox Acts of...


Epistles



There are also non-canonical epistles (or "letters") between individuals or to Christians in general. Some of them were regarded very highly by the early church:
  • Epistle of Barnabas
    Epistle of Barnabas
    The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle containing twenty-one chapters, preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament...

  • Epistles of Clement
    Epistles of Clement
    The Epistles of Clement are two letters ascribed to Clement of Rome :* First Epistle of Clement;* Second Epistle of Clement, not by the same author;...

  • Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul
    Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul
    The Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul is a work from the New Testament apocrypha, and originally formed part of the Acts of Paul, though it was later detached and circulated separately....

  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
  • Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians
  • Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians
  • Epistle to Diognetus
    Epistle to Diognetus
    The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus is probably the earliest example of Christian apologetics, writings defending Christianity from its accusers...

  • Epistle to the Laodiceans
    Epistle to the Laodiceans
    An Epistle to the Laodiceans, purportedly written by Paul of Tarsus to the Laodicean Church, is mentioned in the canonical Epistle to the Colossians...

     (an epistle in the name of Paul)
  • Epistle to Seneca the Younger
    Epistle to Seneca the Younger
    The Epistle to Seneca the Younger is a collection of correspondence claiming to be from Paul of Tarsus to Seneca the Younger. There are 8 epistles allegedly from Seneca, and 6 replies allegedly from Paul...

     (an epistle in the name of Paul)
  • Third Epistle to the Corinthians
    Third Epistle to the Corinthians
    The Third Epistle to the Corinthians is believed to be a pseudepigraphical text under the name of Paul of Tarsus. It is also found in the Acts of Paul, and was framed as Paul's response to the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul. The earliest extant copy is Bodmer Papyrus X.In the West it was not...

     - accepted in the past by some in the Armenian Orthodox church.

Apocalypses



Several works frame themselves as visions, often discussing the future, afterlife, or both:
  • Apocalypse of Paul
    Apocalypse of Paul
    The Apocalypse of Paul is a 4th-century text of the New Testament apocrypha. There is an Ethiopic version of the Apocalypse which features the Virgin Mary in the place of Paul the Apostle, as the receiver of the vision, known as the Apocalypse of the Virgin...

     (distinct from the Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
    Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
    The Coptic Apocalypse of Paul is one of the texts of the New Testament apocrypha found amongst the Nag Hammadi library. The text is not to be confused with the Apocalypse of Paul, which is unlikely to be related....

    )
  • Apocalypse of Peter
    Apocalypse of Peter
    The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

     (distinct from the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
    Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter
    The Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter, not to be confused with the Apocalypse of Peter, is a text found amongst the Nag Hammadi library, and part of the New Testament apocrypha. Like the vast majority of texts in the Nag Hammadi collection, it is heavily gnostic. It was probably written around 100-200 AD...

    )
  • Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius
    Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius
    The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius is a 7th-century apocalypse that shaped the eschatological imagination of Christendom throughout the Middle Ages. The work was written in Syriac in the late 7th century, in reaction to the Islamic conquest of the Near East, and is falsely attributed to the...

  • Apocalypse of Thomas
    Apocalypse of Thomas
    The Apocalypse of Thomas is a work from the New Testament apocrypha, apparently composed originally in Latin.The vision concerns the end of the world, and appears to be a rendering of the Apocalypse of John, though written in a somewhat less enigmatic or mystical manner.There are two known...

     (also called the Revelation of Thomas)
  • Apocalypse of Stephen
    Apocalypse of Stephen
    The Apocalypse of Stephen is one of the New Testament apocrypha's texts. The Stephen in question is one of the Seven Deacons to the Apostles.The text describes a conflict at the very beginnings of Christianity about the nature of Jesus of Nazareth...

     (also called the Revelation of Stephen)
  • First Apocalypse of James
    First Apocalypse of James
    The First Apocalypse of James, part of the New Testament apocrypha also called the Revelation of Jacob, was first discovered amongst 52 other Gnostic Christian texts spread over 13 codices by an Arab peasant, Mohammad Ali al-Samman, in the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi late in December 1945...

     (also called the First Revelation of James)
  • Second Apocalypse of James
    Second Apocalypse of James
    The Second Apocalypse of James is one of the Gnostic Gospels, part of the New Testament apocrypha...

     (also called the Second Revelation of James)
  • The Shepherd of Hermas
    The Shepherd of Hermas
    The Shepherd of Hermas is a Christian literary work of the 1st or 2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd had great authority in the 2nd and 3rd centuries...


Fate of Mary


Several texts (over 50) consist of descriptions of the events surrounding the varied fate of Mary (the mother of Jesus):
  • The Home Going of Mary
  • The Falling asleep of the Mother of God
  • The Descent of Mary
    Descent of Mary
    The Descent of Mary is a minor work of the New Testament apocrypha which is only known through mention in the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, who gives a short passage...


Miscellany


These texts, due to their content or form, do not fit into the other categories:
  • Apostolic Constitutions
    Apostolic Constitutions
    The Apostolic Constitutions is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenience is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch...

     (church regulations supposedly asserted by the apostles)
  • Book of Nepos
    Book of Nepos
    The Book of Nepos is one of the texts of the New Testament apocrypha, written by an Egyptian bishop, Nepos. He was a strict literalist , and his text, also known as the Refutation of the Allegorisers was aimed at refuting the arguments of those who held that certain sections of the Bible were mere...

  • Canons of the Apostles
    Canons of the Apostles
    The Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles is a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and discipline of the Early Christian Church, first found as last chapter of the eighth book of the Apostolic Constitutions and belonging to genre of...

  • Cave of Treasures
    Cave of Treasures
    The Cave of Treasures, sometimes referred to simply as The Treasure, is a book of the New Testament apocrypha.-Origin:This text is attributed to Ephrem Syrus, who was born at Nisibis soon after AD 306 and died in 373, but it is now generally believed that its current form is 6th century or...

     (also called The Treasure)
  • Clementine literature
    Clementine literature
    Clementine literature is the name given to the religious romance which purports to contain a record made by one Clement of discourses...

  • Didache
    Didache
    The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

     (possibly the first written catechism
    Catechism
    A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

    )
  • Liturgy of St James
    Liturgy of St James
    The Liturgy of Saint James is the oldest complete form of the Eastern varieties of the Divine Liturgy still in use among certain Christian churches....

  • Penitence of Origen
    Penitence of Origen
    The Penitence of Origen is a text in the New Testament apocrypha, thought to have been falsely attributed to Origen of Alexandria. Not to be confused with Origen's text Selecta in Threnos , it is a Lamentation purporting to have been cried by Origen himself.Coccius quotes from it :The text has...

  • Prayer of Paul
  • Sentences of Sextus
    Sentences of Sextus
    The Sentences of Sextus is a Hellenistic Pythagorean text which was also popular among Christians. The earliest mention of the Sentences is in the mid 3rd century by Origen...

  • Physiologus

Fragments


In addition to the known Apocryphal works, there are also small fragments of texts, parts of unknown (or uncertain) works. Some of the more significant fragments are:
  • The Unknown Berlin Gospel
    Unknown Berlin Gospel
    The Unknown Berlin Gospel is a fragmentary Coptic text from an otherwise unknown gospel that has joined the New Testament apocrypha under the title Gospel of the Saviour. It consists of a fragmentary fire-damaged parchment codex that was acquired by the Egyptian Museum of Berlin in 1961...

     (also called the Gospel of the Saviour)
  • The Naassene Fragment
    Naassene Fragment
    The Naassene Fragment is a fragmentary text that survives in no document save a quotation in the early third century encyclopedia of heresies by Hippolytus of Rome, Refutation of All Heresies . It may be considered part of the New Testament apocryphal tradition. The Naassenes were a Gnostic...

  • The Fayyum Fragment
    Fayyum Fragment
    The Fayyum Fragment is a papyrus fragment containing text that could be from part of the New Testament, and consists of only about 100 Greek letters...

  • The Secret Gospel of Mark
    Secret Gospel of Mark
    The Secret Gospel of Mark is a putative non-canonical Christian gospel known exclusively from the Mar Saba letter, which describes Secret Mark as an expanded version of the canonical Gospel of Mark with some episodes elucidated, written for an initiated elite.In 1973 Morton Smith , professor of...

  • The Oxyrhynchus Gospels
    Oxyrhynchus Gospels
    The Oxyrhynchus Gospels are two fragmentary manuscripts , discovered among the rich finds of discarded papyri at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt...

  • The Egerton Gospel
    Egerton Gospel
    The Egerton Gospel refers to a group of papyrus fragments of a codex of a previously unknown gospel, found in Egypt and sold to the British Museum in 1934; the physical fragments are now dated to the very end of the 2nd century AD, although the date of composition is less clear – perhaps 50-100 AD...


Lost works


Several texts are mentioned in many ancient sources and would probably be considered part of the apocrypha, but no known text has survived:
  • Gospel of Eve
    Gospel of Eve
    The Gospel of Eve is a currently almost entirely lost text from the New Testament apocrypha, which may be the same as the also lost Gospel of Perfection...

     (a quotation from this gospel is given by Epiphanius (Haer. xxvi. 2, 3). It is possible that this is the Gospel of Perfection he alludes to in xxvi. 2. The quotation shows that this gospel was the expression of complete pantheism
    Pantheism
    Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

    )
  • Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms
    Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms
    The Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms is a currently lost text from the New Testament apocrypha.The content has been surmised from various descriptions of it in ancient works by church fathers...

  • Gospel of Matthias
    Gospel of Matthias
    The Gospel of Matthias is a lost text from the New Testament apocrypha, ascribed to Matthias, the apostle chosen by lots to replace Judas Iscariot . The content has been surmised from various descriptions of it in ancient works by church fathers . There is too little evidence to decide whether a...

     (probably different from the Gospel of Matthew
    Gospel of Matthew
    The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

    )
  • Gospel of Perfection
    Gospel of Perfection
    The Gospel of Perfection is a currently lost text from the New Testament apocrypha. The text is mentioned in ancient anti-heretical works by the church fathers. It is thought to be a gnostic text of the Ophites, and is believed by some to be the same as the Gospel of Eve, though the words of Saint...

     (used by the followers of Basilides and other Gnostics. See Epiphanius, Haer. xxvi. 2)
  • Gospel of the Seventy
    Gospel of the Seventy
    The Gospel of the Seventy is a currently lost text from the New Testament apocrypha. The title of the text refers to the number of disciples sent by Jesus to preach, in Luke's Gospel. See Seventy Disciples, quoted in some manuscrpits as 72....

  • Gospel of Thaddaeus (this may be a synonym for the Gospel of Judas
    Gospel of Judas
    The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel that purportedly documents conversations between the Disciple Judas Iscariot and Jesus Christ.It is believed to have been written by Gnostic followers of Jesus, rather than by Judas himself, and probably dates from no earlier than the 2nd century, since it...

    , confusing Judas Iscariot
    Judas Iscariot
    Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

     for Judas Thaddaeus
    Saint Jude
    Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus...

    )
  • Gospel of the Twelve
    Gospel of the Twelve
    The Gospel of the Twelve , possibly also referred to as the Gospel of the Apostles, is a lost gospel mentioned by Origen in Homilies in Luke as part of a list of heretical works.-Gospel of the Twelve :...

  • Memoria Apostolorum
    Memoria Apostolorum
    Memoria Apostolorum, which means memory of the apostles, is one of the lost texts from the New Testament apocrypha.Given the name, it may be one of the texts which are already known, and for which we have some of the content, such as the Gospel of the Twelve, or one of the apocryphal Acts, or...


A note about The Eastern Orthodox Church



While many of the books listed here were considered heretical (especially those belonging to the gnostic tradition—as this sect was considered heretical by Proto-orthodox Christianity
Proto-orthodox Christianity
Proto-orthodox Christianity is a term, coined by New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, used to describe the Early Christian movement which was the precursor of Christian orthodoxy...

 of the early centuries), others were not considered particularly heretical in content, but in fact were well accepted as significant spiritual works.

While some of the following works appear in complete Bibles from the fourth century, such as 1 Clement and The Shepherd of Hermas, showing their general popularity, they were not included when the canon was formally decided at the end of that century.
  • 1
    First Epistle of Clement
    The First Epistle of Clement, is a letter addressed to the Christians in the city of Corinth. The letter dates from the late 1st or early 2nd century, and ranks with Didache as one of the earliest — if not the earliest — of extant Christian documents outside the canonical New Testament...

     and 2 Clement
    Second Epistle of Clement
    The Second Epistle of Clement, often referred to as 2 Clement, is an early Christian writing....

  • Shepherd of Hermas
    The Shepherd of Hermas
    The Shepherd of Hermas is a Christian literary work of the 1st or 2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus. The Shepherd had great authority in the 2nd and 3rd centuries...

  • Didache
    Didache
    The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

  • Epistle of Barnabas
    Epistle of Barnabas
    The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle containing twenty-one chapters, preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament...

  • Apocalypse of Peter
    Apocalypse of Peter
    The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

  • The Protevangelium of James
  • Third Epistle to the Corinthians
    Third Epistle to the Corinthians
    The Third Epistle to the Corinthians is believed to be a pseudepigraphical text under the name of Paul of Tarsus. It is also found in the Acts of Paul, and was framed as Paul's response to the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul. The earliest extant copy is Bodmer Papyrus X.In the West it was not...


Evaluation


Among historians of early Christianity the books are considered invaluable, especially those that almost made it into the final canon, such as Shepherd of Hermas. Bart Ehrman, for example, said:
The victors in the struggles to establish Christian Orthodoxy not only won their theological battles, they also rewrote the history of the conflict; later readers then naturally assumed that the victorious views had been embraced by the vast majority of Christians from the very beginning ... The practice of Christian forgery has a long and distinguished history ... the debate lasted three hundred years ... even within "orthodox" circles there was considerable debate concerning which books to include.

See also

  • Nag Hammadi library
    Nag Hammadi library
    The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. That year, twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman...

  • List of Gospels
  • The Q document, a hypothetical document underlying much of the text of the canonical gospels of Matthew
    Gospel of Matthew
    The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

     and Luke
    Gospel of Luke
    The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

  • Textual criticism
    Textual criticism
    Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts...

  • Historicity of Jesus
    Historicity of Jesus
    The historicity of Jesus concerns how much of what is written about Jesus of Nazareth is historically reliable, and whether the evidence supports the existence of such an historical figure...

  • History of Christianity
    History of Christianity
    The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, its followers and the Church with its various denominations, from the first century to the present. Christianity was founded in the 1st century by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who they believed to be the Christ or chosen one of God...

  • Authorship of the Pauline epistles
    Authorship of the Pauline epistles
    The Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, although many dispute the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle....

  • Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture
  • List of early Christian writers

External links