Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament

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Oxford University Press, Oct 2, 2003 - Bibles - 352 pages
While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ--texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul's female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypses and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mldavis2 - LibraryThing

I don't know how to rate this book since there is minimal, but appropriate, comment by the author. It is essentially a representative collection of documents written around the time of the Christ ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - uujeff - LibraryThing

Excellent resource on important writings that offer alternative explanations to the events and people around the Christian mythos. Read full review

Contents

General Introduction
1
The Gospel of the Nazareans
9
The Gospel According to the Hebrews
15
The Unknown Gospel
29
The Gospel of Mary
35
The Gospel of Truth
45
The Gospel of the Savior
52
The ProtoGospel of James
63
The Acts of Peter
135
The Third Letter to the Corinthians
157
NONCANONICAL APOCALYPSES AND REVELATORY
249
The Apocalypse of Peter
280
The Apocalypse of Paul
288
The Secret Book of John
297
On the Origin of the World
307
The First Thought in Three Forms
316

The Epistle of the Apostles
73
The Second Treatise of the Great Seth
82
The Acts of John
93
The Acts of Paul
109
The Acts of Thomas
122
The Hymn of the Pearl
324
The Muratorian Canon
331
The Canon of Eusebius
337
Copyright

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Page 87 - After a slight recovery at the end of the second century and the beginning of the third, there began a long and steady decline in climate until the final fall of the Western Empire.
Page 175 - Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Page 114 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Page 36 - Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember — which you know (but) we do not, nor have we heard them.
Page 242 - I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh ; and these are contrary the one to the other : so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Page 172 - I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. • I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Page 33 - And I with my companions was grieved; and being wounded in mind we hid ourselves: for we were being sought for by them as malefactors, and as wishing to set fire to the temple. And upon all these things we fasted and sat mourning and weeping night and day until the Sabbath.
Page 123 - Now the names of the twelve apostles are these ; the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother ; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother ; Philip and Bartholomew ; Thomas, and Matthew the publican ; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot who also betrayed him.
Page 23 - Whoever blasphemes against the father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven.
Page 26 - It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the all. From me did the all come forth, and unto me did the all extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.

About the author (2003)

Bart D. Ehrman is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.

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