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The Apocryphal Gospels

To order by phone - pm Monday to Friday. Site Navigation Advent. Children's Books. Foster Price and Purchase Today's Price. Save to List. An accessible guide to the history, meaning, and interpretation of the Apocryphal Gospels Read description. Foster demonstrates how close analysis of text, contents, and context are vital in assessing the value and authenticity of such ancient documents. Including discussions of controversies and case-studies such as the alleged hoax surrounding the discovery of Secret Mark, Foster concludes that the non-canonical texts, considered in the correct context, can help us reach a more complete understanding of the multi-faceted nature of early Christianity.

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Be the first to ask a question about The Apocryphal Gospels. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 07, Bojan Tunguz rated it it was amazing. Over the last ten years or so there has been a flurry of interest into the apocryphal gospels and all forms of early non-orthodox Christian thought and practice. Much of this is due to the fact that many of these early non-orthodox sources were for the first time in almost two thousand years available in their original form, thanks to the remarkable set of archeological discoveries that commenced in the late nineteenth century and continue to present day.

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It became exciting to see these ancient Over the last ten years or so there has been a flurry of interest into the apocryphal gospels and all forms of early non-orthodox Christian thought and practice. It became exciting to see these ancient texts in their original form, unmediated to us through the prism of their opponents or detractors. For the better or for worse, some of the interest in these texts stemmed from the desire for sensational and mysterious, and many of those texts became the source of ever more exaggerated claims.

To the opponents of Christianity, or at least its more orthodox form, these texts gave a hope of discovering more "authentic" Christianity that was not corrupted by the "power-hungry churches" over the course of history.

This interest has been additionally fueled by all sorts of books of varying level of credibility that purported to reveal the conspiracies at the heart of Christianity. However, the more sober and scholarly assessment of these non-canonical text paints a much more subdued picture. For a start, the term "gospel" has been used widely for many of these texts that vary widely from the canonical gospels and amongst themselves. Most of these apocryphal gospels are available to us only as fragments, and there is very scant evidence that even in their original form they had been anything but very short texts.

Furthermore, far from being earlier than the canonical gospels these extra-canonical texts are by and large later in origin and depend heavily on the canonical gospels for the kernel of their narrative. In the instances where they deviate from those narratives, they tend to be very fanciful, mysterious or downright bizarre. Most of these apocryphal gospels were a Gnostic reaction to orthodox Christianity, and were written in order to bolster the Gnostics' theological claims.

Overall, the scholarly consensus is that they shed very little light on the "real" historical Jesus. Their primary value is in giving us more informed view of the diversity and growth of early Christianity. This very short introduction introduces the reader to the most important and famous of the apocryphal gospels.


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It gives ample quotations and references to those works, and makes a critical assessment of their value. It is written with a general reader in mind, and for the most part stays clear of any theological or doctrinal biases. This is a very useful introduction to the apocryphal gospels. Aug 20, John rated it liked it Shelves: audiobooked. Nothing too gripping here, feel free to move along.

Basically the author says that all the non-canonicals have at best two quotes that the big four don't and the only thing the former are good for are good is relating that second and third century Christians weren't as much on the same page as maybe the "winners" would have you believe.

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I went after this because it was short, in audio form, and I didn't want to be completely in the dark on the subject. Well mission accomplished, but it wasn't muc Nothing too gripping here, feel free to move along. Well mission accomplished, but it wasn't much fun. I confirmed that The Gospel of Thomas is the first loser, and now I can start straining to work "well it's not like you found the Nag Hammadi codices" into conversation.

Oct 09, Kyle rated it really liked it Shelves: ancient. Aug 16, Hannah rated it liked it. A great guide to the Apocryphal Gospels. They reveal little about the historical Jesus, but a lot of interesting tipbits about the way that early Christians were battling over the form of Christianity and Jesus.

It's kind of incredible the battering these manuscripts have had, and the careful work done to reconstruct them. Great section explaining the variety of different forms of gnostic Christianity - e. Valentinian gnoticism. Valentinian gnosticism was based on the beliefs of Valentinius. These early Christians believed in aeons or emmanations from God, fifteen complimentary pairs of male and female aeons. People were seen as comprising of the female, spiritual aeon, trapped within a male, materialist aeon.

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The reunion of the fractured being could only be achieved through Valentinian rituals. The gospels associated with this gnosticism is The Gospel of Truth. This movement was broadly related to Marcion, who attempted to jettison all links Christianity had to Judaism, and Justin the Martyr, who sought to defend Christianity in rigorous philosophical terms against the charge of being folklorish and flimsy.

Baptism was seen as only the first step towards spiritual enlightenment, the 'marriage' was seen as the reunification of one's male, material body with one's angelic, 'female' soul. After this ceremony, 'bridegrooms' would abstain from sexual acts, in order not to refracture the relationship between their body and soul. The Valentians similarly believed in the pre-existnece of all our souls before they enter our bodies, thus instead of 'blessed is he who believes', Jesus says in the Gospel of Philip 'Blessed is he who is before he came into being. The Apocryphal Gospels. By: Paul Foster.

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