Saturday, April 23, 2022

Extracanonical N.T. Books

EXTRACANONICAL N.T. BOOKS (2nd-5th centuries CE)

The so-called "New Testament apocrypha" are writings by early Christians that didn't "make the cut" to be included in the Bible. Many of these are pseudepigrapha, works that claim to be by an authority but are in fact anonymous. (Frankly, many of the canonical N.T. books are also pseudepigraphal.) The canon was "closed" with 27 books agreed on by almost all Christian sects; thus excluded are works in all the categories of the canonical works--"Gospels" of various sorts, including Infancy gospels; "Acts" of various "big names"; "Epistles," some by genuine church leaders and some fabricated; and some pretty wild Apocalypses.  Many of these works have theological axes to grind (like those of the Gnostics); some, though, make fascinating reading: try the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, where the boy Jesus brings clay birds to life and resurrects dead playmates.


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