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Lost Scripturesby Bart D. Ehrman
Synopses & Reviews
It is time for a new New Testament.
Over the past century, numerous lost scriptures have been discovered, authenticated, translated, debated, celebrated. Many of these documents were as important to shaping early-Christian communities and beliefs as what we have come to call the New Testament; these were not the work of shunned sects or rebel apostles, not alternative histories or doctrines, but part of the vibrant conversations that sparked the rise of Christianity. Yet these scriptures are rarely read in contemporary churches; they are discussed nearly only by scholars or within a context only of gnostic gospels. Why should these books be set aside? Why should they continue to be lost to most of us? And don’t we have a great deal to gain by placing them back into contact with the twenty-seven books of the traditional New Testament—by hearing, finally, the full range of voices that formed the early chorus of Christians?
To create this New New Testament, Hal Taussig called together a council of scholars and spiritual leaders to discuss and reconsider which books belong in the New Testament. They talked about these recently found documents, the lessons therein, and how they inform the previously bound books. They voted on which should be added, choosing ten new books to include in A New New Testament. Reading the traditional scriptures alongside these new texts—the Gospel of Luke with the Gospel of Mary, Paul’s letters with The Letter of Peter to Philip, The Revelation to John with The Secret Revelation to John—offers the exciting possibility of understanding both the new and the old better. This new reading, and the accompanying commentary in this volume, promises to reinvigorate a centuries-old conversation and to bring new relevance to a dynamic tradition.
A provocative new edition of the New Testament that includes ten more recently found texts, selected by a council of scholars and spiritual leaders, alongside the classic books, with introductions and contextual background from Hal Taussig.
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.
A companion volume to 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.
About the Author
Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An authority on the early Church and the life of Jesus, he has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and other television and radio shows. He has taped several highly popular lecture series for the "Teaching Company" and is the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Third Edition, OUP, 2003) and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (OUP, 1999).
Table of Contents
The Gospel of the Nazareans
The Gospel According to the Ebionites
The Gospel According to the Hebrews
The Gospel According to the Egyptians
The Coptic Gospel of Thomas
Papyrus Egerton 2: The Unknown Gospel
The Gospel of Peter
The Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Philip
The Gospel of Truth
The Gospel of the Savior
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas
The Proto-Gospel of James
The Epistle of the Apostles
The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter
The Second Treatise of Great Seth
The Secret Gospel of Mark
NON-CANONICAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
The Acts of John
The Acts of Paul
The Acts of Thecla
The Acts of Thomas
The Acts of Peter
NON-CANONICAL EPISTLES AND RELATED WRITINGS
The Third Letter to the Corinthians
Correspondence of Paul and Seneca
Paul's Letter to the Laodiceans
The Letter of 1 Clement
The Letter of 2 Clement
The "Letter of Peter to James" and its "Reception"
The Homilies of Clement
Ptolemy's Letter to Flora
The Treatise of the Resurrection
The Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
The Letter of Barnabas
The Preachings of Peter
NON-CANONICAL APOCALYPSES AND REVELATORY TREATISES
The Shepherd of Herman
The Apocalypse of Peter
The Apocalypse of Paul
The Secret Book of John
On the Origin of the World
The First Thought in Three Forms
The Hymn of the Pearl
The Muratorian Canon
The Canon of Origen of Alexandria
The Canon of Eusebius
The Canon of Athansius of Alexandria
The Canon at the Third Synod of Carthage
What Our Readers Are Saying
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