Archive for the ‘More Christian Apocrypha’ Category

More Christian Apocrypha vol. 1: Update

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

As some of the readers of Apocryphicity are aware, Brent Landau (University of Texas) and I are working on assembling a new collection of Christian Apocrypha in English entitled New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. The project is a mirror of the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volumes under preparation by Jim Davila and Richard Bauckham (University of St. Andrews). These volumes collect material that is not included in the edition of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha assembled by James Charlesworth in the 1980s. Where Charlesworth’s volumes focused on early texts of Jewish provenance, the MOTP project seeks to include also medieval and Christian works, as well as new texts and new sources for texts that have surfaced since Charlesworth’s day. The first volume of the MOTP was released just a few months ago; it is available for purchase from Eerdmans. To read more about the project, visit THIS PAGE and see this previous POST.

The MCA project (which has been initiated with Davila and Bauckham’s consent) similarly seeks to collect neglected apocryphal texts. Where MOTP is conceptualized as a supplement to Charlesworth, MCA is an enlargement of the most recent English-language CA collection (but now almost two decades old): J. K. Elliott’s The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford 1991). There is no need to duplicate Elliott’s work, nor is there utility in presenting texts that have been published in other collections (e.g., the Nag Hammadi Library) or recent editions (e.g., Abraham Terrian’s 2008 edition of the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy). However, several of the texts in Elliott do need to be updated (e.g., the Dormition of Mary, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas) and there are numerous texts that are simply not included, primarily because they hail from a more recent time than those texts typically included in such collections. Many of these have scarcely been examined in over a century and are in dire need of new editions and translations.

The MCA volumes are to be similar in arrangement as the MOTP volumes. The selection of texts is limited to those in evidence before the scholarly publication of Christian Apocrypha in the Enlightenment and are to be grouped together by subject matter (e.g., texts dealing with Jesus’ infancy, texts dealing with particular apostles) rather than genre (gospels, letters, acts). For each text, contributors will provide an introduction detailing such matters as the text’s origins (date, language, and provenance), its sources, and its literary and theological importance. The English translation will incorporate the latest scholarship on the text and will be based on the full range of available manuscripts (rather than simply a new translation of an antiquated edition). For more information on the project see my article in the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (41.3).

Brent and I have been slowly editing the contributions over the past several months and now have a clear idea of the shape of the first volume. Here are the texts that will be included:

A. Gospels and Related Traditions of New Testament Figures

A Latin Life of Mary, Mary Dzon (University of Tennessee)
Coptic Life of Mary, Brice Jones (Concordia University, Montréal)
The Legend of Aphroditianus, or The Narrative of Events Happening in Persia on the Birth of Christ, falsely attributed to Julius Africanus, by Katharina Heyden (University of Göttingen)
Pseudo-Eusebius, On the Star, Brent Landau (University of Texas)
The Revelation of the Magi (summary), Brent Landau (University of Texas)
The Story of the Good Thief, by Mark Bilby (University of Virginia)
Armenian Infancy Gospel (summary), by Abraham Terian (St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, New Rochelle, New York)
The Syriac Version of the Childhood of Jesus (aka Infancy Gospel of Thomas), by Tony Burke (York University, Toronto)
The Priesthood of Jesus, by Bill Adler (North Carolina State University)
Gospel of the Savior (New translation) and related texts, by Alin Suciu (Universität Hamburg) and Paul Dilley (Pennsylvania State University)
Dialogue of the Paralytic with Christ, by Brad Rice (McGill University, Montréal)
Toldoth Yeshua (update), by F. Stanley Jones (California State University)
History of the Thirty Silver Pieces, by Tony Burke (York University, Toronto) and Slavomír ?éplö (Comenius University, Slovakia)
The Death of Judas according to Papias, by Geoff Smith (Princeton University)
Life of John the Baptist by Serapion, by Slavomír ?éplö (Comenius University, Slovakia)
Life and Martyrdom of John the Baptist by Mark the Evangelist, Andrew Bernhard (University of Oxford)
The Invention of John the Baptist’s Head, by Paul Dilley (Pennsylvania State University)
Encomium of Mary Magdalene, by Christine Luckritz Marquis (Duke University)

B. Apocryphal Acts and Related Traditions
Teaching of the Apostles, by Witold Witakowski (University of Uppsala)
Acts of Barnabas, Glenn Snyder (Harvard Divinity School)
Acts of Cornelius the Centurion, by Tony Burke (York University, Toronto) and Witold Witakowski (University of Uppsala)
Acts of Peter (Epitome), by F. Stanley Jones (California State University)
Acts of Timothy, by Cavan Concannon (Duke University)
Acts of Titus, by Richard Pervo (Independent Scholar)
Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, by David Eastman (Ohio Wesleyan University)

C. Epistles
Epistle of Christ from Heaven, by Calogero A. Miceli (Université Laval, Quebec City)
Letter of Ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite to Timothy on the Death of Peter and Paul, by David Eastman (Ohio Wesleyan University) Catechesis of Ps.-Basil of Caesarea/Letter of Luke, by Paul Dilley (Pennsylvania State University)

D. Apocalypses
Latin Apocalypse of John, by Charles Wright (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Apocalypse of the Virgin, by Stephen Shoemaker (University of Oregon)
The Testament of Our Savior, by Maria Doerfler (Duke University)The Tiburtine Sibyl by Stephen Shoemaker (University of Oregon)
Enthronement of Abbaton, by Alin Suciu (Universität Hamburg) and Ibrahim Saweros (Leiden University)

Thought the first volume is still some distance away from completion, we are beginning to get a sense of what texts may be included in a second volume. Here is what we are considering so far:

A. Gospels and Related Traditions of New Testament Figures

Selected stories from Solomon of Basra, the Book of the Bee
Syriac Infancy Gospel
Six-Books Transitus of Mary
Vision of Theophilus
Homily on the Life of Jesus (and other Coptic fragments)
Apocryphal Gospel of John
Book of the Cock
Life of Mary Magdalene
The Beheading of John the Baptist by Euriptus, the Disciple of John
Encomium of John the Baptist
The Rood-Tree Legend

B. Apocryphal Acts and Related Traditions
Acts of James
Ascents of James (Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1.27–71) 
Martyrdom of Mark
History of Philip in the City of Carthage (Syriac)

C. Apocalypses
Questions of James (3 Apocalypse John)
4 Apocalypse of John
Mysteries of John (aka Coptic Apocalypse of John)

We have made every effort to contact scholars in the field with the expertise to contribute to the project, but if we have somehow left you out of this process, don't hesitate to contact us and let us know what text you would be interested in working with. For a list of possible candidates, visit my More Christian Apocrypha page.

More Secret Scriptures 6: The Preaching of Simon Cephas in the City of Rome

Monday, July 29th, 2013

(The latest in a series of posts about little-known Christian Apocrypha that could not be included in my recent book, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the the Christian Apocrypha, now available in Europe and to be released in North America in November, 2013.)

I have added to the More Christian Apocrypha page a little information on a seldom-read text known as the Preaching of Simon Cephas in the City of Rome. The text was published in 1864 by William Cureton from two manuscripts, but four more have become available since his day. Hopefully we will include the text in a future volume of the More Christian Apocrypha series. You can read the entire text HERE.

More Secret Scriptures 4: The Martyrdom of Pilate and the Lament of the Virgin

Friday, July 12th, 2013

(The latest in a series of posts about little-known Christian Apocrypha that could not be included in my recent book, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the the Christian Apocrypha, now available in Europe and to be released in North America in November, 2013)

Many readers of the Christian Apocrypha are aware of the large corpus of texts known as the Pilate Cycle—most prominent among these is the Acts of Pilate (also known as the Gospel of Nicodemus). There is one other text that describes Pilate's involvement in Jesus’ death, though this one is not discussed in connection to the Pilate Cycle, likely because so few scholars are aware of it. The text is the Martyrdom of Pilate, and it forms the second of two interrelated homilies ascribed to a certain Cyriacus, bishop of Behnesa (known earlier as Oxyrhynchus), though we have no other records of such a bishop.The two homilies—today available only in Ethiopic, Garshuni, Arabic, and Coptic fragments—seem to draw upon an apocryphal text in which Gamiliel, the first-century rabbi featured in Acts 5:34–40, is the narrator. Some scholars have called this source the Gospel of Gamiliel.

In the first homily, called the Lament of the Virgin, Jesus’ mother is stricken by grief at the suffering of her son. She weeps for him, first at the foot of the cross as in John 19:25–27, and then at the tomb, where she sees Jesus raised. The Virgin Mary thus replaces Mary Magdalene as the witness to the risen Jesus in the garden from John 20:11–18. Pilate then comes to the tomb, having been directed there by a dream. He sees the tomb empty save for the discarded shroud. This is used to heal a one-eyed centurion. The Jewish leaders arrive and claim Jesus’ followers came and took the body, which has been dropped into a well in the garden. The body is placed in Jesus’ shroud and placed back in the tomb. Pilate prays and the man, revealed to be the good thief of Luke 23:39-43, rises from the tomb. The Jewish leaders flee for their lives.

The story resumes in the Martyrdom of Pilate with the Jewish leaders recruiting Barabbas, here said to be the brother-in-law of Judas, to kill Pilate. Barabbas is caught and Pilate orders him to be crucified upside-down. In retaliation, the Jewish leaders conspire to crucify Pilate on Jesus’ cross—they cry out “O Pilate, your life is like His life, and your lot is similar to His lot” (p. 255). He is rescued from the cross only to meet his end at the hand of Tiberius. As in the Handing Over of Pilate, the Prefect is beheaded (though here after a second crucifixion), Procla dies on the spot, and Tiberius orders the destruction of the Jews.

To read more on these texts see the translation of the Garshuni version of the homilies of Cyriacus in Alphonse Mingana, “Lament of the Virgin” and “Martyrdom of Pilate,” in Woodbrooke Studies: Christian Documents in Syriac, Arabic, and Garshuni, vol. 2 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928), 163-332.

More Secret Scriptures 3: The Apocryphal Apocalypses of John

Monday, June 24th, 2013

(The latest in a series of posts about little-known Christian Apocrypha that could not be included in my recent book, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the the Christian Apocrypha, to be released later this month)

The earliest Christian apocalypse is the canonical Book of Revelation ascribed to John. The focus of this text is the end-time battle between cosmic powers of good and evil, with Jesus leading the heavenly host against the forces of Satan and the Beast. With the victory of Jesus, Satan and his minions are thrown into a lake of fire, and the faithful are raised from death to live forever in a new heaven and earth ruled by God. But the story does not end there for John; he is called on again to receive new visions in several other apocalypses in his name.

The Apocalypse of Saint John the Theologian (commonly known as 2 Apocalypse of John), available in Greek and Arabic and perhaps composed in Syria in the fourth century, is written as a supplement to the canonical text with John asking Jesus for additional information, such as a more detailed physical description of the Beast and details about the conditions of life after the second coming. The righteous dead, whether children or senior citizens, will “rise as thirty-year-olds” (10), Jesus says, and physical divisions will be no more: “Just as the bees do not differ one from another, but are all of the same appearance and size, so every human-being will be at the resurrection. Not fair-skinned, nor red-skin, nor black, not Ethiopian not different facial features, but all rise with the same appearance and size” (11).

A second text, without a title but attributed to John Chrysostom, is found in Greek from around the sixth or the eighth century. It features a dialogue between John and Jesus on practical concerns of church life, such as sinning, Sunday observance, fasting, and the proper length of hair (“the person whose hair comes below the eyes is not worthy of communion” [46]; “the woman who cuts the hair of her head is accursed” [47]).

Jesus does not appear at all in Question and Answer to Saint John the Theologian from James the Lord’s Brother (or 3 Apocalypse of John) in Greek from the eighth or ninth century. Instead James asks John about the future judgement of souls and the need for sinners to repent. In the course of the discussion, John mentions several Hebrew Bible and Christian figures who committed terrible sins but received forgiveness after repenting (23-27). These include Simon Peter, for his threefold denial of Jesus, the Good Thief crucified with Jesus, and Mary Magdalene, who “sinned with 1703 men, and did not know whether they were strangers or family, yet faint of heart she expunged all her sins through her tears” (24).

Another Apocalypse of John exists (perhaps we should call it 4 Apocalypse of John) in two Greek manuscripts. Unfortunately, this text has not yet been published.

And last, there is a Coptic text from around the eleventh century called The Mysteries of Saint John the Apostle and Holy Virgin. Here John is with the apostles on the Mount of Olives after the resurrection and he asks Jesus to take him to heaven to see the mysteries there. At one point the Cherubim reveal to John some interesting information about the body of Adam: "On the day wherein God created Adam, Adam was twelve cubits in height, and six cubits in width, and his neck was three cubits long. And he was like unto an alabaster stone wherein there is no blemish whatsoever. But when he had eaten [of the fruit] of the tree, his body diminished in size, and he became small, and the righteousness wherein he was arrayed departed and left him naked, even to the tips of his fingers, that is to say, to his very nails. If he was not cold in winter, he was not hot in the summer.”

For a full discussion of the apocryphal Apocalypses of John see John M. Court, The Book of Revelation and the Johannine Apocalyptic Tradition (Journal for the Study of the New testament Supplement Series 190. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000).

More Secret Scriptures 2: Letters from Jesus to Peter and Paul

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

(The second in a series of posts about little-known Christian Apocrypha that could not be included in my recent book, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the the Christian Apocrypha, to be released later this month)

While reading Bart Ehrman's latest book, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford 2013), I came across a reference to, apparently, lost letters of Jesus to Peter and Paul. These letters are not typically mentioned in studies of the Christian Apocrypha, though they should be part of the discussion of apocryphal letters of Jesus (particularly the Abgar Correspondence).

The reference is found in Augustine's  Harmony of the Gospels (De cons. Evang.). Augustine is refuting claims that Jesus composed texts of magic. It's interesting that Augustine's method of refutation is to point out that Jesus could not have written to Paul since Paul was not a Christian until after Jesus' death. Here is the relevant  excerpt (1.14-16; translated by S.D.F. Salmond, from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888):

14. But, indeed, these persons rise to such a pitch of folly as to allege that the books which they consider to have been written by Him contain the arts by which they think He wrought those miracles, the fame of which has become prevalent in all quarters. And this fancy of theirs betrays what they really love, and what their aims really are. For thus, indeed, they show us how they entertain this opinion that Christ was the wisest of men only for the reason that He possessed the knowledge of I know not what illicit arts, which are justly condemned, not merely by Christian discipline, but even by the administration of earthly government itself. And, in good truth, if there are people who affirm that they have read books of this nature composed by Christ, then why do they not perform with their own hand some such works as those which so greatly excite their wonder when wrought by Him, by taking advantage of the information which they have derived from these books?

15. Nay more, as by divine judgment, some of those who either believe, or wish to have it believed, that Christ wrote matter of that description, have even wandered so far into error as to allege that these same books bore on their front, in the form of epistolary superscription, a designation addressed to Peter and Paul. And it is quite possible that either the enemies of the name of Christ, or certain parties who thought that they might impart to this kind of execrable arts the weight of authority drawn from so glorious a name, may have written things of that nature under the name of Christ and the apostles. But in such most deceitful audacity they have been so utterly blinded as simply to have made themselves fitting objects for laughter, even with young people who as yet know Christian literature only in boyish fashion, and rank merely in the grade of readers.

16. For when they made up their minds to represent Christ to have written in such strain as that to His disciples, they bethought themselves of those of His followers who might best be taken for the persons to whom Christ might most readily be believed to have written, as the individuals who had kept by Him on the most familiar terms of friendship. And so Peter and Paul occurred to them, I believe, just because in many places they chanced to see these two apostles represented in pictures as both in company with Him. For Rome, in a specially honourable and solemn manner, commends the merits of Peter and of Paul, for this reason among others, namely, that they suffered [martyrdom] on the same day. Thus to fall most completely into error was the due desert of men who sought for Christ and His apostles not in the holy writings, but on painted walls. Neither is it to be wondered at, that these fiction-limners were misled by the painters. For throughout the whole period during which Christ lived in our mortal flesh in fellowship with His disciples, Paul had never become His disciple. Only after His passion, after His resurrection, after His ascension, after the mission of the Holy Spirit from heaven, after many Jews had been converted and had shown marvellous faith, after the stoning of Stephen the deacon and martyr, and when Paul still bore the name Saul, and was grievously persecuting those who had become believers in Christ, did Christ call that man [by a voice] from heaven, and made him His disciple and apostle. How, then, is it possible that Christ could have written those books which they wish to have it believed that He did write before His death, and which were addressed to Peter and Paul, as those among His disciples who had been most intimate with Him, seeing that up to that date Paul had not yet become a disciple of His at all?

More Secret Scriptures: John and the Young Bishop of Ephesus

Friday, June 7th, 2013

In celebration of the release of my new book, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the Christian Apocrypha, I am running a series of posts on texts that could not be included in the book due to space considerations (so many texts, so little room). The first of these is a story about the apostle John transmitted by Clement of Alexandria in his Quis dives salvetur (42.1-15). I only recently came across the story and I am surprised that it is not featured in the popular Christian Apocrypha collections, nor is it mentioned in the standard introductions to the Acts of John. The translation below is taken from an online edition of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History 3.23, which excerpts the text from Clement's work (translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 1).

1. At that time the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in Asia, and governing the churches of that region, having returned after the death of Domitian from his exile on the island.

2. And that he was still alive at that time may be established by the testimony of two witnesses. They should be trustworthy who have maintained the orthodoxy of the Church; and such indeed were Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria.

3. The former in the second book of his work Against Heresies, writes as follows: And all the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan.

4. And in the third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words: But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.

5. Clement likewise in his book entitled What Rich Man Can Be Saved? indicates the time, and subjoins a narrative which is most attractive to those that enjoy hearing what is beautiful and profitable. Take and read the account which runs as follows:

6. Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit.

7. When he had come to one of the cities not far away (the name of which is given by some ), and had consoled the brethren in other matters, he finally turned to the bishop that had been appointed, and seeing a youth of powerful physique, of pleasing appearance, and of ardent temperament, he said, ‘This one I commit to you in all earnestness in the presence of the Church and with Christ as witness.’ And when the bishop had accepted the charge and had promised all, he repeated the same injunction with an appeal to the same witnesses, and then departed for Ephesus.

8. But the presbyter taking home the youth committed to him, reared, kept, cherished, and finally baptized him. After this he relaxed his stricter care and watchfulness, with the idea that in putting upon him the seal of the Lord he had given him a perfect protection.

9. But some youths of his own age, idle and dissolute, and accustomed to evil practices, corrupted him when he was thus prematurely freed from restraint. At first they enticed him by costly entertainments; then, when they went forth at night for robbery, they took him with them, and finally they demanded that he should unite with them in some greater crime.

10. He gradually became accustomed to such practices, and on account of the positiveness of his character, leaving the right path, and taking the bit in his teeth like a hard-mouthed and powerful horse, he rushed the more violently down into the depths.

11. And finally despairing of salvation in God, he no longer meditated what was insignificant, but having committed some great crime, since he was now lost once for all, he expected to suffer a like fate with the rest. Taking them, therefore, and forming a band of robbers, he became a bold bandit-chief, the most violent, most bloody, most cruel of them all.

12. Time passed, and some necessity having arisen, they sent for John. But he, when he had set in order the other matters on account of which he had come, said, ‘Come, O bishop, restore us the deposit which both I and Christ committed to you, the church, over which you preside, being witness.’

13. But the bishop was at first confounded, thinking that he was falsely charged in regard to money which he had not received, and he could neither believe the accusation respecting what he had not, nor could he disbelieve John. But when he said, ‘I demand the young man and the soul of the brother,’ the old man, groaning deeply and at the same time bursting into tears, said, ‘He is dead.’ ‘How and what kind of death?’ ‘He is dead to God,’ he said; ‘for he turned wicked and abandoned, and at last a robber. And now, instead of the church, he haunts the mountain with a band like himself.’

14. But the Apostle rent his clothes, and beating his head with great lamentation, he said, ‘A fine guard I left for a brother’s soul! But let a horse be brought me, and let some one show me the way.’ He rode away from the church just as he was, and coming to the place, he was taken prisoner by the robbers’ outpost.

15. He, however, neither fled nor made entreaty, but cried out, ‘For this did I come; lead me to your captain.’

16. The latter, meanwhile, was waiting, armed as he was. But when he recognized John approaching, he turned in shame to flee.

17. But John, forgetting his age, pursued him with all his might, crying out, ‘Why, my son, do you flee from me, your own father, unarmed, aged? Pity me, my son; fear not; you have still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for you. If need be, I will willingly endure your death as the Lord suffered death for us. For you will I give up my life. Stand, believe; Christ has sent me.’

18. And he, when he heard, first stopped and looked down; then he threw away his arms, and then trembled and wept bitterly. And when the old man approached, he embraced him, making confession with lamentations as he was able, baptizing himself a second time with tears, and concealing only his right hand.

19. But John, pledging himself, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness with the Saviour, besought him, fell upon his knees, kissed his right hand itself as if now purified by repentance, and led him back to the church. And making intercession for him with copious prayers, and struggling together with him in continual fastings, and subduing his mind by various utterances, he did not depart, as they say, until he had restored him to the church, furnishing a great example of true repentance and a great proof of regeneration, a trophy of a visible resurrection.

More Christian Apocrypha

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

The latest issue of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (41.3) features my article on the More Christian Apocrypha Project. The abstract for the article provides some details about the project:

Scholars interested in the Christian Apocrypha (CA) typically appeal to CA collections when in need of primary sources. But many of these collections limit themselves to material believed to have been written within the first to fourth centuries CE. As a result a large amount of non-canonical Christian texts important for the study of ancient and medieval Christianity have been neglected. The More Christian Apocrypha Project will address this neglect by providing a collection of new editions (some for the first time) of these texts for English readers. The project is inspired by the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project headed by Richard Bauckham and Jim Davila from the University of Edinburgh. Like the MOTP, the MCAP is envisioned as a supplement to an earlier collection of texts—in this case J. K. Elliott’s The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford 1991), the most recent English-language CA collection (but now almost two decades old). The texts to be included are either absent in Elliott or require significant revision. Many of the texts have scarcely been examined in over a century and are in dire need of new examination. One of the goals of the project is to spotlight the abilities and achievements of English (i.e., British and North American) scholars of the CA, so that English readers have access to material that has achieved some exposure in French, German, and Italian collections.

The volumes will be published by Eerdmans, with the first going to press some time in 2013. Brent Landau (University of Oklahoma) is my co-editor for the project. For introductory information on the texts to be featured (or we hope to be featured) in the volumes, see my More Christian Apocrypha page.

New Unknown Gospel from Oxyrhynchus

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Brent Landau passed on to me a few notes regarding the find:

"Cool things I learned at Dirk Obbink's lecture in Oklahoma City this evening" (Tuesday, September 13, 2011)

1) The new "unknown gospel" from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (mentioned in THIS news report) that was mentioned in press releases in connection with the ancientlives.org project has Jesus performing an exorcism on the Gerasene demoniac…BUT, there's no herd of swine! The demons just go away. No pigs were harmed in the performing of this miracle.

2) On the other side of the "unknown gospel" fragment are several sayings of Jesus about acknowledging him as Lord that resemble (but are not identical to) logia found in the Synoptics and Thomas. So apparently this gospel alternates between narrative and sayings, but with less of the transitional material found in the Synoptics.

3) The "unknown gospel" will be published in vol. 77 of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

4) A new fragment of the beginning of the Gospel of Mark has been identified, which was probably enclosed in an amulet and likely dates to the third century. Like several other important witnesses, it lacks the phrase "Son of God" after "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." But, unlike any other manuscript, it has the definite article "tou" before "Christou."

5) Oxford University has developed a portable multi-spectral scanner that is inexpensive enough to be purchased by both institutions and individuals. I don't know what the exact cost is, or whether it is available for purchase yet, but Dr. Obbink said it was in the price range "of a high-end laptop computer." See HERE for their info page.

More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Vol. 1

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Congratulations to Jim Davila and Richard Bauckham on getting the manuscript of their first volume of Old Testament Pseudepigapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures to their publisher. Jim's post on Paleojudaica (HERE) includes a list of the contents of the volume. Note that some of these texts are actually Christian-penned, but feature Old Testament/Hebrew Bible figures or events; so the book will be of interest also to readers of the Christian Apocrypha. 

More Christian Apocrypha Page Updated

Monday, June 6th, 2011

The page on More Christian Apocrypha provides introductory information on neglected and unpublished CA texts. It is by no means comprehensive and I welcome any suggestions for improvement.