Non-canonical Writings Archive

What is the New Testament Apocrypha?

What is the New Testament Apocrypha?

The Greek word apokrypha means “hidden writings.” Clement of Alexandria uses it in this literal sense (Stromateis 1.15.69.9). But, for the most part, ancient Christian authors used it to refer to writings of their opponents, which they considered spurious. Clement says that his opponents “derived their doctrines from an apocryphal work. . . . where they have taken a sound doctrine and perversely misapplied it” (Stromateis 4.29). Ireneaus describes “apocryphal writings” as texts written by his opponents “who are ignorant of the Scriptures of truth” (Against Heresies 1.20.1). Tertullian refused to acknowledge teachings from the Shepherd of Hermas because it did not “find a place in the Divine canon” and “had been habitually judged by every council of Churches. . . among apocryphal and false (writing)” (On Modesty 10.6). The phrase New Testament Apocrypha was not used in antiquity. Instead, it is a modern umbrella title... Read the rest of this entry »

What is the Agrapha?

What is the Agrapha?

The Gospel of Mark, like the other Gospel texts, does not contain everything Jesus Christ said. There is a body of sayings of Jesus preserved in other sources that has caught the attention of scholars and believers for a long time. This material is part of the agrapha (literally “not written”). These are the sayings that were not originally recorded in the Gospels or were attributed to Jesus from sources other than the Gospel. So, for example, Acts 20:35 contains the saying of Jesus Christ that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Another example comes from the Gospel of Mark, where a saying of Jesus was probably added to the Gospel nearly five hundred years after it was written: “and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:49). The late dating of this saying is attested by the fact that it does not appear in the earliest manuscripts of Mark, either in Latin of Greek, and was therefore likely unknown in the original editions of Mark. Other... Read the rest of this entry »