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  #1  
Old Aug 26, '07, 7:27 pm
AaronsStaff AaronsStaff is offline
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Default Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

Are we allowed to read these gospels and writings? Is there anything contrary to the faith in them, which would make them not suitable to read? I saw on Newadvent.org that there are a bunch books not included in the Bible, that you can read there. These books were not put in the bible for a reason, and im just concerned on whether or not it would be okay to read them.
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  #2  
Old Aug 26, '07, 7:33 pm
Hellisreal Hellisreal is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

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Originally Posted by AaronsStaff View Post
Are we allowed to read these gospels and writings? Is there anything contrary to the faith in them, which would make them not suitable to read? I saw on Newadvent.org that there are a bunch books not included in the Bible, that you can read there. These books were not put in the bible for a reason, and im just concerned on whether or not it would be okay to read them.

Read whatever you want to.

Can I ask you what you consider the Gospels to be?

And if you only mean scripture, could you tell me what this scripture would be?

Catholics have all the scriptures, which are we missing?

Thank you for considering my questions
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  #3  
Old Aug 26, '07, 7:46 pm
YADA YADA is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

AaronsStaff,

Do you read anything other than the bible? I would expect that you do.....newspapers, novel [fiction and non fiction]......so yes you may read other early writings.....just keep in mind that these books are not held to the same standard and purpose that the "Bible" [that collection of Hebrew Scriptures - referred to as the OT and the New Testament Sciptures] are held to.....You know inspired by God, In-errant etc.

Many of them were written with a viewpoint that represents a heretical position.....the Gospels of Thomas for example are Gnostic in theology.....

But they can be interesting reading......like reading a good novel or even for research....
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  #4  
Old Aug 26, '07, 9:06 pm
AaronsStaff AaronsStaff is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

Im asking if the historical truths contained in some of these books are accurate. Like in acts of peter and paul, it says that both Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome, which is true. If this book was considered historically accurate, and not necessarily inspired, wouldnt it prove Catholic belief? Is all the history in these books factual or would one have to study and examine each one individually? Are we supposed to reject these writings entirely, or can we use the historical elements as facts?
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  #5  
Old Aug 26, '07, 10:27 pm
YADA YADA is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

Scripture is not written as "History" or "Science"....Scripture may have elements of history nd may even speak of something related to science but that is not the purpose.....The Book of Genesis is not a science book discussing the formation of the world and the beginnings of man.....the Book of Genesis is a book that discuses relationships .....the relationship between the Creator and the created......

the New Testament is a collection of witings. These writings are the beliefs and understandings of a faith community [the early Christians] with their God [Jesus, the Trinity, etc]. These writings were compiled by the community o believer for the community of believers - an internal document......

So those writings that exist outside of the community [or which were rejected by the community] may contain some elements of history and some truths.....but you must beware the false 'truths' and misrepresentations that may appear in the texts......that tale research, a good understanding f the tenets of the faith, reputable sources of commentary, etc.........

As a example: Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code are examples of the mis-information that can be spread by putting forth fiction as fact......
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  #6  
Old Aug 27, '07, 7:12 am
Newbie2 Newbie2 is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

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Originally Posted by AaronsStaff View Post
Im asking if the historical truths contained in some of these books are accurate. Like in acts of peter and paul, it says that both Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome, which is true. If this book was considered historically accurate, and not necessarily inspired, wouldnt it prove Catholic belief?
Not necessarily...and it would depend on what you mean by "prove" and to whom. Our Catholic faith is not something that we can prove to anyone; it takes...well...faith.

Some, for sure, need historical "evidence" to encourage their faith, some believe blindly. I had a forum discussion (not here) about Jesus with another person, who wrote some horribly blasphemous things (in violation of the forum rules, which got his posts removed anyway) about our Lord.

I tried to gently point out that even though he may not believe that Jesus was divine, history does generally accept that Jesus the person walked the earth. His response was that history does not accept that.

So I guess that you're going to come across people that need "extrabiblical historical" evidence for our faith, and if that's what it takes to get them interested...
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  #7  
Old Aug 27, '07, 7:17 am
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Brendan Brendan is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

Read whatever you want. But don't think that these writings are from God, or anyone close to God.
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  #8  
Old Aug 27, '07, 7:21 am
catechumen08 catechumen08 is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

If some of those "gospels" are considered heresy by the Church, why would it be okay to read them? Why would one want to? Aren't you putting your soul in danger in doing so?
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  #9  
Old Aug 27, '07, 7:47 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

They might be useful reading for historical background, knowing what did the (different sects of) Gnostics believed and refuting those particular doctrines contained thereon as long as one does not take them as actual fact and disregard the True Gospels or use/twist them to make lies about the Early Christian Church (which unfortunately, many popular people who shall remain unnamed had done).

That is why, you should always take a vial of salt with you whenever you read them.
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  #10  
Old Aug 27, '07, 8:03 am
RobHom RobHom is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

I don't see that there is any harm in "reading" them. The harm or danger in them is "believing" them.

I read science fiction, I read Tom Clancy, I read many different kinds of books, mostly fiction, though some are documented secular histories. I don't incorporate the fiction into my belief system, as they are purely entertainment. The histories, if accurate can be cross checked, though often times they can be somewhat "fictional" as most authors incorporate their personal opinions or twists on history.

There is a gnostic gospel that says Christ did not die on the cross or ascend into heaven, instead he was taken down, nursed back to health, moved down the road, got married and had children and lived to a ripe old age, then died, was buried, and stayed buried. This "gnostic gospel" is obviously "around the bend"....probably a forgery or a flight of fancy. We know this not to be the truth.... This is the type of gnostic gospel that is dangerous to read because if one was to incorporate what was read into a belief system....it would invalidate the "truth", the very same "truth" that we know to be very real.

As to other gnostic gospels.... I would prefer that the Vatican be the final arbiter as to their validity and value. The Holy See is far better prepared to make these assessments than anyone else.

I often wonder myself if one day documents will be found that prove many of the oral histories that we embrace, such as the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary. But again, the declaration of the validity of those documents rests on the scholars in the Vatican, not me.
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  #11  
Old Aug 27, '07, 8:28 am
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

There are also many Non-Gnostic Apocryphal Gospels like:

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas

Which had, at least in its first chapters, the Child Jesus as a 'holy terror' and making wonders like:

-Making twelve clay sparrows and breathing life on them (mimicking God's creation of Adam) during a Sabbath

-Making a child (a certain 'son of Annas the scribe') who bullied Him by taking a branch and upsetting the stream where Jesus made the sparrows wither up and die,

-Killing a kid who bumped on His shoulder using only His words,

-Striking the parents who came to complain blind. Joseph was annoyed by this and pinched Jesus in the ear, leading to this quote:
Quote:
"It is enough for you to seek and not find, but too much for you to act so unwisely. Do you not know that I am not yours? Do not trouble me."

or in the Latin version of the Gospel:

"It is enough for you to see me, not to touch me. For you know not who I am; but if you did know, you would not make me angry. And although just now I am with you, I was made before you."
-Mary and Joseph sending Him to a teacher; but it is the teacher who ends up getting taught the meaning of the Alphabet and each individual letter and returns Jesus back to His parents.
Quotes from Jesus during this incident:
Quote:
"Really, teacher, what my father has said to you is true. I am the Lord of this people and am here in your presence and have been born among you and am with you. I know where you are from and how many years there will be in your lives. I am telling you the truth, teacher, when you were born, I existed. And if you want to be a perfect teacher, listen to me and I will teach you wisdom which nobody knows except me and the one who sent me to you. For you are my disciple and I know you, how old you are and how old you will live to be. And when you see the cross my father has described, you will believe that everything I have said to you is true."

"Are you so amazed? Then you should believe more of what I said to you. I really also know when you and your parents were born and I will tell you this remarkable fact: even when the world was created, I and the one who sent me to you existed." -His reply to the crowds who were amazed by His knowledge

"I taunted you! For I know that you are amazed by little things and have minuscule minds." -Response to the crowd who was angered by His former statement
-After the teacher had taught Jesus, Jesus heals those whom he struck blind earlier and since then, "no one dared to anger Him".

-Jesus resurrects a playmate (Zeno or Sinoo) who fell down the roof of the house

-Jesus heals a boy (sometimes identified as a neighbor) who accidentally chopped off His foot

-Jesus using a cloak to hold water when He accidentally broke a jar for that purpose

-Jesus, then eight years of age, going to the farm with Joseph, sowed one measure of grain which produced one hundred measures upon harvesting which He distributed to the poor

-Extending a piece of wood by just pulling it when Joseph found out that the wood for the yoke he was making was shorter than the other one

There are also many others but it will take up space to describe them.
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  #12  
Old Aug 27, '07, 9:32 am
AaronsStaff AaronsStaff is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YADA View Post
Scripture is not written as "History" or "Science"....Scripture may have elements of history nd may even speak of something related to science but that is not the purpose.....The Book of Genesis is not a science book discussing the formation of the world and the beginnings of man.....the Book of Genesis is a book that discuses relationships .....the relationship between the Creator and the created......

the New Testament is a collection of witings. These writings are the beliefs and understandings of a faith community [the early Christians] with their God [Jesus, the Trinity, etc]. These writings were compiled by the community o believer for the community of believers - an internal document......

So those writings that exist outside of the community [or which were rejected by the community] may contain some elements of history and some truths.....but you must beware the false 'truths' and misrepresentations that may appear in the texts......that tale research, a good understanding f the tenets of the faith, reputable sources of commentary, etc.........

As a example: Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code are examples of the mis-information that can be spread by putting forth fiction as fact......
Im not talking about the gnostic gospels, im talking about books like acts of peter and paul, acts and martyrdom of the apostle matthew, acts of andrew etc. Would these books be accurate in stating how each of these apostles died? Considering its not stated in the Bible.
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  #13  
Old Aug 27, '07, 4:30 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

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Originally Posted by AaronsStaff View Post
Im not talking about the gnostic gospels, im talking about books like acts of peter and paul, acts and martyrdom of the apostle matthew, acts of andrew etc. Would these books be accurate in stating how each of these apostles died? Considering its not stated in the Bible.
Acts of Peter and Paul, as far as I know aren't Gnostic; in fact, it is one of those works which describes Peter being crucified upside-down and Paul being beheaded. It also contains that story wherein Simon Magus attempts to fly into the air using the power of evil spirits but due to a prayer from Peter and Paul, he came crashing back down to his death. It also has the familiar Quo Vadis.

Quote:
Then both Peter and Paul were led away from the presence of Nero. And Paul was beheaded on the Ostesian road.

And Peter, having come to the cross, said: "Since my Lord Jesus Christ, who came down from the heaven upon the earth, was raised upon the cross upright, and He has deigned to call to heaven me, who am of the earth, my cross ought to be fixed head down most, so as to direct my feet towards heaven; for I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord." Then, having reversed the cross, they nailed his feet up.

And the multitude was assembled reviling Cæsar, and wishing to kill him. But Peter restrained them, saying: "A few days ago, being exhorted by the brethren, I was going away; and my Lord Jesus Christ met me, and having adored Him, I said, Lord, whither are You going? And He said to me, 'I am going to Rome to be crucified.' And I said to Him, 'Lord, were You not crucified once for all?' And the Lord answering, said, 'I saw you fleeing from death, and I wish to be crucified instead of you.' And I said, 'Lord, I go; I fulfil Your command.' And He said to me, 'Fear not, for I am with you.' On this account, then, children, do not hinder my going; for already my feet are going on the road to heaven. Do not grieve, therefore, but rather rejoice with me, for today I receive the fruit of my labours. And thus speaking, he said: I thank You, good Shepherd, that the sheep which You have entrusted to me, sympathize with me; I ask, then, that with me they may have a part in Your kingdom." And having thus spoken, he gave up the ghost.

And immediately there appeared men glorious and strange in appearance; and they said: We are here, on account of the holy and chief apostles, from Jerusalem. And they, along with Marcellus, an illustrious man, who, having left Simon, had believed in Peter, took up his body secretly, and put it under the terebinth near the place for the exhibition of sea-fights in the place called the Vatican...

...And some devout men of the regions of the East wished to carry off the relics of the saints, and immediately there was a great earthquake in the city; and those that dwelt in the city having become aware of it, ran and seized the men, but they fled. But the Romans having taken them, put them in a place three miles from the city, and there they were guarded a year and seven months, until they had built the place in which they intended to put them. And after these things, all having assembled with glory and singing of praise, they put them in the place built for them.

And the consummation of the holy glorious Apostles Peter and Paul was on the 29th of the month of June—in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and strength.
Eusebius of Caesarea dismissed the Acts of Andrew as absurd and heretical. Gregory of Tours was delighted to find a copy however and revised it for he felt that it was verbose, which is the reason he believed that led some to condemn it as heretical. It was also commonly believed to be Gnostic before the discovery of Nag Hammadi library. (Note: To those familiar with Hagiography, the Crucifixion of St. Andrew is related here; though whether it was X-shaped is not specified in the text)

Quote:
And having thus spoken, the blessed Andrew, standing on the ground, and looking earnestly upon the cross, stripped himself and gave his clothes to the executioners, having urged the brethren that the executioners should come and do what had been commanded them; for they were standing at some distance. And they having come up, lifted him on the cross; and having stretched his body across with ropes, they only bound his feet, but did not sever his joints, having received this order from the proconsul: for he wished him to be in distress while hanging, and in the night-time, as he was suspended, to be eaten up alive by dogs.
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  #14  
Old Aug 27, '07, 5:18 pm
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

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Are we allowed to read these gospels and writings?
There are only 4 authentic Gospels.

These other writings often had "gospel" in their title to try to lend themselves an air of authenticity and importance. You need to understand that these writings are NOT scripture. They are not prohibited.

These books range from orthodox, non-Scripture such as letters from early Popes, the Didache, etc, to *apochryphal* writings by heretics-- such as the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Therefore, you need to know what you are doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronsStaff View Post
Is there anything contrary to the faith in them, which would make them not suitable to read?
Yes, some are apochryphal and contain error.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronsStaff View Post
I saw on Newadvent.org that there are a bunch books not included in the Bible, that you can read there.
If you are referring to the ones under the heading "Church Fathers" those are orthodox and OK to read. I am not aware of the gnostic writings being on New Advent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronsStaff View Post
These books were not put in the bible for a reason, and im just concerned on whether or not it would be okay to read them.
Many orthodox writings were not included in the canon, including papal encyclicals of our own time.

Yes, one must be careful to discern what is orthodox and what is not. It's good that you asked.
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  #15  
Old Aug 27, '07, 7:39 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Are we allowed to read the gospels not included in the Bible?

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If you are referring to the ones under the heading "Church Fathers" those are orthodox and OK to read. I am not aware of the gnostic writings being on New Advent.
There are a few ones labeled as 'Gnostic' or 'Docetic', if you'll check the site.
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