False/heritical "gospels"


#1

Hi all!

I asked this on the Ask the Appologists forum but they didn’t respond so I’ll try here. A friend recently asked me about the “other gospels” that the Church has ruled heretical. I’ve heard of them but know virtually nothing about them. Could anyone shed some light on this topic, i.e. where to get info about them, where they came from, and why they have been disallowed from the Bible. This friend is a fallen away Catholic and I’ve been working on him slowly but surely to bring him back home so anything you could provide would be most helpful.

Thanks and God bless, Jen


#2

There are scads of them…but not all of them have been “ruled” by the Church as heretical. Here are some:
[list=1]
*]Traditions of Sayings of Jesus
*]The Gospel of Thomas
*]The Dialogue of the Savior
*]The Gospel of the Egyptians
*]Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 840
*]The Apocryphon of James
*]Traditions of Stories About Jesus
*]The Secret Gospel of Mark
*]Papyrus Egerton 2
*]The Gospel of Peter
*]The Gospel of the Hebrews
*]“John’s Preaching of the Gospel,” The Acts of John 87-105
*]The Gospel of the Nazoreans
*]The Gospel of the Ebionites
*]The Protevangelium of James
*]The Infancy Gospel of Thomas
*]The Epistula Apostolorum
*]The Acts of Pilate
[/list]For more on most of them, look them up in the Catholic Encyclopedia online at
newadvent.org/cathen/


#3

Try this for starters:

newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm


#4

There is a vast mass of writing dating to early Christianity. It generally falls into 4 categories:

  1. Patently false documents, written to support a heresy – for example, the Gosple of Truth, which is a Gnostic forgery.

  2. Documents which may be genuine orginally, but which have been edited to put across a false or heretical thesis – for example, the Gospel of Thomas.

  3. Documents which are genuine, but which do not rise to canonical status – for example, the Epistles of Clement.

  4. Later documents which are accepted by the Church as valuable analysis and teaching, such as the writings of Saint Augustine.


#5

Thanks so much for the responses so far. I didn’t realize I was asking such a broad question. Perhaps I should specify that, when my friend and I were talking, he was telling me about the movie “Stigmata”. He acknowledges the fact that the movie is fiction and wasn’t trying to defend it’s message, but apperently the movie is based on these “other gospels”, in particular some that are said to have been written in Jesus’ own words.

Thanks again and God bless, Jen


#6

here’s something on the gnostic gospels

catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0676.html


#7

[quote=im_wildrose]Thanks so much for the responses so far. I didn’t realize I was asking such a broad question. Perhaps I should specify that, when my friend and I were talking, he was telling me about the movie “Stigmata”. He acknowledges the fact that the movie is fiction and wasn’t trying to defend it’s message, but apperently the movie is based on these “other gospels”, in particular some that are said to have been written in Jesus’ own words.

Thanks again and God bless, Jen
[/quote]

The gospel of Thomas, the book which is refered to in the movie, is a mid second century book. It is not from the first generation of Christians. Second, the books did not decide the Church, the Church decided the books. In other words the Church teachings are not based on the books of the bible. The books of the bible were written based on the teachings of the Church. The were chosen because they showed the teachings of the Church from first century writers.


#8

Thanks so much, Jimmy! I hadn’t really thought about it from that perspective. It makes a lot of sense though. I’ll be sure to share this with my friend.

God bless, Jen


#9

Just to back Jimmy’s assertion up, if your friend questions you on whether or not the Church made the Bible and not the other way around, just point out Acts and the Epistles of Paul. Acts is Scripture, but it is obviously written as a historical account of the Apostles doing Church things: ordaining people, establishing diocese and parishes, holding Councils, ect. Paul’s epistles are good because they hold the status of Scripture, and he is clearly writing to different churches about their practices such as Communion and ordainations. If the Church came up from Scripture, then why were all these things already being done while Paul was writing Scripture?

The New Testament is the collection of the Inspired records of the Church, obviously written by the Church after it had already been established, since much of it references Church activities.


#10

Of course, for some people – especially some “New Age” types – the only [G]ospels that are truly heretical are the ones by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!


#11

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