New Testament Apocryphal Writtings

dear friends,

I have a dilema, well a concern, Id like to get some fact/opinions on, if you would be so kind…

I have recently come across writting such as ‘Gospel of Thomas’, ‘Infancy Gospels’, ‘Apocolypse of Paul’, ‘Acts of the Apostles’, ‘the book of Adam and Eve’ and other Epistles, just to mention a few

…are they regarded as Heresy? Certainly my Protestant friends dont regard them… but I have read they were highly regarded at first by the early Christians, and they dont seem to contradict anything the bible says in my opinion…

Wikipedia states that they were Gnostic Gosepls thus regarded as uncanonical…thats a fair cop since I know they are not included in the New testament… and since I dont preach Gnosticism…

My point is we cant afford to write these off completely since they were written 1-2Century. AD? would you agree…? Is it so imporssible to think that Thomas and Philip would also write accounts of what happened?

I know their authorship is also questioned, but they read genuine.
Please let me know your stance on these or the Catholic churches opinion? Certainly they explain some of the actions of the church today not found anywhere else in the bible!

Thanks

Mark

Here is a answer to a question about the Churches rejection of the ‘Gospel of Thomas’

catholic.com/thisrock/quickquestions/?qid=686

Thanks Hickman…I had an interesting read of it…
Thats the crux of it when people lay out proper reasoning for a dismissal rather than just labeling it heresy without Justifying themselves…

Some were written by believers and others by heretics. None of them are considered to be inspired.

Sounds like you have a number of concerns, can you be more specific?

Obviously, the writings you reference are not in the Bible. Is there something more you need to know or are wondering about?

They may contain truth, they may be inspired, whatever…but they’re not part of the canon of Scripture (for any number of reasons).

Have a look at this site. The table gives a quick overview of how the early Church Fathers viewed the various writings. Also you can look at a what they said about them.

ntcanon.org/table.shtml

hey Diggerdomer,

Thats exactly my point, we cant completely dismiss these writtings since they were written around the same time…

my protestant friends are so quick to dismiss/ shoot down anything that isnt scripture… (and Im not pushing to say it is) but just useful since I myself (along with the early christians) have imporved my knowledge of the bible since reading these letters…

Besides I know one thing written about Christ is that if all his works were written down, then there wouldnt be enough paper in the world! So how much more should look to see what else is written… Im not questioning the Authority of the bible and I accept the cross examinations when certain old texts dont conform, that is a given… but to not hear me out is another thing all together…(im going through a mioni revival with these texts)

One thing they explained was ‘questionably’ when Christ said, you are all fathers/ masters and so on to the apostles and they didnt understand and said, ‘you told us we have one father who is in heaven’, this point again is a rift between protestant and catholic doctrine which in my view needs looking at… did Jesus really say those words? Im sorry I cant remeber the Epistle now but this would explain why catholics call the priest father, again in the letters Paul writes (NT) He says at one point I have begotten you…

Just so you know what really has caught my eye was the Apocolypse of Paul, but there are inconsistencies i.e. was Mary really in Heaven wen he had his vision? My thinking would be that she hadnt died yet. I know what Augustine said regarding that text so please dont quote me that. thanks.

Just a few ideas for you to play with… thanks

Each one stands and falls on its its own.

Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Clement, Epistles of Ignatius, the Didache, and Proto-Evangelium of James are considered valued writings. The Shepherd of Hermas was considered Inspired by many members of the Church, but was rejected later on in the 2nd or 3rd century. The Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians was read in the Corinthian Church’s liturgies for over 100 years. All these writings are valued by the Church and reflect Church teachings. This is different from being inspired, however.

The Gnostic writings, such as Thomas and various others, were considered heretical.

So, you see, you can’t lump them all in the same pile.

I quite agree, well said…
Ans thanks for your imput… God bless

YOUR thread title is an oxymoron.
the New Testament is the Catholic canon defined as inspired sacred scripture
apocrypha as applied to the NT is anything not in the canon
the canon closed with the death of the last apostle late in the first century

most mainstream Protestant denominations and scholars accept the NT books defined in the Catholic canon of scripture, so I don’t know what kind of Protestants you refer to who regard non-inspired readings as scripture.

The Acts of the Apostles is a book in the NT unless you know of another book by that title.

The others you list were written much later certainly long after the first century, nor do they have any history of being used in the early church–duh, because they did not exist in the first century.

“I have read somewhere” is useless as a source. Please provide a source that shows any of those you listed was in use by the early church.

also please provide a credible source that shows they were written in the first century, current with canonical scripture

Wiki is not a source acceptable for serious research

Also thankyou for your info I have learned alot

My understanding is that some were heretical and others were not inspired, as others have already pointed out on this thread.

I took a class last fall at my school that looked into some of these writings. To my disappointment, I did not learn very much about the early church’s use of them or why they eventually fell out of use, etc.

One thing that the professor said in class is that the statement “he descended into hell” in the apostle’s creed came from the gospel of peter. Here is an excerpt from it.

When the solders saw these things,
they woke up the centurion and the elders-
for they were also there on guard.
39 As they were explaining what they had
seen, they saw three men emerge from
the tomb, two of them supporting the
other, with a cross following behind
them. 40 The heads of the two reached
up to the sky, but the head of the one
they were leading went up above the
skies. 41 And they heard a voice from
the skies, “Have you preached to those
who are asleep?” 42 And a reply came
from the cross, “Yes.”.

According to my professor, preaching to those who are asleep implies going into hell and preaching to those there.

If my professor is correct, (and please let me know if he is not) I think this is interesting. It seems odd to me that something from the gospel of peter would find its way into a creed, when it’s not something that is generally circulated today.

I grew up in a baptist church that actually took the line “he descended into hell” out of the creed, so I assume that this line must not be in the bible (correct me if that’s wrong) since the baptist view is that the bible is the sole rule of faith and only source of authority.

:shrug:
:slight_smile:

No, the canon did not close at the end of the first century…given that most scholars suggest some New Testament writings were written after 100 A.D. (e.g. 2 Peter).

As I understand it, ALL Christians accept the same New Testament that Catholics do. Not “most.” Do you know of Christians who have a different New Testament canon? I’m curious.

that is such a cool website! :thumbsup: thank you! very helpful, and fascinating.

that is really, really interesting, because in John’s Gospel Christ says before His crucifixion that He will go to the Father (John 14:28 and others) indicating that Christ did not descend into hell after His death on the cross, but rather ascended to the Father in Heaven, only to return to His body three days later, alive and risen.

is there anywhere in the NT where it indicates that Christ preached to the dead in Sheol?

No

i think i found it!

1 Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

is that what the above passage refers to? Christ preaching to souls in hades?

That’s definitely a traditional interpretation. Thanks.

There are different classifications of apocryphal writings, some are heretical, some are orthodox just not necessarily divinely inspired. The Ethiopian bible has seven books added in the New Testament that they call the deuterocanon of the new testament, some of which include the writings of Clement (not sure which one). Here are the deuterocanon to their New Testament

  1. Sirate Tsion (the book of order)
  2. Tizaz (the book of Herald)
  3. Gitsew
  4. Abtilis
  5. The I book of Dominos
  6. The II book of Dominos
  7. The book of Clement
  8. Didascalia

from ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonical/books.html

Of course, I agree that a number of these works came out around that time; however, apocryphal writings were written across a huge span of time; we have a few that were dated to be around the 4th century or later.

I know their authorship is also questioned, but they read genuine.

Depends on what book you’re checking. In some books, Jesus is a bit close enough to the canonical Gospels - though at times with a bit more ‘extravagance’ on His miracles; in others (say, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas), the boy Jesus is a ‘holy’ know-it-all brat who for example kills off the boy who bullied Him with His words and strikes blind the people who came to Joseph’s house to complain about it, as well as ending up teaching the teacher who offered to teach Him His letters. Still others (especially in overtly Gnostic works such as Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Judas, or the Books of Jeu), have Jesus as this guru who spoke in incomprehensible jargon and who is sometimes accompanied with much showy fanfare:

After he rose from the dead, his twelve disciples and seven women continued to be his followers, and went to Galilee onto the mountain called “Divination and Joy”. When they gathered together and were perplexed about the underlying reality of the universe and the plan, and the holy providence, and the power of the authorities, and about everything the Savior is doing with them in the secret of the holy plan, the Savior appeared - not in his previous form, but in the invisible spirit. And his likeness resembles a great angel of light. But his resemblance I must not describe. No mortal flesh could endure it, but only pure, perfect flesh, like that which he taught us about on the mountain called “Of the Olives” in Galilee.

And he said: “Peace be to you, My peace I give you!” And they all marveled and were afraid. The Savior laughed and said to them: “What are you thinking about? Are you perplexed? What are you searching for?
Philip said: “For the underlying reality of the universe and the plan.
The Savior said to them: “I* want you to know that all men are born on earth from the foundation of the world until now, being dust, while they have inquired about God, who he is and what he is like, have not found him. Now the wisest among them have speculated from the ordering of the world and (its) movement. But their speculation has not reached the truth. For it is said that the ordering is directed in three ways, by all the philosophers, (and) hence they do not agree. For some of them say about the world that it is directed by itself. Others, that it is providence (that directs it). Others, that it is fate. But it is none of these. Again, of the three voices I have just mentioned, none is close to the truth, and (they are) from man. But I, who came from Infinite Light, I am here - for I know him (Light) - that I might speak to you about the precise nature of the truth. For whatever is from itself is a polluted life; it is self-made. Providence has no wisdom in it. And fate does not discern. But to you it is given to know; and whoever is worthy of knowledge will receive (it), whoever has not been begotten by the sowing of unclean rubbing but by First Who Was Sent, for he is an immortal in the midst of mortal men.*”

-The Sophia of Jesus Christ

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