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Books Not Included in the Canon

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Lesson

Looks at the apocryphal and gnostic gospels. They show an interest in the infancy and final days of Jesus, but are of no historical value. There are gnostic gospels (mostly fragmentary) that are more esoteric, philosophical speculation, and Blomberg reads sections from the Gospel of Thomas.

Outline

I. APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS

A. Assume Christ’s deity means he was born as an “adult”

B. Infancy stories

1. Infancy Gospel of Thomas (childhood stories)

2. Protoevangelium of James (“real virgin birth”)

C. Passion supplements

1. Gospel of Peter

2. Gospel of Nicodemus (“Acts of Pilate” and descent into hell)

D. Why create these documents?

1. Curiosity

2. But Luke 2:52 says Jesus “grew”

II. OTHER FRAGMENTARY WORKS

“The Secret Gospel of Mark” (fraud by Smith)

III. GNOSTIC GOSPELS

A. No real historical value

B. Examples

1. Apocryphon of James (parables)

2. Gospel of Philip

3. Gospel of Mary (may suggest a romantic relationship with Jesus)

C. General comments

1. Fragmentary (not “gospel” in normal sense)

2. Tend to involve dialogues with Jesus about topics unrelated to the major themes of the canonical gospels

3. Esoteric speculation

D. Samples

1. Gospel of Truth (philosophical speculation)

2. Gospel of Thomas (114 sayings)