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Apocryphal Gospels
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
Gospels not included in the New Testament or any ancient Bibles. These gospels, many of which are pseudonymous, were never widely authoritative in the early-church period, and most were labeled heretical by church fathers. With few exceptions, the apocryphal gospels tell us little about the historical Jesus. Their primary value is in what they reveal about the perception of Jesus and his teachings by particular groups during the second and third centuries ad (Gregory, “The Non-Canonical Gospels,” 3; Foster, “Preface,” xvii—xviii).Some apocryphal gospels have been found in manuscript form in Egypt; others we know about only from references in patristic literature. Many of these works do not include the term “gospel” in their titles; rather, this label is attributed to them by modern scholarship, either because they seem to reflect the “gospel” genre or because they include a supposed saying of Jesus.Some of these texts parallel portions of the canonical Gospels, while others contain very different content. The canonical Gospels all take the form of biographical narratives that climax with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. This is true for some but not most of the apocryphal gospels, which often reflect tendencies to embellish Jesus’ story with additional details and miraculous deeds (“The Non-Canonical Gospels,” 6–7; Kesich, “Christ’s Temptation,” 3). Some of these texts contain only tales of Jesus’ youth; others narrate only the passion and resurrection. Some are not narratives at all, but rather collections of sayings. Many gnostic texts bearing the title “gospel” are discourses between the risen Jesus and his disciples, with little narrative.
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Apocryphal Gospels
Apocryphal Gospels Gospels not included in the New Testament or any ancient Bibles. These gospels, many of which are pseudonymous, were never widely authoritative in the early-church period, and most were labeled heretical by church fathers. With few exceptions, the apocryphal gospels tell us little
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Gospels, Apocryphal
GOSPELS, APOCRYPHAL. Apart from the four gospels, which by tradition have been passed down to the Church as part of the canonical NT corpus, early Christianity produced a number of other writings that also might legitimately be called “gospels.” Like the canonical gospels, all of these apocryphal gospels
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Gospels, Apocryphal
Gospels, Apocryphal. Writings preserving stories about Christ and some varied teachings; being mostly fanciful in nature, they never became canonical. There are three broad classes:1. A type similar to the synoptic Gospels, represented by the Gospel of Peter and the Gospel of the Egyptians, as well
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
Gospels (Apocryphal)
Gospels (apocryphal)The writing of Gospels did not end with the production of the Gospels which became canonical or even with the fixing of the canon* of four canonical Gospels. Many other Gospels continued to be written for many centuries. Most of these do not resemble the canonical Gospels in genre
Dictionary of New Testament Background
Apocryphal Gospels
APOCRYPHAL GOSPELSMany Gospels or narrative accounts of all or part of Jesus’ earthly life and teaching, including his appearances on earth between the resurrection and the ascension, were written in the early centuries of Christianity, besides the four Gospels that became canonical. Most of these noncanonical,
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS
APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS<a-pok’-ri-fal gos’-pels>:The apocryphal gospels form a branch of the apocryphal literature that attended the formation of the New Testament canon of Scripture. Apocryphal here means non-canonical. Besides gospels, this literature included acts, epistles and apocalypses.
The Westminster Dictionary of Theologians
Gospels, Apocryphal
Gospels, Apocryphal. Name that is applied to several literary versions of the words and deeds of Jesus outside the canon of the New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John gather what their authors considered to be vital for the faith of the first Christians, but at the same time draw
A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines, Volumes I–IV
Gospels Apocryphal
GOSPELS APOCRYPHAL. Besides our four canonical Gospels a large number of other writings circulated in early times containing either complete narratives of our Lord’s life on earth or particular sections of the history. The great majority of these literary products were either interpolated editions and
The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2, D–G
Gospels, Apocryphal
gospels, apocryphal. The canonical Gospels, which strictly speaking are not biographies, record only a small part of the life and work of Jesus Christ. After the apostolic period, a growing biographical interest led to the composition of works intended to fill the gaps, most of them based on imagination
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Second Edition
Gospels: Apocryphal
GOSPELS: APOCRYPHALGospels are early Christian writings that have as their focus the transmission and interpretation of traditions about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (see Gospels: Genre). Those not included in the Bible are called “apocryphal Gospels.” Most of these were written after the