We may think of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as the only sacred writings of the early Christians, but this is not at all the case. Lost Scriptures offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the centuries after Christ-texts that have for the most part been neglected or lost for nearly two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul's female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation.
In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypes and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. Lost Scriptures gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era. It is an essential resource for anyone interested in the Bible or the early Church.
Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An authority on the early Church and the life of Jesus, he has appeared on A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and other television and radio shows. He has taped several highly popular lecture series for the "Teaching Company" and is the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Third Edition, OUP, 2003) and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (OUP, 1999).
General Introduction ; NON-CANONICAL GOSPELS ; The Gospel of the Nazareans ; The Gospel According to the Ebionites ; The Gospel According to the Hebrews ; The Gospel According to the Egyptians ; The Coptic Gospel of Thomas ; Papyrus Egerton 2: The Unknown Gospel ; The Gospel of Peter ; The Gospel of Mary ; The Gospel of Philip ; The Gospel of Truth ; The Gospel of the Savior ; The Infancy Gospel of Thomas ; The Proto-Gospel of James ; The Epistle of the Apostles ; The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter ; The Second Treatise of Great Seth ; The Secret Gospel of Mark ; NON-CANONICAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES ; The Acts of John ; The Acts of Paul ; The Acts of Thecla ; The Acts of Thomas ; The Acts of Peter ; NON-CANONICAL EPISTLES AND RELATED WRITINGS ; The Third Letter to the Corinthians ; Correspondence of Paul and Seneca ; Paul's Letter to the Laodiceans ; The Letter of 1 Clement ; The Letter of 2 Clement ; The "Letter of Peter to James" and its "Reception" ; The Homilies of Clement ; Ptolemy's Letter to Flora ; The Treatise of the Resurrection ; The Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles ; The Letter of Barnabas ; The Preachings of Peter ; Pseudo-Titus ; NON-CANONICAL APOCALYPSES AND REVELATORY TREATISES ; The Shepherd of Herman ; The Apocalypse of Peter ; The Apocalypse of Paul ; The Secret Book of John ; On the Origin of the World ; The First Thought in Three Forms ; The Hymn of the Pearl ; CANONICAL LISTS ; The Muratorian Canon ; The Canon of Origen of Alexandria ; The Canon of Eusebius ; The Canon of Athansius of Alexandria ; The Canon at the Third Synod of Carthage