Over the last number of years, scholarly (as well as popular) interest in Christian apocryphal works has continued to grow. Folks just can’t seem to get enough of “lost” Gospels and other books that did not make it into the New Testament.
My own interest in this area goes back to my thesis at the University of Edinburgh under Larry Hurtado on the apocryphal gospel fragment P.Oxy. 840. That was published later as The Gospel of the Savior: An Analysis of P.Oxy. 840 and its Place in the Gospel Traditions of Early Christianity (Brill, 2005).
Because of my own interest in the subject, I was pleased that yesterday in the mail I received the new volume edited by Andrew Gregory and Christopher Tuckett, The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Apocrypha (Oxford, 2015). This volume includes a fine collection of scholars covering a wide range of topics related to apocryphal Christian works.
Here is the table of contents:
Part I: Introduction and overview
1. Introduction, Christopher Tuckett
2. Texts About Jesus: Non-canonical Gospels and Related Literature, Jörg Frey
3. Apocryphal Texts About Other Characters in the Canonical Gospels, Charlotte Touati and Claire Clivaz
4. Narratives About the Apostles: Non-canonical Acts and Related Literature, Richard Pervo
5. Non-canonical Epistles and Related Literature, Andrew Gregory
6. Non-canonical Apocalypses and Prophetic Works, Richard Bauckham
Part II: Key Issues and Themes
7. The Influence of Jewish Scriptures on Early Christian Apocrypha, Tobias Nicklas
8. Who Read Early Christian Apocrypha?, L. W. Hurtado
9. The Formation of the New Testament Canon and Early Christian Apocrypha, Jens Schröter
10. ‘Useful for the Soul’: Christian Apocrypha and Christian Spirituality, Francois Bovon
11. Christology and Soteriology in Apocryphal Gospels, Pheme Perkins
12. Christology and Soteriology in Apocryphal Acts and Apocalypses, Paul Foster
13. The Gospel of Thomas and the Historical Jesus, Stephen J. Patterson
14. Other Apocryphal Gospels and the Historical Jesus, Simon Gathercole
15. Christian Apocrypha and the Developing Role of Mary, J. K. Elliott
16. The Apocryphal Mary in Early Christian Art, Robin M. Jensen
17. The Role of the Apostles, Richard I. Pervo
18. Judaism and Anti-Judaism in Early Christian Apocrypha, Petri Luomanen
19. Eschatology and the Fate of the Dead in Early Christian Apocrypha, Outi Lehtipuu
20. Liturgy and Early Christian Apocrypha, Harald Buchinger
21. Roman Imperialism: The Political Context of Early Christian Apocrypha, Candida R. Moss
22. Encratism, Asceticism, and The Construction of Gender and Sexual Identity in Apocryphal Gospels, Judith Hartenstein
23. Encratism and the Apocryphal Acts, Yves Tissot
24. Early Christian Apocrypha in Popular Culture, Tony Burke
25. Early Christian Apocrypha in Contemporary Theological Discourse, Tony Burke
What are your feelings about calling the Gnostic works “gospels” in the first place? Is it just an accepted designation since it’s been used for so long? I always thought it odd that these works rarely show any similarities to the styles or genres of the canonical gospels but yet I’ve never heard the titles seriously questioned. Maybe I just haven’t read those authors who address the issue?
Will you do blog posts on this? I hope so!