Talk:New Testament apocrypha

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Notice to All Editors[edit]

Please maintain the following notice at the top of this Talk page.

Before changing the names of any headings on this page, please note that the article Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture has headings linked directly to these subheads. Any changes here should be duplicated there so as to maintain hyperlinks. Thanks! --The Editrix 22:14, 28 June 2006 (UTC)


This is the kind of article I'd call a trunk. Much more than a mere disambiguation. It needs more "For Main article, see..." headers, IMO. --Wetman 23:11, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

The author is not aware of the meaning of "New Testament apocrypha". Since when are e.g. the Shepherd of Hermas, the Book of Enoch, the Didache, The Book of Nepos considered as apocrypha? And since when do all documents, found in Nag Hammadi, count as apocrypha? Besednjak

The term Apocrypha ("hidden writings") covers all the contemporary writings on sacred subjects not included in the canon. Selections are sometimes printed and bound as companions to New Testaments. Those texts may be more familiar than others. Compare also pseudepigrapha. --Wetman 17:55, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
Disagree strongly. Your definition would include even writings on Greek and Roman philosophy, as these are ancient and deal with sacred subjects. You should adhere to a more accurate definition.
In order to be considered as NT apocrypha the writing must:
  • not be included in a (not the!) canon;
  • clearly aim at being part of the NT;
  • be written in the first centuries;
  • be considered or presented as writings of the apostles (like John, Thomas, Mary Magdalena).
Few examples where the article is wrong: The Book of Enoch is an Old Testament apocrypha, not a New Testament apocrypha. The Shepherd of Hermas was written by a Christian in Rome, not by an apostle and had never claimed to be part of the NT (how could it, as the author clearly identifies as a non-apostle). Same goes for Epistles of Clement. Writings from the apostolic fathers, church fathers etc. cannot be considered as NT apocrypha, nor can ancient writings in general be considered as NT apocrypha if they do clearly not "want to belong" to the NT. This is a normal definition among scolars. Besednjak 19:46, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
The problem with that is that the Book of Enoch is thought to have originated in the New Testament era (i.e. after 1AD), even though it concerns the Old Testament (more precisely, the Nephilim). Even though the Shepherd of Hermas, and Epistles of Clement were clearly not written by apostles, they were nethertheless included in early (i.e. pre 5th century) lists of biblical canon, so count amongst the apocrypha. Indeed, these two (and the Epistle of Barnabas) especially, as they were originally considered more canonical than the book of Revelations (which only just scraped into the bible, and was not on the earlier lists, unlike Shepherd of Hermas). ~~~~ 19:26, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You say that even though the Shephard of Hermas and Epistles of Clement were clearly not written by apostles, they were nevertheless included in lists of biblical canons. 1) If they were included in the canon, than they cannot be treated as apocrypha. 2) If they had been clearly identified as not written by the apostles, they could never have been put on that list. Just another note: On the list there finds itself even the Toledoth Yeshu. A sane mind cannot possibly think that it is supposed to be part of the NT, nor that it aimed to be. On the list we see merely a collection of writings, mostly findings from Nag Hammadi. How interesting and important these may be, it does not make them automatically apocrypha. Besednjak 07:38, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I wonder whether the Eastern Orthodox practice of composite readings (from various books) at vesperal services for certain important feasts were inspired by the practice of harmonizing the gospels (or at least the synoptics). Eddieuny 18:26, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Definition of "Namesake"[edit]

I'm a little concerned about the parenthetical following the two Gospels of the Egyptians. It says, for example,

"Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians (Not to be confused with its namesake, the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians)" It previously says the same thing (but vice versa) about the Greek gospel of the Egyptians.

I don't think the author of this section quite understood the meaning of the word "namesake." The namesake of something is what it was named after not something that shares its name. This is confusing, and, one way or the other, should be edited.

All "translations" in Christian Antiquity were broader than modern ones, and—unlike pagan translations—were partly driven by ideological politics. How different are the Coptic and the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians is the essential question. --Wetman 22:42, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

move corpus from gospel[edit]

There is a section in Gospel that discusses the matter of apocryphal gospels and has a list. That list is more complete that this article so I thought it's more appropriate here. I moved all of it here, but I didn't take care of duplicates. Pictureuploader 10:07, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

A mess[edit]

This article is a mess and much of it is misleading. Simply because a book has "gospel" in front of it, it does not necessarily make it part of the New Testament Apocrypha. If so, let's see some citations. I had a college major in Religious Studies and have never seen Gnostic Gospels listed as "New Testament Apocrypha". Gnosticism is not a branch of Christianity, and it is this kind of thinking which leads a lot of people to question why these "gospels" weren't included in the Bible. (This question comes up almost daily on Yahoo Answers: "Why isn't the Gospel of Mary in the New Testament?"). I think a lot of this came up in The Da Vinci Code, which is fiction, not legitimate history.

The "debatablility" of the Book of Enoch being in the New Testament Apocrypha: where is someone arguing it is? Everything single thing I have ever seen it mentioned in includes it in the Pseudepigrapha (which is Old Testament), not in the New Testament Apocrypha. Squad51 20:42, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Most of those are apocrypha. They are sacred writings contemporary (roughly)to the the composition of the canonical gospels and about the same subject matter. There cannot be a more exacting definition of the term, since by nature it is a vague term and will include many bordeline cases. I personally think it would be best to include boderline cases in this list. It should be noted that this does not include the Apocrypha included on the Old Testament by the Roman Catholic Church, which doesn't even define those books as Apocrypha. Neither must one fear that designating a book as apocryphal endows it with some sort of authenticity or credibility. And apocryphal gospel containing heresy is still heresy. Zach82 19:04, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Someone vandalised the article in December, and deleted most of the content. It has just been restored.

Trying to make sense out of the article[edit]

This is not my subject. But, observing that the article had nothing that could possibly pass for an introduction, I have written one. It may need tidying up, but can I suggest that this is the sort of statement an introduction should make. Not a long winded waffle about what the modern reader my glean from the fact that such things as something known as the apocryphal gospels exist. The information in that paragraph is valuable, but it isn't a suitable intro, and it has been slightly adjusted.

I don't know whether the links to the headings and subheadings will still work. The words remain the same, but there are new subheadings, and the size of the headings has been adjusted. The Gnostic writings have been put further down. I do not know for sure whether the list of writings beginning with those pertaining to Mary, now above the Gnostic writings, are actually Gnostic writings and should be listed below that heading. My impression is that they are not, but someone who is expert in the subject should look at this and place them correctly if I have done the wrong thing. --Amandajm 15:08, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

The whole article is a difficult read - with some run-on sentences and awkward wording. I would definitely encourage anyone knowledgeable about the subject, who has some grammatical skills, to attempt a rewrite. gnomelock 17:14, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

further Armenian texts[edit]

What about the Dormition (Repose) of St John and the Prayer (Plea or Colophon) of Eutalius (Euthalius) which are in some editions of the Armenian New Testament?

Gnosticism was never a branch of Christianity – so let's not pretend that it was[edit]

Any one of several Wikipedia articles (not to mention external sources) establishes that Christianity is one thing, and the pagan cult of Gnosticism (I'm not even dealing with the links between Gnosticism and Hermeticism) is a completely different matter entirely. Superfopp, (or is that Superflop? Your talk page temporarily confused me) no one can actually ask another editor to provide sources for adding a prefix, "Pseudo-", to the head of the section of the article New Testament apocrypha which reads "Gnostic Christian texts".

Now, if you would actually like to do some reading about the sourcing behind the consistent rejection of Gnosticism by the Church Fathers who led the primitive Catholic Church of the first four centuries of Church History (and all you think you need is a good starting point), then you can find the evidence and sources you need, beginning with these two bookmarks:

Unfortunately, if you or anyone else decides to orient this article to confuse those who read it into believing that the heresy of Gnosticism is just another denomination of Christianity, you will be putting this article into direct conflict with numerous articles which outline all of the reasons as to why Gnosticism is not the same thing as Christianity.

Is that your intention? If it is not your intention to confuse Gnosticism with Christianity in the minds of anyone who reads this article entry, then prove it by retracting your bizarre demand that citations be provided for adding a prefix (not even a whole single word!) to the headline for a section of one article.

You reverted my change of the section head, which I edited to read "Gnostic Pseudo-Christian texts" with no attempt to seek out the guidance of those who already edit this entry, with no evidence of your own, with no sources which indicate that any Gnostic text is indeed "Christian", and no specific citations for publications that any of us could read for ourselves. Just for the time being, I am going to make sure that this article is not in conflict with the other Wikipedia articles which deal with this Gnostic propaganda by reverting your reversion, without accusing you of vandalism or sabotage. Superfopp, please respond here, and if you would also like to respond on your talk page as well, please do so. Talk 01:09, Monday April 13, 2009 (UTC)

Gnosticism was not a branch of Christianity ... very true! Gnosticism describes more a set of beliefs than some organised religion. Various Christian groups (generally declared or considered heretical) shared some beliefs that could be described as 'gnostic'. It all depends on your definition of "Christian", really. Its not "gnostic propaganda" to state this, any less than its Christian propaganda to claim that 'true' Christianity was devoid of all gnostic influences. Christianity was not a monolithic creature either for its first few centuries, and happily borrowed and shared some ideas with its surrounding cultures. Tobermory (talk) 14:19, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Valentinus (Gnostic), the Gnostic that almost became Pope, throws a wrinkle into the claim that Gnostic Christianity was always considered to be heretical. Lost Christianities explains why Gnostic Christianity did not become Orthodox Christianity. jonathon (talk) 15:43, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

unsuitable refs?[edit]

Except for a ref from Ehrman, which too was attributed to a wrong book, I think all the other refs presently in this article, do not qualify as WP:RS.-Civilizededucationtalk 08:22, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Editors needed[edit]

Can someone who watches this New Testament apocrypha page and is familiar with the broader context of NTA please drop in on

and try and allow at least some of deleted Schneemelcher/Funk/Klijn type academic content to get past the gatekeeper. Thanks. I can't be bothered. I've just wasted a morning. :( In ictu oculi (talk) 06:21, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Questioning date of Revelation included in the canon as currently stated to be 1200CE[edit] This states that Athanasius' Easter Letter in 367 already contained Revelation as canonical book (refs 49 and 50 in that link). (talk) 07:12, 22 April 2011 (UTC)


This is an unhelpful and misleading conclusion. There are many who think that Bart Ehrmann's contributions to the field of NT canon are as much a revision of "the history of the conflict" as he charges the proto-orthodox Christian movement. It is a highly contested topic, and Ehrmann represents one pole. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 19 July 2011 (UTC)