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Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament [Paperback]

Bart D. Ehrman
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 12 2005
While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ--texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost 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 Apocalypses and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.

Frequently Bought Together

Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament + Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew + Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Price For All Three: CDN$ 45.12

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"History, it's often said, is written by the victors. Bart Ehrman argues in a pair of intriguing new books that the same could be said of the Bible's New Testament. That Ehrman makes his case without pushing into territory considered heretical by many mainstream Christians shows a deft touch with the most volatile of subjects.... Will shock more than a few lay readers."--The Boston Globe

"Lost Scriptures provides a good sample of the literature and illustrates nicely the complex and often exotic world of second- and third-century Christianity.... The texts presented in Ehrman's anthology and his incisive analyses of them constitute a solid contribution to showing the diversity of thought and practice within early Christianity."--America

"A companion to Lost Christianities, this volume provides substantial selections from over three dozen of the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, Apocalypses and revelatory treatises not included in the New Testament canon, but which reveal the diverse and competing forms of early Christianity. Ehrman's introductions helpfully situate the documents in their presumed original settings. An invaluable collection of texts for both students of early Christianity and general readers."--Elizabeth A. Clark, John Carlisle Kilgo Professor, Duke University

"Fresh authoritative translations of the texts that fell outside in the canon."--Christian Science Monitor

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings and Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By shr nfr
Format:Hardcover
In this book Dr. Ehrman does an enumeration of many of the early Christian Gospels, Epistles, Apocalypses, and so forth that were written by some of the early Christians other than the proto-orthodox. Due to the nature of their authorship, these gospels did not make it into our current canon and are widely unknown by most people. As with all Dr. Ehrman's books, it is well written, although his contribution to the book is a brief introduction to each of the historical texts. Its primary audience appears to be those people who have an interest in the area and desire a brief statement about the group who wrote the book followed by what text is available from the early writings. It is by no means as exhaustive as "The New Testament Apocrypha" in two volumes by Wilhelm Schneemelcher and R. McL. Wilson. For most people though, this will not impede their appreciation of the topic and serve as a very good introduction to the area.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection Dec 30 2003
Format:Hardcover
Ehrman's Lost Scritures recieves high marks as a thorugh collection of early christian writings, covering most of the recorded diversity of the various sects. The translations, generally excellent, allow the reader considerable access to the period. Unfortunately, the introductory essays for each of the writings are not up to snuff, often terse and providing little background. While the author clearly intendended this as a companion addition to his other volume on early christian sects, the introductions should have been stronger. Particullarly vexing is that, as in the other volume, he dates varrious writings without laying out the reasoning for the date given. "Scholars estimate...", a term repeated frequently, leaves the reader wanting more details and a hearing of the case.
Despite this short coming, a collection like this is a must for anyone interested in christian antiquity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource for the serious scholar Oct. 20 2003
Format:Hardcover
An unbelievable resource and a much needed update / balance to Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels. As thorough a guide as will be found complete with a new translation. It would've been nice to compile this same information in the original languages in another volume but what's here is great.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellect Collection March 11 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book, along with Ehrman's "Lost Christianities", is an excellent introduction to the complexities of early Christianity.
Not as technical and "foot-note-y" as Schneemelcher and Wilson's "New Testament Apocrypha" but more detailed than Barnstone's "The Other Bible" and "The Gnostic Bible", this is a handy anthology for both scholar and layman.
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