The NON CANONIC
Analysis of the Non Canonical Christian Literature Corpus
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
When the [extracanonical] gospels are played over against the four canonical gospels,
both the products and the processes of those latter texts appear in a radically different light."
— John Dominic Crossan, Prof. Religious Studies, DePaul Univ.
Contents of this Article
As outlined in earlier articles, this thesis in the field of ancient history is founded on one hypothesis - the Eusebian fiction postulate. In this we postulate that Eusebius fraudulently misrepresented the natural course of ancient history under instructions from Constantine. The Council of Antioch and Nicaea represented turbulent boundary events in the history of the Graeco-Roman civilisation. The priest and the philosophers at these councils, and at The Assembly of the Saints, were non-christian saints and priests of the Graeco-Roman traditions, notably among the milieu, the priesthood of the temples of "The Healing god Asclepius (/Imhotep). Our thesis is that the only "christian" saints and bishops in attendance at these councils, were part of Constantine's retinue. As Smedley Butler keenly perceived, "War is Racket". Constantine, Pontifex Maximus, Warlord, Commander of the Armies of the West, and the Armies of the North, and the Armies of the South, and finally Commander of the East. Supreme imperial mafia thug.
In fact, it is appropriate to use the term "Constantinian" instead of the term "Canonical", and the term "Non Constantinian" instead of the term "Non Canonical". Constantine published the canonical. There is immediate reaction, polemic, satire and parody then published, or perhaps sung --- such as the "Songs of Arius". It is presently conjectured that the authors of the "Non Constantinian" christian texts were ascetic priests, possibly of Asclepius, whom were dispossessed of their temples, shrines and asclepia by the initiative of Constantine, under the guise of his 324 CE edict for the prohibition of sacrifice.
Our thesis is that there will not be found any christian text older that the year 312 CE. Implicate in the thesis is that the dating of the christian "non-canonical texts" rests between 325-390 CE, on the basis that much of the entire genre of non-canonical "Acts" is simply a polemical reaction to the authority of the Constantine Bible.
Commonly referred to as a textual critics' nightmare, it would appear that non canonical evidence is sitting in the too hard basket of all the parties involved, especially the mainstream, and inclusive of the radicals. Everyone has been wearing the "Canon Blinkers" since that is the area to which the scholarship, tenure, and big bucks have traditionally been applied. The non canonical christian literature is like a poor and distant relative, waiting in the wings for a small and brief mention in the grand scheme of the illumination of Constantine's Canon.
The non canonical christian literature is a minefield waiting to explode in the field of ancient history. The single and prime cause of all our problems is the chronology. We have been led astray (since 325 CE) by a Eusebian pseudo-history. When it finally occurs to textual critics of the non canonical literature (and especially the Apocryphal Acts) they they are looking at a seditious polemic against Constantine's Canon, they will begin to understand the "big picture" and the political nature of the new testament literature. The explosion of archaeological and literary evidence for christianity in the fourth century has always assumed that the fuse to this explosion was in fact lit in the first century. However it is the thesis here that in fact the fuse was lit in the fourth century.
In the following section a selection of summaries are presented on the nature of the non canonical NT literature by a range of different authors, and their respective source copyright is here duly acknowledged. It should be noted by readers that I have preserved these comments intact below, even though the chronology supplied in all instances does not correspond the chronology that this thesis is suggesting. The comments have been collated and summarised in order to perceive the common patterns evident in this genre of literature. It should therefore be clearly noted by readers that the thesis will be arguing for a basis of the chronology of the authorship of the new testament Apocrypha to the period from 324 CE for the next one hundred years (ie: the apocryphal chronology is between 325-425 CE) as a political seditious action triggered by the Constantine Canon. Consequently, all references to the chronology supplied below by other authors should be treated as their opinion.
The apocypha is pagan fiction, written by an ascetic priesthood dispossed of and prohibited from its ancient temple heritage. The chronology of the two sets (Canon and Non Canon) are related by the event of Constantine's (Pontifex Maximus') publication of Canon. The writings of the new God were now subject to polemic. It was sedition! The majesty of the emperor was furious.
Arius! Catch the nearest chariot!
Come to me. Come to The City of Constantine
so that we can talk face to face.
You wasted and bitterly stinging ascetic
and academic priest of the people.
Background Overview comments on the NON-CANONICAL New Testament Literature
There are two traditional terms for this body of literature: the Apocryphal NT, the title of English collections (Hone 1820, James 1924, Elliott 1993; cf. Sparks' Apocryphal OT), and the NT Apocrypha, title of the German collections and their English translations (since the first edition of Hennecke, 1904).There are several problems with this terminology:
(1) The term 'NT Apocrypha' might suggest a fixed collection of texts, like the OT apocrypha (= deutero-canonical works), whereas in fact we are dealing with a very open category, potentially inclusive of a very large number of works.
(2) Either term might suggest that the works in question were in some sense candidates for inclusion in the NT canon and at some point in the process of the formation of the NT canon were excluded. This would be very misleading. Only three of these works (Apocalypse of Peter, Acts of Paul, Gospel of the Hebrews) were ever listed among the 'disputed' books (antilegomena) which some treated as canonical (reading them as authoritative Scripture in Christian worship). Many which were written before and during the process of canonization are treated by later authors as 'rejected' (apocryphal) works, but for various reasons were complete non-starters, never seriously considered candidates for canonical status. Many more were written during and after the completion of the canon, not as potentially canonical works or as rivals to the canonical books, but as works functioning to supplement the canon.
(3) The term 'apocrypha,' which came to be used by the Fathers in the sense of 'spurious' or 'rejected' books, suggests literature that was rejected and suppressed in mainstream Christianity. This is true only of some of these works, to a greater or lesser degree, and differently in different periods. The Gnostic works were those first called 'apocrypha' and were vehemently rejected in mainstream Christianity from the second century. But many of the so-called NT apocrypha were not doctrinally unorthodox. Some of these were officially rejected but remained popular in practice. Such works continued to be written by orthodox Chtristians into the early middle ages, and some of the NT apocrypha were extremely popular throughout the middle ages, not suppressed, but not treated as authoritative in the canonical sense (e.g. the infancy Gospels and the apocalypses that revealed the fate of the dead in the afterlife). So the status of these works varies enormously, from those used only by heretics to those used widely by the orthodox, and with varying kinds of authority or usefulness for those who read them.
(4) If the terms 'Apocryphal NT' and 'NT Apocrypha' should not be understood as implying candidature for and exclusion from the NT canon, what kind of relationship to the NT is envisaged? By classifying the apocryphal literature as Gospels, Acts, Epistles, Apocalypses, the collections suggest that these are works in the same genres as those of the NT texts, and that we are dealing with the same kind of literature that we find in the NT. In fact, this is the case with only quite a small minority of the texts called NT Apocrypha. Most of the apocryphal Gospels are not comparable in literary genre with the canonical Gospels; the apocryphal Acts of Apostles resemble the canonical Acts in some ways, but also differ sufficiently to constitute a different literary genre; by contrast with the NT, there are very few apocryphal Epistles; and the apocryphal Apocalypses are mostly more like Jewish apocalypses than like the NT Apocalypse of John. Literary genre is not a satisfactory way of defining the way these texts relate to the NT. I suggest rather: the works in question are either attributed to or about NT characters.
(5) The terms 'Apocryphal NT' and 'NT Apocrypha' cannot, of course, cover works which are either attributed to or about *OT* characters. Christians did write such works (mostly apocalypses, but also narrative works), as well as editing Jewish works of this kind. Such works are included, if anywhere, in editions of the OT Pseudepigrapha. This is potentially misleading, because it suggests that the OT Pseudepigrapha are Jewish and the NT Apocrypha Christian. It is especially misleading if a collection of OT Pseudepigrapha takes (Charlesworth's OTP does) as a criterion of inclusion that a work must preserve Jewish traditions, even if in Christian redaction. This means that Christian OT Pseudepigrapha fall between the two stools, and that the examples that do occur, e.g., in Charlesworth's OTP are usually studied only for the sake of their possible Jewish substratum or contents. (Moreover, if we are looking for early Jewish traditions in Christian works, I think we are as likely to find them in the Apocalypse of Peter or the Apocalypse of Paul, as we are in the Ascension of Isaiah or the Coptic Apocalypse of Elijah.) Most scholarship on the OT Pseudepigrapha has been interested in them as Jewish literature, so that those which are originally Christian or the Christian redaction of others have been seriously neglected. Responding to these problems the CCSA includes both 'NT Apocrypha' and 'Christian OT Pseudepigrapha,' refusing artificial distinctions between them, and prefers the term 'Christian apocrypha' for the whole corpus of literature.
(Summary of a Lecture by Richard Bauckham (Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews) on 5 May 1999)
In The Thirteenth Apostle April DeConick offers a new translation of the Gospel of Judas which seriously challenges the National Geographic interpretation of a good Judas. April DeConick contends that the Gospel of Judas is not about a “good” Judas, or even a “poor old” Judas. It is a gospel parody about a “demon” Judas written by a particular group of Gnostic Christians – the Sethians. Whilst many other leading scholars have toed the National Geographic line, Professor DeConick is the first leading scholar to challenge this ‘official’ version. In doing so, she is sure to inspire the fresh debate around this most infamous of biblical figures.
Tony Chartrand-Burke of Apocryphicity has put up a terrific post on the questions we have been discussing the last couple of days. His post is called, Do non-canonical texts make you uneasy? I am in 100% agreement with what he says. If you want to read the entire post (and it is worthwhile to do so) click here. I copy some of his main (and well articulated) points below as an applause and a "second." Tony Chartand-Burke says:
In the canonical New Testament one finds the Acts of the Apostles as the lone example of the early history of the Christian movement. Additional writings in this genre intended to supplement and expand the information found in the canonical NT document. These documents include the Acts of Peter, the Acts of John, the Acts of Paul, the Acts of Andrew, the Acts of Thomas, and the Acts of Pilate, which are generally considered as the more important of these documents. For the English translation texts of 25 of these documents see the Non-Canonical homepage. Many of the early church traditions about the activities of the original twelve apostles have their origin in these documents.
The historical reliability of the data in these documents is not very great, and thus what is said about the activities of the apostles is seldom to be taken seriously. But, they do serve to help the modern Bible student better understand how these first century Christian leaders were viewed in subsequent centuries. Encyclopedia Britannica article states the questions well:
The Apocryphal Acts are anonymous works that report the deeds and teachings of individual apostles. The so-called five "major" acts are the Acts of Paul, the Acts of Peter, the Acts of John, the Acts of Andrew, and the Acts of Thomas. Most of them were written in the second century. The later Acts date from the third to fifth centuries, when the genre gradually merged with hagiography. Although biblical scholars and church historians have paid attention to the Apocryphal Acts since the nineteenth century, many important issues are still open to discussion. They include the reconstruction of the texts, the dating of many Acts, their relation to the canonical Acts, the ancient novels, and the philosophers' biographies.
Robert M. Grant: Historian ... Aside from the twenty-seven books in the canon, no other literature has anything of value to say about Christian origins and the earliest Christian movement." A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (1963)
J. Quasten: scholar of early Christian literature (Patrology, 1990) quotes M.R. James saying: "People may still be heard to say, 'After all, these Apocryphal Gospels and Acts, as you call them, are just as interesting as the old ones. It was only by accident or caprice that they were not put into the New Testament'. The best answer (...) has always been, and is now, to produce the writings and let them tell their own story. It will very quickly be seen that there is no question of anyone's having excluded them from the New Testament: they have done that for themselves.
Bart Ehrman: "The victors in the struggles to establish Christian Orthodoxy not only won their theological battles, they also rewrote the history of the conflict; later readers then naturally assumed that the victorious views had been embraced by the vast majority of Christians from the very beginning ... The practice of Christian forgery has a long and distinguished history ... the debate lasted three hundred years ... even within "orthodox" circles there was considerable debate concerning which books to include." - Lost Christianities, Bart Ehrman.
The Shadowy Leucius Charinus and his "Leucian Acts"
The fullest account of Leucius is that given by Photius (Codex 114), who describes a book, called The Circuits of the Apostles, which contained the Acts of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas, and Paul, that was purported to have been written by "Leucius Charinus" which he judged full of folly, self-contradiction, falsehood, and impiety (Wace); Photius is the only source to give his second name, "Charinus". Epiphanius (Haer. 51.427) made of Leucius a disciple of John who joined his master in opposing the Ebionites, a characterization that appears unlikely, since other patristic writers agree that the cycle attributed to him was Docetist, denying the humanity of Christ. Augustine knew the cycle, which he attributed to "Leutius", which his adversary Faustus thought had been wrongly excluded from the New Testament canon by the Catholics. Gregory of Tours found a copy of the Acts of Andrew from the cycle and made an epitome of it, omitting the "tiresome" elaborations of detail he found in it.
The "Leucian Acts" are as follows:
Notes:  M.R. James, introduction to the Acts of Andrew, The Apocryphal New Testament Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924.  See Acts of Paul and Thecla.
During the period spanning roughly 150-250 CE, five apocryphal acts were written. These were The Acts of Peter, The Acts of John, The Acts of Andrew, The Acts of Thomas and The Acts of Paul. These are all works written chiefly to entertain, to instruct and to spread Christian propaganda. Very little in these works can be considered historical. 
The Acts of Peter is preserved today only in scattered fragments in various languages. That the work is largely a fictional invention can be seen from its obsession with virginity and morbid hatred of sex-a trend that was developing during the time it was written. However it does seem to preserve some authentic tradition of Peter's martyrdom in Rome. According to this work, Peter was crucified on an upside down cross during the persecution of Nero. 
The Acts of John is of little historical value since it confused the John the seer of Revelation with the apostle John.  John the son of Zebedee is some sort of an enigma. Tradition from late second century (Ireneaus [c130-c200] and Clement of Alexandria [c150-c215]) asserted that John died in Ephesus during the reign of Trajan which would put his death around the year 98 to 117.  There is an alternate tradition however, that placed his death very early; stating that he was martyred, together with his brother James, in 44 CE. 
The Acts of Andrew is another work of Christian fiction. It story of Andrew's martyrdom in Patras Greece is generally considered unhistorical. The tradition that he was crucified on an X-shaped cross (St. Andrew's Cross) is based on an even later tradition; around the thirteenth century. 
The Acts of Thomas narrates the story of Thomas' mission to India. Some scholars, about a century ago, argued for this historicity of this Acts due to mention of an actual Indian King, Gundaphorus in the work.  However this view is no longer held today. The presence of the reference to actual historical personae is due to the fact that during the time the Acts of Thomas was written, there was a lively commercial and cultural exchange between Edessa, where the Acts was composed, and India. Thus there was ample opportunity for the author to pick up historical details to weave into his narrative.  One of the main reason why the Acts of Thomas is considered unhistorical is due to the presence of late Gnostic, Mandean and Manichean influence in the work.  [e]
Eusebius: It should be recalled that Eusebius (c260-c340) was the ecclesiastical historian of early Christianity. He had access to the vast library of early Christian works at Caesarea which he cited and quoted extensively in this book. Yet when it comes to the subsequent career of the apostles, all he could muster was the same four names as the apocryphal Acts: Thomas, Andrew, John and Peter! Furthermore he gave no indication that his list was incomplete or that it was merely an excerpt. 
Subsequent Apocryphal literature: After the publication of these five apocryphal Acts, the next generations of Christian hagiographers concocted even more grotesque and less believable Acts. There were Acts of Philip, Acts of Peter and Andrew, The Martyrdom of Matthew, The Acts of Andrew and Bartholomew and so on. Schneelmacher's New Testament Apocrypha Volume II l isted forty of such works. These works were mainly expansions of the original five apocryphal Acts with no historical value.  Needless to say, the traditions regarding the later ministries of the "shadowy" apostles are late and extremely unreliable. For instance, the apostle Matthew was supposed to have been martyred (according to different traditions) in Ethiopia, Persia and Pontus!  Like Matthew, Bartholomew also managed to die multiple deaths of martyrdom. He was supposed to have been martyred in India and in Armenia. Contradictory, late and unreliable traditions exist about all the apostles.  History knows nothing about them.
NOTES: 21. Goodspeed, op. cit: p146, 163 Scneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha Vol II: p78-83 22. Goodspeed, op. cit.: p157 Perkins, Peter, Apostle for the Whole Church: p141-144 Riedel et.al., The Book of the Bible: p431 23. Goodspeed, op. cit.: p152 24. Eusebius: History of the Church: 3:23 & notes p380 25. Craveri, The Life of Jesus: p152 26. Eusebius: History of the Church: notes p344 Livingstone, Dictionary of the Christian Church: p20 Riedel et.al., The Book of the Bible: p433 27. Streeter, The Primitive Church: p29-30 28. Scneemelcher, op. cit: p325 29. Goodspeed, op. cit.: p158 30. Scneemelcher, op. cit.: p19 31. Goodspeed, op. cit.: p163-164 Scneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha Vol II: p426 32. Riedel, op. cit.: p437 33. Brownrigg op. cit: 42 Ferguson, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity: p168
Comparitive review of scholarship on the "Leucian Acts"
Geoff Trowbridge: The Acts of John (c. 150-200 C.E.) were once believed to be the earliest of the Apocryphal Acts, though much of its gnostic idealogy is not found in the other acts (except Thomas). Many scholars believe the blatantly gnostic and/or docetic chapters (94-102 and 109) are a later addition. The original author is traditionally believed to be Leucius Charinus, a companion of John who was later associated with the Manichaeans. The book tells of John's two journeys to Ephesus, during which he performs several ressurections and converts the followers of Artemis after destroying their temple. The book also includes the "Hymn of Christ," used in a modern musical work by Gustav Holst. Like the Johannine gospel, the Christology of the Acts shows some Hellenistic influence. Because the Acts of John were condemned particularly early in their history, all the surviving texts are fragmentary. The earliest manuscripts are Greek, though many Latin texts show later developments and may have suffered from Catholic attempts to purge the unorthodox passages.
Glenn Davis: Acts of John (Ephesus, 150-200 CE) purports to give an eyewitness account of the missionary work of the apostle John in and around Ephesus; it may therefore be of Ephesian provenance. It probably dates to the 2nd half of the 2nd century. Although no complete text is extant, we have considerable portions in Greek and in Latin. The Stichometry of Nicephorus gives its length as 2500 lines, the same number as for the Gospel according to Matthew. An English translation is in [Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 172-212. The author of the Acts of John, said to be Leucius, a real or fictitious companion of the apostle John, narrates his miracles, sermons, and death. The sermons display unmistakable Docetic tendencies, especially in the description of Jesus and the immateriality of his body:
The author also relates that Jesus was constantly changing shape, appearing sometimes as a small boy, sometimes as a beautiful man; sometimes bald-headed with a long beard, sometimes as a youth with a pubescent beard (§ 87-89). The book includes a long hymn (§ 94-96), which no doubt was once used as a liturgical song (with response) in some Johannine communities. Before he goes to die, Jesus gathers his apostles in a circle, and, while holding one another's hands as they circle in a dance around him, he sings a hymn to the Father. The terminology of the hymn is closely related to that of the Johannine Gospel, especially its prologue. At the same time, the author gives the whole a Docetic cast. Besides presenting theologically-oriented teaching, the author knows how to spin strange and entertaining stories. There is for example, the lengthy account of the devout Drusiana and her ardent lover Callimachus in a sepulchre (§ 63-86), which was no doubt intended to provide Christians with an alternative to the widely-read libidinous story of the Ephesian widow and the guard at her late husband's tomb. For a lighter touch the author entertains his readers with the droll incident of the bedbugs (§ 60-61). Although the Acts of John is without importance for the historical Jesus and the apostle John, it is nevertheless valuable for tracing the development of popular Christianity. It is, for example, the oldest source recording the celebration of the Eucharist for the dead (§ 72). The Acts of John may have been composed by a member of the Hellenistic cultivated classes, who drew upon various literary genuses and in so doing, without any specific attachment to a concrete community, sought to propagate a Christianity as he understood it, as the expression of certain aspirations of a philosophical attitude to the world which he had held even before his conversion.
M.R. James: From "The Apocryphal New Testament", Translation and Notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924. Written, probably by a resident in Asia Minor (he does not know much about Rome), not later than A. D. 200, in Greek. The author has read the Acts of John very carefully, and modelled his language upon them. However, he was not so unorthodox as Leucius, though his language about the Person of our Lord (ch. xx) has rather suspicious resemblances to that of the Acts of John. The length of the book as given by the Stichometry of Nicephorus was 2,750 lines-fifty lines less than the canonical Acts. The portions we have may be about the length of St. Mark's Gospel; and about 1,000 lines may be wanting. Such is Zaha's estimate. We have:
Wikipedia: One of the earliest of the apocryphal acts of the apostles, the Acts of Peter reports a miracle contest between Simon Magus and the apostle Simon Peter in Rome. The majority of the text has survived only in the Latin translation of the Vercelli manuscript. The Acts of Peter was originally composed in Greek during the second half of the 2nd century, probably in Asia Minor. Consensus amongst academics points to it being based on the Acts of John, and traditionally both that and this work were said to be written by Leucius Charinus, whom Epiphanius identifies as the companion of John. In the text Peter performs miracles such as resurrecting smoked fish, and making dogs talk. The text condemns Simon Magus, a senior figure associated with gnosticism, who appears to have concerned the writer of the text greatly. Some versions give accounts of stories on the theme of a woman/women who prefer paralysis to sex, sometimes, including in a version from the Berlin Codex, the woman is the daughter of Peter. It concludes describing Peter's martyrdom as upside-down crucifixion, a tradition that is first attested in this work. These concluding chapters are preserved separately as the Martyrdom of Peter in three Greek manuscripts and in Coptic (fragmentary), Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, Armenian, and Slavonic versions. Because of this, it is sometimes proposed that the martyrdom account was the original text to which the preceding chapters were affixed.
A man small in size, with a bald head and crooked legs; in good health; with eyebrows that met and a rather prominent nose; full of grace, for sometimes he looked like a man and sometimes he looked like an angel.
Another episode concerns the Apostle and the baptized lion. Although previously known from allusions to it in patristic writers, it was not until 1936 that the complete text was made available from a recently discovered Greek papyrus. Probably the imaginative writer had read Paul's rhetorical question: 'What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with the wild beasts at Ephesus?' (I Cor. 15:32). Wishing to supply details to supplement this allusion, the author supplies a thrilling account of the intrepid apostle's experience at Ephesus. Interest is added when the reader learns that some time earlier in the wilds of the countryside Paul had preached to that very lion and, on its profession of faith, had baptized it. It is not surprising that the outcome of the confrontation in the amphitheater was the miraculous release of the apostle.
Geoff Trowbridge: The Acts Of Paul (c. 150-200 C.E.) were by far the most popular of the apocryphal acts, spawning a great deal of Christian art and secondary literature, as well as a cult which venerated Thecla, the young girl who accompanies Paul on his missionary journeys. The Acts were considered orthodox by Hippolytus, as well as other writers as late as the mid-fourth century, but were eventually rejected by the church when heretical groups like the Manichaeans began to adopt them. Still, some late Greek texts of the Epistles to Timothy contain alternate passages that appear to be derived from the Acts. The Acts of Paul were often coupled with the Third Letter of Paul to the Corinthians, which was regarded as authentically Pauline by the Syrian and Armenian churches. Originally a separate work, it was likely written around the time of the pastoral epistles and conjoined with the later Acts only after it had been excluded from most Pauline collections. The letter was written primarily to combat Gnostic and Marcionite doctrine which utilized other Pauline works for anti-semitic means. This epistle has survived in several extant manuscripts, as have the stories of Thecla and the account of Paul's beheading in Rome; the remainder of the Acts exist only in fragmentary Greek texts from the third century, and Coptic texts from the fifth. The author, who is unknown, does not appear to show any dependence upon the canonical Acts, instead utilizing other oral traditions of Paul's preaching and missionary work. He likely wrote in Asia Minor near the end of the second century.
Philip Sellew (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 5, p. 202) writes: A 2nd-century Christian writing recounting the missionary career and death of the apostle Paul and classed among the NT Apocrypha. In this work Paul is pictured as traveling from city to city, converting gentiles and proclaiming the need for a life of sexual abstinence and other encratite practices. Though ancient evidence suggests that the Acts of Paul was a relatively lengthy work (3600 lines according to the Stichometry of Nicephorus), only about two-thirds of that amount still survives. Individual sections were transmitted separately by the medieval manuscript tradition (Lipsius 1891), most importantly by the Acts of Paul and Thekla and the Martyrdom of Paul, both extant in the original Greek and several ancient translations. Manuscript discoveries in the last century have added considerable additional material. The most important of these include a Greek papyrus of the late 3d century, now at Hamburg (10 pages), a Coptic papyrus of the 4th or 5th century, now at Heidelberg (about 80 pages), and a Greek papyrus of correspondence between Paul and the Corinthians (3 Corinthians = Testuz 1959), now at Geneva. These finds have confirmed that the Thekla cycle and story of Paul's martyrdom were originally part of the larger Acts of Paul (details in Bovon 1981 or NTApocr.).
Geoff Trowbridge: The Acts of Andrew (c. 200-225 C.E.) continue the encratite traditions begun in the Acts of Peter and John, and might well be by the same author, though scholars tend to date Andrew slightly later. However, these Acts are not as clearly Gnostic as, for example, the Acts of John; The importance of martyrdom is stressed throughout, which is not in line with Gnostic philosophy. The Greek proconsul Aegeates sentences Andrew to be crucified after his wife refuses his sexual advances following her conversion to Christianity. Andrew survives on the cross for four days, all the while refusing the attempts by his followers to rescue him. Surviving texts range from a Coptic fragment as early as the fourth century to Greek and Latin texts from the twelfth, and it is difficult to determine which represent the original Acts. Some secondary texts claim Andrew to have evangelized Scythia rather than Greece.
Jean-Marc Prieur: (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, p. 246): writes ... The Manichean Psalter, which contains some allusions to the content of Acts Andr. (Allberry 1938: 142, 143, 192), establishes the 3d century as the terminus ad quem for the redaction of the apocryphon, but the Acts had to have originated earlier, between 150 and 200, closer to 150 than to 200. The distinctive christology of the text, its silence concerning the historical and biblical Jesus, and its distance from later institutional organization and ecclesiastical rites militate for an early dating. Moreover, its serene tone and unawareness of any polemic against some of its ideas as heterodox, particularly in the area of christology, show that it derived from a period when the christology of the Great Church had not yet taken firm shape. One might repeat here the line of argumentation employed by Junod and Kaestli for locating the Acts of John in the same period (1983: 695). Moreover, Acts John displays several affinities with Acts Andr., such as the literary genre, structure, and theological orientations.
Robert Lamberton (Washington University) reviewing the book by D. R. Macdonald, Christianizing Homer, the Odyssey, Plato, and The Acts of Andrew. New York: Oxford, University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-19-508722-4. Extracted from Bryn Mawr Classical Review 94.10.19:
Dennis Ronald MacDonald has been working for some years on a text that goes far to counteract this picture. If the lost original of the apocryphal Acts of Andrew was anything like what he claims it was, and if it was in fact composed in late-second-century Alexandria, then we will simply have to acknowledge that a second-century Christian could and did produce a tale of wit, fantasy, and sophistication, weaving into it themes, motifs, and whole episodes from Homer and Plato and "transvaluing" them into a Christian romance, a deliberate and self-proclaiming fiction of a richly rewarding sort. In his new book, MacDonald presents his reasons for believing that the Acts of Andrew was such a text. I have serious doubts about a great deal of what he claims, but beyond the range of my scepticism enough remains in his arguments to make this an important book that anyone concerned with the literature of the high Empire should read.
Let us first be clear about what we are dealing with here. The New Testament apocrypha as a whole are a textual critic's nightmare, and the text known as the Acts of Andrew (the brother of Paul, an obscure figure in the canonical NT, but in the apocrypha designated apostle to Achaea) has not been seen intact since the ninth century. By that time, versions of it were in circulation in Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, and Latin, representing states of Andrew's story that predate the surviving Byzantine Greek versions. Especially important to all reconstructions of the original is the Latin epitome composed ca. 593 by St. Gregory of Tours (Miracula sancti Andreae). The task of collating all of this material was undertaken by Joseph Flamion early in this century (Les Actes apocryphes de l'apôtre André. Louvain, 1911), and two reconstructions of the "original" Acts of Andrew, presenting the relevant sources and providing translations, have appeared almost simultaneously in the past few years: MacDonald's own (The Acts of Andrew and the Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of the Cannibals. Atlanta, 1990), and that of Jean-Marc Prieur in the Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum (Acta Andreae. 2 vol., Turnhout, 1989).
Geoff Trowbridge: Aside from the section of the Acts of John known as the "Preaching of the Gospel," the Acts of Thomas (c. 200-225 C.E.) are probably the most overtly Gnostic of the apocryphal Acts, portraying Christ as the "Heavenly Redeemer" who can free souls from the darkness of the physical world. Surprisingly, Thomas is the only one of the five primary Acts to have survived in its entirety—in a Syriac text from the seventh century and a Greek text from the eleventh, as well as scores of fragments. While the Syriac texts are earlier and likely represent the original language of the work, they appear to have been purged of the unorthodox passages. Thus the Greek, though often poorly translated, represents the earlier tradition. Thomas is also the only book of Acts claiming apostolic authorship, though it is difficult to fathom how Thomas could have recorded his own martyrdom. Most believe the author wrote in the early third century, though links to the Gospel of Thomas may place it earlier. The book tells how the apostles drew lots to divide up the world for their missionary work, and India fell to Thomas. He gains Indian followers by performing exorcisms and ressurections, but is eventually sentenced to death after converting the wives of King Misdaeus and his kinsman Charisius. While in prison, Thomas sings the "Hymn of the Pearl," a poem that gained a great deal of popularity in orthodox circles.
Harold W. Attridge: (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 531): Pseudepigraphic text which relates the adventures of the apostle Judas Thomas as he preaches an ascetical or encratite form of Christianity on the way to and from India. Like other apocryphal acts combining popular legend and religious propaganda, the work attempts to entertain and instruct. In addition to narratives of Thomas' adventures, its poetic and liturgical elements provide important evidence for early Syrian Christian traditions. Attridge writes about the attestation to the Acts of Thomas (op. cit., p. 531): The major Syriac witnesses (B.M. add. 14.645) dates to 936 C.E. the earliest Syriac witnesses to the text, a fragmentary palimpset (Sinai 30), dates from the 5th or 6th century. The major Greek witnesses (Paris. gr. 1510 and Vallicel. B 35) date to the 11th century, although there are partial Grek witnesses dating from the 10th. Some form of the work was clearly in circulation by the end of the 4th century when testimonies begin. Epiphanius (Anac. 47.1 and 60.1.5) records its use by Encratites. Augustine (de serm. dom. in monte 1.20.65; c. Adiamantium 17; c. Faustum 14 and 22.79) attests its use by Manicheans, and allusions are found in the Manichean Psalms. Attestations continue sporadically until the 9th-century Byzantine patriarch Photius (Cod. 114) and the 11th-century archbishop, Nicetas of Thessalonica, who paraphrased the work. The original composition is probably to be dated in the first half of the 3d century, slightly later than the Acts of Peter, John, and Paul, which are attested in the 2d century. Some sections, particularly the originally independent Hymn of the Pearl, presuppose conditions in the Parthian period, which ended with the establishment of the Sassanian Empire in 226 C.E. It is likely that Acts Thom. underwent redactional development, including adaptation by Manicheans, in the late 3d or 4th centuries.
Wikipedia: The early 3rd century text called Acts of Thomas is arguably the most Gnostic of the New Testament apocrypha, portraying Christ as the "Heavenly Redeemer", independent of and beyond creation, who can free souls from the darkness of the world. References to the work by Epiphanius show that it was in circulation in the 4th century. The complete versions that survive are Syriac and Greek. There are many surviving fragments of the text. Scholars detect from the Greek that its original was written in Syriac, which places the Acts of Thomas in Syria. The surviving Syriac manuscripts, however, have been edited to purge them of the most unorthodox overtly gnostic passages, so that the Greek versions reflect the earlier tradition. Fragments of four other cycles of romances round the figure of the apostle Thomas survive, but this is the only complete one. It should not be confused with the early "sayings" Gospel of Thomas. "Like other apocryphal acts combining popular legend and religious propaganda, the work attempts to entertain and instruct. In addition to narratives of Thomas' adventures, its poetic and liturgical elements provide important evidence for early Syrian Christian traditions," according to the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Acts of Thomas is a series of episodic Acts (Latin passio) that occurred during the evangelistic mission of Judas Thomas ("Judas the Twin") to India.
Embedded in the Acts of Thomas at different places according to differing manuscript traditions is a Syriac hymn, The Hymn of the Pearl (WIKI Article), (or Hymn of the Soul), a poem that gained a great deal of popularity in mainstream Christian circles. The Hymn is older than the Acts into which it has been inserted, and is worth appreciating on its own. For interested readers see further a series of various translations of The Hymn of the Pearl, and an Explication of The Hymn of the Pearl as an Ascetic Allegory, and ancient Ode to Indian ascetism.
The Acts of Thomas as a "ascetic pagan" parody: Separate article associated with the thesis Constantine invented Christianity. An explication of the Acts of Thomas as a parody written by an author who was an ascetic pagan priest. It is proposed that the ascetic pagan priesthood, having been prohibited the traditional use and utility of their temple structure (eg: The Healing Temples of Asclepius, destroyed by Constantine) took up the pen of sedition against the Constantinian Canon. The chronology of the Acts of Thomas is thus presented in exact accord with the carbon dating citation 348 CE (+/- 60 years) associated with the Nag Hammadi Codices for the Gospel of Thomas, in which it is proposed, the phrase "Jesus said" was written by law of the Pontifex Maximus (Constantine) as the new god, against the ancient gnostic Egypto-Hellenic wisdom sayings of the ascetic traditions.
New Testament Non Canonical Christian Literature Index
NOTE: (1) (*R) denotes Eusebius says the text is REJECTED. (*H) denotes Eusebius says the text is HERETICAL. (2) The term "heretical" is a euphemism for "seditious". (3) The hyperlinked non-canonical "Acts of the Apostles" are explicated as polemical fourth century parodies of the Constantinian New Testament Bible of c.331 CE The Acts and Martyrdom of Andrew The Acts and Martyrdom of Matthew The Acts of Andrew and Matthew (*H) The Acts of Andrew (*H) The Acts of Barnabas (*R) The Acts of John the Theologian The Acts of John (*H) The Acts of Paul and Thecla The Acts of Paul (*R) The Acts of Peter and Andrew The Acts of Peter and Paul The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles (*H) The Act of Peter The Acts of Philip The Acts of Thaddaeus The Acts of Thomas The Book of John Concerning the Death of Mary The Book of Thomas the Contender The Consummation of Thomas The Death of Pilate The Giving Up of Pontius Pilate The History of Joseph the Carpenter The Martyrdom of Matthew The Mystery of the Cross-Excerpt from the Acts of John The Passing of Mary The Report of Pontius Pilate to Tiberius
The Apocalypse of Adam The Apocalypse of James - First The Apocalypse of James - Second The Apocalypse of Paul - and fragments The Apocalypse of Peter - and fragments (*R) The Revelation of Esdras The Revelation of John the Theologian The Revelation of Moses The Revelation of Paul The Revelation of Peter The Vision of Paul
An Arabic Infancy Gospel The Gospel of Bartholomew (*H) The Gospel of James (*H) The Gospel of Judas (*H) The Gospel of Mary [Magdalene] The Gospel of Nicodemus [Acts of Pilate] The Gospel of Peter (*H) The Gospel of Philip (*H) The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew (*H) The Gospel of the Lord [by Marcion] The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary The Gospel of Thomas (*H) The Gospel of Thomas - A 5th Century Compilation The Infancy Gospel of Thomas [Greek Text A] The Infancy Gospel of Thomas [Greek Text B] The Infancy Gospel of Thomas [Latin Text] The Secret Gospel of Mark - Now recognized as a 20th century hoax by Stephen C. Carlson in The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2005).
Community Rule John the Evangelist Nag Hammadi Codices The Apocryphon of James The Apocryphon of John The Avenging of the Saviour The Book of Thomas the Contender The Correspondence of Jesus and Abgar The Correspondence of Paul and Seneca The Epistle of the Apostles The Epistle to the Laodiceans The Letter of Peter to Philip The Letter of Pontius Pilate to the Roman Emperor The Narrative of Joseph of Arimathaea The Pistis Sophia - Excerpts The Prayer of the Apostle Paul The Report of Pilate to Caesar The Report of Pilate to Tiberius The Sophia of Jesus Christ The Teachings of Addeus the Apostle The Three Steles of Seth
Eusebius on the Non Canonical Literature
Chapter XXV. The Divine Scriptures that are Accept and Those that are Not.
Let us now proceed with our history. Chapter XXVI. Menander the Sorcerer.
Old Testament Non Canonical Literature Index
1 Esdras 1 Maccabees 2 Esdras (a.k.a 4 Ezra) 2 Maccabees 3 Maccabees 4 Ezra (a.ka. 2 Esdras) 4 Maccabees Baruch Bel and the Dragon (addition to Daniel) Daniel and Susanna (addition to Daniel) Esther, Judith Letter of Jeremiah Prayer of Azariah (addition to Daniel) Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151 Sirach Tobit Wisdom of Solomon,
1 Enoch (Ethiopic Apocalypse of Enoch) 2 Enoch (Slavonic Book of the Secrets of Enoch) 2 Baruch (The Book of The Apocalypse of Baruch The Son of Neriah) 3 Baruch (The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch) 4 Baruch (a.k.a Paraleipomena Jeremiou) Adam and Eve, The Books of -- translation of the Latin version Adam and Eve, Life of -- translation of the Slavonic version Adam and Eve, Life of -- translation of the Greek version (a.k.a. The Apocalypse of Moses) Adam and Eve Homepage Ahikar, The Story of Apocalypse of Abraham Apocalypse of Adam, The Apocalypse of Moses, A fragment of the Enoch (another version) Joseph and Aseneth another, more modern English translation Jubilees, The Book of Letter of Aristeas, The Martyrdom of Isaiah, The Paraleipomena Jeremiou (a.k.a. 4 Baruch) Psalms of Solomon Pseudo-Phoclides Revelation of Esdras, The Second Treatise of the Great Seth, The Sibylline Oracles Testament of Abraham, The Testament of Job Testament of Solomon Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs