Philip Jenkins on Christian Apocrypha in Medieval Britain

Philip Jenkins, author of (among other things) Hidden Gospels:How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way (Oxford 2001), has contributed a post to the patheos blog entitled "The First English Bible." The title is somewhat misleading; Jenkins discusses the apocryphal texts circulating in Anglo-Saxon England and Ireland in medieval times, but it is a stretch to consider these texts part of the "English Bible." Certainly canonical and non-canonical texts were both valued and used but not in a single collection and not without a sense that some texts are more valued, more authoritative than others.

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One Response to Philip Jenkins on Christian Apocrypha in Medieval Britain

  1. David Blocker says:

    Apocryphal texts about John the Baptist and John the Apostle must have been known to later Anglo/Norman authors.
    Chapter 5 of “Travels of Sir John Mandeville” contains a lurid tale of a necrophiliac youth which appears to be based on a episode in the Acts of John. The subsequent haunting of a city by a flying head must be related to Serapion’s story of John the Baptist’s vengeful levitating head.
    Since a flying head contributed to the destruction of a city in ‘Mandeville’s Travels”, I wonder if Mandeville had seen a version of the story about John the Baptist, in which John’s head had contributed to the destruction of Jerusalem

    Thank you for allowing me to post on your blog.

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