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.

One response on “Philip Jenkins on Christian Apocrypha in Medieval Britain

  1. 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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