“Lost Gospels” of the Nineteen Century

On Monday (November 10) I will be giving a talk at York University on so-called Modern Apocrypha. The presentation is based on a paper I will be presenting as part of the 2015 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium, “Fakes, Fictions, Forgeries: Writing Ancient and Modern Christian Apocrypha.”  Here is the abstract:

In the late 19th century, the excitement that was stirred by the discovery of apocryphal Christian texts in monastic libraries in the East inspired the creation of new apocryphal texts. Some of these were published as works of scholarship—such as H. C. Greene and C. Mendés’s edition of The Gospel of the Childhood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and G. J. Stevenson’s The Long Lost Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles—but they were quickly dismissed as modern forgeries. Little attention has been paid to these “scholarly apocrypha,” the goals behind their invention, and their reception. But this neglected sub-genre of Christian Apocrypha offers much for understanding the accusations of forgery for such texts as the Secret Gospel of Mark and, more recently, the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.

The presentation takes place from 4-5:30pm in Room 0101, Vanier College. For those interested in reading more about the texts, here is the material featured on the handout that accompanies the presentation:

Studies of Modern Christian Apocrypha

Beskow, Per. Strange Tales about Jesus: A Survey of Unfamiliar Gospels. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.

Beskow, Per. “Modern Mystifications of Jesus.” Pages 458-74 in The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament. Edited by Delbert Burkett. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Goodspeed, Edgar J. Strange New Gospels. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1931. (Expanded as Modern Apocrypha and Famous “Biblical” Hoaxes. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1956).

Goodspeed, Edgar J. New Chapters in New Testament Study. New York: Macmillan, 1937 (see “Modern Apocrypha,” p. 189-219).

Jenkins, Philip. Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Maffly-Kipp, Laurie F. American Scriptures: An Anthology of Sacred Writings. New York: Penguin, 2010.

Piovanelli, Pierluigi. “What Is a Christian Apocryphal Text and How Does It Work? Some Observations on Apocryphal Hermeneutics.” NedTT 59 (2005): 31-40.

Modern Apocrypha: Primary Texts

The Gospel of the Childhood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Goodspeed 1931:97-98; Beskow 1983:6).

The Unknown Life of Christ (Goodspeed 1956:3-14; Beskow 1983:57-65; Maffly-Kipp 290-319)

The Crucifixion of Jesus, by an Eyewitness (Goodspeed 1956:20-27; Beskow 1983:42-50)

The Report of Pilate, aka The Archko Volume (Goodspeed 1956: 28-44; Beskow 1983:51-56; Maffly-Kipp 241-63)

The Confession of Pontius Pilate (Goodspeed 1956:45-49)

The Letter of Benan, the Egyptian Physician (Goodspeed 1956:50-57)

The Twenty-ninth Chapter of Acts (Goodspeed 1956:8-69)

The Gospel of Josephus (Goodspeed 1956:76-80)

The Death Warrant of Jesus Christ (Goodspeed 1956:92-96; Beskow 1983:16-24)

The Long-Lost Second Book of Acts (Goodspeed 1956:96-101)

Letters of Pontius Pilate to Seneca (Goodspeed 1931:98)

Letters from Pontius Pilate’s Wife (Goodspeed 1931:98-99)

Epistle of Kallikrates (Goodspeed 1931: 99-100)

The Gospel of the Holy Twelve, aka The Gospel of the Perfect Life (Beskow 1983:66-74)

The Gospel of Peace (Beskow 1983:81-91)

The Protocol of the Sanhedrin (Beskow 1983:23-24)

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