Infidelus Totalus wrote:I'm finding biblical history more and more interesting and I've heard Matt mention this book a time or two along with some other group of texts (the name escapes me).
I'm not sure which other texts I've discussed but early Christianity (Christianities) and non-canonical texts are something I'm keenly interested in.
Infidelus Totalus wrote:I assume that they are non-biblical gospels, but I don't understand the significance as I've never heard of them outside of the podcasts. My web searches haven't come up with much yet either.
is a great online resource.
Infidelus Totalus wrote:I'm guessing that they contain passages that cast doubt upon or contradict the Jesus as the son of god claim and were therefore left out of the bible as we know it today. Am I far off base? Do they reveal interesting points about early Christianity? Are there any good books or websites on the topic I should know about to learn more?
I'd recommend two great books by Bart D. Ehrman, as starting points; Misquoting Jesus
and Lost Christianities
Early Christianity has a rather robust history that most Christians simply aren't aware of. They have a bias toward the canonical books and the orthodox doctrines that allows them to think that other ideas about Christianity were always classified as 'fringe' or 'heretical' - when the doctrine disputes were considerably more complicated than that.
The Apocalypse of Peter doesn't contradict claims about Jesus as the son of God - it would actually fall into the proto-orthodox category. It appeared in early anthologies (pre-canon Bibles) and was considered inspired and orthodox. The only reason it's not in the Bible today is that it's a bit gruesome and ministers didn't like to read it to the public.
If the book had been canonized, I don't think the varieties of Christianity we see today would have changed drastically - as the ideas in the book have persisted despite the book falling out of favor. What we might see is a stronger "fundamentalist" arm and a weaker "liberal" arm. The book leaves almost no room for interpretation.
Billy Graham could never have said that hell was merely eternal separation from God if this book were canonized. It's clear on homosexuality, abortion and the directy punishments one will receive in the afterlife.
There are other changes that we'd probably see - but I'm going to be addressing that at a lecture in June.
Infidelus Totalus wrote:A discussion on the show would be awesome!
That may happen eventually.