Apocalypse of Peter?

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Apocalypse of Peter?

Postby Infidelus Totalus » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:33 am

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 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.

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?

A discussion on the show would be awesome!
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Postby Moonglade » Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:38 am

You would probably find the Gnostic Gospels themselves online somewhere. Here for example: http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html

You would probably enjoy Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, an analysis of 52 early Christian manuscripts that were unearthed in Egypt in 1945. Known collectively as the Nag Hammadi Library, the manuscripts show the pluralistic nature of the early church and the role of women in the developing Christian movement. As the early church moved toward becoming an orthodox body with a canon, rites and clergy, the Nag Hammadi manuscripts were suppressed and deemed heretical. She doesn't actually print the text of each: she merely discusses each of the manuscripts with the understanding that you have read it already, although enough info is given in her work to make you understand what the manuscript says "more or less."

The existance of the Gnostic gospels proves that our inherited Christian theology did not develop in a nutshell, that there were numerous works that opposed the orthodox POV, which in turn deemed said works to not be divinely inspired (in fact, some of the ordained books barely made the cut). There are remnants of Gnostic concepts in the NT if you know what you are looking for.
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Re: Apocalypse of Peter?

Postby Sans_Deity » Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:58 pm

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.


www.earlychristianwritings.com 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.
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Re: Apocalypse of Peter?

Postby Infidelus Totalus » Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:21 pm

Sans_Deity wrote: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.


After following Moonglade's link, I believe it was the Nag Hammadi library that you mentioned.

Big thanks for the links and the book titles.
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Postby ShaunPhilly » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:14 pm

Another book taht contains many non-canonical texts from the same time-period, and includes the gnostic gospels, is Willis Barnstone's The Other Bible.

I have it on my shelf, but have not read all of it (it's longer than the Bible, which says something about how much of the literature of the time made it into the canon).

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