As I indicated in my previous post, I’m planning to write a book (after the one on charity in early Christianity) explaining how we got the canon of the New Testament. Who choose the books? On what grounds? And when?
I continue the thoughts I’m laying out in my prospectus here, in the first of four case studies – a book that almost made it in.
Four Vignettes to Explain the Issues
To illustrate some of the major issues, to show how the process worked, to give a sense of the historical disputes, and to show their inherent interest, I here provide four vignettes, all involving books that explicitly claim to be written by the apostle Peter. Peter is Jesus’ closest disciple and confident in the Gospels. No one could carry more authority for explaining Jesus’ teachings and his plans for his followers after his death. It comes as no surprise, then, to find a number of early Christian books that claim to be written by Peter. Two of them are in the New Testament (1 and 2 Peter); but the others were also considered bona fide writings of Scripture by one ancient Christian group or another at one time or another. Why were they not included as well?
The Apocalypse of Peter: A Book That Nearly Made It
In 1887 a French archaeological team digging in an ancient cemetery in Akhmim Egypt, about eighty miles north of Luxor, made a remarkable manuscript discovery. In one of the tombs, taken to be that of a Christian monk, they discovered a sixty-six page book, written in Greek and containing an anthology of four ancient texts. One of these described a guided tour of heaven and hell
This post is about one of the truly amazing but now little-known books from early Christianity. Join the blog and you can learn more! Click here for membership options