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Back To the Discovery of Lost Early Christian Writings

I have decided to return to the thread that I unceremoniously cut off nearly two months ago.  At the time – in the middle of the thread — I decided to start discussing my book on memory and the historical Jesus, since I had just finished it and wanted to get some feedback (which was all terrifically helpful, thank you all very much!).  I then got onto some personal reflections about Moody Bible Institute and related topics.  But now I’m ready, all this time later, to pick up the thread.

The thread was dealing with lost writings from early Christianity that I would absolutely love to have (re-)discovered.   If I could choose, which books would be on my list?   Here by way of review is what I have said so far:

In the opening posts of the thread I mentioned three early Christian writings (the first two are collections of writings) that I would love to have discovered.

First, I would love to have…


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Losing Religion in America
My Resentment at Moody Bible Institute



  1. gmatthews
    gmatthews  May 22, 2015

    Last week I came across a couple of other supposed gospel sources that I thought of when you mentioned the Signs Source for John: the supposed Antiochean Document source for Matthew and Document of Infancy for Luke. Can you tell us something about them? I had never heard of them.

    • Bart
      Bart  May 23, 2015

      I’m talking about the Signs source now in a series of posts. The Antiochean Document rings only a faint bell for me. The Infancy document would simply be the source that Luke had for his first two chapters, which have appeared, to some scholars, to have been added to his Gospel only after an original publication that began with what is now 3;1.

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    Arlyn  May 22, 2015

    Most would value such finds, with some exceptions. traditionalist who wish to maintain existing traditions. An interesting discussion recently revealed the argument of how well biblical text have been translated but how poorly Martin Luther’s words have been translated…. er, those that portray his hatred of Jews.

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    fishician  May 23, 2015

    What do you think are the odds that a really startling discovery like Q or an early Paul letter is still out there and likely to be discovered?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 23, 2015

      Remote! New manuscripts are regularly discovered, but they are almost always of texts already known or of texts virtually unheard of! But it’s a good question. Maybe I’ll tack it on to my long list to address in a post or two.

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    RonaldTaska  May 23, 2015

    Sounds interesting! Keep going. Do we have anything written in Aramaic from the first century?

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    gabilaranjeira  May 23, 2015


    Do you think that the Roman siege and assault of Jerusalem on the year 70 AD had any impact on the disappearance of hypothetical early Christian writings?

    • Bart
      Bart  May 26, 2015

      possibly! But it would have only been writings kept only in Jerusalem. It’s an interesting idea….

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    mrdavidkeller  May 24, 2015

    Perhaps letters were not saved or copied as they became worn because those reading them would have scoffed at the notion they would be needed to edify and educate for at least another couple thousand years, the disciples of the first couple AD ‘s seemed to act as if the rapture could occur at any time so the letters might have simply been embraced as ad hoc responses to circumstances that were unique to a given community or perhaps Pauline disciples destroyed letters that as time went by began to conflict with the reality of a rapture that wasnt occuring despite Pauls assurance it was nigh.

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