Serendipity 3: The Apocryphal Gospels Volume

I mentioned in previous posts that a good deal of my career has developed because of serendipitous moments. As I look back on it (from this halfway point ), most of the good things that have happened to me seem to have come about by pure chance. Of course, I took advantage of the chances as they came along. But still, no one can deny that a major chunk of life is all by chance.

In those two earlier posts, I ...

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The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Another New Development

In earlier posts I talked about the “discovery” of the tiny credit-card sized fragment of a Coptic Gospel, with several lines of text on it, in one of which Jesus is recorded as speaking the words “my wife.” The text has been named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are heated discussions of the fragment’s authenticity, with a large number of experts contending that it is a modern forgery. We will probably not ...

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Peter, The Smoked Tuna, and the Flying Heretic

IN MY BIBLE INTRODUCTION I INTRODUCE STUDENTS TO NON-CANONICAL LEGENDARY ACCOUNTS ABOUT THE APOSTLES, INCLUDING THIS LITTLE GEM ABOUT PETER.

Among the pseudepigrapha connected with the apostle Peter, none is more interesting than the apocryphal Acts of Peter, a document that details Peter’s various confrontations with the heretical magician Simon Magus (cf. Acts 8:14-24). The narrative shows how Peter outperforms the magician by invoking the power of God. Consider the following entertaining account, in which Peter proves the divine ...

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Is the New Gospel Fragment a Modern Forgery?

The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been publicly available for only three days now, and already New Testament scholars and scholars of Coptic and Gnosticism are hard at work on it. Most of the effort so far has been in deciding whether it is authentic or forged. And it ain’t lookin’ good for those who think it’s authentic!

Some have pointed out that the fragment looks too neat around the edges to be believable; others have noted that ...

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The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

The new Gospel “discovery,” the fragment of the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”: I’m afraid I don’t have anything much to add to the conversations going on among experts and available to you by a simple Internet search. If you’re really interested, read around on the net. But I should say a few things, perhaps, from where I sit.

First and most important for this post.  The big initial question is whether or not it is authentic.  I am not ...

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BREAKING NEWS! A Significant New Non-Canonical Gospel Fragment

There is potentially exciting news just out this afternoon. Karen King, scholar of Coptic and Gnosticism at Harvard Divinity School, an expert on the Gnostic Gospels, has just released information about a newly discovered papyrus manuscript – a small fragment the size of a credit card. It is a Gospel fragment of only eight lines. But they are significant lines. On them, Jesus appears to refer … to his wife!!

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My Apocrypha Seminar at the National Humanities Center: Part 2

In my earlier post I talked about the seminar I am now leading at the National Humanities Center, and mentioned the various primary (i.e., ancient) texts we’re discussing over the course of our three weeks together.  These cover a range of books that did not “make it in” to the New Testament: non-canonical Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses.   Terrific and terrifically interesting books, even if they never did become Scripture in the long run (many of them were ...

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Personal Reflections: My Apocrypha Seminar at the National Humanities Center

If I had a fiver for every time someone who knows I’m a university professor says to me, “So, now you have the summer off!” – I’d buy an apartment on the upper West side. But it’s understandable, I know. The professorial life looks awful darn cushy: teach a couple a classes per semester, for fifteen weeks at a shot, and that’s *it*! 30 weeks of the year on, 22 weeks of the year off. Right?

Yeah, well, ...

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