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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 in fact considered to be Scripture by one group or another during the early years of the church; that is one of the issues we are discussing in the seminar.)

For part of each seminar we are talking about the meaning and interpretation of these texts:  how does one understand the giant Jesus in the Gospel of Peter?  The three – or is it four – Christs in the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter?  The nature of the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas (are they best seen as Gnostic?).  The view of Jesus in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (is he a supernatural brat?  Or a serious foreshadowing of the adult Jesus?)  etc. etc. etc. – tons of issues of real interest for these various books.

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Some Reading Suggestions on the New Testament
Personal Reflections: My Apocrypha Seminar at the National Humanities Center



  1. Avatar
    gonzalogandia  June 14, 2012

    Makes me wish I was a scholar…

  2. Avatar
    timber84  June 15, 2012

    Which gospel had the story where Joseph left Mary in a cave and went looking for help and while walking along the birds stopped in mid-air as time stood still. Sounds like something from a Twilight Zone episode.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 16, 2012

      It’s the Proto-Gospel of James (the Protevangelium Jakobi). *Terrific* set of stories, highly influential throughout the Middle Ages.

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    Adam  June 15, 2012

    Come to Toronto sometime to deliever this seminar!!!!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 16, 2012

      I’m sitting by my phone! 🙂

      • Avatar
        Adam  June 18, 2012

        I’ve suggested it to a few people here, including John Kloppenborg.

  4. Avatar
    Jacobus  June 15, 2012

    Prof. Ehrman, the above-mentioned seminar looks indeed interesting. I wish I could be there! You are indeed lucky to have a three week period like this. I hope that some of the insights gained from these seminars will be reflected in your upcoming blog entries.

  5. Avatar
    SJB  June 16, 2012

    Prof Ehrman

    Thanks for the reading list! Have you given any thought to adding a “recommended reading” page on this site or even doing reviews of books that you find noteworthy? It seems clear from the posts that many people are like me and want to pursue some of these issues past an introductory level, not necessarly working towards an academic career, but who could benefit from being pointed towards relevant texts by the best scholars, many of whom might be unknown to us simply because we don’t know the field.

    I do enjoy the site very much and appreciate your willingness to dialog with your non-academic audience.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 16, 2012

      Interesting idea! One of my soon-to-be-posted-posts deals with some bibliography for NT studies generally. If people like that kind of thing, it will be easy enough to do more, in a variety of areas (as long as people tell me what they’re interested in).

  6. Avatar
    proveit  June 18, 2012

    I would like to know more about the topic of Women in Early Christianity. Hard to pick out just one because they all look interesting and important in different ways.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  June 18, 2012

      OK, I’ll deal with it on the blog at some point!

  7. Avatar
    Gerhardt  April 18, 2020

    I very much enjoyed reading about your Apocrypha Seminar at the National Humanities Center. Are these seminars recorded and made available publicly?

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