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The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations

I mentioned in my previous post that by a matter of serendipity, I decided to produce a bi-lingual edition of the Apocryphal Gospels. My idea was to make available to scholars who wanted easy access to (virtually all) the non-canonical Gospels in the original language a one-volume edition, and to make available to everyone, whether scholars or not, solid and new English translations of all these works. The original idea was to include all the early and important Gospels (up to the Middle Ages) in Greek, Latin, and English. But when I switched publishers to Oxford, I realized that I could do more than that, and decided to include some in Coptic as well. Had I been really ambitious I could have gone for some in other languages, but that would have stretched me too far.

The Coptic itself was a stretch.  I had read Coptic at a fairly basic level for years, but I was no expert.   And so I decided to ask my colleague Zlatko Plese to join me in producing the volume.   Zlatko is one of the world’s best Coptologists, and he happens to have an office next to mine.  Together we run the program in Early Christian studies at UNC.   He is Croatian and was trained as a classicist, first in Zagreb and then (second PhD) at Yale.  He started reading Latin and Greek as a boy, and reads them, I have to say, like the flippin’ newspaper.   He’s perfect for something like this.   And he agreed to do it.

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Lost Gospels That Are Still Lost 1
Serendipity 3: The Apocryphal Gospels Volume



  1. Avatar
    timber84  November 10, 2012

    Are there any lost gospels mentioned by early Christian authors that have not been discovered yet?

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    maxhirez  November 11, 2012

    How does the (English) content compare to “Lost Scriptures?”

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 12, 2012

      Lost Scriptures has nearly 50 texts in it, 13 of which are Gospels (four other texts are included under the rubric “Gospels” but they are not actually Gospels); this book will have just over 40 texts in it all of which are Gospels.

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    RonaldTaska  November 11, 2012

    I look forward to reading the English edition. Do any of these gospels have a more “historical” tone than the others? The ones that I have read, outside the Gospel of Thomas, all seem to have farfetched elements.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 12, 2012

      I think you would find most of them to be non-historical (in the sense of being historically accurate about the life of Jesus)

      • Avatar
        Maurices5000  November 1, 2015

        I’ve had a similar question. I’m not so hopeful that they would be “historical” (as in factual) but the focus being the TONE of the gospel. Is there anything that could be seriously mistaken for what we typically think of as Scripture. I’m excluding the very weird books such as Revelation or possibly Jude. A book that was really like Revelation would possibly be interesting.

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    RonaldTaska  November 12, 2012

    I still find it quite frustrating that no one during the first couple of centuries seemed to be writing accurate history about Jesus. Outside of Josephus, were there any other authors of these times writing accurate history about anything or did everyone during the first two centuries write inaccurate history?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 12, 2012

      Yes, it is frustrating! And not even Josephus can be trusted to give an accurate account up and down the line, as can be shown by comparing what he has to say about the *same* even in the Jewish Wars and then in Antiquities. Then again, if ancient sources were all completely accurate, we’d have no need for ancient historians to figure it all out. And *then* where would we be?! 🙂

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    Maurices5000  November 1, 2015

    I’m very interested in these. The issue as you state is time. I wish they were in audiobook format. lol Nothing is ever enough I guess.

    Any idea what would be some of the more interesting Gospels rather than just dry and boring–just from the point of view of good storytelling and interesting?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 1, 2015

      See my book The Other Gospels. The Gospels of Peter and Thomas and Mary and Proto-James and Infancy Thomas are all particularly fascinating.

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