Heidegger's Bible Handbook: NT Apocrypha: Apocryphal Gospels

15. But also in the place of the Canonical Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypse were put by the ancients Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses. Of which sort are the Proto-Gospel of James, the Gospels of Peter, according to the Hebrews, Matthias, Judas, and Nicodemus.

Gospel of Judas

But the ancients also put some Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses, as written by Apostles and Apostolical Men, in the place of the Canonical Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypse. The famous ones are: the Protevangelium of James, concerning the nativity of Mary, which is extant among the Orthodoxographa, and is recalled to the anvil by the Most Celebrated Hoornbeeck,[1]Veteris et Novis, page 31; and also the Gospels, of Peter, of which Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, section 3, and Saint Theodoret, Hæreticarum fabularum, book II, chapter 2, made mention; of Thomas, which, having been received by the Manichæans,[2] the Orthodox, including Eusebius in his Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, section 25, Leontius in his de Sectis, Action 3, Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lectures,[3]book III, section 4, repudiated; according to the Hebrews, under which name was signified a mutilated Gospel of Matthew, and of which the Ebionites and Cerinthians, mentioned in Theodoret’s Hæreticarum fabularum, book II, chapter 1, and in Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, section 27, and in Epiphanius’ Hæresibus 30, made use; of Matthias, of which the same Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, section 25, made mention; of Judas, which the Cainites or Cainians,[4] mentioned in Theodoret’s Hæreticarum fabularum, book I, chapter 15, advanced; of Nicodemus, in which were minutely comprehended the acts of Christ’s passion and resurrection, as that is available for reading in the Orthodoxgrapha Patrum, and which the Synaxarium[5] of the Greeks receives contrary to the decrees of Synods, and the censure of which is to be seen in the Most Illustrious Hoornbeeck’s Veteris et Novis, page 33; and finally, of Philip, received of old by the Manichæans, as Leontius, de Sectis, Action 3, testifies. But concerning these and other ψευδεπιγράφοις/pseudepigraphical and πεπλασμένοις/forged Gospels, Jerome, in his Prologue on Matthew says, out of Origen’s first homily on Luke, that by diverse nations were published Gospels, the principia of diverse heresies, as is that, says he, according to the Egyptians, and Thomas, and Matthias, and Bartholomew, and of the twelve Apostles and Basilides, of Apollos and the rest, which it would be way too long to enumerate.

[1] Johannes Hoornbeeck (1617-1666) earned the degree of doctor of theology under Voetius at Utrecht (1643), where he was also appointed professor. In 1653, he went to teach at Leiden, where he died. He excelled in the fields of philology, Old Testament exegesis, church history, and polemical theology. [2] Manichæism, arising in the third century, was a form of Gnostic dualism, teaching the co-eternality of good and evil. Human history is the long process of the separation of spiritual light (the good) from material darkness (the evil). [3] Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) was elected Bishop of Jerusalem in 350. Cyril was a significant early theologian, and he is remembered for his Catechetical Lectures. [4] The Cainites were a second century Gnostic sect. They believed that Cain was the creation of the Most High God, but was persecuted by the Demiurge (the God of the Jews), with Sodom, Esau, Korah, etc. For them, redemption was the dissolution of the Demiurge’s work, something which Christ came to do. Judas is esteemed to have understood, and to have been motivated by, these “truths”. [5] A compiliation of hagiographies.

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