Tag: early christianity


Seen on the shelves of a local Books-a-million:




I had nothing to do with Ehrman’s book hiding. I assume Bart requested that display from his natural modesty.

A Review of the “Noah” film You’ll Want to Read

Brian Mattson’s Sympathy for the Devil, which says the film is diametrically opposite what most viewers think it is, and very much a work for the twenty-first century. Lots of good info for those without ancient religions background.

HT: Mike Heiser via Twitter

Jesus: The Prequels and Sequels

Christmas and Easter got you down? Tired of the same old stories? Just not impressed with feeding thousands and raising the dead anymore? Oblivious to the profundity of the Sermon on the Mount?

I’ve got the book for you! It that fan favorite, “the same thing but different”.


Bat Ehrman and Zlatko Plese have extracted the English portion of their multi-language scholarly book The Apocryphal Gospels to make The Other Gospels, a collection of forty noncanonical gospels of Jesus that are all the rage among early Christian scholars, but often inaccessible to the general public. Now you can read what people are all excited by on the Internet and the documentary TV channels for yourself.

Available at reasonable prices in paperback and ebook.

The Easter Saturday Story, aka The Harrowing of Hell

Not terribly well-known in modern evangelical circles, the belief that Christ after His death went to the land of the dead and freed the righteous dead and/or announced His victory over sin and death is an ancient one, and still affects many believers today. You can read the Wiki article just to get a sense of the widespread effect of the belief.

The earliest known account of the event is found in the Gospel of Nicodemus, which also recounts the Acts of Pilate.  You can read translations of the story here as M.R. James’ Acts of Pilate Part 2 and Roberts-Donaldson’s translation.

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: Texts it Reminds One of

April DeConick‘s Translation of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife:

“…my mother gave me li[fe…] The disciples said to Jesus […] deny. Mary is worthy of it […] Jesus said to them, “My wife [and…] Let men who are wicked […] I am with her because […] an image […]”

Now for the texts this reminds one of:

(Simon Gathercole put me onto this one. Shows I don’t know my Thomas as well as I might)Gospel of Thomas 101 (Thomas Lambdin): <Jesus said>, “Whoever does not hate his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to me. And whoever does not love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to me. For my mother […], but my true mother gave me life.”

Gospel of Thomas 114 (Thomas Lambdin):  Simon Peter said to Him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Gospel of Philip 36 (Wesley Isenberg):There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.

Gospel of Philip 59 (Wesley Isenberg): As for the Wisdom who is called “the barren,” she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the […] Mary Magdalene. […] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples […]. They said to him “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Savior answered and said to them,”Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.”

A good place to start studying these “Gnostic” (quotes because no one quite agrees what is Gnostic, or the validity of the term) texts is Early Christian Writings.

There are two ways to take the Jesus’ Wife Gospel’s recallings of other “Gnostic” texts: If genuine, they indicate this new gospel fragment is part of the stream of thought among those sects of ancient Christians. If a modern fake, these are just the sort of references one would use to make a particularly eye-catching, big money and publicity-grabbing fake. As I and others have said, this is just the sort of text a lot of modern folk would like to see from the ancient past.

WATSA: Gospel of Thomas in my hands

The subject is a perennial favorite, the author well-qualified to speak about it.

And the price on Amazon is entirely right.

What Are They Saying About: The Gospel of Thomas is by Christopher Skinner, Assistant Professor, Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, Gospel of Thomas researcher, and blogger. Its actual text runs eighty-seven pages in a goodly sized font, but you’ll want a second bookmark for the substantive end notes (twenty-three pages). The bibliography breaks down the referenced books into three categories that basically equal : general reader, educated reader, scholarly reader. There is even a two page glossary.

I’ve only begun to read the book, but I already can say that this is now the best introduction to the scholarly issues around Thomas for the general public and a useful summary for the scholar. If it also included a translation it would be superb, but there are Gospel of Thomas translations all over the Internet and bursting the bookshelves of most bookstores I’ve ever shopped.

If you’ve any interest in the Gospel of Thomas, this book is more than a keeper; it’s a Go-Get-It-Now.