The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

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Apocryphal New Testament Writings

Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of Truth
Gospel of the Twelve
Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Basilides
Gospel of the Egyptians
Gospel of the Hebrews
Gospel of Matthias
Traditions of Matthias
Preaching of Peter
Acts of Andrew
Acts of Paul
Acts of John
Epistle to the Laodiceans
I Clement
Epistle of Barnabas
Didache
Shepherd of Hermas
Apocalypse of Peter

Apocryphal New Testament Writings

An early Christian writings is considered in this survey if it is mentioned by name, or quoted from in a "scriptural" context by one of the Early Christian Authorities. For a visual summary of the opinions of the writings see the Cross Reference Table. Here is a summary of information on the 19 writings included:

Writing Date CE Place Manuscripts English Translation(s)
Gospel of Thomas ~50 (early camp)

~150 (late camp)
eastern Syria Codex II Nag Hammadi (Coptic, Sahidic dialect)
Oxyrhynchus Papyrus I (Greek)
Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 654 (Greek)
Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 655 (Greek)
[Robinson] pp. 126-138
[Elliot] pp. 135-147
Alexander Walker Esq. [New Advent]
Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer
Thomas O. Lambdin
Lambdin and Layton
W. R. Schoedel
Stuart D. Shoemaker
Paterson Brown
K. C. Hanson
Berlin Working Group for Coptic Gnostic Writings
Ecumenical Coptic Project
Interlinear Coptic/English
Interlinear Greek/English
Gospel of Truth 140-180 Rome ? Codex I Nag Hammadi (Coptic) [Robinson] pp. 40-51
Robert M. Grant [Gnostic Society Library]
Harold W. Attridge and George W. MacRae [Gnostic Society Library]
Gospel of the Twelve 2nd century ? no surviving fragments none
Gospel of Peter 100-130 Syria? Akhmîm Fragment (Greek)
fragment discovered at Oxyrhynchus (Greek)
[Schneemelcher] v. 1 pp. 223-226
[Elliot] pp. 135-147
M.R. James [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
Henry Barclay Swete
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
Roberts-Donaldson [Early Christian Writings]
M.R. James [Early Christian Writings]
Raymond Brown
Andrew Bernhard
Sam Gibson
Gospel of Basilides 2nd century ? no surviving fragments none
Gospel of the Egyptians first half of
2nd century
Egypt? fragments quoted by Clement, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius [Schneemelcher] v. 1 pp. 209-212
[Elliot] pp. 17-19
M. R. James [Early Christian Writings]
Gospel of the Hebrews middle of
2nd century
Egypt fragments quoted by Cyril of Jerusalem, Clement, Origen, and Jerome [Schneemelcher] v. 1 pp. 177-178
[Elliot] pp. 9-10
M.R. James [Early Christian Writings]
Philipp Vielhauer and George Ogg [Early Christian Writings]
Burton H. Throckmorton and Willis Barnstone [Early Christian Writings]
Gospel of Matthias first half of
2nd century
Alexandria fragments quoted by Clement [Schneemelcher] v. 1 p. 383
[Elliot] p. 20
Traditions of Matthias " " " "
Preaching of Peter 100-120 Egypt fragments quoted by Clement and Origen [Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 37-40
[Elliot] pp. 21-24
M. R. James [Early Christian Writings]
Acts of Andrew 150-200 ? Liber de miraculis by Gregory
P. Utrech 1 (Coptic)
Armenian Martyrdom
5 Greek recensions of final part
Extracts handed down in Greek
[Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 118-151
[Elliot] pp. 245-302
M. R. James [Early Christian Writings]
M. R. James [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
Acts of Paul 185-195 Asia Minor P. of the Hamburg ... (Greek)
P. No. 1 in Heidelberg (Coptic)
Acta Pauli et Theclae
Corr. between Corinthians and Paul
Martyrium Pauli
[Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 237-265
[Elliot] pp. 364-379
M. R. James [Early Christian Writings]
M. R. James [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
?? [The Seraphim Files]
Acts of John 2nd half of
2nd century
East Syria large stock of Greek texts
Greek P. Oxyrhynchus 850
[Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 172-212
[Elliot] pp. 310-347
M. R. James [Early Christian Writings]
M. R. James [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
Epistle to the Laodiceans 2nd-4th century ? codex Fuldensis (Latin, 546 CE)
+ 100 other Vulgate manuscripts
[Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 44-45
[Elliot] p. 546
M. R. James [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [The Seraphim Files]
I Clement 95-96 Rome codex Alexandrinus (Greek)
codex Hierosolymitanus (Greek)
11th c. MS (Latin)
12th c. NT MS (Syriac)
4th c. MS (Coptic)
7th c. MS (Coptic)
[LHH] pp. 28-64
[Richardson] pp. 43-73
J. B. Lightfoot [Early Christian Writings]
Charles Hoole [Early Christian Writings]
Roberts-Donaldson [Early Christian Writings]
J. B. Lightfoot [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
?? [The Seraphim Files]
Epistle of Barnabas 70-135 Alexandria codex Sinaiticus, 4th. c. (Greek)
codex Hierosolymitanus (Greek)
9 late related MSS (Greek)
MS of unknown date (Latin)
[LHH] pp. 162-188
J. B. Lightfoot [Early Christian Writings]
Charles Hoole [Early Christian Writings]
Kirsopp Lake [Early Christian Writings]
Roberts-Donaldson [Early Christian Writings]
J. B. Lightfoot [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
?? [The Seraphim Files]
Didache 70-200 ? codex Hierosolymitanus (Greek) [LHH] pp. 149-158
[Richardson] pp. 171-179
J. B. Lightfoot [Early Christian Writings]
Roberts-Donaldson [Early Christian Writings]
Charles H. Hoole [Early Christian Writings]
Kirsopp Lake [Early Christian Writings]
Ivan Lewis [Ivan Lewis]
Ben H. Swett [bswett.com]
J. B. Lightfoot [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
J. B. Lightfoot [The Seraphim Files]
Charles H. Hoole [The Orthodox Christian Foundation]
Shepherd of Hermas 90-175 Rome? codex Sinaiticus, 4th. c. (Greek)
codex Athous, 14-15th c. (Greek)
P. Michigan 129, 3rd c. (Greek)
Vulgate translation (Latin)
MS (Ethiopic)
[LHH] pp. 194-290
Roberts-Donaldson [Early Christian Writings]
J. B. Lightfoot [Early Christian Writings]
J. B. Lightfoot [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
F. Crombie [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
?? [The Seraphim Files]
Apocalypse of Peter ~135 Egypt Akhmîm Fragment (Greek)
MS discovered in 1910 (Ethiopic)
[Schneemelcher] v. 2 pp. 625-635
[Elliot] pp. 600-612
M. R. James [Early Christian Writings]
Roberts-Donaldson [Early Christian Writings]
M. R. James [Noncanonical Homepage]
?? [New Advent]
?? [Christian Classics Ethereal Library]

Four of the above writings -- I Clement, Epistle of Barnabas, Didache, Shepherd of Hermas -- are part of the collection called the Apostolic Fathers. English translations of them can be found in other books in addition to [LHH]. The other Apostolic Fathers are not in this survey because they were not mentioned in a scriptural context by any of the Early Christian Authorities.

Two of the above writings - Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth - are part of the Nag Hammadi library. English translations of all these writings can be found in [Robinson]. The other Nag Hammadi writings are not in this survey because they were not mentioned in a scriptural context by any of the Early Christian Authorities.

There are other apocryphal New Testament writings that are not in the scope of this survey because they were not mentioned by name by an early authority, or because any allusions or quotations were not sufficiently explicit, in my opinion. A writing almost included is The Third Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. It was considered scripture by the Syrian Fathers - Aphraat (~340 CE) and Ephraem (d. 373 CE). Curiously, it forms part of the composite Acts of Paul, but neither writing was included in the Syrian Church's version of the Bible - the Peshitta. Some other examples are: The Protoevangelium of James, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Nicodemus, The Acts of Peter, The Letters of Christ and Abgar, The Apocalypse of Paul, etc. For much longer lists see [Schneemelcher] , [Elliot], the Noncanonical Homepage, and Early Christian Writings.


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