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What Didn't Make It Into The Bible?
Luke Stone , Updated June 18, The New Testament of the Christian Bible is one of the most influential works of the last two millennia. As the key work of the largest religion in the western world, it has shaped our world in many subtle ways. But the list of 27 books we know today as the New Testament came together gradually through a series of councils and general usage until the books became the standard for most of Christianity. This list is about 10 of the most interesting books not included in the New Testament. Some were excluded for obvious reasons, some likely never had wide readership until found in an obscure library thousands of years later and some just barely missed the cut to being included.
Despite what many Christians believe, there is not one single version of the Bible. Biblical canon has changed repeatedly over the centuries with books being added or removed from the official scriptures and that process still continues today. The Bibles read by Catholics, Orthodox Christians and members of different denominations of Protestantism may contain very different books. Emperor Constantine commissioned 50 copies of the Bible for the Church at Constantinople, but this was not considered to be an official canon for Christianity. It was not until A. It was Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, who listed the books of the New Testament and instructed them to be kanonizomena or canonized.
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Sometimes important religious discoveries are literally unearthed, giving us previously unavailable artifacts and texts -- such as the discovery of the so-called Gnostic Gospels in or the discovery of the Gospel of Judas more recently. At other times modern readers re-discover texts that have long been available, documents, for example, known all along to scholars, but not in wide circulation. The Apocryphal Gospels -- over forty texts in all -- include both kinds of discoveries. These early Christian writings comprise accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus that did not make it into the New Testament, that along with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John provided ancient Christians with their information about Jesus -- some of it authentic but most of it, well, apocryphal. A good number of these non-canonical Gospels were once accepted by various early Christian groups as sacred Scripture; many of them contain stories that are bizarre indeed. For anyone interested in knowing what the earliest Christians thought about Christ, and God, and many other things, these books are indispensable. On top of that, they can be terrific reading.
As we have clearly demonstrated in earlier blog posts in this series, the formation of the Bible was the result of exacting scrutiny by many people over many years. As new manuscripts come to light — including the lost gospels — some scholars wish to ignore the exacting standards demanded by the New Testament Canon. Was it written near the time Christ lived and died? Archaeological evidence continues to validate the Bible Gospels, specific to details about persons, places, and timing. Eyewitnesses could have been called forth at the time of their writing to agree with or discredit the text. The date of a manuscript is key to determining the authenticity of writings outside the canon.