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Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament
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Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,832 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ--texts that have been f ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 17th 2005 by OUP USA (first published 2003)
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Demetrius Rogers
Mar 19, 2013 Demetrius Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible-theology
Good to gain a familiarity with these early books. Most were pretty fanciful and even absurd; some you can call orthodox and were well respected. However, even in these 'orthodox' works you gotta ask - where's the gospel?? Even they had a very works/merit-based flavor to them (with the exception of maybe 1 Clement). Reading this collection gave me an even stronger confidence that what we have passed down to us in the form of the New Testament is of a much superior stripe. Often times when readin ...more
Jul 25, 2013 Rickey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book isn’t what I would call exciting reading, but if you’re interested in the early religious writings it is informative. There is a short introduction about each of these “lost books” and then the actual translation. Of course, these books weren’t actually “lost” because we have copies of them today, but they were “missing” for centuries until they were discovered in modern times. They are early gospels, acts, epistles, and apocalypses that seemed to disappear for a time. Some are complet ...more
Jon Sedlak
Dec 24, 2012 Jon Sedlak rated it really liked it
Like I said in another review, Ehrman doesn't pretend to be Christian. He's not a Christian. But that shouldn't stop Christians from seeing how ludicrous (and even humorous) some of the alleged "lost scriptures" were. I really enjoyed this book even though I don't trust Ehrman's "professional" opinions at all.

Ehrman implicitly shows how desperate unbelievers (like him) are to present convincing evidence against the Canon of Scripture. There are obvious, self-evident reasons for judging these "l
Mike  Davis
Jun 04, 2014 Mike Davis rated it really liked it
I don't know how to rate this book since there is minimal, but appropriate, comment by the author. It is essentially a representative collection of documents written around the time of the Christ event (50-300 C.E.) many of which were discovered after the current canon was "established." All of these writings were excluded from current canon usage either because they were not available during the selection process, they were hidden, they were censored, or they were part of the canon of branches ...more
Josh Liller
Mar 21, 2009 Josh Liller rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
Not as exciting as it might seem. There is a page on each of the "lost" books, followed by a translation of some part of the text. In some cases only fragments are known from quotations in other writings. Some of the works are presented in their entirety while others only have excerpts given due to their length.

Some of the potentially most interesting - like the Gospel of Mary Magdalen - have not been found in their entirety.

Most of the non-canonical books presented were apparently rejected eith
Jan 02, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok
I hadn't read any apocryphal Scriptures before, so I found the texts in this book rather interesting. However, I was disappointed by the lack of commentary -- each text had a brief introductory page with multiple footnotes directing the reader to the author's Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture & the Faiths We Never Knew. While the introduction makes it clear that this book is intended as a companion text and not a standalone one, it would've been nice if the cover had made it cle ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book I really should own, because it is impossible to absorb all the material in a single reading. I am left with some highlights that stick in my head (the gnostics were really bizarre) and not a lot of details. Good reading, hard work to get through it all.
Dec 21, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: winter-2014-5
Lots of excerpts, especially of those that he often spends the most time introducing.
Chris Holder
Feb 24, 2017 Chris Holder rated it liked it
I feel guilty for not liking this book very much. Ancient writings with esoteric theology -- I should be fascinated! And, in the sense that I've learned about the Marcionites et al., I am. However, I found many of the texts to be dry, rambling, and incoherent. (Surprise!) If you want to read it cover to cover, gird yourself.

That being said, Ehrman's dedication is clear. Just one problem with his writing: this book doesn't know if it wants to be a companion or a standalone. It's labeled as a comp
S. Shelton
Feb 10, 2016 S. Shelton rated it liked it
By the beginning of the 4th Century AD there was not a single belief system regarding Christian doctrine. Numerous Christian sects had evolved—each basing their faith and liturgy on disparate manuscripts. Such was especially the case between the Roman church and the Greek-speaking East’s Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian church in Asia Minor, and the Middle East.

To resolve this schism, in 325 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine I called an Ecumenical Council of all his bishops to meet in Bithynia (a
Sarah(All The Book Blog Names Are Taken)
My Blog:

Firstly, I do not read Ehrman's books for his opinions on Christianity. While he is a self-proclaimed agnostic, he is well-versed in Scripture. He knows what he is talking about when he he is reciting the facts of the Bible, and I appreciate that. I have learned a lot about the Bible from reading his books. But as a Christian with a faith that is growing stronger each day, I differ when it comes to many matters of opinion.

That being said, I am fas
Erik Graff
Nov 13, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lost Christianities readers
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: religion
I'd read most, if not all, of these texts before in the old two-volume Oxford set of the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha and the smaller supplemental third volume of non-canonical texts related to the Christian Scriptures. I read this hoping for illuminating commentary and interested in seeing new translations by Ehrman, a scholar I have come to appreciate.

I was disappointed. Part of the disappointment is my own fault. This collection is intended as a resource for Ehrman's Lost Christianities.
Jeremy Mccool
Sep 04, 2012 Jeremy Mccool rated it liked it
Ehrman has definitely earned his stripes in biblical exegesis. His analysis and summary of the scriptures is very well done. His conclusions, however, don't follow his analysis. He raised the question over and over "Can all suffering in the world be explained by the judgement of God for sin?" He quoted and summarized a lot of scripture to show that many biblical authors held the view that God judges sin and it causes suffering. He did nothing to show that God's judgment causes all suffering. He ...more
Apr 25, 2008 Monica rated it really liked it
I checked this book out from the library because I wanted to read certain books that had been used by the early church, but did not make it into the official cannon of the Bible because they weren't deemed "important" enough. This book also contains numerous "fake" gospels, and heretical texts from the same era. The author, I don't believe, is a Christian, because he lumps all the texts together, and repeatedly calls them ALL "mythical" or "legendary". Regardless, the texts are there, but it doe ...more
Damon Lee
It was a good read. I think a more complete and informed decision regarding faith as opposed to merely accepting the acceptable belief is what makes the difference between finding and losing yourself. When you invest in faith and pursue God, I believe that its a journey that encompasses more than what we are taught in church. Knowing and expanding your understanding is a good approach to deepening why you believe what you believe. This book is a good illustration of how and what information is o ...more
David R.
Oct 06, 2010 David R. rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
This is essentially an anthology of selected proto-orthodox works of Christianity that failed to make the cut in the official New Testament canon. Many are excerpted. Ehrman provides some context for each and for the most part eschews editorial comment, but my sense is that he regrets the turn away from Gnostic tradition (if for no other reason than so many Gnostic scriptures fall into this collection.) The selected texts are often pedestrian, sometimes interesting, and occasionally absurd. The ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Jc rated it it was ok
Not Ehrman's best - here he is a bit too "believing" of his subject matter, written from a more born-againer type perspective than his later works tend to be. An okay discussion of many of the known might-have-made-the-canon documents written in the early proto-christian years. But, much of this material is reviewed more seriously and more academically through the works of others, including Ehrman, in other works even considering Ehrman's "not for professionals" approach. But still, a decent [if ...more
Antony Coldridge
Apr 04, 2012 Antony Coldridge rated it it was amazing
I've read quite a few Ehrman books and at first I was a little disappointed in this offering because it mostly just gives you a translation of the books and if I'd wanted to read all the texts in their glory I would have purchased a more comprehensive book (not all the lost scriptures are here). Having said that I began to delve into the book a bit more. I liked Ehrman's introduction to the texts and found myself time and again coming back to this book to check references. In conclusion, it's an ...more
Martin Witchard
Anyone who thinks that there are only twenty-seven texts of the New Testament would be wrong (to paraphrase the back cover of this book). Inside are texts by James, brother of Jesus, Simon Peter, Mary Magdelene and Thecla amongst others. I'm looking forward to reading the Apoclypses by Peter and Paul (one apiece). They should make for, erm, revelatory reading. The Apoclypse of St Peter was supposed to have contributed ot the development of Dante's Inferno. Excellent.
Feb 10, 2013 Jos rated it liked it
The primary reason for this book is to put all the 'scriptures' that did not make it into the new Testament available in one volume, with minimum commentary. Most of it I have already heard, so it is very interesting but it brings nothing new to Bart Ehrman's arguments, which are already substantial. Maybe the most striking one is the other infancy gospels, where Jesus, as a little X-man growing up, has to still learn to 'control' his powers.
Apr 17, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
Amazing....Gospels, letters forged in the name of Paul, Peter...Apocalypses forged in the name of Peter and goes on and on. What were wrong with these ultimate "heretical" writings? What were they teaching about Jesus that the Church hierarchy of the day didn't want normal people to know about????? (About a third ot the New Testament books are forged documents...which is discussed in his book "Forged." )
Oct 16, 2011 Meagan rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
The translations for this are very clear, and Bart deals with them in a way that is very fair. He is clear about what is speculation among the translations, and deals with the subject matter in a very careful way. Great translation to read if you're interested in the non-Canonical gospels. I recommend the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, about the young Jesus. Many of the Gnostic Gospels, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of Peter are incredibly interesting and unique as well.
Jackie Lee
May 20, 2009 Jackie Lee rated it really liked it
Who knew that Saint Peter once resurrected a smoked tuna? Well, he did, in one of these books that didn't make it into the canon. And did you know that someone checked out Mary to make sure she was really a virgin? According to one of these books, it got pretty personal down there at one point. Crazy stuff!
John Edwards
Mar 07, 2012 John Edwards rated it really liked it
It was really good to learn there have been so many manuscripts about Jesus. Even some unknown when our Christian canon was formed.

Helped a lot in getting a better grip on the differences in gnostic and non-gnostic works, beliefs, and ways of thinking.

The book is divided into small segments and thereby easy to pick up for a few minutes and get from the start to the finish of a manuscript.
May 10, 2012 Stu rated it it was amazing
A fascinating compendium of texts that did not make it into the Christian canon. Although Ehrman's stated point is to demonstrate the diversity of early Christianity, he is intellectually honest enough to demonstrate the obvious reasons why most of this shunned scripture was cast aside by the early church.
Mar 31, 2010 Beth rated it liked it
This was pretty good. It's a reference for when you're reading the book "Lost Christianities" and you're supposed to read them together. But I had to be all hard core and read it by itself.... basically it's like reading the bible straight through but it makes much less sense, depending on the book.
Jeff McCormack
Aug 16, 2010 Jeff McCormack rated it liked it
Shelves: skeptical
Bart Ehrman is seriously theologically challenged, but this book has some good content in the extra-biblical writings. If you ignore his comment, and just read the writings, then this is a decent volume for some of these texts. I have since found some better editions, but this was a good starting point.
Dec 31, 2013 Kaye rated it liked it
Very interesting and lots of information, although I found the author's writing style a bit annoying - too many pieces of info in brackets that I didn't think were necessary and sometimes seemed to change the meaning of the text slightly. However, I'd recommend to anyone interested in gnostic Christian theory.
Lisa Lavelle
Jul 30, 2010 Lisa Lavelle rated it it was ok
Reading the Magdalene Line by Kathleen McGowan piqued my interest in finding out more about Mary Magdalene (and the role of women in religion)... and other aspects of the history of early Christianity.
Billy Castillo
Mar 13, 2014 Billy Castillo rated it liked it
The Author did a good job on putting these books together, also just a quick tip is that although it is a good thing to be open to books not included in the bible, you just still apply certain biblical/reasoning before accepting all of the contents...
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Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies.

A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Div
More about Bart D. Ehrman...

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“And so by carefully investigating what is here and now, we must seek for the things that can save us. We should flee, entirely, all the works of lawlessness; otherwise, they may overwhelm us. And we should hate the error of the present age, that we may be loved in the age to come. 2 We should not allow our souls to relax, thinking they can consort with sinners and the wicked; otherwise we may become like them.” 0 likes
“5 Do not be of two minds whether this should happen or not. Do not take the Lord’s name for a futile purpose. Love your neighbor more than yourself. Do not abort a fetus or kill a child that is already born. Do not not remove your hand from your son or daughter, but from their youth teach them the reverential fear of God.” 0 likes
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