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The Other Bible
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The Other Bible

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  386 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Presents the ancient texts excluded from the official canon of the "Bible" and provides extensive introductions to all major writings.
Paperback, 768 pages
Published May 23rd 1984 by HarperOne (first published 1984)
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I had two big problems with this collection:
1. the way it was organized by genre (infancy gospels all together, creation stories together, etc), even to the point of cutting out parts of the story that don't fit the genre. This took the books out of the context of their religious movement and time period, and at the same time didn't allow them to stand on their own by forcing them into artificial categories.
2. The fact that most of the stories here are not included in full but are only excerpts
Mary Overton
07/14/2009: read 'THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS,' a text once considered part of the canon and wildly popular during Medieval times. '...a passion gospel purporting to be an official report of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.... one of the most dramatic and moving documents of early Christianity. Argumentative rather than spiritual, it reads like an exciting eyewitness report of murder, miracle, and resurrection.... a fabricated record of the third or fourth century written specifica ...more
adam prometheus
The best collection I've seen of material that was deleted from the official "Bible" by the Church (Emperor Constantine, etc.)- including gnostic and qabbalistic texts, and basically anything that contained any real empowering spiritual wisdom or revealing mythological connections, was labelled as "pagan" and removed from the canon... but they are every bit as legitimate (or more so), source-wise, as the books that they approved! Reading them you can clearly see how vital elements were left out ...more
Feb 01, 2008 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melissa by: Emilia
So far, this book is pretty interesting. Many religious works omited from the Bible, all together in one place. Currently, I am reading the Kaballah. It is so interesting to compare the differences in religion and points of view, though the stories are pretty much the same. It is facinating to learn how the Hebrew "alpha-bet" is used to "create" the universe by God. Very interesting. Though I am a bit lost in some spots, not being familiar with the religion, I still can't help but be drawn to re ...more
I started reading this a year or so ago, but it ended up back on the bookshelf before I finished it (it is 732 pages). It contains the text of the Gnostic Gospels, Dead Sea Scrolls, Visionary Wisdom Texts, Christian Apocrypha, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, and Kabbalah. Instead of all of the books being sandwiched into one, the book is edited so that it begins with Creation Myths taken from each of these sources, with subsequent sections organized in the same manner. I'm reading it again because the Ap ...more
Aug 27, 2008 Corey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are interested in non-mainstream religion/spirituality
so far this book is quite interesting. Looking at some of the early scriptures that were suppress by mainstream Christianity and other forces of the early day. This book includes th Gnostic scriptures, Dead sea Scrolls, Visionary wisdom texts, Christian Apocrypha, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, and the kabbalah. There is a descrian of what each of these are and translations.
Thise that are interested in relious history and alternative spirituality, this text is for you. It will not only challenge and al
Western religion from a respectful and alert perspective. Here is the developing biblical tradition in all its diversity: Gnostic, Samarian, Blakean...

The translations are crisp and accessible, the introduction and notes informative in the extreme.

This book contains much of what has been missing in the average person's religious education. And it will broaden the reader's perspective even as it conveys the intensity of the search for God.
Sherri Moorer
This was interesting. It gave me a broader perspective on The Bible and the context of the history of our faith. The gnostic gospels can make your head spin and, of course, all of this is open to interpretation. I feel that it's beneficial for Christians to read because we can learn a lot from the text here that wasn't accepted into cannon, although I do recommend reading with great discresion and discernment.
Really interesting reading of additional scripture texts that have been found - especially the books of Enoch and of Adam. These texts were accepted as legitimate texts back in Jesus' time and shortly there after, but were later culled from the holy books and destroyed where possible.

This mostly isn't page-turner reading, though it is in places. Even so, it's a great resource and worth checking out.
Great reference of non-canonical gospels.
I only give it 4 stars because, due to paper contraints (!!), the gospels aren't complete and neither is the body of gospels represented. IMHO it's a 'must read/browse through' for everyone interested or involved in christianity...which sort of includes everyone in america due to our money and all sorts of things w/reference to the word 'God' in it.
Christie Hall
Ok, so I bought this book back in 1990. (maybe a previous version) but I find it interesting that they describe the book as having followed a trend that began with a book that is only, what, five years old? Well, call me a trendsetter! I read the apocryphal texts and the gnostics texts as a CHILD for FUN. Woo hoo! Pays to go to catholic schools,eh?
Bought this pre-Google, pre-Wikipedia... pre-internet. It has served me well as a quick reference book, alas it takes up precious space on my book case and most of the information can now be found with a few key strokes. Goodbye book, if the library can't use you, may you be recycled into a new and loved form.
Michel Tietie
This book changed not only my personal views on religion, especially those of the Christian doctrine, but also my view of the world as a whole! Who knew that the only thing I need to pull me out of the darkness was a good book! Of course, one can't very well read inside a cave now can one.
Sammy Sutton
This is a huge compilation,filling more than 700 pages with ancient scriptures and texts. Featured are the Gnostic Gospel, Dead Sea Scrolls, The Visionary Wisdom Texts, Some books of the Christian Apocrypha, Jewish Pseudepigraphs, and Kabbalah. All of these are fabulously translated.
As Barnstone said in the intro; "These documents, therefore, present an exceedingly interesting area of study for scholars working in the field of religious history, sociology, and psychology... in them there is no grace that leads to salvation...there is only human nature."
Roland Volz
Always interesting to read books other people would prefer you didn't read. In this case, they're major books of faiths related to Christianity. It touches on several other religions without giving you too much to digest. Well-documented as well.
Important to me to find out what was missing in the King James Version and now I read it every once in awhile when I want to clarify something spiritual in my life. It's best to read hit and miss, and then to study slowly.
If you've ever wondered what the books left out of the bible were like, this is a GREAT opportunity to read samples of those texts! Includes the gospels of Thomas and Peter and many other gnostic texts.
A compilation of non-canonical biblical texts. It includes texts from non-Peter following sects (like Mary followers) as well as discarded texts that compilers believed conflicted with their own views.
Iman Zaineb
An excellent source for introducing new students of religion to unorthodox texts. And one of the few published sources containing the story of Lilith. I only wish for a bit more context.
Check out the Odes of Solomon - magnificent! The rest is largely so much fabricated twaddle. We can never fault our ancestors for the extent and vividness of their collected imaginations.
Terra Bosart
The book of Enoch and the other creation stories are fascinating. It's easy to understand why so much of this never made it into the bible.
A collection of early Gnostic, Christian, Jewish, Kabbalistic, and Pagan writings. Very interesting and insightful.
Read the weirdly wonderful tales that didn't make it into canon. Worth it for Thunder Perfect Mind, alone.
Brilliant collection of great material, apocalypses, wisdom literature, great stuff.
Mark Righter
Dec 23, 2009 Mark Righter is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Ref,outstanding gnostic gospels,Also has the dead sea scrolls,The christian Apocrypha...
An enlightening look into the politics behind the creation of the Bible.
A great compendium of lost scriptures from a variety of world religions.
Craig J.
The Other Bible by Willis Barnstone (2005)
Jan 14, 2009 Jonathan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Just bought it...

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Willis Barnstone is an American poet, memoirist, translator, Hispanist, and comparatist. He has translated the Ancient Greek poets and the complete fragments of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. He is also a New Testament and Gnostic scholar.
More about Willis Barnstone...
The Gnostic Bible The Restored New Testament: A New Translation with Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary, and Judas Sappho and the Greek Lyric Poets Six Masters of the Spanish Sonnet: Francisco de Quevedo, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Antonio Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel Hernandez The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice

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