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Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,239 ratings  ·  88 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 fo
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 15th 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2003)
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Jul 25, 2013 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
Demetrius Rogers
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
Dec 24, 2012 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 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
Erik Graff
Nov 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Josh Liller
Mar 21, 2009 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 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 clearer ...more
May 10, 2012 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. ...more
Oct 27, 2012 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 rated it it was ok
Shelves: winter-2014-5
Lots of excerpts, especially of those that he often spends the most time introducing.
Nathan Albright
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2018
The books (or excerpts or fragments of books) discussed in this book are not really lost scriptures, in the sense that they were ever considered canonical by mainstream believers, much less the early Church of God, but they were all books that didn't make it into the New Testament.  This book definitively proves that all you need to have a good Bart Ehrman book is to have him (mostly) shut up and (mostly) let the texts speak for themselves.  If none of these books hold a candle to the Bible, the ...more
Fred Dameron
Sep 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This is a fantastic collection of writings. Ever wonder why after ten pages of The Acts of the Apostles we only have one more work by Peter? Well thats because the Church declared none of the other books written by Peter or by his Apostles as canon. But, there are the Acts of Peter, The Gospel of Peter, The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, The Preaching of Peter, and another Apocalypse of Peter. All at one time and by large numbers of early Christians were considered Canonical. These works also preac ...more
Einar Jensen
Mar 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
I have several reasons for reading Bart Ehrman’s Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It Into the New Testament. I’m a fan of Ehrman, a historian who hungers for knowledge about his chosen faith, and his engaging writing style. I’m also a fan of learning and research. Although I have given up on Christianity, I appreciate its stories and impact on the world and, therefore, I enjoy learning more about those stories and historical figures. Many of these texts explain paintings I’ve studied and ...more
Joe Henry
Oct 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this when my discussion group chose it. Our practice is to rotate discussion leadership weekly, and it was common for members to say that they couldn't make sense out of it or that it put them to sleep. That was our fault.

This book is actually was written as a companion volume to his book, Lost Christianities: TheBattles for Scriptures (2003). As he says in his 'General Introduction" (p. 3), the Lost Scriptures volume is intended "to provide easy and ready access to the texts discusse
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, christian
"Lost Scriptures", which is not really one book but many, was overall a good way to learn about and read some of the other early books that some--sometimes just a few, sometimes a lot--early Christians thought should be scripture. It's a great way to expand our understanding of what could have been scripture.
This book did take me a while to get through because it is so dense. Ehrman's introductions for each section and each book were concise but informative.
As with most compilation books, the qu
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
A somewhat disappointing anthology of noncanonical early Christian writings. The selected translations are on the dry/pedestrian end of the spectrum. The prefaces and notes are extremely meager. Worst of all many of the texts have been greatly abridged, not always sensibly, so that there are notes referring you to passages that were not included; 1 Clement has had hacked out of it Chapter 36, of great interest to any one interested in the relationship of these texts to the NT or theories that Cl ...more
Fascinating, and pretty comprehensive on the gnostics. I’d recommend a working history with Christianity to appreciate the best parts. (Raises hand.) I can’t pick a favorite: flying apostles, talking lions, baby Jesus killing kids, grownup Jesus crashing a wedding night to talk the couple out of sex. Some bonus homoeroticism. Great stuff.
Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This book would be better with longer introductions and more annotations. I know it is intended to be a companion book to Lost Christianities, but it would be a more helpful resource if it had more explanatory and background content.
Magnus Mayus
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am not surprised why some of those books didn't make it into the bible... ...more
Kathy England
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting, but I think interest in it might be restricted to theology majors or those really interested in the development of Christianity.
Mwerevu Hajinyoi
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read and discoveries... I can understand why some of the books were not included in the current Bible.
Martin Willoughby
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting journey through discarded scripture. Is our new testament the one God wanted us to read, or were politics involved?
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good compilation of non-canonical biblical texts that offers different perspectives on what a religion that may not seem it, but is much more homogeneous that we might think.
Maximus Virtus
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just started reading this book and it is an eye opener. I would recommend this book to any Christian who has an interest in the history of our church and faith.
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Then introductions make it more readable, but it is not the reading I would do. Too much fantasy attempted to cast a competing light to true Christianity.
May 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Eh, does what it's supposed to, but not really my thing. ...more
Stacyand Brody
Aug 29, 2022 rated it liked it
I read some of it but not all.
There wasn't anything I read that I felt added or took away from the text of the Bible. But that is what I felt amd read.
S. Shelton
Feb 10, 2016 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
Chris Holder
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2017
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
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
My Blog: http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl...

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
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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

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