The Secret Gospels: A Harmony of Apocryphal Jesus Traditions

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This book brings together, for the first time in a consecutive narrative, the major apocryphal sources of the Jesus tradition. Composed between the 2nd and 7th centuries, these "secret gospels" were influencial in shaping Christian belief and doctrine for well over 1,000 years. They include stories of the birth of Jesus, his "lost" years as a boy in Nazareth, the wanderings of the holy family, the death of Joseph, and the ascension of the Virgin Mary into heaven. Translated and harmonized by R. Joseph Hoffmann, a...
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1996 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 196 p. Westminster College Critical Studies in Religion. Audience: General/trade. Hardcover in dust ... jacket, Fine/Fine Condition (Brand new book! ), Backroom. Read more Show Less

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1996 Hard cover New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 196 p. Westminster College Critical Studies in Religion. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller ... in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

This book brings together, for the first time in a consecutive narrative, the major apocryphal sources of the Jesus tradition. Composed between the 2nd and 7th centuries, these "secret gospels" were influencial in shaping Christian belief and doctrine for well over 1,000 years. They include stories of the birth of Jesus, his "lost" years as a boy in Nazareth, the wanderings of the holy family, the death of Joseph, and the ascension of the Virgin Mary into heaven. Translated and harmonized by R. Joseph Hoffmann, a specialist in early church history, these sources offer an unparalleled view of the devotional life and legend-making skills of the Christian Church. They also provide important insight into the making of the New Testament canon and raise significant questions about the way in which belief in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth developed.

This comprehensive introduction to the apocryphal tradition is essential reading for anyone interested in the life and thought of the formative period of Christian belief. Enhanced by Hoffmann's running notes and commentary, this impressive work includes a supplement on the apocryphal Jesus tradition in Islam as well as long-unavailable sources from the Eastern Coptic-Egyptian and Arab-Christian traditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A collection of the major apocryphal "secret gospels" composed between the 2nd and 7th centuries and rejected by the Catholic canon, including information on previously unavailable sources from Eastern, Coptic, and Arab-Christian traditions. Hoffmann (lecturer and research fellow, Westminster College, Oxford) translates and provides some commentary on the unknown stories of Christ's birth, his boyhood in Nazareth, Joseph's death, and Mary's ascension. Characterized as stories for the "common" people, these writings raise questions about the Catholic church's selective theology and the manner in which significant questions around belief developed. Lacks a bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573920698
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: Westminster College - Oxford Series
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.21 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

R. Joseph Hoffmann (Oxford, England) is Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow at Westminster College, Oxford. His published works include What the Bible Really Says, Jesus in History and Myth,and Biblical versus Secular Ethics.
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Table of Contents

Preface 9
Introduction. The Secret Gospels: A Harmony of Apocryphal Traditions 17
I A History of Joseph the Carpenter 47
II The Book of James, Son of Joseph 50
III The History of the Virgin 57
IV The Annunciation 60
V The Visit and Trial 63
VI The Nativity of John 68
VII The Nativity of Jesus, Called the Christ 70
VIII The Testimony of Joseph the Carpenter to the Night of Wonders 72
IX The Midwife's Account of the Nativity 74
X The Circumcision 79
XI The Jealousy of a King 81
XII The Child Jesus in Egypt 85
XIII John and Jesus in Egypt 91
XIV The Child Jesus in Nazareth 95
XV Jesus and the Teachers 98
XVI Jesus and the Child Zeno 101
XVII Jesus Saves a Woodsman 102
XVIII The Miracle at the Well 103
XIX Jesus and His Father 105
XX Jesus and James 108
XXI The Rich Man Ibram 110
XXII Jesus and the Doctors of the Law 112
XXIII The Silly Teacher 114
XXIV The Miracle of the Dyer 116
XXV The Children in the Oven 118
XXVI The Funeral of Joses 120
XXVII The Interim 122
XXVIII The Baptism 123
XXIX The Death of Joseph 126
XXX The Sleep and Awakening of Mary, Virgin and Mother 132
Epilogues: The Hymn of the Pearl 145
Epilogues: The Philippian Incarnation Hymn 152
Epilogues: A Miscellany of Nativity Hymns 153
Epilogues: Ignatius of Antioch on the Nativity 163
Epilogues: The Apocryphal Infancy Tradition in Islam 164
Appendix: The Family of Jesus 169
Endnotes 175
Bibliographical Notes 193
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