Try imagining how different modern-day Easter celebrations might be if any of the following Gospels had been deemed “authentic” (lol) instead of just the traditional four. This continues Balladeer’s Blog’s annual examination of the Apocryphal Gospels that provide the best opportunities for comparative mythology.
THE GOSPEL OF PETER – This Gospel was in wide use in the Middle East until at least the 2nd Century A.D. Its contents would still be completely unknown if not for a fragment of the Gospel being discovered in the tomb of a Christian monk in Egypt late in the 1800’s.
In The Gospel of Peter when Jesus emerges from his tomb upon being resurrected he is the size of a giant “whose head reaches above the Heavens” and is being helped from the tomb by a pair of equally giant-sized angels. Next the Cross itself emerges from the tomb for some reason and a voice from the Heavens asks “Have you preached to those who are sleeping?” The cross speaks and replies “Yes.”
This version of events claims that during the Crucifixion Jesus was “silent as if he had no pain” and such Docetic sentiments were probably part of the reason this Gospel was rejected by the people in power when these decisions were made. Other fragments cover conversations between Jesus and Peter and depict the Jews of Jerusalem wailing about how guilty they supposedly feel about Christ’s Crucifixion after the fact.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE HEBREWS – This Gospel is known only by references made to it by other figures from the time period. It was supposedly written sometime after 100 A.D. and was used by the so-called Jewish Christians who did not follow the Pauline teachings.
The most prominent Apostle in this version of accounts is James, the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Jewish Christian community after Jesus’ death. This Gospel contained a story about James that is found in no other surviving fragments of early Christian mythology. That story features James vowing at the Last Supper that he will not eat another meal until he sees Jesus risen from the dead. The resurrected Jesus visits James and gets him to break his fast before he starves.
A line attributed to The Gospel According to the Hebrews that was sure to cause outrage among the zealots evaluating Gospels for their “authenticity” was a reference Jesus makes to the Holy Spirit as “my mother.” And intriguingly enough, while Christian writings generally depict the Holy Spirit descending upon people in the form of fire this Gospel depicts the Holy Spirit descending upon people in the form of water.
THE GOSPEL OF PHILIP – Dated to the 3rd Century A.D. this Gospel was barely a rumor until its discovery in the Nag Hammadi Library. It is neither a narrative Gospel nor a collection of lessons to be drawn from accompanying parables.
It is instead a series of metaphorical sayings that seem to be tied to a pre-existing body of knowledge that has not survived. To use an example suppose nearly 2,000 years from now scholars uncovered documents full of sayings like: “Only Nixon could go to China” or “He got more women than Sinatra on a weekend in Las Vegas” but WITHOUT any accompanying details about who Nixon or Sinatra were, let alone the geographical, cultural or political context that would give such odd sayings meaning.
The Gospel of Philip also implies that the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection should not have been interpreted literally but in a symbolic sense. That being the case it’s easy to see why it was bounced from the canon by the more literal-minded authorities.
Anyway, bear in mind I treat ALL religions as mythology, including blood-soaked Islam. I’m not one of those spineless people who take shots at Christianity but go easy on Islam.
FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2012/04/01/the-top-six-alternate-gospels-and-scriptures/
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