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Table of Contents
                            Lost Books of the Bible For Dummies
	About the Authors
	Authors’ Acknowledgments
	Contents at a Glance
	Table of Contents
		About This Book
		Conventions Used in This Book
		What You’re Not to Read
		Foolish Assumptions
		How This Book Is Organized
		Icons Used in This Book
		Where to Go from Here
	Part I: Setting the Stage
		Chapter 1: How to Lose Books of the Bible: A Hands-On Guide
			What Do We Mean By “Lost Books of the Bible”?
			Three of the Greatest “Lost Books” Finds of All Time
			In, Almost In, and Out: Categorizing Ancient Religious Writing
			Questioning the Idea of Biblical Lost and Found
			Do Books Get Suppressed?
		Chapter 2: Tracing the History of the Jewish and Christian Biblical Canons
			First Things First: Understanding a Biblical Canon
			Not Everyone’s Biblical Canon Is the Same
			The Evolution of the Old Testament (Or Hebrew Bible)
			The Christian Old Testament: Translations of Jewish Writings into Greek
			One Last Push to the Christian Old Testament: The Influence of Marcion of Sinope
			Two Nudges for Christians to Begin Forming Their Own “ New” Testament
			Second-Century Debates on the Christian Bible
		Chapter 3: The Different Categories of Ancient Religious Writing
			The Hows and Whys of Organizing Ancient Writings into Style Categories
			Surveying Styles of Religious Writing in the Old Testament
			The New Testament Styles of Religious Writing
			In a Class All Their Own: Apocalyptic Writings
	Part II: Ancient Jewish Lost Books
		Chapter 4: The Controversial Apocrypha
			Getting to Know the Apocryphal Books of Jewish History
			A Survey of Apocryphal Books
			In the Bible or Not, These Books Are of Great Value to Modern Readers
		Chapter 5: The Dead Sea Scrolls
			A Little Background on the Dead Sea Scrolls
			Why the Discovery of the Scrolls Was Sensational for Biblical Scholarship
			Looking at Other Writings Commonly Referred to as Dead Sea Scrolls
			Checking Out the Unusual Religious Writings from the Dead Sea Collection
		Chapter 6: The Strange Story of the Book of Enoch
			Who the Heck is Enoch, Anyway?
			What Makes 1 Enoch So Important?
			Surveying the Sections of 1 Enoch
			The Major Religious Themes of the Book of 1 Enoch
		Chapter 7: Plays, Poets, and Other Ideas Borrowed from the Greeks
			The Sibylline Oracles
			The Treatise of Shem: An Early Astrology Column
			Pseudo-Phocylides: Wisdom and Rules for Living
			Ezekiel the Tragedian
			Fragments of Greek-Influenced Jewish Writers
		Chapter 8: Apocalyptic Literature (a.k.a. ReallyStrange Books)
			The Apocalypse of Zephaniah
			The Ezra Books
			The Apocalypse of Sedrach
			Further Books of Baruch
			The Apocalypse of Abraham
			The Apocalypse of Adam
			The Apocalypse of Elijah
			The Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah
			The Ladder of Jacob
			The History of the Rechabites
			Other “ Travels with God” Literature: 2 Enoch, 3 Enoch, and 3 Baruch
		Chapter 9: Popular Legends and Expansions of Older Hebrew Traditions
			The Odes of Solomon
			Joseph and Asenath
			Life of Adam and Eve
			Additional Psalms from the Dead Sea Scrolls
			Psalms of Solomon
			Prayer of Manasseh
			Testament Literature: Famous Last Words
	Part III: Lost Books about Jesus
		Chapter 10: Ancient Writings on the Youth and Infancy of Jesus
			What’s Covered in the Infancy Gospels and Why
			Primary Sources about the Infant Jesus
			Secondary Infancy Gospels
		Chapter 11: Lost Gospels and Sayings of Jesus
			Sources for Lost Sayings of Jesus
			Did Jesus Really Say That? Separating False from Genuine
			Sayings of Jesus Quoted in Early Christian Literature
			Fragments of Jesus Sayings: Pieces of Unknown Gospels?
			Whole Writings That Contain Sayings of Jesus
			Writings on the Death of Jesus
	Part IV: Lost Early Christian Books
		Chapter 12: The Gnostic Christian Writings
			Understanding Gnostic Christianity
			Gnostic Writings Galore: The Nag Hammadi Library
			Gnostic Christianity’s Influence on “Orthodox” Christianity
		Chapter 13: Christian Books That Were Strongly Considered
			The Standard List of the Apostolic Fathers
			The Shepherd of Hermas
			The Didache: The First Written Catechism
			The Epistle of Polycarp to the Christians at Philippi
			The Martyrdom of Polycarp
			The Letters of Ignatius
			1 Clement
			2 Clement
			The Epistle of Barnabas
			The Epistle to Diognetus
		Chapter 14: Traditions about St. Paul
			Later Non-Biblical Letters and Writings Attributed to Paul
			Legends about Paul
		Chapter 15: Even More “Acts”: Writings of Other Early Christian Leaders
			Getting a Handle on Acts Literature
			The Acts of Andrew
			The Acts of John
			The Acts of Peter
			The Acts of Thomas
			Checking Out Some "Secondary” Acts
		Chapter 16: Early Christian Apocalyptic Visions
			What Makes an Apocalyptic Writing?
			The Apocalypse of Peter
			The Apocalypse of Thomas
			The Letter of James
			“Christianized” Hebrew Apocalyptic Writings
	Part V: The Part of Tens
		Chapter 17: Ten Weirdest Jewish Lost Books
			1 Enoch
			The War Scroll (From the Dead Sea Scrolls)
			Psalms of Exorcism (From the Dead Sea Scrolls)
			The Pesher Literature (From the Dead Sea Scrolls)
			The Life of Adam and Eve
			The History of the Rechabites
			The Sibylline Oracles
			The Treatise of Shem
			The Apocalypse of Zephaniah
			The Apocalypse of Adam (From the Nag Hammadi Library)
		Chapter 18: Ten Weirdest Christian Lost Books
			The Shepherd of Hermas
			The Gospel of Peter
			The Martyrdom of Polycarp
			The Epistle of Barnabas
			The Infancy Gospel of Thomas
			Valentinus: On Jesus’s Digestive System
			The Gospel of Truth (From the Nag Hammadi Library)
			The Acts of Andrew
			The First Thought in Three Forms (From the Nag Hammadi Library)
			The Reality of the Rulers (From the Nag Hammadi Library)
		Chapter 19: Ten Sayings of Jesus You Won’t Find in the Bible
			Take Care of Your Brothers
			Near the Fire
			More on Fire!
			Make Your Enemies into Comrades
			The Importance of Making Peace
			Care for Your Brother!
			The Upside-Down Kingdom
			The Empty Jar of Meal
			The Muslim Jesus?
			The Greater Spirituality
		Chapter 20: Top Ten “Lost” Books Every Student of the Bible Should Read
			The Gospel of Thomas
			1 Enoch
			1 Clement
			Joseph and Asenath
			The Odes of Solomon
			3 Maccabees
			The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles
			The Acts of Thomas
			The Acts of Paul and Thecla
			Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
	Appendix: Resources for Those Who Are Really into This “Lost Books” Thing
Document Text Contents
Page 1

by Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher
and Stephen Spignesi

Lost Books
of the Bible



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The Proto-Evangelium of James
The notion of a “Proto-Evangel” literally means “before the Good News.”
These are events that are purported to take place before the events covered
by the biblical Gospels. As such, the Proto-Evangelium of James sets up the
Gospel stories with additional information about the characters in the early
years of Jesus but also introduces characters that will turn up later. This is a
classic example of early Christians being so curious about some of the famil-
iar characters of the Gospel story that they wanted what we now call in the
movie biz a “prequel” to the story as well as the many “sequels” that were
written about events after the Gospel stories.

Note that all the information supplied in the Proto-Evangelium takes place
before you actually find out about Jesus himself, and most of the writing is
about the supporting characters in the story.

Episode one: Mary is born
The Proto-Evangelium of James begins with a sad scene as Joachim, the
father of Mary, appears to offer gifts at the Temple in Jerusalem. An official
stops Joachim and says that it isn’t proper for a man who hasn’t contributed
a child to Israel to offer gifts ahead of those who have. This insult saddens
Joachim, and after checking to be sure that indeed most of the major figures
of Israelite history have had children, he retires to the wilderness to fast for
40 days and nights.

Meanwhile, his wife Anna is also lamenting her childless state. Outside under
a laurel tree, Anna sings a song of lament to God, praying that she, like Sarah
in the Old Testament, might still be given a child. Immediately an angel
appears to announce that Anna will have a child and that two other angels
have also told Joachim, who is already preparing to make a huge sacrifice
from his flocks for a celebration. When he returns from his fast, Anna meets
him in great joy, and they rest that night.

Joachim’s gift at the Temple is accepted, and soon Anna gives birth to a
female child and names her Mary. As soon as Mary can walk, Anna makes a
pact with God that Mary will be dedicated to God at the Temple and be cared
for by Hebrew virgins. Mary’s first birthday is celebrated with great joy, and
the Priests bless Mary:

O God of the heavenly heights, look upon this child and bless her with a
supreme blessing which cannot be superseded.

—Proto-Evangelium of James 6:2 (tr. Elliott)

Upon Mary’s third birthday, Joachim and Anna fulfill their promise to God
that Mary will serve in the Temple, and she’s taken there. The people at the
Temple are amazed that a 3-year-old is so willing to stay at the Temple:

173Chapter 10: Ancient Writings on the Youth and Infancy of Jesus

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And her parents returned marveling, praising the Lord God because the
child did not turn back. And Mary was in the Temple of the Lord nurtured
like a dove and received food from the hand of an angel.

—Proto-Evangelium of James 8:1–2 (tr. Elliott)

Episode two: Joseph is chosen as Mary’s husband
This episode is quite interesting. The Priests at the Temple decide that Mary
must leave the Temple as she approaches age 12 because if she were to begin
menstruating while at the Temple, the Temple would become unclean. So, they
search throughout Judea to find an appropriate husband for her. A miraculous
sign chooses Joseph, who in this writing already has sons and is an older man.
At first, he protests that he will be a laughingstock for marrying a young girl!
But the Priests advise him to obey God’s selection, so Mary is taken into
Joseph’s house as a ward. Meanwhile, Joseph goes on a building campaign (he
is, you recall, a carpenter).

Episode three: Mary weaves the veil that will be torn
A clever episode is inserted here. The Priests of the Temple determine to have
a veil made for the Holy of Holies in the Temple, and they find seven virgins to
weave and make this sacred cloth. They remember Mary and choose her to do
part of the work. This is the same veil, of course, that’s miraculously torn at
the crucifixion of Jesus, so this episode has some clever foreshadowing.

Episodes four and five: Behold, a virgin shall conceive . . .
Episode four is the announcement by an angel to Mary that she is to give
birth to Jesus. This episode doesn’t seriously diverge from the New Testament
accounts in Luke, and episode five, in which Mary’s cousin Elizabeth (mother
of John the Baptist) visits with Mary, is even shorter than the account in Luke.

As Mary starts to show her pregnancy, the Proto-Evangelium elaborates on
something that readers of the New Testament have wondered about for cen-
turies: Surely there was a serious reaction from Joseph! This writing deals with
the issue in a big way:

And he struck his face, threw himself down on the ground on sackcloth and
wept bitterly saying, “With what countenance shall I look towards the Lord
my God? What prayer shall I offer for this maiden? For I received her as a
virgin out of the Temple of the Lord my God and have not protected her.
Who has deceived me? Who has done this evil in my house and defiled the
virgin? Had the story of Adam been repeated in me? For as Adam was
absent in the hour of his prayer, and the serpent came and found Eve alone
and deceived her, so also has it happened to me!”

—Proto-Evangelium of James 13 (tr. Elliott)

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Testament literature, 159–160. See also
specific Testaments

Testament of Moses, 166
Testament of Solomon, 167–168
Testaments of the Three Patriarchs,

Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,

160–162, 345–346
The Testimony of Truth, 232–233
Thecla (character), 262–264, 345
Third Epistle to the Corinthians, 264
Thomas (apostle), as doubting, 204
The Thought of Norea, 232
3 Baruch, book of, 141–142, 152
3 Enoch, book of, 149, 151, 152
3 Maccabees, book of, 71–72, 343
Throne of God, 136, 143
Tischendorff, Constantin (scholar), 14–15
Tobit, book of, 41, 66, 73–74
Torah, 34, 87–88
Tower of Babel, 141
tragedy, Greek, 123
Trajan (ruler), 246
Trallians, Ignatius letter to, 247
transition from oral tradition to written

word, 28–29

of Acts of John, 280
of Book of 1 Enoch, 100
of Jewish writings into Greek, 34–35
Nag Hammadi manuscripts as, 215

Treatise on Resurrection, 230–231
Treatise of Shem, 119–121, 317–318
Tripartite Tractate, 221–222, 234
Twelve Prophets, pieces of, 89
2 Baruch, book of, 140–141
2 Clement, book of, 252–254
2 Corinthians, book of, 150, 265–266
2 Enoch, book of, 149–151
2 Kings, book of

Baruch and, 139
history and, 50
Josiah in, 29
Manasseh in, 159
worshipping of stars in, 120

2 Maccabees, book of, 71
two paths

in The Didache, 242–243
in Epistle of Barnabas, 255

2 Peter, book of, 103
2 Samuel, book of, 50, 129, 139
two source theory, 196, 340

• V •
A Valentinian Exposition, 234
Valentinius (teacher), 224–225
Valentinus (Gnostic leader), 326
vice-regent of God, 106–107, 111
Vision of Ezra, 137
visionary writing. See apocalyptic writing
Vulgate (Jerome), 65, 67

• W •
wadi, 88
Wadi Daliyeh Papyri, 88
Wadi Seiyal manuscripts, 89
War Scroll, 90, 313
Watchers section of Book of 1 Enoch,

water imagery, 228, 320. See also Flood

weird books and writings, 311, 321
wisdom, personification of

by Gnostic Christians, 213
in Psalms of Dead Sea Scrolls, 158
as Sophia, 213–214
in Wisdom of Solomon, 77–78

Wisdom literature. See also wisdom,
personification of

in The Apocrypha, 77–79
Dead Sea Scrolls and, 92–93
Gnostic, in Nag Hammadi Library,

purpose of, 228
sources of, 115
as style of writing, 49–50

Wisdom of Solomon, book of, 41, 49, 77–78,

wise men, star and, 120

leadership of, 220, 262, 345
as strong characters, 291

Word of the Luminaries, 93–94


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• Y •
Yaldaboath (being), 213–214, 217
Yamnia, council at, 32

• Z •
Zacchaeus (tutor), in Infancy Gospel of

Thomas, 176–177
Zacharias (father of John the Baptist), 175

Zadok (priest), 91
Zakkai, Yohanon Ben (rabbi), 32
Zebulon (patriarch), testament of, 161–162
Zephaniah (prophet), 134
zodiac signs

in Dead Sea Scrolls, 95–96
in Testament of Solomon, 167
in Treatise of Shem, 119–120, 317–318

366 Lost Books of the Bible For Dummies

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