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THE Lost Books OF THE BIBLE
BEING ALL THE GOSPELS, EPISTLES, AND OTHER PIECES NOW EXTANT ATTRIBUTED IN THE FIRST FOUR CENTURIES
HIS APOSTLES AND THEIR COMPANIONS
NOT INCLUDED, BY ITS COMPILERS, IN THE AUTHORIZED NEW TESTAMENT; AND, THE RECENTLY DISCOVERED SYRIAC MSS. OF PILATE’S LETTERS TO TIBERIUS, ETC.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL TONGUES
ILLUSTRATED FROM ANCIENT PAINTINGS AND MISSALS
New York: Alpha House
Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com, August 2009, by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the US because its copyright was not renewed in a timely fashion.
“Christ was the joyous boy of the fields. We are not permitted to think that the shadows of Calvary darkened His pathway as a youth, and the Apocryphal Books of the New Testament show a great deal of the early life of Christ not to be found in the four Evangelists.”
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INTRODUCTION TO THE LOST BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
By DR. FRANK CRANE
THE great things in this world are growths.
This applies to books as well as to institutions.
The Bible is a growth. Many people do not understand that it is not a book written by a single person, but it is a library of several books which were composed by various people in various countries. It is interesting to know how this library grew and upon what principle some books were accepted and some rejected.
Of course we may take people’s word for the reasons why certain books were chosen, but it is always satisfactory to come to our own conclusions by examining our own evidence.
This is what this Lost Books of the Bible enables us to do. We can examine the books of the Scriptures which we have in the authorized version, and then in this book we can read those scriptures which have been eliminated by various councils in order to make up our standard Bible.
It is safe to say that a comparison of the accepted books with those rejected may be relied upon, for those books which were accepted are far superior in value to the others.
These others which are included in the Lost Books of the Bible comprise all kinds of stories, tales and myths.
No great figure appears in history without myths growing up about him. Every great personage becomes a nucleus or center about which folk tales cluster.
There are apocryphal tales about Napoleon, about Charlemagne, about Julius Caesar and other outstanding characters.
It is impossible that a man representing so great a force as Jesus of Nazareth should appear in the world without finding many echoes of His personality in contemporary literature–many stories which grew up about Him as time elapsed.
What these tales and stories are, just how He appears to the fictional minds of His day and afterwards, it is interesting to note.
Very often the fiction writer depicts life and the great truth of life better than the historian. He does not pretend to write down what is exactly true, but he tinges all things with his imagination. His feelings, however, may be just and reliable.
The reading of this Lost Books of the Bible is interesting as a matter of course. All who in any way are attracted by the personage of Jesus are interested to know any stories that may have grown up about Him.
They are also valuable because they enable us to get many a point of view which otherwise would have been lost.
History may be true, but in a sense tradition is even truer. It has been said that history records what has been, but tradition tells what ought to have been.
It must be remembered also that such a thing as historical accuracy is a comparatively novel product. The older writers never dreamed of it. They wrote in order to be interesting, not to tell the truth. And it is a remarkable fact that the events recorded in the Holy Scriptures, as far as we can find out, were most of them veritable, and the chroniclers were truthful.
In this volume all these apocryphal volumes are presented without argument or commentation. The reader’s own judgment and common sense are appealed to. It makes no difference whether he is Catholic or Protestant or Hebrew. The facts are plainly laid before him. These facts for a long time have been the peculiar esoteric property of the learned. They were available only in the original Greek and Latin and so forth. Now they have been translated and brought in plain English before the eye of every reader.
The ordinary man has therefore the privilege of seeing upon what grounds the commonly accepted Scriptures rest. He can examine the pile of evidence and do his own sifting.
Thousands of people to-day look to the New Testament narrative as their leader and guide. It is important to know upon what authority this rests, and many a man will be delighted to find the evidence thus clearly presented before him.
The Lost Books of the Bible present all sorts of matter before the curious eye. There are stories about Mary and instances of her personal life. There are other stories about the boyhood of Jesus and instances about His crucifixion. All of these become important because of the central figure about whom they revolve.
No man has ever appealed to the imagination of the world and so played upon its feelings as has Jesus of Nazareth.
It is interesting to know what forms of stories and speculations about Him took place in the early period of the Christian era.
In other words, the ordinary man is invited to take his place in that council chamber which accepts and rejects the various writings of Scripture. It is safe to say that the conclusions desired can safely be left to his common sense. It can no longer be said that our Scriptures were accepted by learned men; you do not know that, but you must accept their conclusions. Now it is shown you upon what grounds these conclusions rest.
As a believer in the authenticity of our accepted Scriptures I have no hesitancy in saying that I am perfectly satisfied to let the common sense of the world decide upon the superiority of the accepted text.
The publication of this book will do good because it takes away the veil of secrecy that has hidden for many years the act of the church in accepting certain Scriptures and rejecting others. All of the grounds are rendered perfectly intelligible to the common man.
YOU will find between these covers all the ecclesiastical writings of early Christian authorities that are known to exist, and yet were omitted from the authorized New Testament.
They are published here as a matter of record. Whether they are canonical or not, at least these writings are of very great antiquity.
Origins are noted in paragraphs at the front of each book. This will enable the reader to form his own conclusions as to the genuineness of the writings. These writings are a vivid picture of the minds of men in the post-Apostolic period of the Church. Discount the statements from the historical viewpoint as you will–there remains in these gospels and epistles an earnestness of purpose, and zeal to express a message, similar to that of our authorized Bible.
An interesting question naturally arises as to why these writings were cast out in the selection of the material that has come down to us in the authorized version.
The compilation of the Bible was not an act of any definite occurrence. It was a matter complicated and abstruse. It was an evolution at the hands of Churchmen of various beliefs and purposes. In the formulation of early church doctrines there was dissension, personal jealousy, intolerance, persecution, bigotry. That out of this welter should have arisen the Bible, with its fine inspiration, would seem to present a plausible basis for belief in its Divine origin.
But who can deny that under such vicious and human circumstances much writing of as pure purpose and as profound sincerity as other that is included in the authorized Bible, must have been omitted? The story of the first council of Nice, when Arius was commanded by the Bishop of Alexandria to quit his beliefs or be declared a heretic, and his writings were ordered destroyed, is eloquent of many things that happened. Good men were engaged on both sides of the ecclesiastical controversies.
About two thirds of this volume is occupied with epistles. Beginning on page 91 you will discover otherwise generally unknown letters of Paul; and the illuminating letters of Clement and others, concluding with correspondence and reports of Herod, Pontius Pilate, and Tiberius Caesar.
Concerning these epistles Archbishop of Canterbury Wake, who translated them from the originals, says that here is a full and perfect collection of “all the genuine writings that remain to us of the Apostolic Fathers, and carry on the antiquity of the Church from the time of the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament to about a hundred and fifty years after Christ; that except the Holy Scriptures, there is nothing remaining of the truly genuine Christian antiquity more early; that they contain all that can with any certainty be depended upon of the most Primitive Fathers, who had not only the advantage of living in the apostolical times, of hearing the Holy Apostles, and conversing with them, but were most of them persons of a very eminent character in the church, too: that we cannot with any reason doubt of what they deliver to us as the Gospel of Christ, but ought to receive it, if not with equal veneration, yet but a little less respect than we do the Sacred Writings of those who were their masters and instructors;” and, “if,” says the Archbishop, “it shall be asked how I came to choose the drudgery of a translator, rather than the more ingenious part of publishing somewhat of my own composing, it was, in short, this; because I hoped that such writings as these would find a more general and unprejudiced acceptance with all sorts of men than anything that could be written by anyone now living.”
This collection of The Lost Books of the Bible, is published, without prejudice or motive, save that the reader may find whatever pleases and instructs him, and may be free to enjoy his own speculation and hold his own opinion of these ancient and beautiful writings.
New York, January 1, 1926.
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THE BIRTH OF THE VIRGIN. FROM A GREEK DIPYTCHON OF THE THIRTEENTH OR FOURTEENTH CENTURY
THE Lost Books of the Bible The GOSPEL of the BIRTH OF MARY.
[In the primitive ages there was a Gospel extant bearing this name, attributed to St. Matthew, and received as genuine and authentic by several of the ancient Christian sects. It is to be found in the works of Jerome, a Father of the Church, who flourished in the fourth century, from whence the present translation is made. His contemporaries, Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, and Austin, also mention a Gospel under this title. The ancient copies differed from Jerome’s, for from one of them the learned Faustus, a native of Britain, who became Bishop of Riez, in Provence, endeavoured to prove that Christ was not the Son of God till after his baptism; and that he was not of the house of David and tribe of Judah, because, according to the Gospel he cited, the Virgin herself was not of this tribe, but of the tribe of Levi; her father being a priest of the name of Joachim. It was likewise from this Gospel that the sect of the Collyridians, established the worship and offering of manchet bread and cracknels, or fine wafers, as sacrifices to Mary, whom they imagined to have been born of a Virgin, as Christ is related in the Canonical Gospel to have been born of her. Epiphanius likewise cites a passage concerning the death of Zacharias, which is not in Jerome’s copy, viz. “That it was the occasion of the death of Zacharias in the temple, that when he had seen a vision, he, through surprise, was willing to disclose it, and his mouth was stopped. That which he saw was at the time of his offering incense, and it was a man standing in the form of an ass. When he was gone out, and had a mind to speak thus to the people, Woe unto you, whom do ye worship? he who had appeared to him in the temple took away the use of his speech. Afterwards when he recovered it, and was able to speak, he declared this to the Jews, and they slew him. They add (viz. the Gnostics in this book), that on this very account the high-priest was appointed by their lawgiver (by God to Moses), to carry little bells, that whensoever he went into the temple to sacrifice, he, whom they worshipped, hearing the noise of the bells, might have time enough to hide himself; and not be caught in that ugly shape and figure.”–The principal part of this Gospel is contained in the Protevangelion of James, which follows next in order.]
1 The parentage of Mary. 7 Joachim her father, and Anna her mother, go to Jerusalem to the feast of the dedication. 9 Issachar the high priest reproaches Joachim for being childless.
THE blessed and ever glorious Virgin Mary, sprung from the royal race and family of David, was born in the city of Nazareth, and educated at Jerusalem, in the temple of the Lord.
2 Her father’s name was Joachim, and her mother’s Anna. The family of her father was of Galilee and the city of Nazareth. The family of her mother was of Bethlehem.
3 Their lives were plain and right in the sight of the Lord, pious and faultless before men. For they divided all their substance into three parts:
4 One of which they devoted to the temple and officers of the temple; another they distributed among strangers, and persons in poor circumstances; and the third they reserved for themselves and the uses of their own family.
5 In this manner they lived for about twenty years chastely, in the favour of God, and the esteem of men, without any children.
6 But they vowed, if God should favour them with any issue, they would devote it to the service of the Lord; on which account they went at every feast in the year to the temple of the Lord [*1]
7 And it came to pass, that when the feast of the dedication drew near, Joachim, with some others of his tribe, went up to Jerusalem, and at that time, Issachar was high-priest;
8 Who, when he saw Joachim along with the rest of his neighbours, bringing his offering, despised both him and his offerings, and asked him,
9 Why he, who had no children, would presume to appear among those who had? Adding, that his offerings could never be acceptable to God, who was