Lost scriptures : books that did not make it into the New Testament

by Bart D. Ehrman

Hardcover, 2003




New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.


"We may think of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as the only sacred writings of the early Christians, but this is not at all the case. Lost Scriptures 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 for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia." "Lost Scriptures gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era. It is an essential resource for anyone interested in the Bible or the early Church."--BOOK JACKET.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jontseng
Fascinating reading. Just don't take it as Gospel!
LibraryThing member uujeff
Excellent resource on important writings that offer alternative explanations to the events and people around the Christian mythos.
LibraryThing member mldavis2
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 of Christianity that died out and were lost.

This book is a companion and sequel to Ehrman's book The Lost Christianities which gives the historical background of the fits and starts, successes and failures of the early believers. I would strongly recommend reading that book first, and there are frequent references to it in the footnotes. The current book is a collection of the writings from that time and includes much from the recently discovered Nag Hammadi library and other recently found sources as well as other writings passed over for one reason or another.

Ehrman is a biblical archaeologist and as such deals with facts, translations and examples. It is not a book of faith and belief, and Ehrman gives only a brief contextual introduction to each translation. The translations contain letters, gospels and apocalyptic writings not found in the current canon, and those who hold the current biblical canon as "inerrant" may well be shocked when they venture outside of their familiar comfort zone to realize what's out there and what got left behind. Highly recommended to open minded readers who want to see the bible in its historical context.
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