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The Lost Books of the Bible (Dover Value Editions) Paperback – January 12, 2006

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Language Notes

Text: English (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Suppressed by the early church fathers who compiled the Bible, these apocryphal books have been shrouded in silence for centuries. Here are the Apostles' Creed, the girlhood and betrothal of Mary, the childhood of Jesus-told in all their warmth, intimacy and humanity. Translated from the Original Tongues, with 32 illustrations from Ancient Paintings and Missals. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Value Editions
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486443906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486443904
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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224 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Steven Augart on May 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a reprinting (no updates) of a text published in 1928. It contains Christian (New Testament) "apocrypha and pseudepigrapha" (hereafter NTAP) -- books which some considered to be scripture in the past, but which were not included in the canonical Bible as used by mainstream Christians today.

This book (available in several different printings, sometimes bound with "The Lost Books of Eden") is the most economical way to get acquainted with this material. It includes some simple critical notes describing the origins of these texts. If you have a larger budget, the current standard edition (available through AMAZON.COM) is Schneemelcher's "New Testament Apocrypha."

The original publication dates are important here, because biblical archaeology and textual studies have progressed substantially in the past seventy years. For example, this book predates the discovery of the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, and accordingly does not include it.

The NTAP is the source of many Christian traditions. For instance, many believe that Mary's mother was Saint Anne. The only written source for this information is the "Protovangelion", in the NTAP.

On the other hand, The "Infancy Gospel", included in this book, claims to tell stories of the early days of Jesus's life. I think any committed Christian reading the "Infancy Gospel" would understand why the Church Fathers believed it was not Inspired and therefore did not include it in the canonical Bible. It presents Jesus as divine, yet also having the personality of a five-year-old boy. For example: "When the Lord Jesus was coming home in the evening with Joseph, he met a boy who ran so hard against him, that he threw him down; To whom the Lord Jesus said `As thou hast thrown me down, so shalt thou fall, nor ever rise.' And that moment the boy fell down and died." (I infancy, Ch. XIX, vv. 22-24)
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Hardman on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A good variety and collection of books which, for whatever reason, were excluded by the early Church councils from what became the Old Testament and New Testament.

Initially published as a group in 1926, each one of the "Lost Books" includes a brief introduction giving background and history. Like the editors of this two-part volume, I do not feel it is necessary to share my opinion of the historicity of these works, each reader can decide for him or herself what is shadow and what is worthy in his own esteem, and consider the debate which at one time engulfed some of these books.

This volume is divided into two sections. The first is called "Lost Books of the Bible", and includes works which deal with Jesus & Company, and may at one time have been considered part of the New Testament Gospel in various bishoprics (prioe to successive Councils and later the establishment of Roman and other Orthodox sects). Includes are the following 26 "lost" books:

Mary, Protevangelion, I. Infancy, II. Infancy, Christ and Abgarus, Nicodemus, The Apostles' Creed, Laodiceans, Paul and Senica, Paul and Thecla, I. Clement, II. Clement, Barnabus, Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, Polycarp, Philippians, I. Hermas-Visions, II. Herman-Commands, III. Hermas-Similitudes, Letters of Herod and Pilate, The Last Gospel of Peter

There is even room in the margin for little notes to yourself as you read. I found it helpful to devote a specific portion of time to each chapter and consider its implications, weigh the quality of the writing, etc. This is an interesting window into the formation of Christianity during its first several hundred years. Also, don't miss the book "The Lost Books of Eden", which covers *JEWISH WORKS* :) which were not included in the Canon due to their more recent origin (ONLY about 2,200-2,000 years old).
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Davis on January 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Originally published in 1926, the 1979 edition of this work purports to illustrate religious works "not included" by the compilers of the New Testament. It is an interesting read, with each book prefaced by scholarly opinions of how legitimate the material is. Some books directly echo the accepted New Testament, such as the book `Infancy' and `Mary'; others have the same title, such as `Ephesians', with some of the same ideas as found in the New Testament. Others, such as the books dealing with Pontius Pilate, seem to contain historical inaccuracies (such as who exactly the Roman emperor was at the time), which lead to doubt about authenticity (although it is interesting to read). I would recommend this book, although it is dense, and the print is NOT reader-friendly, as a companion piece to other `apocryphal' literature, but a newer edition might be more instructive.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A collection of ancient Christian documents, some of which were considered and rejected when the New Testament was being compiled. I found it very interesting, particularly regarding Jesus's and Mary's childhoods.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Mike Dillemuth on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains many writings that were simply left out of the final version of the Bible. The inside flap notes that the church suppressed many of these documents. Nevertheless, these writings do not provide any information that is truly spectacular by 21st Century standards. These documents were likely omitted because they did not fit into the neat chronology of the Bible, showed women in a stronger role than was acceptable in medieval times, or suggested that Christ made mistakes as a youth.

"The Acts of Paul and Thecla" describe a woman who helped spread the word of God. The document clearly shows her as a strong woman and a true disciple. Church elders of the medieval period probably felt that a story of a strong female was inappropriate for women of that period. The events surrounding her persecution are filled with miracles. She survived attempts to kill her through burning and attacks by wild beasts. In the end, she disappeared into a crack in a rock that was created by God. God then closed the opening behind her.

The first part of the book describes the birth of the Virgin Mary and her marriage to Joseph. The book also contains writings that describe the adolescent years of Jesus and the magical powers of the cloth used to wrap him as a baby. Some events show Jesus in a less than perfect light. These writings nevertheless describe a part of the Gospel that is not widely known.

Some parts of the book flow easily while other writings are difficult to follow. The books of Hermas provide an example of easy reading and tedious reading. "The First Book of Hermas," tells an interesting story. He passes near a great beast, one hundred feet long with locusts coming out of its mouth.
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