Is P.Oxy. 5575 the Only Manuscript that Mixes Synoptic Material with the Gospel of Thomas?

Back in September of 2023, I published an article on the newly discovered “gospel” manuscript from Oxyrhynchus: “New ‘Gospel’ Manuscript Discovered? (What it Is and Why it Matters).”

That manuscript, labelled P.Oxy. 5575, is a small papyrus manuscript dated to the second-century that exhibits a most notable feature, namely that it apparently contains a conglomeration of material from Matthew (6:25-26, 28-33) and Luke (12:22, 24, 27-31), and this Matt/Luke material is laid alongside portions from the Gospel of Thomas (27, 36, 63).

Indeed, it is this feature that has generated all the online buzz. Why? Because this is purportedly the only known manuscript that mixes Synoptic material with material from …

Continue reading...

Why Are People So Fascinated with ‘Lost’ Books of the Bible?

Exactly one month ago, I published a TGC article on the recently discovered ‘gospel’ manuscript from Oxyrhynchus, P.Oxy. 5575. This new manuscript is noteworthy for many reasons (which I cover in the article), but mostly because it includes material from the Gospel of Thomas laid alongside material from Matthew and Luke.

While such a discovery certainly deserves academic attention, the internet “buzz” generated by this new manuscript has been fascinating to watch. Indeed, it reminds me that there always seems to be a disproportionate cultural fascination with “lost” Gospel or “hidden” texts about Jesus.  Write an article about the canonical Gospels and you might get a few hits. Write an …

Continue reading...

All Gospels Are Not Created Equal: My Wall Street Journal Review of “The Apocryphal Gospels”

Most people have never read one of the “apocryphal” Gospels—that is, a gospel that was not included in our Bibles. For that matter, most people have never read one of the canonical Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Perhaps they’ve read snippets here and there, but very few have read them straight through.

Even so, there seems to be no shortage of opinions about the nature of ancient Gospels and how they functioned in the early church.  Dramatic claims—typically filtered through blog articles and internet lore—are the order of the day.  There were hundreds of “other” Gospels in the early church, we are told. No one knew which Gospels they …

Continue reading...

Jesus in the Canonical and Apocryphal Gospels: Simon Gathercole to Give Harold O.J. Brown Lectures at @RTSCharlotte

For our annual Harold O.J. Brown Lectures at RTS Charlotte, we are pleased to Welcome Dr. Simon Gathercole, professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Cambridge University.

On March 22, 11AM-2PM, Dr. Gathercole will be giving two lectures (with a provided lunch in between) on the theme of “Jesus in Canonical and Apocryphal Gospels.”

Certainly this lecture will be of great interest to all who want to understand what makes our gospels unique as opposed to the variety of apocryphal gospels in existence. I am particularly interested in this topic myself as I did my Ph.D. research on an apocryphal gospel fragment, P.Oxy. 840 (see my book, The

Continue reading...

What About the “Lost” Books of the Bible?

In modern studies of the NT canon, there is a lot of discussion (maybe even obsession!) with so-called ‘lost’ books of the Bible. So, we have recent book titles like Lost Scriptures, Forgotten Scriptures, and The Lost Bible.

In fact, scholar Philip Jenkins even wrote a whole book documenting (and critiquing) the academic community’s fascination with this theme: Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way.

So what do we with these other books of the New Testament?  A few quick thoughts.

First, most of these books weren’t really ‘lost.’  The early church fathers were very much aware of these other books.  Indeed, they …

Continue reading...