Apocryphal Gospels, Conspiracy Theories, and the Mainstream Media

One thing that I have observed over the years is that major media outlets love apocryphal gospels.  Whenever the person of Jesus is discussed–usually at Easter and Christmas–there is always a discussion about how the real story of Jesus has been suppressed and can only now be found in these lost gospels.

Sweeping claims are then made about how there was no agreement on much of anything in the first four centuries of the faith and that other stories of Jesus circulated by the thousands. Only after Constantine came along does the church decide which books to accept (and then subsequently denies all other books admission to the club).

When …

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Five “Fake News” Stories That People Believe about Early Christianity

There’s been a lot of chatter about “fake news” in recent months.  Some stories, even though they have no basis in fact, are told so often, and with such conviction, that large numbers of people end up believing them anyway.

And some of these fake news stories even dupe legitimate political figures who repeat the story without realizing it is false.  And, of course, once a mainstream political figure repeats a story then it becomes even more entrenched in the national psyche.

While some of these fake news stories are rather harmless, others have become quite dangerous.  Most famous perhaps is the “Pizza Gate” incident in 2016 where …

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World Magazine and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

I just noticed that the most recent print edition of World Magazine had a write up on the recent “discovery” of the so-called Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, a purportedly fourth-century Coptic gospel where Jesus refers to “my wife.”  The online link can be found here.

The World Magazine article referred to my original discussion of this fragment published on the TGC website here.   The article picked up on one of the most critical points I was trying to make in my original discussion: “of all the known ‘gospels’ of Christ, ‘only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are dated to the first century.'”

This is a rather simple, …

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The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife—Authentic or Not?

Yesterday, during the break for my Gospels class (and ironically just prior to my lectures on apocryphal gospels), I received the big news about the discovery of a new apocryphal gospel fragment.  This fragment—aptly named The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife—contains a story where Jesus refers to “My wife” and is dated to the fourth century.  No doubt this will reignite the firestorm felt during the release of The Da Vinci Code many years ago, and the major media outlets will be asking again about whether Jesus was married.

Since yesterday’s announcement, I have been inundated with emails and phone calls asking for my assessment of this new fragment.  So, I …

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My Interview on the NT Canon with Apologetics 315

A couple of weeks ago I did an interview with Brian Auten over at Apologetics 315 ministries.  We discussed early Christianity, canon formation, apocryphal gospels, heresy and orthodoxy, and a number of other important matters related to the origins of the New Testament. Much of the discussion centered on my recent book, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books.

You can check out the interview here.…

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