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 …

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Apocryphal Gospels 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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