A second-century codex of Proto-James (Bodmer Papyrus 2) is in the Bodmer Library, Cologny, Switzerland.


See The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden (Collins-World, 1977), especially the introduction by Frank Crane. The book actually contains a selection of well-known materials including the Apostolic Fathers, the Odes of Solomon and the Proto-Evangelium Jacobi.

The term “Christian Apocrypha” is gaining favor over the older term “New Testament Apocrypha” for a number of reasons; one is that most of the Christian Apocrypha were alive and strong in the church before there was a New Testament.


We say “earliest Christian Apocrypha” because there are Christian Apocrypha that are products of every period of church history, including ours. Arguably, the most influential writing of the 13th century was Voragine’s Golden Legend, a retelling of the lives of the saints, much of it based on the ancient Christian Apocrypha. Edgar Goodspeed wrote an important volume (Modern Apocrypha [Boston: Beacon Press, 1956]), as did Per Beskow (Strange Tales About Jesus [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, [1979]). Unfortunately, both are out of print.

Discussions of the dating of these documents and other technical matters are in Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, trans. R. McClain Wilson, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1991); and J.K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).


Throughout this article the numbering of “chapter” and “verse” are those in Elliott, Apocryphal New Testament.


Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis VII, c. 16.


Gregory, Epistolae 9.289; 11.10. See Herbert Kessler, “Pictorial Narrative and Church Mission in Sixth-Century Gaul,” in Pictorial Narrative in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), pp. 75–91.


The style of the images on the cross reflects those scenes established by the end of the fifth century. The cross is actually a cross-shaped box measuring 10 5/8 inches by 7 1/8 inches by 1 3/8 inches.


The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is derived from a Western church version of the Proto-Gospel of James. Both are early gospels.


See references in the Acts of Peter, the Acts of John, the Acts of Andrew and the Martyrdom of Perpetua.


This is recorded by the fourth-century theologian and heresiologist Epiphanius. See his Panarion 49.1.3, quoted in Ross S. Kraemer, Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988), p. 230.


See Thomas Mathews, The Clash of Gods (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 139. For more on this issue, see Mathews, chap. 5.


Tertullian, On Baptism 1.17.