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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the production of early Christian apocryphal writings as an act of biblical interpretation. Particular attention is given to the ‘parabiblical’ nature of many such writings—that is, the ways in which these texts often reflect parallel development of traditions that came to be included in the biblical canon. Many early Gospel traditions and Pauline apocrypha preserve independent, even rival versions of the earliest Christian traditions. For the historian, these texts frequently share equal importance with the canonical traditions in the effort to understand the earliest formation of the Christian biblical traditions. Other early Christian apocrypha relate to the canon in a more supplementary fashion. These serve to fill major gaps in the New Testament tradition, some having a more direct connection to the canonical texts than others.

Keywords: apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, parabiblical literature, biblical canon, Gospels, Pauline literature

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