Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay discusses the relationship of those writings that originated in the same period as the emergence of the New Testament canon (second to fourth century CE), but which did not gain canonical status. Christian writings were first categorized as 'accepted', 'disputed', and 'rejected'; the terms 'canon' and 'canonical' were not applied before the fourth century. A closer look is devoted to non-canonical gospels (e.g. the gospels of Peter, Thomas, and Judas), non-canonical acts (the Acts of John, Paul, and Peter), and Jewish apocalypses (the Ascension of Isaiah, 5 and 6 Ezra, and the Greek Apocalypse of Peter). The relationship of non-canonical writings to those that gained canonical status varies: some are legendary elaborations of older traditions while others formulate dissenting views on the meaning of Jesus and his activity. The non-canonical writings are therefore important witnesses for a multifaceted history of Christianity in its first centuries.

Keywords: canon, accepted, disputed, and rejected writings, non-canonical gospels, apocryphal acts of the apostles, apocryphal apocalypses

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.