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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter sets out to situate non-canonical epistles in the wider literary context of letter writing in Late Antiquity and in the historical context of early Christianity. It notes that letters appear to be less prominent among Early Christian Apocrypha than they are in other collections of Christian texts, such as the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers, and in early Christian literature more widely. One possible explanation is that letters that might have been considered apocryphal were in fact accepted among early collections that came to be included in the New Testament. Another possibility is that some apocryphal letters have been neglected and are therefore less well known that they might be. The remainder of the chapter surveys a number of these texts.

Keywords: non-canonical letters, 3 Corinthians, Letter to the Laodiceans, letters of Seneca and Paul, Pseudo-Titus, Letter of Peter to Philip, Apocryphon of James, Epistula Apostolorum, letters of Jesus and Abgar, Letter of Lentulus

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