- The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Apocrypha
- List of Figures
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: What is Early Christian Apocrypha?
- Texts about Jesus: Non-canonical Gospels and Related Literature
- Apocryphal Texts about Other Characters in the Canonical Gospels
- Narratives about the Apostles: Non-canonical Acts and Related Literature
- Non-canonical Epistles and Related Literature
- Non-canonical Apocalypses and Prophetic Works
- The Influence of Jewish Scriptures on Early Christian Apocrypha
- Who Read Early Christian Apocrypha?
- The Formation of the New Testament Canon and Early Christian Apocrypha
- ‘Useful for the Soul’: Christian Apocrypha and Christian Spirituality
- Christology and Soteriology in Apocryphal Gospels
- Christology and Soteriology in Apocryphal Acts and Apocalypses
- The <i>Gospel of Thomas</i> and the Historical Jesus
- Other Apocryphal Gospels and the Historical Jesus
- Christian Apocrypha and the Developing Role of Mary
- The Apocryphal Mary in Early Christian Art
- The Role of the Apostles
- Judaism and Anti-Judaism in Early Christian Apocrypha
- Eschatology and the Fate of the Dead in Early Christian Apocrypha
- Liturgy and Early Christian Apocrypha
- Roman Imperialism: The Political Context of Early Christian Apocrypha
- Encratism, Asceticism, and the Construction of Gender and Sexual Identity in Apocryphal Gospels
- Encratism and the Apocryphal Acts
- Early Christian Apocrypha in Popular Culture
- Early Christian Apocrypha in Contemporary Theological Discourse
- Index of Modern Authors
- Index of Subjects and Ancient Texts
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
Andrew Gregory is Chaplain and Fellow of University College, Oxford
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.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.