New Testament Apocrypha

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New Testament Apocrypha

Apocrypha
(greek ἀπόκρῠφος — hidden, secret)
Books that are not included in the biblical canon. It is not necessary to confuse the Apocrypha with the Gospel of Thomas and other forgery. Apocrypha are historical books, but not inspired, therefore do not enter into the canon.

These are the legendary and spurious Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles, which began to appear in the second century.
They were recognized as forgeries from the beginning. These books were deliberate attempts to fill gaps in the New Testament narrative of Jesus in order to promote heretical ideas.

There were about 50 fake "Gospels," along with many "Acts" and "Epistles."
The large number of these counterfeit writings flooding the world at the time forced the Early Church to act quickly and decisively in defining the difference between false and true.

Here is a list of some of the most famous forgeries with brief descriptions.


Pseudo-Gospels

Protoevangelium of James - II - V c.
events preceding the story of the Gospel. It presents Mary as the new Eve, describing events from Mary's birth to the beating of the infants at Bethlehem.

Libellus de Nativitate Sanctae Mariae - IV c.
A deliberate forgery written to further the cult of Virgin Mary worship. It tells the story of how the angels came to Mary every day. With the rise of the papacy, the book became very popular.

Transitus Mariae - IV c.
The book is replete with silly miracles and reaches its climax with the taking of Mary's pure and precious body into heaven. The book was written to coincide with the beginning of the cult of the worship of the Immaculate Virgin.

The Arabic Infancy Gospel - VII c.
It is replete with miracles during the couple's stay with the infant in Egypt. Extremely fantastic.

Gospel of Nicodemus - II - V centuries
includes the Acts of Pilate - supposedly a report to Emperor Tiberius on the trial of Jesus. The second is the resurrection of Jesus. This book is pure fantasy.

Gospel of the Hebrews - ~100 AD
as a supplement to the canonical Gospels with some alleged statements of Jesus.

Gospel of the Ebionites - II - IV c.
The Gospel of the Twelve, assembled from the synoptic Gospels in the interest of the Euionite doctrine.

Gospel of the Egyptians - 130 - 150 AD
The imaginary conversations between Jesus and Salome. It was used by the Egyptian heretic Sabelius.

Gospel of Peter - middle of II c.
based on the canonical Gospels, written in the interest of Docetite heresy.

Gospel According to Matthew - V c.
A fake translation of the Gospel of Matthew, replete with miracles as if Jesus had performed them as a child.

Gospel of Thomas - II c.
Shows Jesus from the age of 5 to 12, presenting Him as a miracle worker satisfying His childhood whims.

History of Joseph the Carpenter - IV c.
Glorifies Joseph the carpenter.

Epistle of Barnabas - 70 - 132 AD
Describes the perfect man, whose name is Jesus, who was born of water and this is the primary condition.

Epistle of Peter to James - late second c.
The vehement attack on Paul allegedly by Peter. A pure fabrication for the benefit of the heretic Ebionites.

Pseudo-Epistles

Epistle to the Laodiceans - ~130 AD
Claiming to be the message Paul mentions in Col.4:16. Abundant with many of Paul's phrases.

Epistle to Seneca the Younger - IV c.
is fake, intended to recommend Christianity to followers of Seneca, or Seneca to Christians.

Pseudo-Apocalypse

Apocalypse of Peter - 1st half of the II c
Narrates the vision of heaven and hell shown to Peter. Called a forgery by the historian Eusebius.

Apocalypse of Thomas - IV c.
An attempt to rewrite John's Revelation more clearly.

Apocalypse of Paul - IV c.
Midrash on 2 Cor 12:2-4. According to Blessed Augustine, it is "filled with tales."[7]

Pseudo-Acts

Acts of Paul - middle of II c.
It shows a romantic episode with an admonition for restraint. It also contains an imaginary epistle to the Corinthians considered lost.

Acts of Peter - end of II c.
contains the love adventures of Peter's daughter, the conflict with Simon the magician, and the narrative "Where are you going?"

Acts of John - end of II c.
about a purely imaginary visit to Rome, and gives a cringe-inducing picture of lustfulness.

Acts of Andrew - 180 AD
The story of Andrew persuading Maximilla to refrain from cohabitation with her husband, which led to his martyrdom.

Acts of Thomas - end of II c.
about his romantic adventures while traveling for sexual abstinence.

Acts of Philip - V c.
Mostly tell of his miracles.


The main characteristic of these writings is that they, being fictions, present themselves as history. For the most part they are so ridiculous that their falsity is self-evident.