The Apocryphal Jesus

The Apocryphal Jesus : Legends of the Early Church

Edited by J. K. Elliott

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This accessible selection of the most important and significant of the remarkable and often bizarre apocryphal stories surrounding the life of Jesus and the Early Church has established a reputation as an invaluable introduction to the genre of Christian apocryphal literature. J. K. Elliott clearly explains the scholarly importance of the genre and introduces each section of texts with reference to biblical texts and later church history. Stories found in this selection include Jesus' birth in a cave, his childhood escapades, his secret sayings, and his descent to the underworld; the torments in Hell; Saint Paul baptizing a lion; the death of Pontius Pilate and Saint Peter being crucified upside down. These all come from early Christian legends which did not get into the Bible, yet have had a profound influence on art, literature, and theology from the second century through the Middle Ages and even modern times. Some of the stories included here, especially those involving the Virgin Mary, have affected matters of doctrine; others have influenced the church's teaching on the after life, whilst from the apocryphal Acts there are some of the best examples of accounts of the lives of Christianity's earliest saints.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 138 x 212 x 22mm | 299.37g
  • 15 Oct 2008
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0199544026
  • 9780199544028
  • 1,055,097

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Author Information

Edited by J. K. Elliott, University of Leeds.

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Review quote

Wonderfully readable and ... untendentious, accurate, and often literarily clever ... an important, reliable, attractive, and enduring contribution to the study of early Christian literature Novum Testamentum Attractively produced, with a short general introduction and comments on each of the groups of extracts, this offers a splendid insight into some of the stories which Christians in the second and third centuries read. The Expository Times Provides a splendid way of giving students as well as the general reader access to texts that are so important for an appreciation of the breadth of religious practice and imagination in the early Christian period ... Highly recommended for scholarly as well as general libraries. Religious Studies Review

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Back cover copy

Jesus' birth in a cave, his childhood escapades, his secret sayings, and his descent to the underworld; the torments in Hell; Saint Paul baptizing a lion; the death of Pontius Pilate and Saint Peter being crucified upside down. These are among the fascinating stories found in this present selection. They all come from early Christian legends which are not found in the Bible, but yet have had a profound influence on art, literature, and theology from the second century through the Middle Ages and even to modern times. Some of the stories included here, especially those involving the Virgin Mary, have affected matters of doctrine; others have influenced the church's teaching on the afterlife - whilst from the apocryphal Acts are some of the best examples of accounts of the lives of Christianity's earliest saints. In this book Dr Elliott provides introductions to each of the most important and significant of these remarkable and often bizarre apocryphal texts.

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