Hidden Gospels

Hidden Gospels : How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way

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The rediscovery of several lost texts of early Christianity, which contain long-lost accounts of the life of Jesus, has aroused great public interest and media excitement. Some writers claim that these "hidden gospels" - particularly the famous Gospel of Thomas - provide revolutionary new information about the life of Jesus and about the early days of Christianity. This book tells how these ancient works were rediscovered, and how and why people came to make such far-reaching claims about them, claims which could have a dramatic effect on the faith and practice of contemporary Christianity. Although these texts have received a great deal of attention, Jenkins argues, their historical value is vastly inflated. "Hidden Gospels" debunks excessive claims about the historical value and importance of these texts, and argues that the writings are popular because they seem to justify radical, feminist, and post-modern positions in the modern churches.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 268 pages
  • 162.6 x 241.3 x 24.1mm | 582.25g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 table
  • 0195135091
  • 9780195135091

Review quote

Racy and provocative study ... entertaining. Journal of Theological Studies Timely and well-researched book ... This book is a welcome antidote to contemporary fashions ... Jenkins has struck a belated and unfashionable blow for commonsense. Journal of Ecclesiastical History An excellent book ... It combines a substantial knowledge of recent NT study with a sensitivity to the wider intellectual and cultural context that lends such study its greatest importance. It is written with the great intellectual virtues of care, rigour and lucidity, and is yet accessible to a wide readership ... it is very well informed, written in a style untrammelled by professional jargon, and betrays nothing in the way of an 'agenda' or idee fixe. Scottish Journal of Theology A sober, and sobering, account of how some scholars have enthusiastically embraced "new" or "hidden" gospels which just happen to support certain currently fashionable ideologies--and of just how unwarranted such claims actually are. N.T. Wright DD, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey Jenkins has brilliantly identified the mythic dimension of the recent fascination with hidden gospels and alternative Christianities. Luke Timothy Johnson, author of The Real Jesus Jenkins makes clear that the inflated claims of the boosters of the Gospel of Thomas are neither well founded nor all that new. This book places the recent 'selling of Nag Hammadi' within the larger context of American academic politics, social trends, and New Age religions, and does all this in a manner that remains accessible to the general reader. John P. Meier, author of A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus One of the many services of Mr Jenkins's fine, carefully argued book is to put discussion about what happened in Palestine 2,000 years ago on more reliable ground. George Sim Johnston, Wall Street Journal (Europe),show more

Table of contents

Hiding and Seeking; Fragments of a Faith Forgotten; The First Gospels? Q and Thomas; Gospel Truth; Hiding Jesus; Daughters of Sophia; Into the Mainstream; The Gospels in the Media; The Next New Gospel.show more

About Philip Jenkins

Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of many books, including Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Social Crisis and Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History. He lives in University Park, PA.show more

Rating details

57 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 25% (14)
4 49% (28)
3 19% (11)
2 5% (3)
1 2% (1)
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