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Jesus’ secret life: what are the Apocryphal Gospels?

The books, that the Church never wanted to be discovered, show very few known things about Jesus Christ.

For many centuries, the life of Jesus Christ has been one of the great mysteries for academics, the faithful, and even non-believers. Despite the existence of the four Gospels in the Bible recognized by the Church (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the reality is that many other people also lived with or heard about Jesus Christ at the time. What they saw, and also what they were told, was captured in a series of books that could shake the traditional view of Jesus of Nazareth.

What are the Apocryphal Gospels?

The Apocryphal Gospels are a series of writings about the life of Jesus that was written after his death in Jerusalem but were never approved by the Church. What does this mean? In practical terms, these texts are simply not “official” for Christianity and its different branches, such as Catholicism and even Orthodoxy.

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In 325 AD, from the Council of Nicaea, the Church outlined the four Gospels officially recognized by the Church: the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, and the Gospel of John. Some decades later, during Councils such as those of Hippo, Trent, and Laodicea, these were ratified. From that moment on, and with the passing of the centuries, any other writing related to the life of Jesus was considered outside the canon, that is, something “unofficial” or “unrecognized.”

When were the Apocryphal Gospels written?

Like the traditional biblical passages, the Apocryphal Gospels were written in the first centuries after the death of Jesus Christ. Stories seen by eyewitnesses or collected orally (as was the case at the time) were captured in different texts to learn more details about the life of Jesus of Nazareth. However, according to the Church, most of them were false or simply exaggerated details about what happened. In short, they were almost labeled as fanciful.

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Who wrote the Apocryphal Gospels?

Among the best-known, Apocryphal Gospels are those of Peter, James, Mary Magdalene, Philip, and Thomas. However, according to experts, the fact that they are so-called does not mean that these important characters wrote their experiences. In fact, many of these texts were written by strangers, but they used these recognized names to gain notoriety.

What do the Apocryphal Gospels talk about?

In essence, the Apocryphal Gospels talk about the life of Jesus, although, unlike the Bible, on many occasions, they give more details about what happened. For example, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, how Joseph was chosen as the husband of Mary, how volatile Jesus was during his childhood, the impressive miracles he performed as a child, his misbehavior, and even his resurrection. On another very important point, several Apocryphal Gospels also reveal more details about the Passion of Jesus. One passage, in particular, is very famous because it takes much of the responsibility for the event away from Pontius Pilate and practically gives it to Herod.

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These texts have captured the imagination of people for ages, even inspiring some of the most intriguing tales that refute those in the New Testament.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva News

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