From the 1890s onward, such sources inspired academic debate about Gnosticism and other heresies, as scholars argued whether Gnosticism was an offshoot of Christianity or of Judaism, or an entirely independent religion. Or was it indeed a vestige of the authentic message of earliest Christianity, suppressed by the sinister machinations of the later Great Church?Something like this conversation continues in 2017.
So for a curious lay person a century ago, what resources were available for the apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works that guided this Quest for the Alternative Jesus? Just from the English-language tradition, let me offer a partial list (I exclude scholarly editions in original languages):It's a long list.
Past posts in Professor Jenkins's "alternative scriptures" series are noted here and links. Cross-file under New Testament Apocrypha Watch.