Monday, May 06, 2013

Jewish-Christian Gospels

PHILIP JENKINS continues his series on biblical apocrypha and pseudepigrapha: JEWISH-CHRISTIAN GOSPELS. Excerpt:
Just what these “Jewish-Christian” readings were raises serious questions about the transmission of the gospel text. Orthodox church scholars cite them as the products of a heretical school of belief, labeled by a sectarian name like “Ebionites.” But looking at the readings in detail, it is an open question whether a sect added these words themselves for their own purposes. Or, more intriguing, were they preserving the oldest textual reading, which later dropped out of the canonical gospels?

Repeatedly, we find that readings commonly dismissed as belonging to that marginal Jewish-Christian school reflect the gospel text as it would have been known to such venerated Fathers as Ignatius (c.110), Justin Martyr (c.160) or Tertullian (c.200). Often, scholars assume that the writers in question were confused in their memory of the exact wording of the text, but some readings occur so frequently that they seem to have been standard at this very early time. Besides the Jewish-Christian texts, some also appear in such early gospels as Peter and Thomas.
Earlier posts in the series are noted here and links.