Explore the mysterious "Lost Books" of the Bible



The lost books of the Bible include the mysterious world of non-canonical books referred to in the Bible, as well as apocryphal, pseudopigraphal, and Gnostic works.

A lost work may be a document or literary work produced in the past of which no surviving (extant) copies are known to exist. Works may be lost either through the destruction of the original manuscript, or through the non-survival of any copies of the work. Deliberate destruction of works constitutes literary vandalism. In some cases fragments may survive, either found by archaeology or because they are quoted in other works.

The term is most commonly applied to works from the classical world. The idea of lost books of the Bible is often extended to include known but disputed books of the Bible known as apocryphal (hidden) books as well as pseudopigraphal books (i.e. books written under a pen name), which were excluded from the biblical canon.

Lost works from the first two centuries of the Common Era are often associated with Gnosticism. Early traces of Gnostic beliefs influencing Hebraic metaphysical thought and mystical experience can be found in the library of the Essenes (2nd century BCE to 1st century CE) discovered in caves at Qumran near the Dead Sea in 1947. Scholars continue to debate the extent of the influence of this proto-Gnostic thought on the emerging literature of the early church period.

The following is by no means an exhaustive list of the lost books of the Bible, far from it. However, these are the more interesting books and traditions that I selected to include in my course on Lost Books of the Bible that I teach at Columbus State University. Use the links below to read articles based on my lectures.

Lost biblical texts

Hexapla, a compilation of the Old Testament by Origen.

Q document, a hypothetical New Testament Gospel source text.

Selections from lost texts referenced in the Old Testament, the Old Testament apocryphal and pseudopigraphal books

Book of Jashar

Acts of Solomon

Lost Book of Enoch

Assumption of Moses

Pseudo lost books of the Bible and Ancient Near East

Lost Book of Enki

Lost books of the New Testament

Several lost books are referred to in the New Testament, for which we have no extant copies. These are a letter to Corinth (written before the canonical 1 Corinthians), an earlier letter to the Ephesians, a letter from Laodicea to the Colossians, and earlier letter of John, and a missing letter of Jude.

More interesting are the extant manuscripts and fragments of so-called Gnostic gospels and pseudopigraphal letters, which were not accepted in to the New Testament canon. The New Testament apocrypha are various writings by early Christians that give accounts of Jesus and his teachings, the nature of God, or the teachings of the apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with books regarded as canonical.

The following of these so-called lost books of the Bible are included in my lecture series:

(Syriac) Infancy Gospel

Gospel of Thomas

Secret Mark

Gospel of Judas

Gospel of Peter

Gospel of Mary Magdalen

Gospel of Matthias

(Gospel of) Cerinthus

Acts of Pilate

Epistle to the Laodiceans

Epistle of Barnabas

Apocalypse of Peter

Apocryphon of John



Would you like to host a Lost Books of the Bible seminar at your church, Bible school, or Bible study group?

The class requires eight to ten hours of class time. This is ideal for a weekend seminar.

I am able to conduct a seminar at your church, school, or study group throughout the United States and Canada. I am also available to teach

in other countries on a more limited basis.

Contact me for more information.

Contact me for more information.


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I have listed various books and resources dealing with the fascinating subject of the Lost Books of the Bible. All these are worthy of your careful reading or viewing, but you do not have to agree with every theory proposed or conclusion drawn.



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