Explore the mysterious "Lost Books" of the Bible
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.
Selections from lost texts referenced in the Old Testament, the Old Testament apocryphal and pseudopigraphal books
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
Gospel of Judas
Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Mary Magdalen
(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.
I write informative and inspirational Bible study material exclusively for subscribers to my monthly newsletter, eBibleTeacher. It also tells you each month about the new information that I have added to free-online-bible-study.org. So please subscribe today!
Please subscribe to my Bible Study Blog. By subscribing to the RSS feed (see the left
column), you keep up-to-date with all the new free-online-bible-study.org pages as they go up, as well as all special postings.
New! CommentsHave your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
I write informative and inspirational Bible study material exclusively for subscribers to to my monthly newsletter, eBibleTeacher.
It also tells you each month about the new information that I have added to free-online-bible-study.org. So please subscribe today!
Visit our Free-Online-Bible-Study.org aStore powered by Amazon.com. to view books and other study resources reviewed or referenced on this web page.
Then explore our entire aStore. We have built a Category Page as a resource companion for each article on our Free-Online-Bible-Study.org website.
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.
Check out opportunities to further your education in religious studies, philosophy, history and practical ministry.