“Gnostic Gospels”: Texts Excluded from the Bible

The New Testament comprises the most influential texts in contemporary Christianity. However, not all the Christian texts from the first few centuries of the Common Era made it into the Bible. In the fourth century the Roman Church tried to destroy certain texts and eliminate them from circulation among early Christians. Fortunately, many of these texts survive today, and they tell interesting new stories of Jesus and the disciples. These excluded texts are now referred to as apocryphal, non-canonical texts, or sometimes even gnostic gospels. During this six-week course, we will look into the various reasons why these texts were not included in the Bible and understand the circumstances surrounding their creation and circulation.

We will historically analyze the primary sources in order to compare the accounts of Jesus outlined in these apocryphal texts with those found in the New Testament. Through lectures and group discussions, we will examine the impact of these texts in their historical context and see how they still influence popular Christian thought today.

Instructor

Emily Laflèche is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her doctoral dissertation examines sex, gender and marriage in antiquity. Her other research interests include the New Testament, Christian apocryphal texts and the role of women in early Christianity.

Faculty of Arts

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Society and History

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The New Testament comprises the most influential texts in contemporary Christianity. However, not all the Christian texts from the first few centuries of the Common Era made it into the Bible. In the fourth century the Roman Church tried to destroy certain texts and eliminate them from circulation among early Christians. Fortunately, many of these texts survive today, and they tell interesting new stories of Jesus and the disciples. These excluded texts are now referred to as apocryphal, non-canonical texts, or sometimes even gnostic gospels. During this six-week course, we will look into the various reasons why these texts were not included in the Bible and understand the circumstances surrounding their creation and circulation.

We will historically analyze the primary sources in order to compare the accounts of Jesus outlined in these apocryphal texts with those found in the New Testament. Through lectures and group discussions, we will examine the impact of these texts in their historical context and see how they still influence popular Christian thought today.

Instructor

Emily Laflèche is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her doctoral dissertation examines sex, gender and marriage in antiquity. Her other research interests include the New Testament, Christian apocryphal texts and the role of women in early Christianity.

Sponsor(s)/Partner(s): 

Faculty of Arts

Title: 

“Gnostic Gospels”: Texts Excluded from the Bible

Course Code: 

660

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