This book brings together a collection of chapter length treatments on the most significant of the non-canonical gospels. A particular strength of the volume is that it draws upon the research of leading experts in the field and clearly and concisely communicates the most hotly contested issues surrounding each text. While a key function of each chapter is to make the current academic debates accessible to a wider audience, these treatments are not simply overviews or survey articles. They also present fresh perspectives on a number of points, and critically assess the most recent trends in scholarship. As such, they will provide an ideal entry point for advanced undergraduate courses and taught Masters programmes.
The structure of the book is divided up in an easily useable format. There is an introduction which underscores the significance of the non-canonical texts both for the original readers and for contemporary audiences. This chapter by Keith Elliott also traces important moments in the reception of a number of these texts both in art and literature. Next follows the main sequence of chapters dealing with individual texts. Texts such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, and the Gospel of Mary are treated first due to the impact they have had to varying degrees on Historical Jesus research. Other texts are grouped in various subgroups: the two infancy gospels follow each other, and the more fragmentary texts are also closely linked in the arrangement. The book presents one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date discussions of a range of texts that continue to be of interest to scholars and wider readers. The discussions should clarify a number of popular misconceptions and allow for a more informed debate. The scholars who contribute to this collection represent an eclectic range of views and theological outlooks. No attempt has been made to impose a prescribed perspective. Rather, the leading experts have been consulted to produce fresh and stimulating treatments.
The book will include contributions from Andrew Gregory (Oxford), Christopher Tuckett (Cambridge), April DeConick (Rice), and Simon Gathercole (Aberdeen), among others.