Jesus' birth in a cave, his childhood, escapades, his secret sayings, and his descent to the underworld; the torments in Hell; Saint Paul baptizing a lion; the death of Pontius Pilate and Saint Peter being crucified upside down. These are among the fascinating stories found in this present selection. They all come from early Christian legends which did not get into the Bible, yet have had a profound influence on art, literature, and theology from the second century through the Middle Ages and even modern times. Some of the stories included here, especially those involoving the Virgin Mary, have affected matters of doctrine; others have influenced the church's teaching on the after life - whilst from the apocryphal Acts there are some of the best examples of accounts of the lives of Christianity's earliest saints. In this book Dr Elliott provides introductions to each of the most important and significant of these remarkable and often bizarre apocryphal texts.