This is a valuable collection of essays by several writers, discussing a variety of apocryphal gospels. Many of these authors have published longer works on these gospels elsewhere, but as this introduction says, the book is intended as a stimulus to the reader for further investigation.
J.K. Elliot - "The non-canonical gospels and the New Testament apocrypha."
Considers the range of apocrypha and how they have influenced both Christian tradition and theology. See Elliot's The Apocryphal New Testament.
April D. DeConick - "The Gospel of Thomas"
DeConick sees the work as having gone through several stages of evolution, much like the posited sayings document Q, starting from an eschatological viewpoint and moving away from that with time as the expected end did not arrive, mutating to an encratic viewpoint serving the practices of communities in Eastern Syria. See DeConick's Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas and The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation.
Paul Foster - "The Gospel of Peter"
Considers the relationship of this gospel to the canonical ones, and what this may show about gospel development.
Christopher M. Tuckett - "The Gospel of Mary"
Whilst giving us something of a glimpse into some early Christian groups, many of the claims made concerning this gospel cannot be justified.
Andrew Gregory - "Jewish Christian Gospels"
Gregory indicates that the evidence of the heresiologists is indicative of these lost gospels being consonant with the Synoptics.
Paul Foster - "The Gospel of Philip"
The significance of the kiss latched onto by the conspiracy theorists is dismissed; in that society a kiss was a familial greeting rather than erotic. The symbolism of the `bridal chamber' is discussed.
Simon J. Gathercole - "The Gospel of Judas - An Unlikely Hero"
Judas is not central to the work - it is rather an exposition of the Gnostic creation myth. It can tell us nothing about the historical Judas or Jesus. Gathercole does not stick his head out over the question of whether Judas is presented in the work as good or evil. See Gathercole's The Gospel of Judas: Rewriting Early Christianity.
April D. DeConick - "The Gospel of Judas - A Parody of Apostolic Christianity"
The Gospel is a Sethian Gnostic attack on Apostolic Christianity. Unlike the sensationalist publicity at the first publication attempting to invert the traditional view of Judas, in fact Judas remains evil. Much of the content can be seen to derive from orthodox Christianity. See DeConick's The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says.
Paul Foster - "The Protevangelium of James"
This work has been widely distributed and read; in the Orthodox world it has enjoyed `almost canonical' status; whilst rejected in the West it has nevertheless deeply influenced its Mariology.
Tony Chartrand-Burke - "The Infancy Gospel of Thomas"
Chartrand-Burke considers the history and revisions of this work. It is not an originally Gnostic with the Gnostic parts removed. Its style and structure are consistent with biographical works of antiquity in the treatment of the subject's childhood.
Tobias Nicklas - "Papyrus Egerton 2" Thomas J. Kraus - "The Fayum Gospel" Michael J. Kruger - "Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 840"
These three essays considering small fragments of otherwise unknown gospels.
Paul Foster - "Secret Mark"
Foster discusses attitudes to the controversial claims concerning this document; there is no doubt that it exists (or existed; it is now apparently lost), but the jury is still out on whether it is a forgery.