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The Question Of Truth Unearthed By Non Canonical Gospels

1787 words - 8 pages

In life we all encounter times when we simply feel lost and confused. We all face times when we simply seek the answers and the truth to help us understand our lives. For Christians, our answers are found within the Bible where we feel the truth lies and where we can go to find the answer to the most difficult questions in our lives. But when we do this, are we as Christians limiting the knowledge that we can procure? Can we view the Bible as complete and containing a full spectrum of godly discernment? The essence of these questions center completely around one central issue: non-canonical books. When we look at the Bible and its' spectrum of knowledge, we must also look at what has been removed. When we compare canonical vis-à-vis non-canonical gospels we can see that non-canonical gospels do play a significant role in the role of the church and the formation of the Christian knowledge, which can in turn lead us to wonder about the difference between canonical and non-canonical.
When we look at the non-canonical gospels we must first start by looking at exactly what a non-canonical gospel is and what this idea really means. To many it simply means a book that didn’t make it into the Bible because it possesses incorrect information somewhere within it or it can mean that the book is in complete falsehood and as a result is not seen as fit to be read or to draw knowledge from. In reality, a non-canonical gospel is a “name given to that amorphous collection of early, non-canonical Christian writings, dating from the second century onwards, which purports to tell us about the main personage of the New Testament and the deeds of the founding apostles of various churches” (Foster 28). While many people today simply see them as useless or complete falsehoods this was not the case in the second century. During that time these books were often read by many early church goers and were found to contain valuable lessons and information (Foster 28). This ultimately raises the question of what should we view as canonical and how do we distinguish what is correct form incorrect when it comes to biblical truth. The truth of the situation is that what is canonical and what isn’t canonical ultimately “is an arbitrary and perspectival choice” (Foster 136). When we look at this issue we have to ask to whom does this matter concern because that can change the canon completely. In some Greek-speaking churches the Protevangelium of James was seen as orthodox but some people went as far as saying there was “virtually nil” that could be taken from the book (Foster 30). The decision of what was to be included into canon had to be made and it was done through two main criteria. The first reason a book was viewed as canonical was because it was view to have possessed a self–authenticating quality. The canonical books had to bring action to the people who read it and believed to have come from the power of God. The second quality was that the books were often directly...

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