Christian Thought

List of Extra-canonical texts – Old and New Testament

The Secret Book of James
“The Secret Book of James is preserved in a single Coptic copy found in Codex III of the Nag Hammadi codices. It is also known as the Apocryphon of James. “

“It is clear that the person for whom the tractate was written made a distinction between themselves and the larger Christian church. Probably they rejected the doctrine of the atonement; they certainly ignored the second coming of Christ and the general resurrection, and hoped to ascend, in soul or spirit, to the kingdom of heaven, which they meanwhile felt to be within themselves. This outlook, together with the large amount of typically gnostic terminology in the tractate, has led most investigators to conclude that the work is Christian Gnostic, even though it lacks the Valentinian, and other well-known gnostic theologies. The reporting of a special postresurrection appearance of Jesus, and the appeal to James as a source of secret and superior tradition, are means Gnostics often used to legitimate their message.”

” In The Other Gospels, Cameron argues that Secret James is based on an early sayings collection on the basis of several clues: the reference to the remembrance of the sayings of Jesus points to a time when the oral tradition was still strong, the reference to “scribal production” indicates that there was not yet an established canon of gospel literature, the analysis of the individual sayings suggests that they are independent from the New Testament, and the appeal to James shows that the document comes “from a time when written traditions about Jesus were connected with the competitive claims of authority under the names of individual disciples of Jesus.” Thus, Secret James can be dated to the first half of the second century, while its sources for the sayings of Jesus may go back to the first century. Cameron states that the internal evidence shows Egypt to be its provenance. “

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