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Hidden Gospels

How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way

Philip Jenkins

Publication Date - 05 December 2002

ISBN: 9780195156317

272 pages
5-5/16 x 8 inches

In Stock

The first full-length critical analysis of the "hidden gospel" phenomenon shows why these texts arouse such interest and why they are so misleading


This incisive critique thoroughly and convincingly debunks the claims that recently discovered texts such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and even the Dead Sea Scrolls undermine the historical validity of the New Testament.
Jenkins places the recent controversies surrounding the hidden gospels in a broad historical context and argues that, far from being revolutionary, such attempts to find an alternative Christianity date back at least to the Enlightenment. By employing the appropriate scholarly and historical methodologies, he demonstrates that the texts purported to represent pristine Christianity were in fact composed long after the canonical gospels found in the Bible. Produced by obscure heretical movements, these texts have attracted much media attention chiefly because they seem to support radical, feminist, and post-modern positions in the modern church. Indeed, Jenkins shows how best-selling books on the "hidden gospels" have been taken up by an uncritical, drama-hungry media as the basis for a social movement that could have powerful effects on the faith and practice of contemporary Christianity.

About the Author(s)

Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars joined Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion as Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion.


"One of the many services of Mr. Jenkins's fine, carefully argued book is to put discussion about what happened in Palestine 2,000 years ago on more reliable ground."--George Sim Johnston, The Wall Street Journal

"Jenkins explains his thesis in language that is both clear and fair. Hidden Gospels is admirably evenhanded."--Frederica Mathewes-Green, Los Angeles Times

"A quite absorbing book."--Clergy Journal

"A sober, and sobering, account of how some scholars have enthusiastically embraced 'new' or 'hidden' gospels which just happen to support certain currently fashionable ideologies--and of just how unwarranted such claims actually are."--N.T. Wright DD, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey

"Jenkins has brilliantly identified the mythic dimension of the recent fascination with hidden gospels and alternative Christianities."--Luke Timothy Johnson, author of The Real Jesus