Apocryphal Gospels – Then and Now
‘There are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.’ (John 21.25)
So ends the Gospel of John, with an acknowledgement that it contained only a limited number of the traditions about Jesus. But is this statement simply mere authorial hyperbole, or does it reflect a reality that in the gospel writer’s day there were a vast number of stories and sayings attributed to Jesus that were in circulation? If, even to a limited extent, the author of the fourth gospel portrays the prevailing circumstances of his own day, it becomes fascinating to ask what happened to all these extra traditions concerning Jesus.
How did traditions about Jesus survive to the present time?