Noteworthy Apocryphal Letters
Several noteworthy letters have already been mentioned, since they were accepted by
portions of the church. These include:
- 1 Clement
- written by Clement of Rome c. 96 AD. This letter gives a good description of
the problems faced by Clement and other overseers as gentile Christianity began to
- The Didache
- Actually more properly a "manual." Possibly written early, but edited and
added to in the II century. Only late manuscripts exist, the only complete one of
which dates to 1056. A complete translation can be found with the Non-Ecclesiastical
New Testament by following the above link.
- Letter of Barnabas
- Written sometime between 75 and 130 AD, the letter is supposed to be the product of
Paul's companion Bar-Nabas. The author may have been someone named Barnabas who lived
during the II century. The writing strongly opposes the Judaism of the author's day,
in a far more polemic manner than the statements made in the canonical writings. The
author appears to be familiar with the pattern of teaching found in Hebrews although
his applications of the Old Testament stretch his points much further. To read a
commentary on Barnabas (with the text),
select this link.
In addition to the letters of the Church Fathers, which are normally classified as such,
there were also certain letters which were forged in the name of NT persons or which
claim special knowledge. Among these are:
- Letters of Christ and Abgarus
- This is supposed to be an actual exchange of Jesus; in reality it was forged during the
- Letter to the Laodiceans
- Supposed to be by Paul but known to be a fraud written in the II century. The only
manuscript is in Latin, c. 546.
- Letters of Paul and Seneca
- A poor IV century set of forgeries.
- Letter of the Apostles
- Written c. 160 and found in Coptic, Ethiopic, and Latin--no manuscripts are complete.
- Letter of Lentulus
- Actually written as late as the XIII century. Supposes to describe Jesus.
- 3 Corinthians
- Written c. 160 in the name of Paul but known to be a forgery.
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