The Lost Books of the Bible – William Hone (compiler)

The Lost Books of the Bible
William Hone (compiler)
Testament, 1988
320 pages

I bought this back in college and just now got around to reading it. It’s basically a collection of apocryphal and otherwise “unaccepted” texts regarding Jesus of Nazareth and his apostles.

Most of it was letters to various congregations, with messages such as “Be more patient with eachother. Infighting doesn’t do us any good” and “Jesus still love you even though he’s gone to Heaven”. However, the parts I found interesting as a former Catholic were the books that filled in some of the blanks about Jesus’ life, particularly as a child.

Apparently Jesus was not the nicest kid to be around. He was incredibly intelligent and confounded his teachers to no end because he already knew everything. However, what really got me was how he treated people who made him angry. On more than one occasion he killed his playmates if they made him made, transformed them into goats for the fun of it, or otherwise wreaked havoc til the neighbors complained and Joseph and Mary had to bring him inside. No wonder the early church fathers cut these out of the Bible! Not a very flattering picture!

However, there were some interesting “rest of the stories” about his adulthood, too. Apparently the robbers who were crucified next to him came from an incident in his childhood, and that was an intrguing tie-in. In fact, a lot of the folks from his childhood came back to play key roles as her got older; many of the apostles were children he healed of illnesses. I also thought the description of Jesus descending into Hell after the crucifixion and pulling Adam out of there was an appropriate story.

I like this because it makes the Christian mythos more complete. Some of it, to be sure, came about long after his death, but then again great figures in history and mythology often grow greater with the passing years.

To be sure, I’m still comfortable in my own (non-Christian) beliefs. However, this is a nice addition to the traditions I was raised in as a child, the stuff they don;’t teach you in Catholic school.

Five pawprints out of five.

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2 Comments

  1. seafaringstranger said,

    October 29, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    If you found this interesting, you might consider reading A History of God: A 4000-year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong. She’s a journalist and former nun. The book is aimed for Western readers, and considered “dangerous” by many because it forces the reader to examine his/her faith, the truth–whatever that may be, and Western Religions’ impacts, for better or worse, on social and political issues. Check it out; I think you may enjoy it.

  2. Etienne Gilson said,

    February 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I teach religious studies in a Catholic high school and routinely use Hone’s book along with other sources to discuss the process of the canonization of scripture. Perhaps you were short-changed but not all Catholics are ignorant of the process of the formation of scripture.

    In fact, I think it is a powerful argument for Catholicism against the Protestant understanding of scripture (sola scriptura) that makes the Bible seem like it came down from heaven neatly tied in a gold thread.


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