The Real New Testament: Forgotten Gospels
The Bible exists today in hundreds of variations and languages, some with entirely different meanings. The “Bible” is composed of canonical scriptures and books that have been added and removed over time, by various Christian authorities. Many of the books that compose the New Testament are actually hundreds of years older than the time when Jesus was supposed to have lived, and most of the gospels have unknown or pseudo-named authors- even those that give a first-hand account of his actions have proven to be much more recent than his passing. But it is not the arbitrary additions to the accepted Christian canon that I believe is important, it is what was removed and forgotten that tells us most about the time period in which the Bible was being compiled.
You may have heard of these pre-Nicene gospels, and how councils were granted permission to determine the validity of the sacred documents- but you may not be aware of the contents of the forgotten texts, some of which were written much closer to Jesus’ lifetime and should therefore be considered more valid than those created afterward. For example, the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas comes to mind. The Gospel of Thomas is a sayings Gospel that contains one-hundred and fourteen sayings attributed to Jesus Christ- but this book is completely left out of the modern New Testament and lacks the life-story of Jesus in favor of dialogues and parables, its tone is completely different from those books that have remained as part of the Holy Bible in that it doesn’t mention crucifixion, resurrection, or final judgment; yet the fragments of this Gospel (discovered in 1945) date back to 130-250 CE- which is earlier than many canonical scriptures.
The Gospel of Thomas is not the only forgotten scripture; there are still some components of early New Testaments being discovered, and some that we have recreated using commonalities between other New Testament apocrypha and the four Canonical Gospels. I am referring, of course, to the mysterious sayings Gospel simply referred to as “Q” (The name Q comes from the German Quelle, which means “source”). This is a sayings Gospel, like Thomas, but no part of this ancient document has yet been discovered, it has simply been used to describe the common source that the New Testament authors were working from.
Thomas and ‘Q’ are important, but not as controversial among the Christian community as some of the forgotten Gospels, like the ‘Secret Gospel of Mark’. The Gospel of Mark is the first canonical Gospel in the New Testament and, in 1958, a letter was found containing what scholars believe to be a secret ending to the Mark Gospel, meant only to be witnessed by spiritual elite in the Christian community. You won’t find this passage in any modern bible, but scientists believe that this ancient scripture was indeed part of the original Holy Bible; here is a passage:
“And they come into Bethany. And a certain woman whose brother had died was there. And, coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and says to him, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me.’ But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.”
This passage doesn’t just have a homosexual undertone, but implies that Jesus may have taken part in such “sinful” behavior. Nobody knows for sure what was meant by this original passage in the Gospel of Secret Mark and there are numerous other forgotten Gospels, but it does show that the time in which the Bible was being created is still very unknown to us- and the original bible compiled after Jesus’ time probably looked much different than the modern Bible that Christians regard as sacred today.