JOSEPH WHELESS II
On this page I present excerpts from Joseph Wheless' fine work entitled Forgery in Christianity, published in 1930. This work followed on from his masterpiece entitled Is it God's Word?
All truth is safe, and nothing else is safe; and he who keeps back the truth, or withholds it from men, from motives of expediency, is either a coward or a criminal, or both - Max Muller (The Science of Religion)
I cannot forget that the priests of every age have protected, as ours do now protect, impostures, and that in every age numerous examples of pious fraud may be found...Magic is pretty nearly over, but fraud seldom throve better - Godfrey Higgins (Anacalypsis)
This Bible is indeed the fount of all the woes unnumbered inflicted by bigotry and intolerance of belief in its manifestly inharmonious presentation of facts, dogma and theology - Joseph Wheless
I charge, and purpose to prove, from unimpeachable texts and historical records, and by authoritative clerical confessions, beyond the possibility of denial, evasion, or refutation:
Forgery, in legal and moral sense, is the utterance or publication, with intent to deceive or defraud, or to gain some advantage, of a false document, put out by one person in the name of and as the genuine work of another, who did not execute it, or the subsequent alteration of a genuine document by one who did not execute the original.
I charge, and purpose to prove, from unimpeachable texts and historical records, and by authoritative clerical confessions, beyond the possibility of denial, evasion, or refutation:
1. That the Bible, in its every Book, and in the strictest legal and moral sense, is a huge forgery.
2. That every Book of the New Testament is a forgery of the Christian Church; and every significant passage in those Books, on which the fabric of the Church and its principal Dogmas are founded, is a further and conscious later forgery, wrought with definite fraudulent intent.
3. Especially, and specifically, that the famous Petrine text - "Upon this Rock I will build my church" - the cornerstone of the gigantic fabric of imposture, and the other "Go, teach all nations," were never uttered by the Jew Jesus, but are palpable and easily proven late Church forgeries.
4. That the Christian Church, from its inception in the first little Jewish-Christian religious societies, until it reached the apex of its temporal glory and moral degradation, was a vast and tireless forgery-mill.
5. That the Church was founded upon, and through the Dark Ages of Faith has battened on...(yet languishes decadently upon), monumental and petty forgeries and pious frauds, possible only because of its own shameless mendacity and through the crass ignorance and superstition of the sodden masses of its deluded votaries, purposely kept in that base condition for purposes of ecclesiastical graft and aggrandizement through conscious and most unconscionable imposture.
6. That every conceivable form of religious lie, fraud and imposture has ever been the work of Priests; and through all the history of the Christian Church, as through all human history, has been...and, so far as they have not been shamed out of it by skeptical ridicule and exposure, yet is, the age-long stock in trade and sole means of existence of the priests and ministers of all the religions.
7. That the clerical mind, which reasons in chains, is, from its vicious and vacuous education, and the special selfish interests of the priestly class, incapable either of the perception or the utterance of truth, in matters where the interests of priestcraft are concerned.
Church Admits to Forgery
There was need for a revision which is not yet complete, ranging over all that has been handed down from the Middle Ages under the style and title of the Fathers, the Councils, the Roman and other official, archives. In all these departments forgery and interpolations as well as ignorance had wrought mischief on a great scale - (Catholic Encyclopedia 12:768)
To undo the creed is to undo the Church. The integrity of the rule of faith is more essential to the cohesion of a religious society than the strict practice of its moral precepts! - (CE 7:259)
It is matter of fact, that for some 1500 years of this Era there was but one. True Church of Christ; and that Church claims with conscious pride the origin and authorship of all the New Testament Books, out of its own Holy bosom, by its own canonized Saints. The New Testament Books are, therefore, distinctively Catholic documents. That Church, therefore, if these its credentials and documents are forgeries, as from its own records I shall prove itself forged all the Books of the New Testament and all the documents of religious dogma and propaganda the forgery of which shall be proved in this book, and did itself perpetrate all the pious frauds herein revealed, and is their chief beneficiary.
Why the Forgeries?
If the Hebrew originals had been truthfully translated, we should have no such false pretenses for faith as the Hebrew One God anciently revealed to Adam, and to Moses. No Adam, no man but little lower than the angels, because of his immortal soul, no unique revelation of the Ineffable Name, Jehovah to Moses; all that we would have, all that the Hebrew texts reveal is a primitive polytheistic idolatry of the crudest and most superstitious order.
Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea
Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, the great Father of Church History (324 AD), whom Niebuhr terms "a very dishonest writer," of which we shall see many notable instances, says this:
"But it is not our place to describe the sad misfortunes which finally came upon (the Christians), as we do not think it proper, moreover, to, record their divisions and unnatural conduct to each other before the persecution (by Diocletian, 305 A.D). Wherefore we have decided to relate nothing concerning them except things in which we can vindicate the Divine judgment. But we shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity" - (Ecclesiastical History)
Bishop Eusebius, as we shall see, was one of the most prolific forgers and liars of his age of the Church, and a great romancer; in his hair-raising histories of the holy Martyrs, he assures us that on some occasions the bodies of the martyrs who had been devoured by wild beasts, upon the beasts being strangled, were found alive in their stomachs, even after having been fully digested!
St. John Chrysostom, the Golden Mouthed, in his work On the Priesthood, has a curious panegyric on the clerical habit of telling lies...Great is the force of deceit! provided it is not excited by a treacherous intention.
He reaches the climax in his famous Lives of sundry Saints. He relates with all fervor the marvelous experiences of the blessed hermit Paulus,. who was 113 years of age, and for sixty years had lived in a hole in the ground in the remotest recesses of the desert; his nearest neighbor was St. Anthony, who was only ninety and lived in another hole four days. journey away. The existence and whereabouts of Paulus being revealed to Anthony in a vision, he set out afoot to visit the holy Paulus. On the way, .all at once he beholds a creature of mingled shape, half horse half man, called by the poets Hippo-centaur with whom he holds friendly converse. Later he sees a mannikin with hooked snout, horned forehead, and extremities like goat's feet, this being one of the desert tribe whom the Gentiles worship under the names of Fauns, Satyrs, and Incubi, and whose strange, language Anthony was rejoiced to find that he could understand, as they reasoned together about the salvation of the Lord. Let no one scruple to believe this incident, pleads Father Jerome, its truth is supported by. one of these creatures that, was captured and brought alive to Alexandria and sent embalmed to the emperor at Antioch. Finally holy Anthony reached the retreat of the blessed Paulus, and was welcomed. As they talked, a raven flew down and laid a whole loaf of bread at their feet, said Paulus, the Lord truly loving, truly merciful, has sent us a meal. For the last sixty years I have always received half a loaf, but at your coming the Lord has doubled his soldier's rations. During the visit Paulus died; Anthony saw Paulus in robes of snowy white ascending on high among a band of angels, and the choirs of prophets and apostles. Anthony dragged the body out to bury it, but was without means to dig a grave; as he was lamenting this unhappy circumstance, .behold, two lions from the recesses of the desert with manes flying on their necks came rushing along; they came straight to the corpse of the blessed old man, fawned on it, roared in mourning, then with their paws dug a grave just wide and deep enough to bold the corpse; came over and licked the hands and feet of Anthony, and ambled away - (Jerome, Life of Paulus the First Hermit).
St. Jerome on Paul
He, then, if anyone, ought to be calumniated; we should speak thus to him: .The proofs which you have used against the Jews and against other heretics bear a different meaning in their own contexts to that which they bear in your Epistles. We see passages taken captive by your pen and pressed into service to win you a victory, which in volumes from which they are taken have no controversial bearing at all the line so often adopted by strong men in controversy of justifying the means by the result - (Jerome: Epistle to Pammachus).
Jerome on Eusebius
To confute the opposer, now this argument is adduced and now that. One argues as one pleases, saying one thing while one means another. Origen, Methodius, Eusebius, and Apollinaris write at great length against Celsus and Porphyry. Consider how subtle are the arguments, how insidious the engines with which they overthrow what the spirit of the devil has wrought. Sometimes, it is true, they are compelled to say not what they think but what is needful.
Of Eusebius and the others he again says, that they presume at the price of their soul to assert dogmatically whatever first comes into their head - (Jerome, Epistle li, 7).
It is more pernicious for Catholics to lie that they may catch heretics, than for heretics to lie that they may not be found out by Catholics - (Against Lying, Chapter Five)
It is lawful, then, either to him that discourses, disputes, and preaches of things eternal, or to him that narrates or speaks of things temporal pertaining to edification of religion or piety, to conceal at fitting times whatever seems fit to be concealed; but to tell a lie is never lawful, therefore neither to conceal by telling a lie - ibid
Augustine's Headless Women
I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their foreheads - (Sermon 37; quoted in Taylor, Syntagma, Diegesis, and by Doane in Bible Myths)
Dr. Conyers Middleton
In his masterpiece entitled: A Free Inquiry Into The Miraculous Powers, Which Are Supposed To Have Subsisted In The Christian Church: From The Earliest Ages Through Several Successive Centuries, published in 1749, Dr. Middleton writes:
"Many spurious books were forged in the earliest times of the Church, in the name of Christ and his apostles, which passed upon all the Fathers as genuine and divine through several successive ages...
...It will not appear strange to those who have given any attention to the history of mankind, which will always suggest this sad reflection: That the greatest zealots in religion, or the leaders of sects and parties, whatever purity or principles they pretend to have seldom scrupled to make use of a commodious lie for the advancement of what they, call the truth. And with regard to these very Fathers, there is not one of them, as an eminent writer of ecclesiastical history declares, who made any scruple in those ages of using the hyperbolical style to advance the honor of God and the salvation of men."
Lecky on Pious Forgery
During that gloomy period the only scholars in Europe were priest and monks, who conscientiously believed that no amount of falsehood was reprehensible which conduced to the edification of the people. All their writings, and more especially their histories, became tissues of the wildest fables, so grotesque and at the same time so audacious, that they were the wonder of succeeding ages, And the very men who scattered these fictions broadcast over Christendom, taught at the same time that credulity was a virtue and skepticism a crime - (History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe)
The Fathers laid down as a distinct proposition that pious frauds were justifiable and even laudable, and if they had not laid this down they would nevertheless have practiced them as a necessary consequence of their doctrine of exclusive salvation. Immediately all ecclesiastical literature became tainted with a spirit of the most unblushing mendacity. Heathenism was to be combated, and therefore prophecies of Christ by Orpheus and the Sibyls were forged, lying wonders were multiplied. Heretics were to be convinced, and therefore interpolations of old writings or complete forgeries were habitually opposed to the forged Gospels. The tendency triumphed wherever the supreme importance of dogmas was held. Generation after generation it became more universal; it continued till the very sense of truth and the very love of truth seemed blotted out from the minds of men - ibid
The Septuagint (Greek Version of the Bible)
...the text of the Septuagint was regarded as so unreliable, because of its freedom in rendering, and of the alterations which had been introduced into it, etc., that, during the second century of our era it was discarded by the Church - (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Copies of the Septuagint, says the Catholic Encyclopedia, were multiplied, and, as might be expected, many changes, deliberate as well as involuntary, crept in...Indeed, the itch for Scripture-scribbling was so rife among such ex-Pagan Christians as could write and get hold of a copy, that St. Augustine complains: .It is possible to enumerate those who have translated the Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek, but not those who have translated them into Latin. In both, in the early days of the faith whoso possessed a Greek manuscript and thought he had some knowledge of both tongues was daring enough to undertake a translation...So the Faith was founded on befuddlement of the Blessed Word of God as any nondescript scribbler palmed it off to be.
...Holy Church never possessed or used a single book of Scripture or other document of importance, to the glory of God and the glorification of the Church, which was not a rank original forgery and bristled besides with many deliberate changes or forged interpolations.
Virgin Birth Fallacy
The Greek priest who forged the Gospel according to St. Matthew, having before him the false Septuagint translation of Isaiah, fables the Jewish Mary yielding to the embraces of the Angel Gabriel to engender Jesus, and backs it up by appeal to the Septuagint translation of Isaiah vii, 14: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, (Matt 1: 23). Isaiah's original Hebrew, with the mistranslated words underscored, reads: Hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel...which, falsely translated by the false pen of the pious translators, runs thus in the English: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, (Isa. 7:14). The Hebrew words ha-almah mean simply the young woman; and harah is the Hebrew past or perfect tense, .conceived,. which in Hebrew, as in English, represents past and completed action. Honestly translated, the verse reads: Behold, the young woman has conceived...(is with child)...and beareth a son and calleth his name Immanuel. Almah means simply a young woman, of marriageable age, whether married or not, or a virgin or not; in a broad general sense exactly like girl or maid in English, when we say shop-girl, parlor-maid, barmaid, without reference to or vouching for her technical virginity, which, in Hebrew, is always expressed by the word bethulah. But in the Septuagint translation into Greek, the Hebrew almah was erroneously rendered into the Greek parthenos, virgin, with the definite article ha, in Hebrew, and "e" in Greek (the), rendered into the indefinite "a" by later falsifying translators...And St. Jerome falsely used the Latin word virgo. As early as the second century B.C, says the distinguished Hebrew scholar and critic, Salomon Reinach, the Jews perceived the error and pointed it out to the Greeks; but the Church knowingly persisted in the false reading, and for over fifteen centuries she has clung to her error...The truth of this accusation of conscious persistence in known error through the centuries is proved by confession of St. Jerome, who made the celebrated Vulgate translation from the Hebrew into Latin, and intentionally clung to the error though Jerome well knew that it was an error and false; and thus he perpetuated through fifteen hundred years the myth of the prophetic virgin birth of Jesus called Christ.
Old Testament Fraud Conceded
Wheless writes: "It is true that the Pentateuch, so long attributed to Moses, is now held by the vast majority of non-Catholic, and by an increasing number of Catholic, scholars to be a compilation of four independent sources put together in final shape soon after the Captivity."
It is true that the Pentateuch, so long attributed to Moses, is now held by the vast majority of non-Catholic, and by an increasing number of Catholic, scholars to be a compilation of four independent sources put together in final shape soon after the Captivity - (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Massacre of the Innocents
That a Roman king, under the great Roman Peace of the Golden Age of Augustus, could execute such a wholesale massacre of the subjects of the Empire – why it proves itself impossible. No human history records such a massacre in Judea, not even Josephus, who retells the most trifling of details of the life and reign of Herod, has a word of this tremendous murderous event.
Jesus - Not of the Seed of David
…Jesus was not the carnal son of Joseph, but was the incarnate son of Yahweh by the Holy Ghost and the yet Virgin Mary, he could not, by any possibility of human descent be a blood descendant of David, whose line and generation ended with Joseph, if Joseph was not the carnal son of Jesus. So in no sense could Jesus be a direct descendant and “Son of David” and so could not fill the first essential requirement of the Promised Messiah.
Land of Judea
Judea, the birthplace of the Christ, was a small, outlying province of the far-flung Pagan Roman Empire, its turbulent Jewish fanaticism curbed by Roman law and legions.
Fear is the Key
Under the spell of these promises and these threats, and of the assurance of a quick end of the then earth, the propagandists of the new Cult promptly established a strange new scheme of which they were the administrators—a scheme of pure communism. As the world would quickly come to an end, there was no reason and no need to take heed of temporal affairs; they must all watch and pray: and pool all their poor belongings in their leaders' hands for the common benefit. This the trembling and zealous proselytes did, under the sanction of greatest fear:
Such was the degree of intellectual enlightenment of the classes among whom the new faith was propagated, and for whom the inspired Gospel biographies of the Christ were composed and put into circulation. The chief of the Disciples and his associate propagandists were admittedly "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13); the new cult was that of fishermen and peasants, of the ignorant, the disinherited, the slave, as the New Testament and all early Church history — as well as many of their acts and sayings — prove.
Illiteracy and Ignorance
...not till about 1450 was the first printed book known in Europe. The Bible existed only in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and the ignorant masses were totally ignorant of it other than what they heard from the priests, who told them that they must believe it or be tortured and killed in life and damned forever in the fires of hell after death. It is no wonder that faith flourished under conditions so exceptionally favorable.
Christianity Not New
The new religion, Christianity, was not so new or novel as we are very generally disposed to think it. Practically, in all its essentials, it was not new at all, and had hardly a new thought in it.
it will be found that practically every single tenet and ceremonial of the Christian religion has practically its exact counterpart in — and was derived and adapted from — the beliefs and ceremonies of the pagan religions which preceded it and for centuries lived along side of it.
Lies to Cover Plagiarism
The Church Fathers were aware of these similarities, and sought to explain away their resemblances by means of the theory that the Devil had blasphemously imitated Christian rites and doctrines. (I may pause to point out that these pagan rites long antedated the Christian analogies, and therefore the Theory loses force).
Saints Replace Gods
Instead of the plurality of Gods of the pagan religions, it adopted the One God Yahveh as finally evolved from old Hebrew mythology, into Three-in-One Christian Godhead. The other Pagan Gods became, in effect, the "saints" of the new cult; or, as quoted in the Catholic Encyclopedia: "the saints are the successors to the Gods"
Slaughter Your Disbelieving Family
"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee, saying, Let us go serve other gods; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thy hand shall be the first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones that he die" - (Deut. 13:6-9)
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31)
Obey the Priest
"The man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest, even that man shall die" (Deut. 17:18)
The Original Holy Book
The Bible, thus so-called, is a compilation, or gathering into one volume, of sixty-six separate and different "little books," or fragmentary "sacred" writings, which compose it, from Genesis to Revelation. These sixty-six little books, or manuscripts, were written, or edited and compiled, in very different ages of the world, over the space of some centuries, by wholly different, and mostly unknown, persons, in different countries and languages, Hebrew and Greek principally; but, except maybe one Book, by Jews invariably. Together they form the "sacred writings" of the later Hebrews and of the early Jewish and Pagan Christians — the name given, first at Antioch (Acts 11:26), to the followers of the Jewish Jesus Christ.
The Hebrew "little books," thirty-nine in number according to the accepted Hebrew and Protestant "Canon," forty-six according to the Catholic acceptance, were written of course, mainly in the Hebrew language, though Aramaic elements enter into some of the later compositions. This Hebrew language, like several others of the allied Semitic languages, was written entirely with consonants, they having no vowels, and no means of expressing vowel sounds; their words consist mostly of words of only three consonantal letters. The whole Hebrew Scriptures is a solid mass of words in consonants only, with not a single vowel among them. This consonantal mass of words was written from right to left, letter after letter unbroken, without separation or spacing between words, and without a single mark of punctuation from end to end. There were of course no divisions, as at present, into Chapters and verses, these divisions having been invented only some three or four hundred years ago to facilitate quotations and references...
...even now the chapter and verse divisions differ considerably between the Hebrew text and the English translations in frequent instances.
The Hebrew Language
Such a thing as the "Hebrew" language, as a separate and distinctive speech of the ancient Israelites, in which they held familiar converse with Yahveh, and which Yahveh spoke with Adam and Eve and with the Patriarchs and Moses, never existed; no more than an "American" language now exists as distinct from the mother speech of England, or than the "Latin" languages of South America differ from the Spanish and Portuguese of the Iberian Peninsula. As to the language of Yahveh and Adam and Eve, says the Catholic Encyclopedia: "The contention that Hebrew was the original language bestowed upon mankind may be left out of discussion, being based merely on pietistic a priori considerations"
Abraham was a native of "Ur of the Chaldees," and hence naturally, with all his family and people, spoke the Chaldean or Babylonian language, which was very much akin to that of Canaan, where Abraham migrated, and was spoken by him and his descendants until the "70" migrated to Egypt, 215 years later.
The scholarly Encyclopedia further says: "The name Hebrew (as applied to the language spoken by the ancient Israelites, and in which are composed nearly all the Books of the Old Testament), is quite recent in Biblical usage, occurring for the first time in the Greek prologue of Ecclesiasticus, about 130 B.C."
...as to the language of Abraham and the Patriarchs: "That it was simply a dialect belonging to the Canaanitish group of Semitic languages is plain from its many recognized affinities with the Phoenician and Moabitic dialects.
So, if Yahveh, God of Abraham and of Israel, spoke all these wonderful things to his Chosen People, he spoke them in the common language of the peoples and gods of Canaan and Assyria, and not in some choice and peculiar "Hebrew language" as a special idiom of his Chosen People and of his divine revelations to his People and through them, as claimed, to mankind.
So obsolete and "dead" had the "Hebrew" language become, following the world-conquests of Alexander the Great and the almost universal spread of the Greek language and culture throughout the Orient, that several centuries before the time of Christ even the form and proper pronunciation of the name YHVH of the Hebrew tribal deity were lost and unknown; though a few Jews, as Philo of Alexandria and Josephus, about the time of Christ, professed to know it, but held it unlawful to pronounce or divulge it.
Again the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia speaks on this very significant point: "The modern Jews are as uncertain of the proper pronunciation of the sacred Name as their Christian contemporaries...The name was not pronounced after the destruction of the Temple."
On page 330 it gives a list of the forms of the name as found in ancient writers named, and lists: Jao, Jaoth, Jaou, Jeuo, Ja, Jabe, Jaho, Jehjeh. It then comments: "The judicious reader will perceive that the Samaritan pronunciation Jabe probably approaches the real sound of the Divine Name closest. Inserting the vowels of Jabe into the original Hebrew consonantal text, we obtain the form Jahweh (Yahweh), which has been generally accepted by modern scholars as the true pronunciation of the Divine Name."
Who is Jehovah?
"Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?" (Ex 3:13).
"The theory that Jahveh is of Egyptian origin may have a certain amount of a priori probability, as Moses was educated in Egypt..." (Catholic Encyclopedia)
The immense significance of this scholarly confession, that the theory of Egyptian origin of Yahveh may have "a certain amount of a priori probability," and that this name is said to have been adopted "to put meaning into the name of the national god" Yahveh, or that the Hebrews may have adopted or adapted their tribal or "national god" from Egypt, Chaldea, or some other of their heathen neighbors, is that such concessions, or the bare possibility of such fact, destroy at once utterly the Bible assurances and the pietistic Hebreo-Christian assertions that YHVH is eternal and "self revealed" God since from before the foundations of the world. It totally explodes the pretended "revelation" to Moses at the Burning Bush, soon to be noticed.
The name of the God, too, is often and variously abbreviated in the Hebrew texts. Dozens of times in Genesis it is written simply "yy," the first time in Gen. ii, 4, the first mention of Yahveh. Elsewhere it occurs as "Yah" or Yehu, Yeho, and as "Yah-Yahveh," often as Yahveh-Elohim. It is always, as we shall see, falsely rendered in the translations as "Lord" and "Lord God," for reasons which will duly appear.
The Adam Forgery
There was no first man "Adam," according to the Hebrew texts of the story. The word adam in Hebrew is a common noun, meaning man in a generic sense; in Genesis i, 26, we have read: "And elohim (gods) said, Let us make adam (man)"; and so "elohim created ha-adam (the-man)...male and female created he them" (i. 27). And in the second story, where man is first made alone: "Yahveh formed ha-adam (the-man) out of the dust of ha-adamah-the ground" (ii, 7). Man is called in Hebrew adam because formed out of adamah, the ground; just as in Latin man is called homo because formed from humus, the ground,-homo ex humo, in the epigram of Father Lactantius. The forging by the common noun adam into a mythical proper name Adam, was a post-exilic fraud in the forging of fictitious genealogies from "in the beginning" to Father Abraham.
Forged Gospels, Acts, Epistles
Half a hundred of false and forged Apostolic "Gospels of Jesus Christ," together with more numerous other "Scripture" forgeries, was the output, so far as known now, of the lying pens of the pious Christians of the first two centuries of the Christian "Age of Apocryphal Literature;" all going to swell the "very large number of apocryphal writings of distinctly Christian origin which were produced from the second century onward, to satisfy an unhealthy craving for the occult and marvelous or to embellish the stories of the saints." These N.T. apocrypha include "numerous works purporting to have been written by apostles or their associates, but not able to secure a general or permanent recognition. These may be classified thus: (a) Gospels; (b) Acts of Apostles; (c) Epistles; (d) Apocalypses; (e) Didactic Works; (f) Hymns. (Ib. p. 748.) "The name Gospel," says CE. (vi, 656), "as indicating a written account of Christ's words and deeds, has been, and still is, applied to a large number of narratives of Christ's life, which circulated both before and after the composition of our Third Gospel (cf. Luke i, 1-4). The titles of some fifty such works have come down to us...It is only, however, in connection with some twenty of these 'Gospels' that some information has been preserved....Most of them, as far as can be made out, are late productions, the apocryphal character of which is generally admitted by contemporary. "The Canonical Gospels," now falsely labelled with the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the twenty best known ones are listed as follows; viz: The Gospels according to the Hebrews; of Peter; According to the Egyptians; of Matthias; of Philip; of Thomas; the Proto-Evangelium of James, Gospel of Nicodemus (Acta Pilati); of the Twelve Apostles; of Basilides; of Valentius; of Marcion; of Eve; of Judas; the Writing Genna Marias; the Gospel Teleioseos (CE. vi, 656).
Individual Gospels were forged in the names of each of the Twelve Apostles, severally, and a joint fabrication under the name of "The Gospel of the Twelve," was put into the mouths of the twelve Apostles, using the first person to give the ear-marks of authenticity to their forged utterances; and separately, "Almost every one of the Apostles had a Gospel fathered upon him by one early sect or another." Several seem to have been fathered upon Matthew besides the one that wrongly heads the list of the "canonical Four," such as the Gospel of Matthias, Traditions of Matthias, also a supposed and probably non-existent writing in Hebrew hypothesized as the basic document of the Four; probably, also the so-called Logia, a papyrus scrap of one sheet discovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and containing alleged sayings of Jesus which in part correspond with, in part radically differ from the sayings attributed to him in the Four. He was also made responsible for a so-called Gospel of St. Matthew, dating from the 4th or 5th century, which "purports to have been written by Matthew and translated by St. Jerome."