Harvard Theological Review


Beyond the Canonical and the Apocryphal Books, the Presence of a Third Category: The Books Useful for the Soul

François Bovona1

a1 Harvard Divinity School

I like tennis—both to play and to watch it. Nothing is more pleasant than watching an exchange between Federer and Nadal. There is a similar kind of exchange that has been going on in this country in recent years. On one side, there are evangelical New Testament scholars; on the other, liberal scholars working on early Christianity. In the camp of the evangelicals, Ben Witherington, Craig A. Evans, and Darrell L. Bock are playing a defensive game, accusing the others of constituting a “new school,” one that prefers heresy over orthodoxy and promotes diversity where unity once was. In the camp of the critics, Elaine Pagels promotes the spirituality of the Gospel of Thomas; Bart D. Ehrman's Lost Christianities flies in the face of his opponents; and Marvin Meyer considers the Gospel of Judas a valuable work that reveals in the mind of the dark apostle knowledge of the divine realm.