The First Apocalypse of James

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This document is dated between the 3rd – 4th century, after the Second Apocalypse of James surprisingly (250-325AD) and was found in Egypt with the other Nag Hammadi material in 1945 and only one single damaged copy has been recovered. 

Reasons for rejection/non-inclusion

  1. Second century documents or later are outside of eyewitness testimony and beyond the Canonical criteria
    1. It appears in the Gnostic age, not the Apostolic age. 
  2. Found with Gnostic works, not apostolic ones
  3. Uses Valentinian Gnostic language throughout
    1. Fits into the type of material Irenaeus stated “was forged to bewilder the minds of foolish people”
    2. Valentinus was condemned specifically by church fathers Irenaeus and Epiphanius and all works like his thereon. 
  4. Salvation through means of Gnosis, not through the Grace of God and Jesus’ deity, death and resurrection
    1. Contains features like “passwords” to ascend to the highest heaven
    2. Focus’ on transcending the physical body, compared to doctrine of a new body for eternity

Useful external attestation details 

  1. Jesus is a wise teacher who possesses the knowledge of God
  2. Jesus is called Lord, Rabbi
  3. Jesus has many disciples
    1. Salome, Mary and Martha mentioned by name
  4. Jesus is Crucified (Inferred)
  5. Martyrdom of James is mentioned

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