The Apocryphal New Testament contains a wide range of early Christian writings in a clear English translation. As a collection of religious books, Apocryphal literature was meant to reinforce Christian belief and practice. As history, the Apocrypha aims to supplement the historical data in the New Testament. Their stories are remarkable, beautiful, and imaginative, and have exercised a powerful influence on the development of Christianity. Anyone who cares about the history of Christian thought cannot neglect them.
“I beseech you the executioners, crucify me thus, with the head downward and not otherwise: and the reason wherefore, I will tell unto them that hear.” (Page 334)
“And he saw Paul coming, a man little of stature, thin-haired upon the head, crooked in the legs, of good state of body, with eyebrows joining, and nose somewhat hooked, full of grace: for sometimes he appeared like a man, and sometimes he had the face of an angel.” (Page 273)
“If they are not good sources of history in one sense, they are in another. They record the imaginations, hopes, and fears of the men who wrote them; they show what was acceptable to the unlearned Christians of the first ages, what interested them, what they admired, what ideals of conduct they cherished for this life, what they thought they would find in the next.” (Page xiii)
“Also the Gospel called according to the Hebrews, lately translated by me into Greek and Latin speech, which Origen often uses, tells, after the resurrection of the Saviour: ‘Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord’s cup until he should see him risen again from among them that sleep)’, and again after a little, ‘Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread’, and immediately it is added, ‘He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from, among them that sleep’.” (Pages 3–4)
Montague Rhodes James was a fellow dean and divinity lecturer of King’s College and assistant director of the Fitzwilliam Museum.