Why “Apocryphal Devotional”?

“Apocryphal” is a loaded word. It could refer to works within the Apocrypha of the Orthodox and Catholic canons, be an “arcane” or “hidden” writing, mean something false or of doubtful origins, refer to texts explicitly deemed heretical, or, finally, imply texts that were not given any status at all.

This blog focuses on the last four of these possibilities, with special attention given to works that had a small circulation, were neglected, or those that had encountered the hostility of early Church authorities.

There are ideas worth considering and images worth sitting with among these works. What happens when we wrestle with them, as countless Christians do today with books like the Gospel of John? Why not attempt to take these texts seriously in the forms we encounter them today?

“Devotional,” unlike apocryphal, has more limited connotations: encouraging, sincere, even “feel-goody” spiritual guidance and reflection. Placed next to “apocryphal,” there’s some palpable tension. Can one combine the earnest aims of devotional works with the mess of meanings among apocryphal texts?

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