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The Acts Of John

c. 150-200 C.E.

The Acts of John were once believed to be the earliest of the Apocryphal Acts, though much of its gnostic idealogy is not found in the other acts (except Thomas). Many scholars believe the blatantly gnostic and/or docetic chapters (94-102 and 109) are a later addition. The original author is traditionally believed to be Leucius Charinus, a companion of John who was later associated with the Manichaeans.

The book tells of John's two journeys to Ephesus, during which he performs several ressurections and converts the followers of Artemis after destroying their temple. The book also includes the "Hymn of Christ," used in a modern musical work by Gustav Holst. Like the Johannine gospel, the Christology of the Acts shows some Hellenistic influence.

Because the Acts of John were condemned particularly early in their history, all the surviving texts are fragmentary. The earliest manuscripts are Greek, though many Latin texts show later developments and may have suffered from Catholic attempts to purge the unorthodox passages.