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Epistula Apostolorum

Alternate title: The Epistle Of The Apostles

c. 150 C.E.

Despite the title, the Epistle of the Apostles is more accurately described as a sayings gospel than a letter. In fact, it was likely written as an orthodox reaction against the Gnostic gospels which similarly describe the secret teachings of the risen Jesus. The preface, which attributes authorship to all of the apostles, attempts to give the work authority against the other pseudonymous writings.

The work begins and ends with details derived from the canonical gospels, but the main body entails Jesus's instruction about the ressurection and the apocalypse, specifically predicting the Parousia to occur in 150 years. The words of Jesus are consistenly backed up by references to scripture, helping to promote the document as a legitimate extension of the gospel tradition for the early Catholic community.

The earliest text is a Coptic MS from the fourth or fifth century translated from the original Greek, but the only complete copy is a very late Ethiopic document. Similarities to the Christian creeds of the mid-second century places the authorship in that time period, possibly in Egypt.