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The Gospel Of The Hebrews

c. 70-150 C.E.

It is both odd and unfortunate that no copies of any of the so-called "Judeo-Christian" gospels have survived antiquity, though the texts, kept by early Christians who maintained deep-seated Jewish beliefs, were often quoted by Christian writers throughout the first five centuries. These short citations are our only windows through which we might study the traditions of the communities that used them.

The Gospel of the Hebrews is the most often quoted of the Judeo-Christian gospels, though it must be noted that at least two other texts (Ebionites and Nazoreans) were referred to by the same title, and we can only make educated guesses as to which gospel each fragment was derived from. At least eight early writers had either referenced or cited from Hebrews, each offering their own interpretations and assessment of validity. From these we know the date of composition is no later than mid-second century, possibly much earlier. It was said to have been written in Hebrew, though much of its theology parallels Egyptian tradition.

The gospel shows no direct dependence upon the canonical gospels, though it shares a verse with the Gospel of Thomas (GosThom 2). Among the most unique traditions is the depiction of Mary, like the Johannine logos, as divine—in fact, that she was the incarnation of Michael, who was the personification of the Holy Spirit. Also, Jesus first appears to his brother James following the resurrection. Since James the Just was traditionally held to have founded the church at Jerusalem, it is no surprise that the Hebrew gospel elevates his authority by making him the first to witness the risen Christ.