We explore the role of fantasy in ballet, film, and even in the shadowy world of the apocryphal gospels
, where our authors undertake a scholarly journey to the frontier between Christian article of faith and the realm of the fairy tale.
Mary Clayton, The Apocryphal Gospels
of Mary in Anglo-Saxon England, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 26 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), xi + 355 pp.
The apocryphal gospels
grew out of the ordinary Christian's desire to fill in the gaps in the Gospel stories.
Jesus was a millennialist prophet (Segal); only the gist of a saying of Jesus can one imagine being remembered (Borg); what is crucially important about Jesus - and the most appealing - is that he kept moving all the time, that there was no hierarchy of place symbolizing and masking a hierarchy of persons (Crossan); apocryphal Gospels
are sources equal to (if not surpassing) the canonical Gospels; etc.
Incidentally, is Mr Lewis aware of the Apocryphal Gospels
or of the writings of early Fathers of the Church?
The strange and fascinating world of the apocryphal gospels may shed light on this question.
This sort of criticism of the infancy gospels is perhaps best summed up by Frederic Farrar (writing in 1900): "The Christians who wrote the Apocryphal Gospels were not sufficiently instructed in reverence to abstain from filling up the interspaces of the eloquent silence of the Evangelists.
And indeed the apocryphal gospels respond to some genuine intellectual puzzles in the Christian story.
More important to Southwell's audience, who knew the tales of Christ's displays of power from the Golden Legend and the apocryphal Gospels
, he never angered his playmates or the authorities by hanging jugs on sunbeams or making little lakes of water or creating clay birds and animating them in defiance of the Sabbath, nor did he strike down his companions with lightning, all faults Mary Dzon discusses in her "Wanton Boys in Middle English Texts and the Christ Child.
We should note however that the later writers of apocryphal Gospels
were not Jewish and tended to be rather more anti-Semitic than anti-Christian as they tried to divorce Christianity from its Old Testament and Jewish origins.
Roman Catholics are also familiar with the apocryphal gospels
in their version of the Bible that is absent from the King James edition and most other Protestant versions of the Bible.
Fonda, who describes herself as a serious Bible student, is a believer in the apocryphal Gospels
, which prompts an exchange between her and Mr.