What are the “lost Gospels”?
The term “lost Gospels” usually refers to ancient writings that were excluded from the New Testament, even though they included supposed recollections of events and teachings from the life of Jesus. A few of these lost Gospels have lasted throughout the centuries. Others survive only in tiny fragments of papyrus or in brief quotations found in the writings of early Christian scholars. Several lost Gospels were discovered anew in the past 100 years. Copies of some texts—such as Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, and Coptic Gospel of the Egyptians—were unearthed in 1945 in Egypt, near a village known as Nag Hammadi.
If a Gospel is defined as an ancient retelling of the events or teachings from Jesus’ life, there are fewer than thirty known Gospels. Unlike the New Testament Gospels, many of the lost Gospels record only isolated teachings or fragmentary incidents from the life of Jesus.