A vast body of early nonbiblical Christian writings that claim to preserve memories of Jesus and the apostles and that frequently imitate the major genres (literary types) of NT literature: gospels, acts, letters, and apocalypses. Even though this literature relates little that is historically reliable regarding the actual words and deeds of Jesus and his first disciples, it is indispensable for understanding the piety of Christians in late antiquity and, particularly, the views and attitudes of Christian groups that do not appear to have been related to the mainstream apostolic tradition. Works that have garnered particular attention include:
1. Apocryphal Gospels: Protoevangelium of James, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Nicodemus, Gospel of the Nazoreans, Gospel of the Ebionites, Gospel of the Hebrews, Gospel of the Egyptians, Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Philip,Gospel of Mary.
2. Apocryphal Acts: Acts of Paul, Acts of Peter, Acts of John, Acts of Andrew, Acts of Thomas, Acts of Andrew and Matthias (originally part of the Acts of Andrew?), Acts of Philip, Acts of Thaddaeus, Acts of Peter and Paul, Acts of Peter and Andrew, Slavonic Acts of Peter, Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles.
3. Apocryphal Letters: Third Corinthians,Letter to the Laodiceans, Letters of Paul and Seneca, Letters of Jesus and Abgar, Letters of Lentulus,Letter of Titus.
4. Apocryphal Apocalypses: Apocalypse of Peter, Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, Apocalypse of Paul, First Apocalypse of James, Second Apocalypse of James, Apocryphon of John, Sophia of Jesus Christ, Letter of Peter to Philip, Apocalypse of Mary.