What Does Apocryphalist Mean?

Discover the meaning of apocryphalist and its historical significance in religious contexts. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics on apocryphal beliefs.

Understanding the Term Apocryphalist

Apocryphalist is a term that is not commonly heard in everyday conversations, but it holds significant historical and religious connotations. This article aims to shed light on what apocryphalist means and its implications.

Defining Apocryphalist

Apocryphalist refers to someone who believes in or promotes apocrypha – texts that are of doubtful authenticity or authorship, especially those that are not considered part of the canonical Bible. These texts may include gospels, epistles, or other writings that were not included in the official Biblical canon.

Historical Context

The term apocryphalist has its roots in the early Christian Church, where debates raged over which texts should be considered sacred and authoritative. Some texts, such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Apocalypse of Peter, were considered by some to be inspired scripture, while others deemed them heretical or spurious.

Examples of Apocryphal Texts

  • Gospel of Mary
  • Apocalypse of James
  • Infancy Gospel of Thomas

Case Studies

One example of a group considered apocryphalists is the Gnostics, who believed in secret knowledge and hidden truths revealed in their sacred texts. The Nag Hammadi Library, discovered in Egypt in 1945, contained many Gnostic gospels and scriptures that were previously unknown.

Statistics on Apocryphal Beliefs

While exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, surveys have shown that a significant portion of the population is unaware of the existence of apocryphal texts or their significance. This lack of awareness has led to misconceptions and misunderstandings about the diversity of religious beliefs and practices.


In conclusion, the term apocryphalist refers to someone who embraces or promotes non-canonical texts that are not part of the official Biblical canon. This term has historical significance and sheds light on the complexity of religious beliefs and interpretations. By understanding what apocryphalist means, we can better appreciate the diversity of religious thought and the ongoing debates over sacred texts.

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