from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural The sayings of Jesus written in various ancient sources but not included in the canonical Gospels.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun sayings of Jesus not recorded in the canonical Gospels


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek, from neuter pl. of agraphos, unwritten : a-, not; see a– + graphein, to write; see gerbh- in Indo-European roots.]


  • If this proves to be the case we may then consider Speusippus and Xenocrates, as to whose spec - ulation we are perhaps better informed, to see if their metaphysics may reasonably be supposed to have evolved from Plato's agrapha dogmata.

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • It represents in its main lines the thought not only of Speusippus and Xenocrates but also, as far as we can discern, that of Plato in the agrapha dogmata or “unwritten doctrines” (Ross, pp. 142-53; Merlan, pp. 11-33; Krämer, pp. 1-2; Gaiser with frags.).

    Dictionary of the History of Ideas

  • It is accordingly argued that the field of textual criticism impacts historical Jesus studies in at least three ways: (1) the textual integrity of the New Testament and the possibility of historical Jesus research; (2) the significance of the agrapha; and (3) text-critical contributions to historical issues in life of Jesus research.


  • Lee Martin McDonald, "The Integrity of the Biblical Canon in Light of Its Historical Development," Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996): 95-132. continues to surface here and there. 9 The legitimacy of the question stems from the fact that the agrapha served as a scriptural (or authoritative) resource for the Christians that cited them, and if we can with some assurance determine which of the two hundred plus agrapha are genuine,10 then should they not be added to the data base of information that informs us about Jesus?

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