canonical literature; apocryphal literature; early Christians; textual criticism
Today biblical scholars, theologians, and lay Christians recognize the difference between the canonical and apocryphal literature that have come down through the centuries to modern times. The purpose of the discussion here is to demonstrate by means of textual criticism that early scribes who copied Christian texts may have also differentiated between what are termed modernly as canonical and apocryphal literature respectively. The extensive research of prominent biblical scholars will be drawn upon in order to establish and support this thesis. However, the greatest difficulty and challenge of this topic is that there is an abundance of information, but currently no definitive secondary sources exist. No scholar to date has actually posed the question as to whether or not early Christians understood a difference between canonical and apocryphal literature.