The Lost Gospel
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Introduction & Map

Gospel of the Savior Recognized

Late 1990s

TK [Egyptian museum in Berlin.]
The Gospel of the Savior is part of the papyrus collection of the Berlin Egyptian Museum.
Photograph copyright Vanni Archive/Corbis

The "long lost" Gospel of the Savior actually languished unnoticed for three decades within the vast collection of Berlin, Germany's Egyptian museum. In the late 1990s two scholars working independently identified the fourth-century Coptic manuscript, a copy of a work originally penned in first- or second-century Egypt.

The Gospel of the Savior is one of several Gnostic Gospels to shed light on the diversity of views held by early Christians. These beliefs were effectively stamped out by church leaders as the religion coalesced into a more structured faith based on the New Testament texts.

The Gospel's original title does not survive. It is similar in some ways to New Testament Gospels, like John, and also to noncanonical Gospels such as the Gospel of Thomas.

The text echoes familiar phrases from the New Testament Gospels, such as Matthew's "You are the salt of the Earth." But it also includes phrases found nowhere in the canon, such as "You are the fire that illuminates the world."

The Gospel features dialogues between the "savior," (not named as Jesus in the surviving pages) and his disciples. Scholars believe that these conversations are meant to have occurred after Jesus' resurrection, though the text is incomplete and it is difficult to determine an accurate chronology of its events.