1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Agrapha

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AGRAPHA (i.e. “unwritten”), the name given to certain utterances ascribed, with some degree of certainty, to Jesus, which have been preserved in documents other than the Gospels, e.g. Acts xx. 35; 1 Tim. v. 18; 1 Cor. vii. 10-12, and the Logia (q.v.) discovered in 1897 and 1903 at Oxyrhyncus. Two interesting examples of such sayings may be quoted: (1) “That which is weak shall be saved by that which is strong”; (2) “Jesus, on whom be peace, has said: ‘The world is merely a bridge; ye are to pass over it, and not to build your dwellings upon it.’ ” The first of these is from the Apostolic Canons (c. A.D. 300), the second was found by the missionary Alexander Duff inscribed in Arabic on the gateway of the mosque at Fatehpur Sikri.

The earliest modern collection of such sayings was by Cotelerius, Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta (1677–1688), followed by J. E. Grabe, Spicelegium (1698 and 1700), and J. B. Fabricius, Codex Apocryph. N. T. (2nd ed., 1719). See also A. Resch, Agrapha (Leipzig, 1889); J. H. Ropes, Die Spruche Jesu (Leipzig, 1896); and the article "Sayings" in J. Hastings’ Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels.