New Book: Greek Readers Edition of 1 Apocr. Apoc. John

1AAJn-Cover-Amazon-001Over the past two years, off and on, I’ve been working on a new introduction and translation of the First Apocryphal Apocalypse of John (1AAJn) for the second volume of Tony Burke and Brent Landau’s New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures series.

A few months back, I realized I had most of the parts required to make a reader’s edition of 1AAJn. I had keyed in the text and assigned dictionary forms (lemmas), morphology, and English glosses. I could write code to generate the rest needed, and then do some editing on the result to produce something that could be published.

But why would anyone want a reader’s edition of this little-known text?

1AAJn-sample-002There are all sorts of reasons, but the basic reason is: The more Greek you read, the better your Greek will get. Even if the New Testament is your swimming pool, you need to read stuff outside of the Greek NT. Apostolic Fathers are good, so is the LXX. But I thought that 1AAJn was unique because its vocabulary (and forms) are largely those found in the Greek New Testament, its content is similar to content in the canonical book of Revelation, and it “baby bear” sized: Not too short, not too long, but just right.

When you make it through this little book, you’ll have worked through a text that will make your Greek better. There’s an English translation provided too (Walker’s translation from Schaff’s Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 9). The Greek text provides a footnote for every instance of every word that occurs 30x or less in the Greek New Testament. The footnote includes dictionary form, part of speech, number of NT occurrences, and a short English gloss. There is even an appendix in the back that provides a glossary of all the footnoted words.

About 1 Apocr. Apoc. John

The First Apocryphal Apocalypse of John, originally composed sometime between the 5th and 8th centuries, is an apocalypse structured as questions and answers with “John the Theologian” questioning the Lord Jesus. Several themes from the canonical book of Revelation are echoed. There are also several interactions with Psalms and New Testament material, and the vocabulary is largely that of the Greek New Testament.


4 thoughts on “New Book: Greek Readers Edition of 1 Apocr. Apoc. John

  1. I think this is very cool, and I have purchased this and looked forward to giving it a shot. I noticed though that the book doesn’t contain much in the way of background and historical context for this work, and obviously using the terms in the title of this book for an Internet search leads mostly to discussions of other topics. Where would you recommend one turn for information on the historical background of this work and some ideas on what the motivation of this book was? I’d like to learn more about the text itself to help me put it in context as I read it.



    • Howdy. Thanks for your interest! I actually *have* written an introduction (and translation!) for 1AAJn which will appear in a collection of noncanonical works that has not been published yet, probably 2019 (New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, vol. 2, eds. Tony Burke & Brent Landau). In the meantime, the e-clavis entry for 1 Apocr. Apoc. John will fill some gaps:


      • The motivation for the reader: I did all the work on the text (typing it in, assigning glosses and morphology information, etc.) in the process of preparing the translatoin. It seemed a waste not to get that information out somehow. So I put together the book as a reader; it seemed the best use of the information.


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