THIS new fragment of early literature came to light through certain manuscripts which were recently found in Russia and Servia and so far as is yet known has been preserved only in Slavonic. Little is known of its origin except that in its present form it was written somewhere about the beginning of the Christian era. Its final editor was a Greek and the place of its composition Egypt. Its value lies in the unquestioned influence which it has exerted on the writers of the New Testament. Some of the dark passages of the latter being all but inexplicable without its aid.
Although the very knowledge that such a book ever existed was lost for probably 1200 years, it nevertheless was much used by both Christian and heretic in the early centuries and forms a most valuable document in any study of the forms of early Christianity.
The writing appeals to the reader who thrills to lend wings to his thoughts and fly to mystical realms. Here is a strange dramatization of eternity--with views on Creation, Anthropology, and Ethics. As the world was made in six days, so its history would be accomplished in 6,000 years (or 6,000,000 years), and this would be followed by 1,000 years of rest (possibly when the balance of conflicting moral forces has been struck and human life has reached the ideal state). At its close would begin the 8th Eternal Day, when time should be no more.