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New Additions to e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha (March 2017)

Three new entries have been added to e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha, the comprehensive bibliography of Christian Apocrypha research assembled and maintained by members of NASSCAL. The new entries are:

Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew by Brandon W. Hawk

Life of Judas by Brandon W. Hawk

Protevangelium of James by Eric M. Vanden Eykel

e-Clavis is always looking for volunteers to contribute entries for unassigned texts. Contact members of the editorial board for more information.

NASSCAL Member Publication: Slavomír Čéplö, “On Herod and John the Baptist”

Slavomír Čéplö, “On Herod and John the Baptist: An Edition and Translation of a Previously Unknown New Testament Apocryphon.” Pages 295–319 in A Festschrift for Ján Pauliny on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Edited by Zuzana Gažáková and Jaroslav Drobný. Bratislava: FiF UK, 2016.

For more on this text, see the e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha entry. The entry summarizes the text as follows:

This work combines various strands of tradition to recount the events surrounding the death of John the Baptist as a narrative embedded in a sermon delivered on the saint’s feast day. The extant text, incomplete at the beginning, starts in harmony with the respective portions of Life Bapt. Serap. describing an incident where John’s disembodied voice haunts Herod and Herodias in their bedchamber and Herodias vowing to kill John. The story then proceeds to describe John’s imprisonment and execution in much the same terms as the canonical Gospels, but interrupting the narrative by including a substantial homiletic portion with references to other apocryphal works (Martyrdom of Isaiah and the Protevangelium of James). The narrative resumes with the description of the fate of John’s remains where in contrast to Life Bapt. Serap., On Herod Bapt. devotes little attention to his body (only noting its internment in the tomb of Elisha). John’s head is delivered to Herodias who is intent on defiling it to carry out her revenge. As in Life Bapt. Serap., John’s head crosses her plans by flying into the air while just punishment is visited on Herodias and her daughter. Herodias’s hands fall off and her body is swallowed by the ground up to her neck and descends to hell. Her daughter goes mad and Herod (who, in contrast to Life Bapt. Serap., escapes the incident unscathed) beheads her. John’s head then takes off continuing to decry Herod’s sin and flies to the Mount of Olives where Jesus and Virgin Mary receive it. Jesus prophesies concerning his own death and commands John’s head to spend the next fifteen years preaching. When the time is up, the head arrives in heaven and meets John’s father Zechariah. The story concludes with a summary of the timeline of the described events and a blessing.

NASSCAL Member Publication: Michael Zeddies on Origen as Author of “To Theodore”

Michael T. Zeddies, “Did Origen Write the Letter to Thedore?” Journal of Early Christian Studies 25.1 (2017): 55–87.

For online access, visit the Project Muse site.

Abstract: In 1958 Morton Smith discovered, in the monastery of Mar Saba, a Greek copy of a letter attributed to Clement of Alexandria, addressed to one Theodore. The letter’s authenticity has been viewed with some skepticism, and since its publication in 1973, scholars have scrutinized it intensely, with some accusing Smith of forgery. Recent debate has suggested forgery is implausible; yet the letter does include non-Clementine elements, including the proposal that Christians should perjure themselves rather than reveal the authorship of a non-canonical Markan gospel that the letter describes. Since the misattribution of ancient texts is not uncommon, it is prudent to wonder if the letter has likewise been misattributed, rather than forged. Ancient testimony and recent scholarship suggest the letter’s author is Origen of Alexandria. Origen’s attitudes towards deception resemble those found in the letter, and many other features of the letter are demonstrably Origenian, including its theological attitudes and themes, its phrases and metaphors, and its biblical references. The letter is consistent with Origen’s use of Clement’s writings, and with Origen’s text-critical practices. It finds a plausible setting during Origen’s years in Caesarea Maritima, and a plausible recipient in Origen’s pupil Theodore.

 

 

 

NASSCAL Member Publication: Michael Kok on Papias and the Gospel of the Hebrews

Michael J. Kok, “Did Papias of Hierapolis Use the Gospel according to the Hebrews as a Source?” Journal of Early Christian Studies 25.1 (2017): 29–53.

For online access, visit the Project Muse site.

Abstract: There is a recurring patristic tradition that Matthew composed a gospel in the Hebrew language and that Jewish sects such as the Ebionites or the Nazoreans had access to it. A Papian fragment preserved by Eusebius (h.e. 3.39.17) credits a story about Jesus’s encounter with a sinful woman to the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Nevertheless, this paper will argue that Eusebius was responsible for this ascription and that Papias of Hierapolis was active before the Jewish Christian gospels that bore this title were composed. Instead, this anecdote was available to Papias and the evangelist Luke from a pool of oral traditions in circulation in Asia Minor

 

 

 

New Additions to e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha (February 2017)

Six new entries have been added to e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha, the comprehensive bibliography of Christian Apocrypha research assembled and maintained by members of the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL). The new entries are:

Apocalypse of Peter (Greek/Ethiopic) by Cambry Pardee

Dialogue of the Savior by Anna Cwikla

Gospel of Philip by Emily Laflèche

Gospel of Jesus’ Wife by Ian Brown

History of the Virgin (East Syriac) by Tony Burke

Pseudo-Clementines by F. Stanley Jones

e-Clavis is always looking for volunteers to contribute entries for unassigned texts. Contact members of the editorial board for more information.

NASSCAL Member Publication: Mary Dzon’s Quest for the Christ Child

Mary Dzon, The Quest for the Christ Child in the Later Middle Ages. The Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017.

From the publisher’s web site:

Beginning in the twelfth century, clergy and laity alike started wondering with intensity about the historical and developmental details of Jesus’ early life. Was the Christ Child like other children, whose characteristics and capabilities depended on their age? Was he sweet and tender, or formidable and powerful? Not finding sufficient information in the Gospels, which are almost completely silent about Jesus’ childhood, medieval Christians turned to centuries-old apocryphal texts for answers.

In The Quest for the Christ Child in the Later Middle Ages, Mary Dzon demonstrates how these apocryphal legends fostered a vibrant and creative medieval piety. Popular tales about the Christ Child entertained the laity and at the same time were reviled by some members of the intellectual elite of the church. In either case, such legends, so persistent, left their mark on theological, devotional, and literary texts. The Cistercian abbot Aelred of Rievaulx urged his monastic readers to imitate the Christ Child’s development through spiritual growth; Francis of Assisi encouraged his followers to emulate the Christ Child’s poverty and rusticity; Thomas Aquinas, for his part, believed that apocryphal stories about the Christ Child would encourage youths to be presumptuous, while Birgitta of Sweden provided pious alternatives in her many Marian revelations. Through close readings of such writings, Dzon explores the continued transmission and appeal of apocryphal legends throughout the Middle Ages and demonstrates the significant impact that the Christ Child had in shaping the medieval religious imagination.

New Additions to e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha

e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha is a comprehensive bibliography of Christian Apocrypha research assembled and maintained by members of the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL).

Five new entries were added in the past few months and several more will be posted in the next few weeks. The new entries are:

Apocalypse of Paul (Coptic) by Michael Kaler

3 Corinthians by Gregory Fewster

Epistles of Paul and Seneca by Chance Bonar

Life of Mary (West Syriac) by Tony Burke

e-Clavis is always looking for volunteers to contribute entries for unassigned texts. Contact members of the editorial board for more information.

NASSCAL Member Publication: Alin Suciu on the Berlin-Strasbourg Apocryphon

Alin Suciu. The Berlin-Strasbourg Apocryphon: A Coptic Apostolic Memoir. WUNT 370. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

Abstract from the Mohr Siebeck web site: The present volume offers a new edition, English translation, and interpretation of the Berlin-Strasbourg Apocryphon , previously known as the Gospel of the Savior . An apocryphal story about Jesus probably transpiring shortly before the Crucifixion, the Berlin-Strasbourg Apocryphon claims to recount the narrative as told by the apostles themselves. The text also includes a long hymn sung by Christ to the cross on which he will soon be crucified. The Berlin Strasbourg-Apocryphon is exclusively preserved in Coptic by two fragmentary manuscripts, Papyrus Berolinensis 22220 and Strasbourg Copte 5–7. Additionally, a Coptic manuscript discovered at Qasr el-Wizz in Christian Nubia contains a short version of the Hymn of the Cross. Until now, it has been almost unanimously accepted that the Berlin Strasbourg-Apocryphon is an ancient Christian gospel – probably datable to the second century CE – which was bypassed in the formation of the Christian canon. Approaching the text from the angle of Coptic literature, Alin Suciu rejects this early dating, showing instead that its composition must be located following the Council of Chalcedon (451 CE), whose theological deliberations gradually alienated Egypt from the Byzantine world. The author argues that the Berlin-Strasbourg Apocryphon is one of numerous “apostolic memoirs,” a peculiar genre of Coptic literature, which consists of writings allegedly written by the apostles, often embedded in sermons attributed to famous church fathers.

NASSCAL Members Publication: Jean-Michel Roessli and Zbigniew Izydorcyk

A. Van den Kerchove, and L. G. Soares Santoprete (eds.), Gnose et manichéisme. Entre Les oasis d’Égypte et la Route fe la Soi. Hommage à Jean-Daniel Dubois. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016.

This extensive volume features over forty articles, primarily by our European colleagues. Two of the pieces, however, deserve particular mention here: “The Troyes Redaction of the Evangelium Nicodemi and its Vernacular Legacy” by NASSCAL member Zbigniew Izydorczyk (co-written with Dario Bullitta) and “Loisy et les apocryphes pétriniens” by NASSCAL board member Jean-Michel Roessli. For a complete list of the volume’s contents, see the page on the Brepols catalog web site or download this promotional flyer.

NASSCAL Member Publication: Tony Burke on Acts of Pilate Traditions

Tony Burke, “Two New Witnesses to the Acta Pilati Tradition.” Le Muséon 129 (2016): 251-78.

Abstract: A 14th/15th-century Greek manuscript in Vienna (Cod. hist. gr. 91) contains two fragmentary texts relating to the Acta Pilati corpus of the Christian Apocrypha. The first is a fragment of On the Passion, for the Preparation Day, a sermon attributed to Eusebius of Alexandria drawing upon the Descensus ad inferos, found appended to several versions of the Acts of Pilate. The paper includes a transcription and translation of the fragment along with an overview of the publication history of the sermon. The second text is an unpublished, untitled excerpt from an unknown homily dealing with the burial of Jesus and the imprisonment of Joseph of Arimathea. This paper presents a diplomatic edition of the text with an English translation along with a discussion of its relationship to the Acts of Pilate and the related Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea.

For additional information on one the texts discussed in the article (On the Funeral of Jesus) see the entry on e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha.