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Christian Apocrypha at the 2017 SBL International Meeting

The 2017 Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting will take place August 7-11 in Berlin Germany. There are five Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha panels at this year’s event, with three of them focusing on Christian Apocrypha. NASSCAL is well-represented at the meeting, with papers from board members Tony Burke, Cornelia Horn, Bradley Rice, and Janet Spittler and members William Adler, Eric Beck, Jonathan Henry, and Ivan Miroshnikov. The program book is available online but the complete list of presentations on Christian Apocrypha from all sessions is provided below.

8-2 Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (9:00 AM to 10:30 AM)
Tony Burke, York University and Slavomír Céplö, Univerzita Karlova v Praze: “Arabic” Infancy Gospel No More: The Challenges of Reconstructing the Original Gospel of the Infancy
Justin A. Mihoc, University of Durham: Mary-Temple in the Protevangelium of James
Mari Mamyan, Yerevan State University: The “Armenian Gospel of the Infancy”: The Ambiguous Fate of the Armenian Apocryphon in the Later Middle Ages

8-25 Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (11:00 AM to 12:30 PM)
Kwang Meng Low, Independent: Text of Subversion: Gospel of Judas and Carnivalesque
Eric J Beck, University of Edinburgh: Hell in Context: A New Reading of the Apocalypse of Peter
Bradley N. Rice, McGill University: The Story of Joseph of Arimathea and the Inventio of Icons in Christian Apocrypha

11-3 Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (9:00 AM to 10:30 AM)
Jonathan Henry, Princeton University: Theories and Methods for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature
Francis Borchardt, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong: The Limits of the “Book” when Studying Ancient Writings
James D. Moore, Brandeis University: Calling all Cards a Spade?: Reflections on the Story of Ahiqar and the Different Editions of the Tale that Go by the Same Name

11-27 Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (11:00 AM to 12:30 PM)
Dominique Cote, Université d’Ottawa – University of Ottawa: The “Novel” or Letter from Clement of Rome to James of Jerusalem
Ivan Miroshnikov, University of Helsinki: Textual Fluidity in Coptic Apocrypha
Janet Spittler, University of Virginia: What do we mean when we say “Acts of John”?

8-12 Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism (9:00 AM to 10:30 AM)
Simeon R Burke, University of Edinburgh: The Gospel of Thomas and the Synoptics: Thomas’ Representation of the Scribes and Pharisees as Further Evidence of its Second Century Dating
Petru Moldovan, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen: The Gospel of Thomas within the Egyptian Milieu: An Artifact Between Conventions and Promises

8-47 The Language of Colour in the Bible: From Word to Image (EABS) (11:00 AM to 12:30 PM)
Evangeline Kozitza, University of Oxford: The Annunciation in Color: The Visuality of the Temple Curtain and Mary’s Spinning in the Protevangelium of James

8-72 Slavonic Parabiblical Traditions (EABS) (2:00 PM to 3:30 PM)
Iva Trifonova, Cyrillo-Methodian Research Center, BAS: NARRATIO APHRODITIANI in Medieval Orthodox Culture
Florentina Badalanova Geller, Freie Universität Berlin: Apocryphal Apocalypses Reconsidered: Transmission of Judaeo–Christian Parabiblical Traditions in the Indigenous Visionary Narratives of Slavia Orthodoxa

9-29 Families and Children in the Ancient World (11:00 AM to 12:30 PM)
Common Lung-pun Chan, Chinese University of Hong Kong: Right to Life Against Infanticide in Apocalyptic Texts

8-91 The Language of Colour in the Bible: From Word to Image (EABS) (4:00 PM to 5:45 PM)
Emanuela Valeriani, Université de Genève: The use of colors in the Sibylline Oracles

9-49 Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature (2:00 PM to 3:30 PM)
Simeon R. Burke, University of Edinburgh: The Gospel of Thomas and the Synoptics: Thomas’ Representation of the Scribes and Pharisees as Further Evidence of its Second Century Dating

9-73 Apocalyptic Literature (4:00 PM to 5:45 PM)
Vicente Dobroruka, Universidade de Brasília: The Final Updating of a Conversion Tool: Hagiographies, Martyrologies and the Apocalyptic Tradition of the Sibylline Oracles

9-91,Rethinking Biblical Written Tradition through Slavonic Interpretations (4:00 PM to 5:00 PM)
Cornelia Horn, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg: Linking Slavonic and Oriental Christian Apocrypha in the Digital Realm

9-94 The Bible and Its Reception in Eastern Europe Scholarship (4:00 PM to 5:30 PM)
William Adler, North Carolina State University: The text-critical value of the Slavonic version of the Palaea Historica
Florentina Geller, Freie Universität Berlin: Slavonic Folk Bible

10-34 Slavonic Apocrypha (EABS) (11:00 AM to 12:30 PM)
Anissava Miltenova, Institute for Literature Bulgarian Academy of Sciences: Symbiosis between Apocryphon and Nomocanon: Apocalypsis Johannis quarta
Amber Ivanova, Universiteit Gent: The Apocryphal Origin of the Martyr Act of Saint Thekla in the Medieval Slavonic Tradition

11-4 Bible and Syriac Studies in Context (9:00 AM to 10:30 AM)
TODA Satoshi, Hokkaido University: The So-Called Hebrew Urmatthäus and Syriac Gospel Tradition

New Additions to e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha (April 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 NASSCAL. The new entries are:

Acts of Nereus and Achilleus by Richard I. Pervo

Apocalypse of Paul (Coptic) by Michael Kaler

Apocalypse of Peter (Coptic) by Pamela Mullins Reaves

Decapitation of John the Forerunner by Tony Burke

Martyrdom of Zechariah by Sarah Veale

Wisdom of Jesus Christ by Chance Bonar

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

Manuscripta apocryphorum: Online Christian Apocrypha Manuscripts

P. Heidelberg 300, a 6th-century copy of the Acts of Paul in Coptic

Each entry for the e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha, the online Christian Apocrypha clavis constructed and maintained by members of NASSCAL (North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature), contains branch pages for manuscripts that contain the text of the entry. The pages feature links to online images (where available) and other databases, along with such information as physical description, provenance, date of composition, contents, and catalogs.

All of these branch pages can be accessed via the Manuscripta apocryphorum page (now accessible via the menu to the left of your screen). At present pages have been created for 45 manuscripts and there are many, many more to come. Libraries throughout the world are releasing images of their manuscripts online; unfortunately, manuscripts of apocryphal texts seem to be low on their priorities. Nevertheless, they are appearing ever-so-slowly and Manuscripta apocryphorum is a helpful resource to consult when looking to see what materials are available.

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

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.