Archive for May, 2008

Medieval Apocrypha

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Blogging has slowed down of late as I devote myself to a summer course on the History of the Bible (syllabus HERE) and to working on my edition of Infancy Gospel of Thomas from Vat. Syr. 159 for the AELAC réunuion in June. But I came across a new book on a few medieval apocrypha that I thought I’d bring to your attention.

The book is Tales From Another Byzantium: Celestial Journey and Local Community in the Medeival Greek Apocrypha (Cambridge UP, 2007) by Jane Baun. It focuses on two texts: the much-neglected Apocalypse of the Theotokos (aka the Apocalypse of Mary) and the Apocalypse of Anastasia. Both texts are 9/10th century reworkings of the Apocalypse of Paul, though there are versions of the Marian text believed to hail from the 4th century. The two apocalypses received some attention in 19th and early 20th century scholarship on the CA but, given the lateness of the texts, the CA scholars did not devote much time and energy to them. Technically, the Apocalypse of Anastasia is not an apocryphal text—an apocalypse certainly, but because it is not attributed to an early Christian figure, nor does it feature NT figures in their historical setting, it does not qualify as Christian Apocrypha (at least not as I see the category).

Mentioned also in the book are The Letter That Fell from the Sky, a text known from as early as the 5th century, the Didaskalia of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a variety of Johannine Apocalypses. All of this material deserves more attention (they're not just for Medievalists) and Baun’s book is a welcome step forward in the study of these texts.