Archive for May, 2009

Paul and the Resurrection

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I was asked recently to take part in an on-line debate on the topic of Paul and the Resurrection. The two debaters were historian Richard Carrier and Jake O-Connell, a theology student at Assumption College in Worchester, Massachussets. I was among four scholars who were called on to assess the debate. Included also is Dennis R. MacDonald (whose assessment is quite witty). You can read the debate HERE and the assessments HERE.

Paper for 2009 SBL Annual Meeting

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I will be attending the 2009 SBL Annual Meeting in New Orleans in November. Francois Bovon has graciously agreed to respond to my paper. Here is the abstract:

Christian Apocrypha in Ancient Libraries

Several of the most prominent literary discoveries of the past century have been the contents of ancient libraries—i.e., collection of texts, rather than single texts or single codices. Many of these libraries include Christian apocryphal literature. The Oxyrhynchus site, for example, includes material that may have derived from a Christian scriptorum or that was borrowed/copied from the library of Alexandria. Among the texts found at the site are fragments of the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary, the Acts of Paul, the Acts of Peter, the Acts of John, the Gospel of Mary, and two unidentified apocrypha. The Bodmer Papyri (aka the Dishna Papers), which may have belonged to a monastery library, include the Infancy Gospel of James and 3 Corinthians. And, the most well-known collection of Christian apocrypha, the Nag Hammadi Library, which may have originated at a nearby Pachomian monastery, features numerous apocryphal texts including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip. This paper reviews the manuscript evidence of the apocryphal texts from these libraries to get a sense of how the texts were regarded by those who collected them. Do they exhibit any of the features typically found in manuscripts that derive from ancient libraries? Are the apocryphal texts treated any differently than any other texts in the collections? Given the place of the apocryphal texts in each collection, what can be said of the interests of the person or group that used them? The paper includes also a discussion of allusions in early Christian literature to other ancient Christian libraries that contained apocryphal texts.


2009 SBL International Meeting in Rome

Monday, May 18th, 2009

The International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature will soon be upon us (June 30 to July 4). I will be presenting a paper at the event (more on that to follow). Here is a list of papers/panels of interest to the study of the Christian Apocrypha.

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
July 2, 8:30-10:00 AM
Theme: Why Study Extra-Canonical Literature?

Kelley Coblentz Bautch, St. Edward's University, Presiding
Michael Segal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Panelist
Ida Frohlich, Pazmany Peter Catholic University, Panelist
Pierluigi Piovanelli, University of Ottawa, Panelist
Joseph Sievers, Pontifical Biblical Institute and Pontifical Gregorian University, Panelist
Judith Newman, University of Toronto, Panelist
Jonathan Ben-Dov, University of Haifa, Panelist
Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan, Panelist

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
July 3, 8:30-11:30 AM
Theme: New Approaches to the Study of the Pseudepigrapha and Apocrypha

Françoise Mirguet, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Presiding
Rebecca Raphael, Texas State University-San Marcos
Jesus the Disabler: Disability, Eschatology, and Identity in Sibylline Oracles 1.324-386 (25 min)
Timothy B. Sailors, University of Tubingen
The Baptism of Jesus and the Baptism of Adam in the Books of Adam and Eve (25 min)
Pieter M. Venter, University of Pretoria
Triadic Constructs in the Dinah Narrative: Genesis, Aramaic Levi and Jubilees (25 min)
Break (30 min)
Tony Burke, York University and Slavomír Céplö, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
The Syriac Tradition of the Legend of the Thirty Pieces of Silver (25 min)
Silviu N. Bunta, University of Dayton
The Shorter Recension of the Life of Adam and Eve: Revisiting the Romanian Version (25 min)
Yonatan Moss, Yale University
Historiography and Apocrypha/ Process and Product: Comparing the Abgar Accounts of Eusebius and The Teaching of Addai (25 min)

Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
July 3, 8:30-11:15 AM
Theme: Putting Gnosticism in its Place(s)

Nicola Denzey, Harvard University, Presiding
Minna Heimola, University of Helsinki
Christian Identity and School Setting in the Gospel of Philip (30 min)
Bas van Os, University of Utrecht
Does the Gospel of Philip Have Roman Roots? (30 min)
Philip L. Tite, Willamette University
Re-Thinking Gnosticism in Roman Britain: A Preliminary Assessment of a Neglected Hypothesis (30 min)
Break (30 min)
Jonathan Cahana, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
None of Them Knew Me nor My Brothers: “Gnostic” Anti-traditionalism and “Gnosticism” as a Cultural Phenomenon (30 min)
Nicola Denzey, Harvard University, Respondent (15 min)

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
July 3, 1:30-4:30 PM
Theme: When in Rome

Steven Friesen, University of Texas at Austin, Presiding
Francis Borchardt, University of Helsinki
Rome in 1 Maccabees (30 min)
Kenneth R. Atkinson, University of Northern Iowa
Opposing the “Dragon”: The Militant Davidic Messiah Tradition as a Political Tool to Undermine the Authority of Roman Rule (30 min)
Jon Ma Asgeirsson, University of Iceland
Combatting the Roman Empire in Imaginary India (30 min)
Break (30 min)
Ally Kateusz, Iliff School of Theology
Using Later Iconographic Analogues to Identify Apocryphal Scenes in Early Art (30 min)
Eric Noffke, University of Basel, Facoltà Valdese di Teologia, Rome
Paul, Ezra and Rome: The Contribution of the Apocrypha to Renewed Research (30 min)

Bible in Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions
July 4, 8:30-11:15 AM
Theme: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Versions of the Bible

Merja Merras, University of Joensuu, Finland , Presiding
Vahan Hovhanessian, Introduction, Member (5 min)
Daniel Alberto Ayuch, University of Balamand, Lebanon
The Prayer of Manasseh: Orthodox Tradition and Modern Studies in Dialogue (25 min)
Slavomír Céplö, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
Testament of Solomon and Other Pseudepigraphical Material in Ahkam Sulajman (25 min)
Sergey Minov, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Rewriting Bible in Late Antique Syria: Recovering Sitz im Leben of the Cave of Treasures (25 min)