Fifty Ways to Forge a Gospel

      You may already know New Testament scholar and blog member James McGrath.  James is the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, with many academic interests similar to mine.  Six years ago we were both at a conference at York University (Toronto) that was dealing with ancient Christian apocrypha.  I gave a talk on pseudepigraphy in the antiquity, in which I argued that it was not an acceptable practice to write a text claiming to be a famous person (when you were someone else).  In the modern world we call that a "forgery"; I argued that in the ancient world they also used negative terms for it and consistently disparaged the practice (contrary to what you often hear).      After my talk, James happened to be sitting across from me, and he suggested that one could write a (Paul Simon imitation) song "Fifty Ways to Forge a Gospel."  I laughed and didn't think he was serious.  He was.  And he did.  And now he's not [...]