Yesterday I discussed the first surviving Christian account of a tour of heaven and hell, an apocalypse allegedly, but not really, written by Jesus’ disciple Peter. Here is one other, this time allegedly, but not really, written by the Apostle Paul. I have taken this description from my book Forgery and Counterforgery (which I have revised a bit to get rid of some of the scholarly jargon). ***************************************************** Far more influential on the history of Christian thought than the Apocalypse of Peter, though clearly dependent on it for many of its traditions, the Apocalypse of Paul was originally composed in Greek but came to be translated into a number of languages: Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Slavonic, and Ethiopic. The text as we have it is dated at the outset: “In the consulate of Theodosius Augustus the Younger and of Cynegius, a certain respected man was living in Tarsus….” Commonly this is taken to indicate that the book was composed, in its final form, around 388 CE, but scholars today think that it may derive from the [...]
I am about ready now (I think!) to dig more deeply into a thread on the Invention of the Afterlife – the tentative title of the book that I *hope* will be my next one. I’ve been putting off starting the thread in earnest because, in fact, I don’t feel particularly ready for it. I’m just at the preliminary stage of my reading and have many dozens of books I need to work through before I can even think about sketching out how I want to broach the subject in my book (I have about a hundred unread books on various aspects of the matter sitting on my shelf now, as we speak, and I’m collecting more virtually every day). But I think that I will be doing this book differently from others I’ve done – at least with respect to the blog. I’m thinking about using the blog as a way to think out loud about some of the topics I’m covering in my reading. I’m not sure that everything I read about will [...]
What about the Apocrypha? I have been talking about how we got the books of the Bible – both Old Testament and New Testament – and how other books came to be left out. But what are the books of the Apocrypha, where did they come from, and why do some communities of faith (but not others) accept them as authoritative? When someone refers to “The” Apocrypha they are speaking of the “Old Testament Apocrypha,” a set collection of books written by Jewish authors (not Christian). There are also Christian apocryphal books (e.g., other Gospels – such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary – and other epistles, Acts, and apocalypsese that did not make it into the NT). But these are not called “The” Apocrypha. That term instead refers to the books written, as a rule, between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT that are included in some Christian Bibles as canonical or semi-canonical. Here is some basic information about the Apocrypha, lifted [...]
I thought some of you might be interested to know about a symposium focusing on early Christian apocrypha that will be taking place in the fall. The schedule for the event has just been sent. If any of you is near there, you should think about going! It looks terrific. It is being organized principally by Tony Burke, along with Brent Landau; they are two very active scholars in the field of apocrypha studies. Here’s what the lineup looks like. *************************************************************** Fakes, Forgeries, and Fictions: Writing Ancient and Modern Christian Apocrypha The 2015 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium will take place September 24-26 at Vanier College, York University. The specific objectives for the 2015 Symposium are: 1. to examine the possible motivations behind the production of Christian Apocrypha from antiquity until the present day, 2. to integrate medieval and modern apocrypha (composed in the 19th to 21st centuries) into the wider study of apocryphal literature, and 3. to reflect on what the reactions to the recently-publishedGospel of Jesus’ Wife can tell us about [...]
Here is the third of my Shaffer Lectures delivered almost exactly ten years ago. This final one has to do with textual variants and apocryphal texts that show evidence of Christian anti-Judaism. I call this one: Christ Against the Jews. It is a topic that I continue to be interested in, and on which I plan to write a book for a general audience, at some time in the next few years (not about textual variants, but about the rise of Christian opposition to Jews and Judaism.) Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition. Quality is lacking since this is a VHS to 720p uprez:
As I indicated in a post last week, on October 12-14, 2004 I gave the three Shaffer lectures at Yale University, on "Christ in the Early Christian Tradition: Texts Disputed and Apocryphal." This is the second of those lectures, dealing with Christ as a Divine man. (Again, the quality is not as high as we have come to expect over the past couple of years, because it was recorded originally on VHS. But it's been worked over to make it still pretty decent. Enjoy!) Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition.
Ten years ago now -- October 12-14, 2004 -- I delivered the Shaffer lectures at Yale University Divinity School. The central theme of the series was "Christ in the Early Christian Tradition: Texts Disputed and Apocryphal." Among other things, I tried to show how early Christian groups tried to restrict readings of their sacred texts to suit their own purposes. This first lecture is entitled on "Christ Come in the Flesh." (The video quality will not be up to what we all have come to expect, as it was recorded on VHS.) Please adjust gear icon for 720p High-Definition.