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Infancy Gospel of Thomas: The Technical vs. the Interesting

A couple of days ago, in my post on my talks at the Smithsonian, I indicated that my first lecture included a discussion of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and that in that kind of setting I have to choose carefully what I talk about. What I said in the post was: There are all sorts of things about this book that scholars are interested in that I won’t be going into, principally because they are things that non-scholars, frankly, are *not* all that interested in, and it’s impossible, in my view, to *make* them interested in them because, well, the issues are detailed and scholarly and not at all sexy…. A couple of readers indicated that they’d like to know what sorts of things those might be. So the following is what I say about this Gospel in my Introduction to the text in the scholarly version, Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations that I wrote, edited, and translated with my colleague Zlatko Plese. Some of you will be interested in this kind of detail; [...]

2020-11-24T19:01:25-05:00December 9th, 2013|Christian Apocrypha|

Taking Jesus the Wunderkind Seriously

I had a great time giving my lectures at the Smithsonian yesterday. Terrific crowd, very attentive, highly intelligent, great questions. And a completely exhausting day. Four lectures back to back is tough. So I came back to my room and did football, pizza, and beer all night, which was just what the doctor ordered. (I am a Dr., after all) The first lecture, as I indicated in my previous post, was on the Infancy Gospels, or at least on two of them, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James (Protevangelium Jacobi). I have already summarized some of the stories of the Infancy Gospel, and have pointed out the obvious, that on a casual reading Jesus certainly seems to be a bit of a brat. Or at least a miracle-working son of God who as an immature boy does not seem to have his powers under control and behaves with a real mischievous streak. But I also indicated that there are scholars who call that understanding of the text into question. I’m not [...]

2020-04-03T17:40:14-04:00December 8th, 2013|Christian Apocrypha|

Jesus: L’enfant terrible?

I just (now) flew into Washington D.C., to give four lectures tomorrow (count them, four) on “The Other Gospels” at the Smithsonian. Each lecture is about an hour, followed by 15 minutes of Q & A. It’ll be a grueling day. I do these Smithsonian things once or twice a year on average. They’re great – 160 adults who have paid good money and devoted an entire day to hearing lectures on a topic important to them. It’s a terrific audience, wide-ranging, highly intelligent, educated, and curious -- real a shift from teaching 19-year old college kids. I enjoy both kinds of audience very much – but (some) more things can be assumed in this setting and, well, the humor has to change. :-) I normally do these Smithsonian talks when a new book has come out, and so this is to be about the new edition of The Other Gospels that just appeared. I’ve decided that my lectures will be on four different Gospels/types of Gospels, and maybe I’ll blog a bit about them. [...]

2020-04-03T17:40:26-04:00December 6th, 2013|Christian Apocrypha|
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