In a couple of weeks I will be going to Quebec City to deliver a keynote address for a scholarly conference on Pseudepigraphy in Antiquity; most of the presenters will be giving papers in French (hopefully we’ll have written versions for those of us who can’t pick up the nuances well orally), mine will be in English. I’ll be saying more about it anon on the blog — the work on the paper is getting me back into the question of ancient forgery, the practice of writing a book falsely claiming to be some other [famous] person, and whether it was generally seen as a deceitful practice. I’m firmly convinced it was — other scholars in the field refuse to think so — and whether “forgery” is the right term for it or is too loaded.
In any event, I haven’t worked rigorously in this field for ten years, and so am catching up in my reading. As it turns out, today on the blog I was going to post on the *second* time in my career that I published two books on the same topic, one for a scholarly and the other for a popular audience, and as it turns out, it was my two books on forgery. Here is how I’ve discussed the matter before, many years ago.
In my last post I began to talk about the first time I tried doing this two-book approach. trade book Misquoting Jesus, was a popular treatment of topics that I had dealt with at a scholarly level in several books and a number of academic articles.
It worked differently for my book Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Author’s Are Not Who We Think They Are (2011). In this case I did not start out planning to write the book. Instead, I wanted to write a serious, hard-hitting monograph for scholars on the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy in the New Testament – a topic widely discussed but not widely researched among scholars of Christian antiquity. When I say it had not been widely researched I mean that scholars (especially interpreters of the NT) frequently said things about the phenomenon of ancient authors writing in the names of others – i.e., an author claiming to be someone other than who he really was (knowing full well that he was not that person), for example, a person writing a letter claiming to be, say, Peter or Paul, even though he was actually writing years, decades, or even centuries after Peter and Paul were dead. But most NT scholars who said the things they did about the phenomenon – for example, that it was an acceptable practice and no one looked down on it – had not actually…
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