New Testament Apocrypha Course: Reflections on Week One

This past Tuesday I began the latest incarnation of my course "The New Testament Apocrypha" (syllabus posted on my parent site (HERE). As in previous years, I am posting weekly reflections on the week's lecture, in part to encourage pedagogical discussion on how to teach this material (and I won't always do it well), and to provide a forum for my students to offer their thoughts on the course (and thereby gain additional participation marks). This first class dealt with concepts and methodology: we looked at certain important terms (apocrypha, canon, orthodoxy, heresy), read a chapter or two of Walter […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 8: The Qasr el-Wizz Codex

[This is the latest in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is incorporated also into the information on the texts provided on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. The tenth/eleventh-century Coptic Qasr el-Wizz codex contains two texts: the Discourse of the Savior and the Dance of the Savior. The first of these is a post-resurrection dialogue between Jesus and the apostles set four days before his ascension. Peter begins the dialogue by asking Jesus about the "mystery of the cross." Jesus responds […]

Read More...

Read Article →

2012 ISCAL Proceedings: Latin Apocryphal Acts

NEW IN PRINT: Els Rose, ed., The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles in Latin Christianity: Proceedings of the First International Summer School on Christian Apocryphal Literature (ISCAL), Strasbourg, 24-27 June 2012 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014). Visit http://brepols.metapress.com/content/x282t7/ for a list of contents and instant online access (some sections are open access). From the press: The lives of the apostles after Pentecost are described in the books of the New Testament only in part. Details of their missionary wanderings to the remote corners of the world are found in writings not included in the biblical canon, known as the Apocryphal Acts of […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 7: The Death of Judas

[This is the latest in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is incorporated also into the information on the texts provided on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. The fourth book of Papias's lost Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord contains a tradition about the death of Judas that is different from what we find in both Matt 27:3-10 and Acts 1:18-20. This tradition, preserved in a long version and a short version in Greek catenae (collections of extracts from biblical […]

Read More...

Read Article →

New in Print: Two books on Jewish Pseudepigrapha

Susan Docherty, The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An introduction to the literature of the Second Temple period (London: SPCK, 2014).This looks like a nice counterpart to my Secret Scriptures Revealed book (also from SPCK). Here is the publisher's blurb: An understanding of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha forms an integral part of all courses on New Testament background and Christian origins This will be the first student introduction to appear for over thirty years Highlights the key theological themes and significance of each text Reviews the texts on their own merits as examples of early Jewish religious literature as well as looking at the […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 6: Dialogue of the Paralytic

[This is the latest in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is incorporated also into the information on the texts provided on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. Dial. Paralytic is an elaboration of the story of Jesus and the paralytic from John 5:1–15, though here the encounter is situated after the resurrection, perhaps as late as the fourth century if the paralytic's mention of Arius (d. 336) is original to the text. Christ descends to earth and sees the paralytic. His […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 5: On the Priesthood of Jesus

[This is the latest in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is incorporated also into the information on the texts provided on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. On the Priesthood of Jesus (aka, Confession of Theodosius, Apology of Theodosius) is an example of an embedded apocryphon—meaning, the text comes with a framing story, in this case a dispute between Jews and Christians in the reign of the emperor Justinian I (527–565) during which an account is brought forward that is said […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 4: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (Syriac)

[This is the latest in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is incorporated also into the information on the texts provided on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is well-known; it's sometimes shocking portrayal of the young Jesus cursing the townspeople of Nazareth has contributed to its popularity. The text is featured prominently also in the various Christian Apocrypha collections and commentaries. So why include it in MNTA? One of our guiding principles in selecting texts for […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 3: The Hospitality of Dysmas

[This is the third in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is incorporated also into the information on the texts provided on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. Some of the texts included in the MNTA volume are free-floating stories incorporated into variations of previously-published texts. The tales of the "Good Thief" are prime examples of this phenomenon. This "Good Thief" is the bandit promised salvation by Jesus on the cross in Luke 23:40-43. Christian imagination provided additional information about this bandit […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 2: Revelation of the Magi

[This is the second in a series of posts on texts to be featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by Brent Landau and I. The material here is included also on my More Christian Apocrypha page]. The Revelation of the Magi has appeared recently in an English translation: Brent Landau, Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men’s Journey to Bethlehem (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2010), based on his dissertation (to be published in CCSA) “The Sages and the Star-Child: An Introduction to the Revelation of the Magi, An Ancient Christian Apocryphon” (Ph. D. […]

Read More...

Read Article →

More Christian Apocrypha Updates 1: Legend of Aphroditianus

Over the next few weeks I will be doing final edits of the contributions to the collection I am editing with Brent Landau called New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. At the same time, I have to prepare a bibliography on Christian Apocrypha for the Oxford Online Bibliographies project. I thought I could combine those efforts with updates to my More Christian Apocrypha page and, to top it all off, throw in some blog posts on the texts as a preview to the volume. The first text in the collection is the Legend of Aphroditianus (aka “The Narrative of Events […]

Read More...

Read Article →

2014 New Testament Apocrypha Course

I have posted my syllabus for this Fall's course on the New Testament Apocrypha (yes, yes, I know "NTA" is not the term I should be using anymore, but prospective students understand it better than "Christian Apocrypha"). This is my fourth time teaching the course. The syllabus is posted on my parent site (HERE). New this year is the adoption of my book Secret Scriptures Revealed as the course's primary text. I previously used Klauck's Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction, which is an excellent book, but it is somewhat expensive and in the past the York bookstore has had difficulty ordering […]

Read More...

Read Article →

Call for Papers: 2015 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium Series 2015 “Fakes, Forgeries, and Fictions” Writing Ancient and Modern Christian Apocrypha September 24-26, 2015 We are pleased to announce the third of a series of symposia on the Christian Apocrypha hosted by the Department of the Humanities at York University in Toronto, Canada and taking place September 24 to 26, 2015. The 2015 symposium will examine the possible motivations behind the production of Christian apocrypha from antiquity until the present day. Have authors of the Christian apocrypha intended to deceive others about the true origins of their writings? […]

Read More...

Read Article →

New in Print: Infancy Gospel of Thomas Reader

Hadavas, Constantine T. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: An Intermediate Ancient Greek Reader (Beloit, WI: CreateSpace, 2014). Hadavas is Chair of the Department of Classics at Beloit College. I'm interested in seeing what Greek text he is using (likely it is Tischendorf's Greek A with variants from Greek B and D). Here is the abstract: The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (c. 150 CE) is an excellent text for students who have completed the first year of college-level Ancient Greek. Its length is short, its syntax is generally straightforward, and its narrative is inherently interesting, for it is the only account […]

Read More...

Read Article →

Robert Conner on the Secret Gospel of Mark

Robert Connor graciously passed along to me a draft of his forthcoming book, The "Secret" Gospel of Mark: Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria, and Four Decades of Academic Burlesque, to be published by Mandrake of Oxford. Mandrake's web page provides the following abstract: While cataloging material in the library of the monastery of Mar Saba in 1958, Morton Smith discovered a quotation from a letter of Clement of Alexandria copied in the end pages of a 17th century collection of the letters of Ignatius. After more than a decade of collaborative analysis of the find, Smith published his conclusions in […]

Read More...

Read Article →