2016 SBL Diary: Days Three and Four

Day three began with a breakfast meeting for the NASSCAL board—about eight of the 12 of us were presenting at SBL, so the annual meeting presents us with a good opportunity to sit around a table together and talk about projects we have in the works. I chose a café in La Villita a little distance away from the hotels, thinking that it would be quiet and quick, but it seems that they were unprepared for, well, serving anyone, so we never managed to get breakfast, despite being there for 90 minutes. Nevertheless, the assembled board members discussed the first […]

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2016 SBL Diary: Days One and Two

Looking back at my other SBL diary entries over the years, I see they usually begin with an apology about posting so late (the meeting concluded over a week ago). Well, at least I’m consistent. Some bloggers, like the prolific James McGrath, are far more swift than I (I think he posts about his own presentations while he is presenting). But what I lack in speed I (hopefully) make up for in depth. Here goes… I arrived at San Antonio Friday evening at around 9 pm. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that I was supposed to hosting a reception […]

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Christian Apocrypha Books to Look for at SBL 2016

One of the highlights of the SBL Annual Meeting is the publishers exhibition. As you make your way from one booth to another, keep an eye out for these new books. J. N. Bremmer, T. R. Karmann, and T. Nicklas, eds. The Ascension of Isaiah. Studies on Early Christian Apocrypha 11. Peeters. Tony Burke and Brent Landau, eds. New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Eerdmans. April DeConick. The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion from Antiquity to Today. Columbia University Press. J.K. Elliott, ed. A Synopsis of the Apocryphal Nativity and Infancy Narratives. 2nd ed. Brill. Alan […]

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Legend of the Thirty Pieces of Silver in The Veritas Deception

About a year ago, an independent author named Lynne Constantine contacted me about a text I have worked on (and featured in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures) called the Legend of the Thirty Pieces of Silver (information on e-Clavis). Lynne wanted to use the coin relics as a plot device in her latest book and wanted some advice about the text and the veracity of “Judas penny” relics still existing today. Lynne’s book, The Veritas Deception, was released a few months ago, and I just finished reading it last night. The novel is a thriller that involves a secret […]

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Available at Last! More New Testament Apocrypha vol. 1

I was very happy to receive in the mail today (on my birthday) a box full of copies of my volume New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures Vol. 1, co-edited with Brent Landau. It was a long process seeing this project from conception to birth. Brent and I began soliciting contributions for it at the 2010 SBL. Brent and I will be doing some promotion for it over the next month, including a reception for contributors next week in San Antonio and a video interview for our publisher, Eerdmans. My thanks once again to everyone who worked on the volume […]

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Lost and Found Items in Manuscripts of the Life of Mary

I have spent much of the past ten years working on a project that has been mentioned on this blog several times (start HERE): a critical edition of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas in Syriac. The project is now virtually complete; right now it is in the hands of readers and I look forward to getting their feedback in the next few months. In the meantime I thought I would use some of the downtime to get back to blogging with more regularity. And what better to write about than, once again, the Syriac Infancy Gospel of Thomas? In the […]

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Mosaics Discovered of “Christian king” Abgar

According to the Daily Sabbah, five mosaics have been discovered from the reign of Abgar V (r. 4 BCE – 7 CE; 13-50 CE), the fifth king of the kingdom of Osroene (Edessa), “depicting fine engravings and Syriac inscriptions.” The find is pertinent to scholars of Christian Apocrypha because Abgar is featured in a famous correspondence with Jesus. This correspondence is known to Eusebius, who translates it from Syriac in his Ecclesiastical History (I 13; II 1.6-8). Ephrem Syrus (d. 373) also mentions the conversion of Edessa but not the correspondence, and Egeria the Pilgrim visited Edessa in 384 admired […]

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Call for Papers: 2017 SBL International Christian Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha Section

The 2017 SBL International Meeting will take place August 7-11 in Berlin, Germany. The deadline for proposals is February 22, 2017. Description: The Section fosters ongoing study of extra-canonical texts, as subjects of literary and philological investigation; as evidence for the history of religion, theology, and cult practice; and as documents of the socio-symbolic construction of traditions along lines of class and gender. Call for papers: For the 2017 meeting, we welcome papers that address the following discussion question: “Is this a ‘text’?” In scholarly writing about the ancient world, it is still conventional to employ capitalized (and often italicized) […]

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Christian Apocrypha at the 2016 SBL

Here is a quick rundown of the sessions and papers at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature focusing on Christian Apocrypha. I hope I found them all. See you in San Antonio. Christian Apocrypha Section sessions: S19-310: Christian Apocrypha 11/19/2016 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM Theme: Helmut Koester: In Memory of His Contributions to the Study of Christian Apocrypha A panel in memory of Helmut Koester, one of the most influential scholars of the Christian Apocrypha in North America, assessing his ongoing legacy for this field. Brent Landau, University of Texas at Austin, Presiding Panelists: Melissa […]

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“Lost Gospels” – Lost No More: New Article in Biblical Archaeology Review

The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review features my article entitled “‘Lost Gospels’–Lost No More” (BAR Sept/Oct [2016]: 41–47, 64–66). Along with a basic overview of the more well-known (and some lesser-known) Christian apocrypha, the article looks at Philip Jenkins’ recent book, The Many Faces of Christ, which argues that Christian apocrypha were not really “lost” at all, but have always been a part of Christian thought and practice. It also mentions the “rethinking” of the Nag Hammadi library discovery in two articles by Mark Goodacre and Nicola Denzey Lewis and Justine Blount. For further information about the issue, visit […]

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2016 CSBS/CSPS More New Testament Apocrypha Panel (Part 2)

Part 2 of my report on the More New Testament Apocrypha book review panel. See part 1 HERE. I divided my response to the panelists into three sections: the origins of the project (why more apocrypha?), the decisions behind selecting the volume’s contents (which more apocrypha?), and issues around defining “Christian Apocrypha” and other issues of categorization (what more apocrypha?). The MNTA project began at a gathering of North American Christian Apocrypha scholars in Ottawa in 2006. Jim Davila and Richard Bauckham’s MOTP series was still in its planning stages (Jim discussed the series at the event) and the group […]

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2016 CSBS/CSPS More New Testament Apocrypha Panel (Part 1)

As mentioned in my previous post, this year’s CSBS/CSPS Christian Apocrypha session was a book review panel dedicated to New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures edited by me and Brent Landau. This report on the panel, already quite late (I am the world’s slowest biblioblogger), is divided into two parts so that the post is not overly long. When the panel was planned at last year’s annual meeting, the assumption was that the book would be available by this time. Alas, the publication is not ready, though we are going through the final edits and it will be available at […]

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Christian Apocrypha Sessions for the 2016 SBL Annual Meeting

Christian Apocrypha 11/19/2016 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD Theme: Helmut Koester: In Memory of His Contributions to the Study of Christian Apocrypha A panel in memory of Helmut Koester, one of the most influential scholars of the Christian Apocrypha in North America, assessing his ongoing legacy for this field. Brent Landau, University of Texas at Austin, Presiding (5 min) Philip Sellew, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Panelist (15 min) Christine Thomas, University of California-Santa Barbara, Panelist (15 min) Christoph Markschies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin – Humboldt University of Berlin, Panelist (15 min) Break (10 min) Stephen […]

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2016 CSBS/CSPS Christian Apocrypha Report, Part 1

The 2016 Annual Meetings of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies and the Canadian Society of Patristic Studies took place this past weekend at the University of Calgary. The two groups are small but mighty and the members are always friendly and gracious. Since 2013 I have been organizing, along with Timothy Pettipiece, a joint session for the two societies on Christian Apocrypha. This year we planned a book review panel for the forthcoming collection New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, edited by me (Tony Burke) and Brent Landau, and several members also contributed proposals for papers. Alas we did […]

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NASSCAL Publication Series: Studies in Christian Apocrypha

The North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL) is pleased to announce Studies in Christian Apocrypha, a book series produced in collaboration with Polebridge Press. Christian Apocrypha is a term encompassing Christian texts—such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Acts of John, and the Apocalypse of Peter—that are not included among, but nevertheless bear some relation (in form, content or otherwise) to the texts of the New Testament. Apocrypha have been part of the Christian tradition almost from the beginning. Indeed, so ubiquitous is apocryphal literature that it must be embraced as a fundamental aspect of Christian thought and expression. The […]

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