YCAS 2015 Profiles 6: Gregory Fewster

This is the sixth in a series of profiles of the presenters at the upcoming 2015 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium to be held September 25-26 at York University in Toronto. Remember, if you register for the symposium, you will receive drafts of the papers in advance, thus enabling you to participate more fully in the discussions that follow. For registration information, visit the YCAS 2015 web site (HERE).

Greg Fewster Head ShotGreg Fewster is another of the three graduate students presenting at the Symposium. He is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion, working in the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. He is the editor of Paul and Pseudepigraphy (Brill, 2013) with Stanley Porter and author of “Hermeneutical Issues in Canonical Pseudepigrapha,” in that volume and “Can I Have Your Autograph? On Thinking about Pauline Authorship and Pseudepigraphy,” published in the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (2014). These articles engage developments in critical authorship theory and their relevance to the question of Pauline authorship of the Pauline corpus.

Greg’s research focuses broadly on early Christian book culture, including literacy, book production and consumption, and social aspects of reading, which serves as a context for studying the composition and reception of pseudepigraphy. This year, Greg has and will be presenting papers on the production and reception of the letter of James, the collection of Paul’s letters, and the Euthalian apparatus of the Pauline corpus.

Abstract

“Paul as Letter Writer and the Success of Pseudepigraphy: Constructing an Authorial Paul in the Corinthian Correspondence”

In spite of Paul’s impressive epistolary collection, his commemoration as a letter writer failed to capture the imagination of many early Christian biographers or within Pauline apocalypses. Instead, Paul is constructed as a missionary preacher, authoritative teacher, esoteric, mystic, healer, martyr, etc. Much recent scholarship has endeavoured to capture the construction of Paul within the diverse, though often mutually informing, streams of reception. On what basis were pseudepigraphic letters successfully composed and incorporated into the broad and dynamic stream of Pauline reception? My objective is to engage this question and propose why we might be able to consider 3 Corinthians a “success” in spite of its apparent incoherence with the letters of Paul. I formulate the notion of success as a feature of reception history that consists of the interplay between images of Paul and strategies used in their textual reproduction. As such, I position the text of 3 Corinthians in comparison with the diversity of early images of Paul, while considering the textual history and codicological contexts of 3 Corinthians itself. By situating Pauline pseudepigraphy within the framework of the reception of Paul, I draw a connection between the production and circulation of pseudepigraphy and the reception of images of Paul. I propose that the success of 3 Corinthians operates on the basis of an emerging and compelling construction of Paul as a letter writer that pairs with an equally dynamic image of Paul in prison.

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