YCAS 2015 Profiles 11: Eric Vanden Eykel

This is the eleventh 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. Only a few weeks away! Remember, if you register for the symposium, you will receive drafts of the papers in advance (and many of them are available now), thus enabling you to participate more fully in the discussions that follow. For registration information, visit the YCAS 2015 web site (HERE).

Vanden Eykel HeadshotEric Vanden Eykel received his Ph.D. in Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity from Marquette University in 2014. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Religion at Ferrum College in Virginia, where he teaches biblical studies and world religions.Eric’s research centers on the reception history of canonical and apocryphal narratives, especially infancy narratives, as well as postmodern literary criticism and its application to biblical studies. His doctoral dissertation is an intertextual analysis of the Protevangelium of James that, in terms of method, draws from the semiotic theory of Umberto Eco. A revised version of this study has been accepted for publication in a new Bloomsbury T&T Clark monograph series, The Reception of the Jesus Tradition in the First Three Centuries (eds., Chris Keith, Helen Bond, and Jens Schröter).

Eric is currently at work on a project that will trace the development of the Matthean Magi tradition in literature and art from its appearance in the first century until the present day.


“Expanding the Apocryphal Corpus: Some ‘Novel’ Suggestions”

Standard collections of apocryphal Christian texts often have been limited to works that were thought to have emerged in the earliest centuries of the Common Era. But in recent years, the question of what texts to include under the “Christian Apocrypha” rubric has been asked with an ever-increasing frequency. Initiatives like the More Christian Apocrypha Project (headed by Tony Burke and Brent Landau) show that chronological boundaries have begun to shift; texts that were previously neglected because of their relatively late dates are now becoming objects of scholarly attention. In this paper I aim to build on what is in my estimation a positive trend by posing a provocative yet relevant question: Where is the cutoff? I address this question by exploring four recent works of fiction that share much in common with their more “traditional” apocryphal counterparts: The Lost Letters of Pergamum (Bruce Longenecker, 2003); Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal (Christopher Moore, 2004); The Testament of Mary (Colm Toíbín, 2012); and The Liar’s Gospel (Naomi Alderman, 2014). My aim is to explore what value, if any, the inclusion of such texts might hold for the study of the Christian Apocrypha.

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