New Books on Fallen Angels Traditions

Kelley Coblentz Bautch passed along to me some information about two recent books on Fallen Angels traditions that may be of interest to readers of Christian Apocrypha: Available only since September, Fallen Angels Traditions: Second Temple Developments and Reception History (ed. A. K. Harkins, K. Coblentz Bautch and J. Endres; CBQMS 53) is a collection of essays that takes up new areas of research in fallen angels traditions. Essays in this volume treat traditions of the rebellious angels in the Hodayot, Book of Jubilees, Book of Revelation, and Apocryphon of John. The fallen angels motif is explored also in the […]

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Simon Gathercole on the Differences Between Canonical and Noncanonical Gospels

Steve Walton, administrator of the Acts and More blog, provides a summary of Simon Gathercole’s plenary paper from the British New Testament Conference (Sept. 4-6, 2014): “Jesus, the Apostolic Gospel and the Gospels.” I can’t say much about the paper without reading it for myself, but it does strike me as presumptuous to start with the determination that the four canonical gospels are distinct as a group from other gospels simply because they are in the canon. Indeed, there are probably more differences (not just in content but in theology) between the Synoptics and John than there is between the […]

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Call for Papers: CSBS/CSPS Christian Apocrypha Session 2015

For the past three years I have been organizing a session of Christian Apocrypha at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. Last year we began a partnership with the Canadian Society of Patristic Studies to create a joint session. Normally there is no particular theme to the session, but this year we are looking for papers that tie in to the theme of the York Christian Apocrypha Symposium to be held in September 2015. Papers on other topics are also welcome. CALL FOR PAPERS: JOINT SESSION ON “CHRISTIAN APOCRYPHA” The theme for the session this year […]

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New Testament Apocrypha Course: Reflections on Week Five

Our first of two classes on Passion and resurrection gospels began and ended with the Gospel of Mary. We read the conclusion to Gos. Mary as a group and I had the class consider who the Mary of the text is (the Marys tend to blur in apocryphal traditions), why the apostles doubt her vision (did the author anticipate resistance to the text’s “strange teachings”?), and what to make of the interplay between Peter and Mary (a microcosm of orthodox and “heretical” group conflicts?). We carried this discussion of orthodoxy and heresy into our discussion of the next text examined […]

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More Christian Apocrypha Updates 14: Acts of Timothy

[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 Acts of Timothy recounts Timothy’s tenure as bishop of Ephesus. The Latin version of the text attributes its authorship to a certain presbyter named Polycrates. Timothy is said to have been born to a Greek father and a Jewish mother in Lystra. He was converted by Paul and traveled with him until he […]

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More Christian Apocrypha Updates 13: Life of John the Baptist by Serapion

[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 Life of John the Baptist is told through the voice of Serapion, an Egyptian bishop of the fourth century, on the occasion of an unspecified feast day for John. It begins with a harmony of details about John’s birth taken from the Gospel of Luke and the Infancy Gospel of James, finishing with […]

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More Christian Apocrypha Updates 12: Gospel Fragments

[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]. Gospel fragments are an ubiquitous feature of Christian Apocrypha collections. These untitled, often mystifying fragmentary manuscripts tease the possibility of lost known or unknown gospels, but they can instead be extracts from harmonies or homilies, or evidence for the phenomenon of secondary orality (canonical gospel stories remembered from oral performance before secondarily attaining written […]

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New Testament Apocrypha Course: Reflections on Week 4

I said at the conclusion to the post for week three that this week’s class should be lighter since we would be looking at only two gospels: the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip. Well, I forgot that we would be examining also the Letter of Lentulus and the Abgar Correspondence. Very quickly the lecture went from a leisurely stroll to a sprint as I tried in vain to fit everything in everything I wanted to say about the texts. We began by reading the Letter of Lentulus, a letter attributed to a Roman official at the time […]

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New Testament Apocrypha Course: Reflections on Week Three

My course on the New Testament Apocrypha focused this week on part one of a two-part discussion of “Ministry Gospels”—i.e., texts focusing on Jesus’ adult life, between the infancy gospels and the passion narratives. For this first part we looked at agrapha and fragmentary texts, the latter group including Jewish-Christian gospels, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of the Savior, and the Secret Gospel of Mark. Our next class is dedicated to complete Ministry Gospels, namely the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip. We started, as usual, by closely reading a text—this time, the first fragment of Secret […]

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More Christian Apocrypha Updates 11: Acts of Titus

[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 Acts of Titus has three parts: his early life (chs. 1-3), his time as a companion of Paul, (chs. 4-6), and his time in office as bishop of Gortyna (chs. 7-12). The text is attributed to a certain “Zenas the lawyer” (from Titus 3:13). The author reveals that Titus grew up in a […]

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More Christian Apocrypha Updates 10: The Life and Martyrdom of John the Baptist

[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]. Life Mart. Bapt. draws heavily on the New Testament Gospel information about John but adds some details. No details are given of his birth and childhood; after a bare mention of his birth, the action moves right to his adulthood when Gabriel instructs him on his mission of baptism and particularly the baptism of […]

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More Christian Apocrypha Updates 9: The Legend of the Thirty Silver Pieces

[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]. LTPS exists in two main forms: an Eastern recension in Syriac, Garshuni, and Armenian, and a Western recension in Latin and European vernaculars. Both forms relate the origin and transmission of the silver pieces paid to Judas to betray Christ. The story begins with the minting of the coins by Terah, then they are […]

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New Testament Apocrypha Course: Reflections on Week Two

This week’s class focused on Infancy Gospels, with particular emphasis on the Infancy Gospel of James and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the earliest examples of this literature. We began, however, with a discussion of the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to spend less time discussing canonical texts in this incarnation of the course, but it helps considerably to have the students be aware of the content of the canonical infancy material. So we read Matthew 1-2 together and noted its similarities and differences with Luke 1-2. The differences are […]

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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 […]

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