Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SBL 2012 Apocrypha Paper Accepted

I just received the notification of the acceptance of my paper proposal for the section Function of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Early Judaism and Early Christianity. Previously I noted a paper I'll present in the Greek Bible section. Here's the abstract for this second paper.

Writings Labelled “Apocrypha” in Latin Sources of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries
Modern scholars speak regularly of the canonical books and the apocrypha, and sometimes trace the modern (Catholic and Protestant) distinctions between these classifications to the fourth century. This paper will examine the use of the term apocrypha in the crucial fourth century among Latin writers, also carrying the investigation into the early-fifth century. Our first finding will be that few Latin writers of this period use the term apocrypha very frequently. It appears rarely or never in the works of Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, Ambrosiaster, Rufinus of Aquileia, Priscillian, and Pelagius. On the other hand, Jerome (39x) and Augustine (21x) use the word much more often. We will investigate the reception of the works labelled apocrypha by all of these Latin writers. Which works receive this designation? Does this term carry positive or negative connotations for each Latin author? Even when an author uses the term pejoratively, does he still allow for some useful material in the work so labelled? Do these Latin authors agree with each other concerning which works should be considered apocrypha, and do they agree with their Greek and Latin predecessors in this judgment? Our examination will reveal a variety of possible nuances in the word and a variety of works branded by the designation. We will especially seek to clarify why some authors choose the term apocrypha to categorize certain works that would not be classified in the same way by other authors.
This research continues some of the themes from my paper on Jerome's view of the apocrypha, to be published in the next issue of JECS

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