Tuesday, February 08, 2011

SBL International Paper Proposals Accepted

I am happy to say that I have had two paper proposals accepted for the SBL International Meeting in London in July. The first may be familiar to regular readers of the blog because it is something I began to brainstorm here. The second is in a section shared with James McGrath so with any luck we might even be in the same line-up.

A Walking, Talking Cross or the Walking, Talking Crucified One? A conjectural emendation in the Gospel of Peter 10.39, 42.

The Gospel of Peter famously presents the reader with a bizarre resurrection account in which a walking, talking cross emerges from the tomb (9.34-10.42). If the image were not already absurd enough, the difficulty is compounded by the lack of precedent for it in the text, with its ordinary, inanimate cross that does not enter the tomb with Jesus. If we conjecturally emend the text from σταυρον to σταυρωθεντα, from "cross" to "crucified", the difficulties are resolved.

Conjectural emendations should not be proposed lightly, but our only witness to this passage, P. Cair. 10759, is late (eighth century) and riddled with errors, including many in this context. If the exemplar had used the nomen sacrum ΣΤΑ (cf. 0212), it is easy to imagine how the scribe might have misconstrued this as abbreviating "cross" rather than "crucified". On this reading, it is "the crucified one" who has been preaching to the departed souls and whose voice is heard. Jesus is the chief character in his own resurrection account and is not upstaged by his cross.

How Reliable is the Story of the Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices?

The story of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices in 1945 has attained near canonical status in scholarship of early Christianity. James Robinson's compelling narrative of how Muhammad 'Ali al-Samman and his brothers unearthed the jar containing the codices combines skilled investigative journalism with tales of intrigue and blood vengeance. Few appear to have noticed, though, that there are several different versions of the story, including a two person version (1977) and a seven person version (1979), with subtle variations including the identity of person who first found the jar.

Now, newly unearthed footage from a 1987 television series, apparently unknown to contemporary scholars of Nag Hammadi, sheds new light on the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the documents. The Channel 4 (UK) series, The Gnostics, features Muhammad 'Ali himself, in his only known appearance in front of camera, offering his account of the discovery. Although there are several points of contact with the earlier versions, there are also several major points of divergence, which raise fresh questions about the reliability of 'Ali's testimony.


Anonymous said...

The second one in particular sounds fascinating! All going well, I hope to be there

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks. Hope to see you there.

Mike K said...

Your papers sound fascination Mark. I will definitely want to go to the session with both you and James presenting.
-Mike K

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Mike. Looking forward to your paper too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Nag Hammadi discovery story is a contemporary instance of oral tradition, adapted as necessary to suit the teller's purpose on a particular occasion.