Topic for the Year 2002-2003:
"Parabiblical Literature"

Co-chaired by Robert A. Kraft (University of Pennsylvania) and Annette Yoshiko Reed (Princeton University)

For 2002-2003, the PSCO hopes to generate an ongoing conversation involving scholars of early Christianity, scholars of early Judaism, and other students of late antiquity in an examination of the role of "parabiblical" literatures in antiquity, and especially in early Judaism and Christianity.

The term "parabiblical" itself is of recent coinage, and is itself problematic. It is used to designate at least two distinguishable aspects of authoritative literature, (1) material that is selfconsciously derivitive from existing authoritative "biblical/scriptural" models, and (2) material that itself existed alongside of or even prior to what became "biblical/scriptural" and may itself have influenced the latter developments. One of the tasks of the seminar will be to attempt to provide clearer terminology for dealing with these phenomena and criteria for distinguishing them. The Religious Studies 735 advanced workgroup at Penn will be exploring the same issues during the year and is collecting relevant materials on its web page.

This topic is especially appropriate in 2002-2003, which has been designated by our primary sponsor, the Penn Humanities Forum, as "The Year of the Book." We expect to be exploring various attitudes to special books and their impacts in the development of our western religious traditions.