Presentation: 21 November, 2003

SBL Panel on Parabiblical Literature

The Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins is scheduled to meet just prior to the SBL/AAR annual meetings in Atlanta, on Friday evening 21 November 2003, 7:00-8:30 pm, at the Atlanta Mariott Marquis Hotel, Amsterdam Room (Convention Level).

The topic for the current year, and for this meeting, is "Parabiblical Prosopography," which is a fancy and brief way of indicating interest in the names associated with early Jewish and early Christian parabiblical literature (both as authors and as primary subjects), and with the traditions that developed around those names (persons or groups) over time. The inspiration for such a topic is the little volume on Lost Apocrypha by M. R. James (1920), which has spawned the following web sites as part of the larger PSCO project:

Building on the model from last year's PSCO meeting at the SBL/AAR conference, we will have a panel of participants, each of whom has a special interest in this material and will introduce themselves very briefly as a springboard to broader discussion. A basic question to be considered is "To what extent do popular narratives/reports about parabiblical identities (supposed authors and focal figures or groups) assist us in understanding how the 'parabiblical' literature was read/understood and transmitted/preserved in the course of its history up to the modern period?" The panelists will include:

  • George Nickelsburg (U Iowa, Emeritus): Enoch, Abraham, et al.
  • Jim Davila (St. Andrews, Scotland): "Rechabites" Traditions
  • Brannon Wheeler (U Washington): Moses & others in Islamic Tradition
  • Kim Haines-Eitzen (Cornell): Thekla as Subject and Scribe

I'd still like to include one or two additional panelists, especially someone with a focus on another major early Christian figure, if there are any volunteers.

Persons wishing to dine with other participants prior to the meeting should meet promptly at 5:30 pm at the Marriott Marquis Hotel registration area, and we can go together (or in smaller groups, if that seems more practical) to one or more of the local spots.

Background and Other Information Regarding This Meeting

Visit Jim Davila's webpage for the session. The page contains and introductory statement and links to ancient sources.