Topic for the Year 2003-2004:
“Parabiblical Prosopography
(in the footsteps of Lost Apocrypha by M. R. James)”

Chaired by Robert A. Kraft (University of Pennsylvania)

For the 2003-2004 Year, the 41st of the PSCO, the topic will continue from where the past year ended, and will focus on specific "biblical" personages with whom "parabiblical" materials have been associated. More specifically, we'll examine traditions and other information associated with names of persons and/or groups identified as authors (e.g. Enoch, Thomas) or primary subjects (e.g. Adam & Eve, Mary) in early Jewish and early Christian parabiblical literature. We plan to follow up on the sort of biographical organization used by Montague Rhodes James in his 1920 publication of Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament: their Titles and Fragments Collected, Translated and Discussed (now available online).

The work by M. R. James is understandably badly in need of updating, and the internet provides an amenable format for such a task. And in addition, we propose to create an electronic "sister volume" that focuses on early Christian names and materials, along the lines explored in The Lost Apocrypha of the New Testament Project.

The program for PSCO 41 will approach the subject from the perspective of selected specific names that served as magnets for associating literature and traditions -- and with a view to creating appropriately updated electronic tools for such study.

As guidelines for presenters, the following suggestions may be useful:

1. The focus is on named "persons" (or groups such as "Watchers," "the 70") who play a significant role in the attributed authorship and/or main interest of "parabiblical literature" in Judaism and/or Christianity -- thus "prosopography" or "onomastics" as a general subtitle.

2. A primary criterion for selection is the connections of the "person" to (especially "parabiblical") literature and associated traditions -- what is the subject supposed to have written or to have been the primary interest for (e.g. Noah as author or as main focus).

3. Also of interest are the stories, traditions, legends, even art, that circulated around/about the "person," especially prior to the "fixing" of written materials with the success of the printing press in or about the 16th century (i.e. in the pre-print world).