Topic for the Year 2007–2008:
“Tracing the Patterns, (Un/Re-)Weaving the Threads”
Chaired by Annette Yoshiko Reed and Robert Alan Kraft
(University of Pennsylvania)
In 1994, John C. Reeves edited and published a collection of essays entitled
Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha (SBL
Early Judaism and its Literature 6, series editor William Adler; Atlanta:
Scholars Press). For Reeves, the "threads" refer to the persistent survival
(or rediscovery) of early Jewish materials in the literature of a wide
variety of religious communities — especially (but not only) Jewish,
Christian, Gnostic, and Muslim. The "tracing" refers to modern scholarship
on these materials such as was solicited for that volume.
Since both Reeves and Adler are in Philadelphia during the fall term of the
2007-2008 academic year as fellows at the University of Pennsylvania's
Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, along with a number of other leading
scholars of late antiquity, and since the PSCO itself will be undergoing
transition with the arrival of Annette Yoshiko Reed to continue the work
of Robert Kraft in the Department of Religious Studies, it seemed an
opportune time to take stock of current scholarship in areas relevant to the
aforementioned "threads" in their wide geographical distribution in the
relevant ancient and late antique worlds.
To facilitate discussion between specialists in different subfields, we have
chosen to define the sessions by geographical area, rather than by religious
tradition, theme, or textual corpus. By following "threads" through regional
trajectories, we hope also to assess, not only our literary remains, but
also archaeological evidence, inscriptions, etc.
We are planning a flexible format, focused less on prepared presentations
and more on informed discussion. Some sessions will consist of roundtable
discussions; scholars from different subfields and specializations will be
invited to exchange ideas and information about the sources, state of
current research, methodological challenges, and promising directions for
research on specific locales. For other sessions, pairs of participants or
individual speakers will share their ongoing research and reflections.
Although we do not intend to limit ourselves to the CAJS Fellows, they will
provide a rich primary reservoir of discussants and participants.