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"Apocryphization": Theological Debates in Biblical Disguise

River Room King's Building Strand Campus
08/05/2014 (09:00-18:30)
This event is open to all and free to attend, but booking is required. Please email Peter Toth to book your place.


A one-day workshop organized by the ERC-funded research project DEBIDEM (Defining Beliefs and Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean, dir. Dr. Ioannis Papadogiannakis) hosted at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Centre for Hellenic Studies of King’s College London.


This workshop focuses on a hitherto understudied form of Christian erotapokritic literature, which, while retaining the format of alternating questions and answers, shifts the scene from the context of a historical event or a school discussion into a biblical scenario with biblical discussants. Once transformed, these dialogues can take place in many different contexts between demonic, human and divine characters alike, discussing a wide range of different questions from the exegesis of the particular scriptural context in which they are embedded to more general theological or eschatological problems.

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the origins and techniques of this literary phenomenon by investigating the connection between the theological message and the particular dialogic context in a variety of texts. With a thorough reconstruction of the doctrinal stance of the various pseudo-biblical scenes, we will try to understand why and how they expand the original narrative and create new, “apocryphal” scenes and motifs. Thus we hope to get closer not only to outlining the rationale in the background of these dialogues, but also to understand the very concept of the “apocryphicity” too.

Speakers will include some of the most eminent experts of the fields of Syriac Coptic, Byzantine and Medieval Studies, who have long been studying these texts and the literary phenomena they represent, but whose results have not yet been set into the wider context of each other’s research. By providing a framework to gather and discuss the experience of scholars working on the various manifestations of this literary device in different literary traditions, we hope to acquire not only an overview of the development of the pseudo-biblical dialogues from Syriac, Coptic and Greek patristic literature to the Latin and Byzantine Middle Ages, but also to have comments and a general discussion about this wide-reaching, yet understudied literary phenomenon.

Final programme is available to view as a PDF

Collection of abstracts is available to view as a PDF

Confirmed Speakers

Sebastian Brock (University of Oxford)

Averil Cameron  (University of Oxford)

Carmen Cardelle de Hartmann  (University of Zürich)

Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe  (King's College, London)

Ioannis Papadogiannakis (King's College, London)

Alin Suciu (University of Hamburg)

Peter Toth   (King's College, London)

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