Session Title

The Scripturesque Middle Ages: Uses/Reception of Apocrypha along the Medieval North Sea

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Stephen C. E. Hopkins

Organizer Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Presider Name

Frederick M. Biggs

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Connecticut

Paper Title 1

Sibling Rivalries in Early Irish Apocryphal Traditions

Presenter 1 Name

Jill Fitzgerald

Presenter 1 Affiliation

United States Naval Academy

Paper Title 2

A New Witness to the Circulation of the Seven Heavens Apocryphon

Presenter 2 Name

Stephen Pelle

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Toronto

Paper Title 3

The Afterlife of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew

Presenter 3 Name

Brandon W. Hawk

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Rhode Island College

Start Date

10-5-2018 10:00 AM

Session Location

Sangren 1320

Description

This session, "The Scripturesque Middle Ages," seeks to highlight the importance of Apocrypha for Medieval Literature, especially due to their liminal status-- they are somewhere between scripture and literature, revisable but also venerable. Apocrypha are ubiquitous in the Middle Ages, quietly shaping vernacular religious attitudes and practices in the cultural background, laying the groundwork for the more eye-catching texts that scholarship tends to focus on. Neglecting vernacular apocrypha means obscuring the generative effect that such texts had across the many lands and languages that called themselves Christian during this era. By viewing apocrypha as more than mere “sources” for more important literature, we can take local gradations of belief more seriously, shedding light on what changes were felt to be meaningful on the local level and expressed as localized scripture. This emphasis on the importance of local diversity of belief is an important phenomenon to take into account in our current moment, when the value of localized identities is called into question in the face of resurging nationalism (a stance which often seeks to stamp out such local diversities, in historical narratives as well as in actuality).

The panel opens up conversation on several important topics and proposes productive ways of answering the following questions. First, papers will help clarify the relative and shifting status of apocrypha across a variety of North Sea religious communities, drawing attention to the polyvocality of early Medieval theological discourses. Secondly, it will encourage discussion of the literary qualities of the apocrypha under consideration—how can we see these texts as more than mere “sources”? How/why do they exhibit creativity in their divergences from their Latin exemplars? What are their rhetorical contexts and impact? It is hoped that in asking and answering such questions, we can better understand and appreciate modern diversity of belief, highlighting the ways in which diversity is the backbone of creative belief and peaceful, productive co-existence.

Stephen Hopkins

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May 10th, 10:00 AM

The Scripturesque Middle Ages: Uses/Reception of Apocrypha along the Medieval North Sea

Sangren 1320

This session, "The Scripturesque Middle Ages," seeks to highlight the importance of Apocrypha for Medieval Literature, especially due to their liminal status-- they are somewhere between scripture and literature, revisable but also venerable. Apocrypha are ubiquitous in the Middle Ages, quietly shaping vernacular religious attitudes and practices in the cultural background, laying the groundwork for the more eye-catching texts that scholarship tends to focus on. Neglecting vernacular apocrypha means obscuring the generative effect that such texts had across the many lands and languages that called themselves Christian during this era. By viewing apocrypha as more than mere “sources” for more important literature, we can take local gradations of belief more seriously, shedding light on what changes were felt to be meaningful on the local level and expressed as localized scripture. This emphasis on the importance of local diversity of belief is an important phenomenon to take into account in our current moment, when the value of localized identities is called into question in the face of resurging nationalism (a stance which often seeks to stamp out such local diversities, in historical narratives as well as in actuality).

The panel opens up conversation on several important topics and proposes productive ways of answering the following questions. First, papers will help clarify the relative and shifting status of apocrypha across a variety of North Sea religious communities, drawing attention to the polyvocality of early Medieval theological discourses. Secondly, it will encourage discussion of the literary qualities of the apocrypha under consideration—how can we see these texts as more than mere “sources”? How/why do they exhibit creativity in their divergences from their Latin exemplars? What are their rhetorical contexts and impact? It is hoped that in asking and answering such questions, we can better understand and appreciate modern diversity of belief, highlighting the ways in which diversity is the backbone of creative belief and peaceful, productive co-existence.

Stephen Hopkins