The New Year Ahead

The year ahead looks like it is going to be busy, and hopefully, productive. In January, I will be attending the Talpiot conference in Jerusalem organized by Professor Charlesworth as a Princeton symposium. My role is to address traditions about Mary Magdalene in the early literature. I plan to focus on the Valentinian portrait of Mary Magdalene, contrasting that with the encratic. The result will be an attempt to see if we can say anything determinative about Mary as a historical figure from this literature. A full length paper will be published later in a conference volume that is planned. I still haven't received the final agenda for the meeting, with all participants. As soon as I do, I'll post it here.

Looking forward to spring, there will be the Codex Judas Congress, March 13-16. I am receiving abstracts from the participants now. I will get those posted mid-January. I am in the process of preparing my own contribution to the Congress on issues of authority in the Gospel of Judas, the First Apocalypse of James, and other early Christian literature. I am particularly interested on how appeals to the Twelve were being used by the Christian leaders of the second century. After the Congress, full length papers will be collected and edited into a conference volume. So keep your eyes out for that book.

Over the summer, I have several articles to prepare for various projects. One will be about sexual practices among Gnostics. This is for an edited volume that Paul Foster is putting together. I also am preparing a paper on angels in Valentinian traditions for a conference in Tours which will take place in September. I will likely focus on the Jesus Aeon-Angel as the microPleroma descending to earth and incarnating.

Also in September is the Coptic Association's meeting - this year in Cairo. I hope to be part of a session on (re)defining Gnosticism.

As for the Boston SBL in November, that is too far ahead for me to know exactly what I will be preparing for, although I know that the New Testament Mysticism Project will be continuing. So I will at least be preparing an entry for that.

I am also going to begin writing my second book for the general audience. I'm trying to decide - should it be a book on the Gospel of Thomas, making my scholarly work more accessible to a broader audience, or should I begin work on a book about how I think the early Christians (as Jews) began to worship Jesus?

In terms of teaching, this semester Coptic continues. We will finish the last five chapters of Layton's book and then move on to read the Tchacos Codex to prepare for the Congress in March. I also have a lecture class, Christian Controversies and Creeds, that covers the growth of Christian thought from the bible to Chalcedon.

So in the upcoming year, this blog will probably continue to feature the newest and latest on the Tchacos Codex, the Gospel of Judas, the Valentinian literature, and the controversies between various factions of Christians in the second and third centuries. I also want your suggestions as my readers. Is there anything that you would like to see me address in the coming year? Let me know via comments or e-mail.

2007 SBL Sessions to Highlight 1: The New Testament Mysticism Project

Now that the SBL program book is available on-line, I'd like to call attention to several sessions that I've been mentioning on this blog over the past few months. The New Testament Mysticism Project is a seminar in its second year, and its goal is to map the entire NT in terms of various authors' views of mysticism and their transmission of mystical traditions. It is a working group, only meeting on Friday. Auditors are welcome!

The NTMP has its own website here.

S16-6
The New Testament Mysticism Project
11/16/2007
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Room: Columbia 3 - MM

Theme: Mysticism in the New Testament Gospels
Participants have prepared commentary entries which will be discussed in a round table format by members of the seminar. Entries will not be read as formal papers. Instead the time will be used to introduce the entry by the author and discuss it in detail as a group. This is a working group, a collaborative project to write a commentary on New Testament mysticism. For more information, see our website, www.newtestamentmysticism.com.

Andrei Orlov, Marquette University
John 1:45-51 and Matthew 4:1-11//Mark 1:12-13//Luke 4:1-13 (20 min)
Kevin Sullivan, Illinois Wesleyan University
John 6:35-65 and Matthew 16:17-23//Mark 8:27-33//Luke 9:18-22 (20 min)
Cameron Afzal, Sarah Lawrence College
John 9:5 and Matthew 7:21-23 (20 min)
Break (10 min)
Jeffrey B. Pettis, Fordham University
John 12:24 (20 min)
Catherine Playoust, Cambridge, MA
John 3:1-15 (20 min)
Robert G. Hall, Hampden-Sydney College
John 12:37-41 and Matthew 13.43 (20 min)
Jonathan A. Draper, University of KwaZulu-Natal
John 1:18 and Matthew 12:6 (20 min)
Discussion (30 min)


S16-60
The New Testament Mysticism Project
11/16/2007
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Room: Point Loma - MM

Theme: Mysticism in the New Testament Gospels
Participants have prepared commentary entries which will be discussed in a round table format by members of the seminar. Entries will not be read as formal papers. Instead the time will be used to introduce the entry by the author and discuss it in detail as a group. This is a working group, a collaborative project to write a commentary on New Testament mysticism. For more information, see our website, www.newtestamentmysticism.com.

April D. Deconick, Rice University
John 20:24-29 and Matthew 22:23-33//Mark 12:18-27//Luke 20:27-38 (25 min)
Robin Griffith-Jones, Temple Church
John 20:11-18 (25 min)
Charles A. Gieschen, Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne
John 1:12, 5:37-38. 12:28, 17:6, 20:31 and Mt 28:19-20 and Mt 26:64//Mk 14:62//Lk 22:69-70 (25 min)
Break (10 min)
Jared Calaway, Columbia University in the City of New York
John 2:19-22 (25 min)
Jane D. Schaberg, University of Detroit Mercy
John 8:28 and 12:31-34 (25 min)
Alan Segal, Barnard College, Columbia University
John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7, 1 John 2:1 and Matthew 17:1-8//Mark 9:2-10//Luke 9:28-36 (25 min)
Discussion (20 min)