Venturing Beyond the Beyond

I finally got the schedule for the conference on Friday, October 26, celebrating the work of Elliot Wolfson on Jewish mysticism.

If you can, drop by for all or some of the talks. I'm going to be speaking on the Gospel of Judas, how the original release of the Gospel in Coptic transcription and English translation misrepresents the Gospel and its subversive, even transgressive, interpretation of scripture. The Gospel of Judas is particularly tied to the Gospel of Mark, and remains faithful to a literal reading of this scripture. Judas is not a hero. He is not a Gnostic. He is the undercover agent for Ialdabaoth, or perhaps more appropriately Ialdabaoth's human alter ego.

I think that expectations that the lost Gospel of Judas might confirm Epiphanius' story may have colored the way in which the original transcription and interpretation was made, especially the choice to emend a line to speak of Judas' ascent to the holy generation, when in fact the Coptic says no such thing. In fact, the Coptic says that Judas will not ascend to the holy generation. This has been corrected in the newly released Critical Edition, but unfortunately it was THE line upon which scholars have been arguing for a Gnostic Judas. The line is fictitious. Judas doesn't ascend anywhere, although it is implied that he will end up in the 13th heaven as Ialdabaoth The Apostate!

For more, come to the lecture. There is also my book The Thirteenth Apostle where I cover much of this material.

Symposium Schedule

October 26, 2007
Fondren Library - Kyle Morrow Room

Morning Session

9:00 Light breakfast and informal meeting
9:20 Opening Remarks by Jeff Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Rice University
9:30 "The Erotics of Transcendence: In Quest of the Body," Edith Wyschogrod, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, Rice University
10:00 "Beauty and the Abyss: Wolfson and Augustine on Making Things out of Nothingsomething," Virginia Burrus, Professor of Early Church History, Drew University
10:30 "Three Painted Angels: The Poetics and Aesthetics of Epiphany," Marcia Brennan, Associate Professor of Art History, Rice University
11:00 Discussion of Morning Papers
12:00 Lunch Break

Afternoon Session

1:20 Opening Remarks by Marcia Brennan, Associate Professor of Art History, Rice University
1:30 "The Gnostic as Transgressor: Radical Thinking about the Gospel of Judas,"April DeConick, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Rice University

"To Give Honor Where Honor is Due: An Encomium to Truth," Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture, University of California-Berkeley

2:30 "To Live Outside the Law You Must Be Honest: Some Personal Reflections on the Paradox of Honesty in Wolfson's Thought," Steven Wasserstrom, Professor of Judaic Studies, Reed College
3:00 Discussion and Response by Gregory Kaplan, Anna Smith Fine Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies, Rice University
3:30 Reflections and Concluding Remarks, Elliot R. Wolfson, Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University
4:15-5:00 Open Discussion of all papers and remarks