Book Note: Fakes, Forgeries, and Fictions (Tony Burke, ed.)

Professor Burke's newest edited volume came my way today: Fakes, Forgeries, and Fictions: Writing Ancient and Modern Christian Apocrypha.  It represents the proceedings from the 2015 York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium. 

The book collects excellent papers from Bart Erhman, Periluigi Piovanelli, Stanley Porter, Brent Landau, Scott Brown, Pamela Mullins Reaves, Gregory Peter Fewster, Anne Moore, Timothy Pettipiece, Brandon Hawk, Tony Burke, Bradley Rice, Eric M. Vanden Eykel, Caroline Schroeder, James McGrath, Mark Goodacre, and Janet Spittler.

The articles address questions that have long dogged scholars.  Are apocryphal Christian texts fakes or forgeries? Were they intentionally written to deceive Christians?  Do they contain facts or fictions?  Why were they composed?

The answers in this volume are as varied as the stories themselves, from intentional fakes meant to deceive like the fragment known as the Gospel of Jesus' Wife, to honest attempts to capture ongoing religious revelation like the Revelation of the Magi. 

Texts covered include Acts of Paul, Apocalypse of Paul, Revelation of the Magi, Secret Gospel of Mark, Letter of Peter to Philip, apocryphal Corinthians, Secret Book of John, Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Life of Saint Issa, Gospel of Jesus' Wife, and miscellaneous early Christian papyri.

I think that this volume is a valuable contribution to how we understand authorship of ancient Christian texts, whether we define them as fakes or the real deal.