Wuppertal 2021 Call for Papers
One of the ways in which to approach Judaism in the Hellenistic period in its varieties, continuities, and developments is by exploring the mass of literature that has been preserved, often through Christian transmission, via the archaeological record (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls), or various Jewish folk traditions. The Slavonic parabiblical tradition, even though it dates from a later period, conserves some of the witnesses to earlier apocryphal and pseudepigraphic writings, originally in Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as in Greek, Syriac, and Latin. For many of these compositions, their Vorlagen may be dated to the early Second Temple period. Thus, the study of Slavonic parabiblical writings can contribute significantly to a better understanding of Judaism in the Hellenistic period, the roots of Rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, Gnosticism, and later mystical thought.
However, these are not the limits to what we call the “Slavonic Parabiblical tradition”. Although the terminology used here assumes a series of historical developments, parabiblical tradition is not a closed collection of authoritative writings by any means and the very concept allows for the open inclusion and evolution of associated works. We are seeking papers that both explore accepted works and query canonical assumptions. By studying materials that depend on or derive from biblical works or even genres, we seek to explore what makes a text authoritative in the Slavonic Parabiblical tradition, i.e. what makes it worthy of being transmitted, taught, included in established canons, etc. The transmission, in the Slavonic tradition, of parabiblical works associated with people (such as Enoch, David, Solomon) or offices (such as kings, prophets, apostles) may produce the effect of creating a memorable past (rooting it in antiquity or biblical times more generally). In some cases, parabiblical works form in the context of a group or society, to embed a set of practices (such as rituals and ceremonies), ritualized expressions (such as hymns of prayers), and to create a set of cultural referents for the framing of historical events and characters, such as through the translation, incorporation, and replication of Byzantine chronography into Slavonic. Finally, the Slavonic Parabiblical tradition is not only a set of texts, but also includes iconographies (icons, religious art, and even parabiblical themes in photography and cinema), as well as oral traditions in the vernacular, such as “Folk Bible” compositions.
The overall research questions in this call for papers allow for many aspects to be taken into account and we will consider papers on topics, including:
- What constitutes an “authoritative” text in the Slavonic parabiblical tradition? Does Scripture represent the highest level of authority and are there gradations of authority that we can see in the parabiblical tradition?
- Comparisons of particular topoi within the Slavonic parabiblical tradition, which are attested to in or based on earlier Jewish and/or Christian traditions and in other languages, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek
- The role of parabiblical writings in creating the liturgical calendar, liturgical practices, and assorted other ceremonies and rituals, both within the space of the church and beyond
- The manifestation of parabiblical writings in other literary genres, including chronicles
- Exploring parabiblical themes via oral tradition, including missionary expeditions, or the manifestation of folk bible compositions
- Parabiblical traditions beyond text, including icons and iconography and more recent forms of representation, including photography, television, and film
Please email your 250-300-word abstracts to the Slavonic Parabiblical Traditions Research Network conveners but you will also need to submit your abstract via the submission system on the EABS website.