Skip to main content

IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 855: Reading the Bible and Biblical Apocrypha

Tuesday 7 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Pietro Delcorno, School of Languages, Cultures & Societies, University of Leeds / School of Literature, Language & Media, University of the Witwatersrand
Paper 855-aThe First Welsh Gospel Book: The Origins of the Lichfield Gospels
(Language: English)
Jennifer Bell, School of History Philosophy & Social Sciences Bangor University
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Monasticism
Paper 855-bNachmanides on the Theme of the Book of Genesis
(Language: English)
Ari Geiger, Department of History, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Paper 855-cBeyond the Borders of Canon: Readership of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas in the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Marijana Vukovic, Instytut Historyczny, Uniwersytet Warszawski
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Latin, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Religious Life
Paper 855-dTranslatio imperii and the Economy of Gold and Honour in the Old English Daniel
(Language: English)
Jacek Olesiejko, Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Old English, Political Thought

Paper -a:
The Lichfield Gospels are the earliest gospel book associated with medieval Wales. It has long been argued that they were composed outside of Wales, though an exact location has never been confirmed. This paper will examine the Gospels, with specific reference to the iconography and provide a comparison with other contemporary works. It will demonstrate that those Gospel books that survive from the period represent a variety of styles which were changing and developing. It will also show that while the origin of the Lichfield Gospels is unknown, the idea that it could have been produced within Wales has been too easily dismissed in the past.

Paper -b:
What was the reason for writing the book of Genesis? Many Jewish commentators have asked this question, based on the assumption that the Pentateuch is a book of laws, whereas the book of Genesis does not include any law but only tells in detail tales from the life of the Patriarchs. The paper will present the answer given to this question by the Jewish commentator Nachmanides (Girona, 1194-1270). One of the characters of his biblical exegesis is the deep awareness for historiographical issues and the wide use of historical knowledge. This exegetical aspect is also manifested in the issue of the aim of the book of Genesis. According to Nachmanides, two themes underlie this book. The first part of the book (chapters 1-11) demonstrates the historiosophic law according to which the Creator bestows lands to nations and also dispossess them of their lands due to their moral state. The main part of the book (chapter 12 onward) is aimed at presenting the life of the Patriarchs which determined the historical course of their descendants, the people of Israel. Combining these two themes, the major theme of the book of Genesis becomes clear: Creation. The first two chapters of Genesis deals with the creation of nature and the rest of the book tells us about the creation of history. First, creation of the global history and then creation of the Jewish history.

Paper -c:
The survival and use of early Christian Apocrypha in the Middle Ages have not occupied considerable attention of scholars. The absence of literature on the post-400 period leads one to think that the 'alternative' scriptures must have faded into insignificance after this time, which is far from the truth. The Apocryphon that deserves the attention first and foremost by its subject, Jesus, is a second-century story about his childhood, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. It describes Jesus' age from five to twelve, where Jesus works miracles but also kills and blinds other children and adults. The text was copied in medieval manuscripts in various cultural contexts. This paper discusses the readership of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas in the Middle Ages: people who copied, kept, and used it despite it being outside of the canon.

Paper -d:
The heroic economy of treasure subtends both the treasure plundered from the temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the political structure of Babylon in the Old English Daniel. The golden idol that Nebuchadnezzar erects is a sign of the worldly glory and wealth that subtends the flow of goods in the heroic economy of exchange of honour. The aim of the paper is to argue that the poet makes a contrast between the secular flow of treasure, at the foundation of Nebuchadnezzar’s power, and the divine economy of grace, at the centre of the covenant between the Hebrews and God.