The Third International Colloquium on Christian Apocryphal Literature took place 14-16 January in Strasbourg, France (see full program).
Strasbourg is a lovely city in Alsace. We will have to return some time during the summer. I flew from Toronto Wednesday evening and arrived in Strasbourg only a couple of hours late, though I had feared that the striking air traffic controllers at CDG or the snow in Strasbourg would prevent my arrival. I roomed at the Hotel de l’Esplanade with Jean-Michel Roessli (University of Sudbury), specialist on the Sibylline Oracles, who has become a good friend. It was his suggestion that we share the costs of a room, but unfortunately I kept him awake with my sonorous snoring (so he claims, but I know that I never snore)–I hope he was compensated by the savings on the room, for I myself would pay dearly for a good night’s sleep. Because of jet lag I dozed during some of the papers I attended, but fortunately, I did not also snore during them.
In light of the theme of conference, “Christian apocryphal literature and Jewish Scriptures”, my paper bore the title, “L’Ancien Testament dans les Actes de Paul“. The session was sparsely attended, though I was able to distribute few copies in English to those who were interested. I presented it in French; I introduced the text into Google translator (English to French)–for some reason when I informed the group of this, they laughed; I then made my personal corrections and then passed it by two Francophone scholars (Dr. D. Kambou; and Roessli) for further corrections. I was impressed that the Acts of Paul demonstrates insufficient evidence of direct knowledge of the Old Testament–the awareness of a few OT stories and brief acknowledgment of creation theology and the affirmation of the OT prophets, could be sufficiently accounted for by catechesis and other oral teaching, and testamonia (a possible written collection[s] of OT prophecies understood to be predicting Jesus Christ). Prof. Gounelle’s article on the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles which appeared in RHPR 84 inspired my reflections; Gounelle muses in this article that perhaps the authors may not have had direct access to OT scriptures due to the high cost of procuring a copy (see p. 7). I suggest too that the author of the Acts of Paul, who was a priest according to Tertullian, may not have had a copy of the OT in his parish. I will later provide a copy of the English here at Acta Pauli, while submitting my French text for publication in the papers.
Prof. Gounelle has summarized how the papers will be published:
The proceedings will be published as following :
- The lectures on the Bible in Antiquity and Middle Ages will be published in a separate volume, in the Series « Histoire du texte biblique » (Editions du Zèbre).
- The six papers on the Pseudo-Clementine novel will be published in the Series « Cahiers de Biblia Patristica » (Strasbourg).
- The remaining lectures and papers will be published by the « Editions du Zèbre », in one or two volumes.
A glance at the program will show that the majority of the papers, including my own, were in French. As a result, some of the English speakers tend to form a clique. I was thus able and happy to meet a couple of delightful Hungarian scholars (Dr. Gyorgy Gereby; Peter Toth) and a fellow American Dr. Helen Rhee, whose own work on the apocryphal acts (in Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries) I was heretofore unaware.