York Christian Apocrypha Symposium: Forbidden Texts on the Western Frontier

Forbidden biblical texts, despite their off-limit status, have quite the following. In fact, scholars have been dissecting the Christian apocrypha for decades, grappling with their meaning both for the historical formation of Christianity, as well as what they say about early Christian beliefs.

York University hosts a conference on these outlaw books at the end of the month. It’s going to be quite a rager with 22 experts set to square off on what these texts are, why they were left out of the biblical canon, and how scholars should approach their study.

Why do we need such a conference? First off, the material speaks for itself. These “rejected works” can be pretty crazy. A baby Jesus who curses his enemies? Yep. The Eucharist as a gateway mystical drug? Uh-huh. And if you like apocalyptic narratives, let me give you a hint where you can look: I’m not saying it’s the apocrypha, but it’s the apocrypha.

Second, and this should be apparent by now, these texts are highly contested as to what they say about Jesus and Christianity in general. They have wide-reaching implications that affect not just scholarship, but also how faith is lived on the ground.

Since I’ve been helping out with the Symposium, I would be a terrible assistant if I didn’t invite you to attend the conference. Bonus: It’s open to the general public and it’s free for students.

Here are the details:

2013 York Christian Apocrypha Symposium
Forbidden Texts on the Western Frontier:
The Christian Apocrypha in North American Perspectives
When: September 26-29th, 2013
Where: Vanier College, York University, Toronto
Note: A full schedule of presentations can be found here.

“The event…brings together 22 Canadian and U.S. scholars to share their work and discuss present and future collaborative projects.

One of the goals of the symposium is to make the work of North American scholars on the Christian Apocrypha more widely known, not only to scholars in cognate disciplines (such as New Testament Studies or Medieval Studies) but also to students, who will be the future scholars in the discipline, as well as to the wider public who is interested in the texts but has been ill-informed about them through films, novels, and fringe scholarship.”

You can register for the Symposium here. I hope to see some of you later this month!

Photo by Prio.