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Early Christian literature

Class at Hussite Theological Faculty |


The annotation of the seminar includes two basic frameworks of course focus, from which the doctoral student chooses after consultation with his or her supervisor. Within the chosen focus, the specific topic of the seminar will be specified taking into account the ISP of the student, or the topic of his or her dissertation, and the current state of research of the given problems (new monograph, monothematic issue of the relevant periodical, etc.). Therefore, the annotation characterizes only the basic outline of partial areas of focus, and informs about the general framework from which one specific problem is chosen for a specific semester. The course is organized in the form of active participation by doctoral students. Doctoral students take responsibility for partial topics, supervise, and correct the reading of a given section of the work and its interpretation, and moderate the discussion. The unifying framework of both areas of focus is the manifestation of early Christian identity in a material-literary context.

A) The aim of the course is the analysis of a selected apocryphal text in the primary language, or a text that stood in competition with Christianity. In general, the course focuses mainly on philolophic analysis, analysis of material remains of early Christianity and interpretation of literary parallels.

Selection of topics:

- The Gospel of Thomas (NHC II, 2): History of the Finding and Contents of the Nag Hammadi Codex, Current

Edition; annotated reading in translation, New Testament parallels

- Papyrus Egerton 2: history of the finding, editions, annotated reading, New Testament parallels

- The Gospel of Judas (Codex Tchacos 3): History of the finding and the content of the Tchacos Codex, annotated reading in translation, New Testament parallels

- Apocryphon of James (NHC I/2): genre “list” in the codices of Nag Hammadi, annotated reading in translation, New Testament parallels

- Psalmoi sarakótón (Manichaean Psalm-book II, 141–143): History of the finding from Medínet Mádí and its codices; annotated reading in translation, New Testament parallels

- Acts of Peter (Papyrus Berolinensis Gnosticus 8502): history of the finding of the codex, editions; contents of the book; annotated reading in translation, New Testament parallels

B) The student will present the assigned topic on the basis of the studied professional literature and selected source texts. The student will also deepen his or her knowledge from contemporary perspectives on ancient Christian exegesis. The seminar will always focus on one selected exegetical trend of the early church.

Selection of topics

- Antioch Exegetical School as a modern construct

- Alexandrian Exegetical School as a modern construct

- The Book of Acts from the perspective of Jan Chrýsostom

- Origen’s Concept of Inspiration

- Interpretation of the Psalms in the 4th century