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Literary Practices and Representations

Session Chair: Katharina Waldner | Thursday, August 27, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Michael Affleck

The Identity of the Founding Author of Christianity

The history of the dynamics of the rise of Christianity has been written and understood without ever knowing who the author was of the most widely read book in Western Civilization, the Gospel according to Mark. Authorship is everything yet the search for Mark has been all but abandoned. Modern analysis has created new approaches to finding the revolutionary author who wrote some good news in response to the destruction of Jerusalem. Knowing the author reveals the purpose for which he wrote his gospel that was empowering in form and substance. This paper will establish the historical criteria for identifying the person who used the pen name, Mark. Socio-economic, political, religious, linguistic and motivational criteria will be examined. These criteria will be applied. The author who hid in history, a founder of the Christian movement, the author upon whom the other three canonical gospels rely, will be identified by name.

Christopher Cornthwaite

The Letter of James and Egyptian Patronage

The publication of Paul Veyne’s book, LE PAIN ET LE CIRQUE, brought the study of Greek benefaction (euergetism) and Roman patronage into the discourse of antiquities scholars and, especially in the last decade, into Christian origins. Unfortunately, these categories of benefaction and patronage have also become somewhat ossified as the two possible options for understanding patron/benefactor relations in the Graeco-Roman world. This has led to the neglect of a third option, the Ptolemaic and Egyptian system of skepē patronage, on which the only thorough study is Marta Piatkowska’s LA SKEPE DANS L'ÉGYPTE PTOLÉMAÏQUE. This paper examines how skepē patronage can elucidate elements in early Christian literature, using the following issues in the Epistle of James as a case study: proedria, the faith and works discussion, and the prohibition of oaths.


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