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Alpha Christianity Call For Papers

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic On: Alpha Christianity Call for Papers From: Bruce Oldtime members of Synoptic may recall how over the past decade or so I have now and then drawn
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2012
      To: Synoptic
      On: Alpha Christianity Call for Papers
      From: Bruce

      Oldtime members of Synoptic may recall how over the past decade or so I have
      now and then drawn attention to the likelihood that the considerable number
      of canonical and noncanonical texts which do not mention the Resurrection,
      but have a quite different theology, imply the existence of a form of
      Christian belief (to which I have recently given the name Alpha
      Christianity), which seems to date back to the time before the death of
      Jesus, when his death was thus not yet available to be the subject of theory
      building, and thus most probably to the lifetime teachings of Jesus.
      (Resurrection or Beta theology, which is in full spate by the time of the
      late Pauline letters of the 50's - and there are no *early* Pauline letters
      - represents a later development, which as we know became largely dominant
      by the end of the 1st century).

      This Alpha possibility has been further supported by the results of my
      philological investigations of some of the key texts, such as Mark (here
      coinciding in one important detail with the results of Adela Yarbro Collins,
      and in another detail with an earlier suggestion of Vincent Taylor) and
      Luke. These results have also been reported at regional and national
      sessions of SBL, going back to 2006. They tend to identify early text strata
      which either reflect (Mark) or insistently keep to and further develop
      (Luke) this Alpha belief.

      And so on.

      These results have attracted a certain amount of attention in recent years,
      and following the SBL meeting last November, an interest group, with its own
      E-mail list, was begun in order to accommodate that interest, and to give it
      a certain scholarly scope. One institutional consequence is that there will
      be special Alpha Christianity sessions at two regional SBL meetings this
      spring: SBL/NE in April(details finalized) and SBL/EGL in March (details
      still being worked out).

      I am attaching the revised Call for Papers for the SBL/NE Alpha session, in
      case someone on this list would be interested in participating. That Alpha
      Call incorporates instructions for all SBL/NE submissions, from the more
      general Call. If the attachment here provided does not come through, the
      same is posted on the home page of the Alpha web site:


      The top of that page is a general introduction, the middle is a TOC for
      associated pages (which I blush to say are not yet all uploaded), and the
      bottom contains SBL relevant data, including the home pages of the SBL/NE
      and SBL/EGL sites, where the most current information about both can be

      So far (but we are open to any good suggestions that come in), the topics
      that seem likely to be represented at SBL/EGL in March tend toward the late
      1st century, and those at SBL/NE in April toward the early 1st century: John
      the Baptist, Peter, the earliest Christian liturgical expressions. There is
      no reason that this tendency needs to be enforced; I mention it only in case
      it might suggest a topic to someone.

      Let me know if there are questions about either session, or about the Alpha
      enterprise in general.

      Best wishes of the weekend,


      E Bruce Brooks
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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