Books and Rumors of Books
Tuesday 8 June, 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm CET.
Årstein Justnes is a professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Agder and leader of the Lying Pen of Scribes project.
Marianne Bjelland Kartzow is Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Theology, and co-chair of the Books Known Only By Title project at CAS (2020-2021).
Karen L. King is Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard University.
Seth Sanders is Professor of Religious Studies at University of California, Davis.
Liv Ingeborg Lied is Professor of the Study of Religion at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society in Oslo, and co-chair of the Books Known Only By Title project at CAS (2020-2021).
Knowledge of books comes in many forms. Some books are known intimately as extant texts from start to finish; others exist only in the abstract, known through rumor and hearsay. Still other books may exist, but grapple with an imposed reputation, categorized as gnostic, heretical, apocryphal, or old wives' tales. Yet even rumors of books are worthy of study, and they represent the focus of this final panel in the "Books Known Only by Title" series.
How do rumors of books affect us, inspiring yearning, discomfort, or even trepidation? How have rumored books shaped the literary landscape of the past and present? The drive to bring these books into existence has led to new literary creations and to forgeries in the past and present, but even those forgeries help to explicate the literary desires and imaginations of their creators. Conversely, when books are genuinely extant, they are still shaped by rumor and expectation. How do these reputations shape scholars' interpretations of ancient and often fragmentary texts?
The panel's focus on "rumors of books" is polyvalent. It encompasses ancient rumored books—texts "known only by title"—as well as the modern rumors of old manuscripts, hidden in caves and vaults, that have inspired both collectors and popular literature. It also includes rumors about books, questioning how much of our hermeneutic is shaped by what we expect a given text to be and do. Panelists will explore these topics within a broader understanding of books as talked-about entities that signify in their own right.