Curated by Jeremiah Coogan
with Warren Campbell, David Frankfurter,
Emily Gathergood, and Meghan Henning
Wednesday, 23 June 2021
11:00am PDT / 2:00pm EDT / 7:00pm BST
A link to the text to be discussed will be included in your registration confirmation email.
The Primary Text Lab series, directed by Julia Lindenlaub, brings together a panel of scholars to examine closely a single text from different perspectives, in an open conversation on any aspect of its interpretation.
The Ascension of Isaiah is a text from the Roman Mediterranean that has left its fingerprints in a wide range of contexts and that enjoys a rich ongoing life in the Ethiopic Christian tradition. The text narrates the prophet Isaiah’s execution by Manasseh and recounts Isaiah’s vision of future events. Although it is often described as an apocalypse, the Ascension of Isaiah defies simple categorisation. As a result, it invites capacious conversation about the categories that modern scholars use to understand ancient texts —such as dependence and intertextuality or ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity’ — and about how we study texts with expansive histories across historical, linguistic, and religious contexts.
Come join us on 23 June to think with an international panel of scholars who engage the Ascension of Isaiah from a range of scholarly perspectives and at various points in its long history of reception. Participants are invited to read the brief text in preparation for the panel or simply to show up and learn from the conversation.
Jeremiah Coogan, curator of this text lab, is a scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity whose research focuses on Gospel reading, material texts, and late antiquity. His forthcoming monograph, Eusebius the Evangelist, analyses Eusebius of Caesarea’s fourth-century reconfiguration of the Gospels as a window into broader questions of technology and textuality in early Christianity and the late ancient Mediterranean. His current project uses the complex reception of Matthew’s Gospel to engage ongoing debates about continuity and change in Second Temple, rabbinic, and early Christian texts.
Warren Campbell works along the borderline of early Jewish and early Christian studies, focusing on questions of exchange, emergence, textual transmission, and identity. Warren’s current project concerns the depiction of a Jewish Paul in the literary and material appropriation of To the Hebrews as a Pauline letter in second- and third-century Egypt.
David Frankfurter works on apocalyptic literature, as well as popular religion, demonology, magic, and material devotion in Roman and late antique Egypt, with interests also in prophetic movements in early Roman Asia Minor.
Emily Gathergood researches women in early Jewish and Christian texts and artefacts, with a particular interest in the construction of women’s bodies in relation to salvation. Her current project, The Midwifery of God, focuses on the early reception of Eve’s childbearing ‘curse’ (Genesis 3:16) in a cluster of texts which envisage its divine reversal – including the Ascension of Isaiah.
Meghan Henning works on the New Testament and Early Christianity, hell, apocalyptic literature, apocryphal literature, ancient rhetoric, disability studies, gender, reception history, and ancient pedagogy. Meghan’s first book on the pedagogical function of Hell in antiquity is entitled Educating Early Christians through the Rhetoric of Hell. Her forthcoming book, Hell Hath No Fury (September 2021), is about the conceptualisation of gender, disability, and the body in the early Christian apocalypses.
Have a primary text you’d like to discuss? Propose a Primary Text Lab! Proposals from scholars at all stages, including graduate students, are warmly welcome. See the Event Toolkit to get started!