Wednesday, 16 September 2015

"Inferior Office?" by Francis Young

The Church of England has no theology of the diaconate. It has never been agreed exactly what liturgical functions a deacon is entitled to perform, and it is even more unclear what he - or she - is supposed to get up to outside church. This book is an attempt to fill in this theological and pastoral gap. It was written by Francis Young, an historian and writer with an established interest in anomalous and marginal religious phenomena.

"Forged" and "Forgery and Counterforgery" by Bart Ehrman

This is another couple of books by the leading American Bible scholar Bart Ehrman.  One of them (Forged) is a popular book for a general readership; the other (Forgery and Counterforgery) is a detailed academic monograph.  They deal with the delicate issue of pseudonymous and pseudepigraphical writings in early Christian literature - or, as Ehrman puts it less euphemistically, forgeries.  Previous studies of this phenomenon such as Wolfgang Speyer's 1971 masterpiece Die literarische Faelschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum are now dated, and it is good that Ehrman has turned his time and talents to dealing with this underresearched topic.