A Passion for Manuscripts

31 May 2016, 14:00 - 15:00

Fitzwilliam Museum

In 1917, M.R. James published a book of stories for young people called Old Testament Legends: Being Stories Out of Some of the Less-known Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament. In this work, he describes the Apocrypha as the ‘borderlands of the Bible,’ as writings on the edge of the biblical canon which are important for the light they shed on the people, writings, and cultures of the ancient Near East and Roman Empire. The book harkens back to James’s extensive scholarly work on the Apocrypha in the 1890s, during his tenure as director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. This lunchtime talk explores James’s extensive interactions with the ‘borderlands of the Bible’ through his work on Apocryphal manuscripts. In it Scott Mandelbrote and Alison Knight examine the manuscripts and artefacts connected to James’s scholarly work on The Testament of Abraham and Apocrypha Anecdota, outlining the ways in which James connected manuscript research with the material and visual cultures of late antique Spain, Greece, Rome, and Egypt, among others.

An afternoon talk open to the public, by the ERC project Bible and Antiquity in 19th-century Culture.


Alison Knight (Cambridge)

Scott Mandelbrote (Cambridge)

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This event is supported by funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ ERC grant agreement no 295463.