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The reception history and interpretation of the new testament portrayals of Joseph the Carpenter in nativity and infancy portrayals in early christian and early medieval narratives and art from the second century to the ninth century CE

Jacobs, Philip Walker (2013) The reception history and interpretation of the new testament portrayals of Joseph the Carpenter in nativity and infancy portrayals in early christian and early medieval narratives and art from the second century to the ninth century CE. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

This thesis undertakes the task of tracing and documenting the development of the Wirkungsgeschichte of the portrayals of Joseph in the canonic gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, within early Christian and early medieval narratives and art between the period of approximately 150 CE and 800 CE. After providing an initial review of the current state of scholarly research into the subject of the development of the Wirkungsgeschichte of the canonical portrayals of Joseph in Part I, this study then provides a detailed reading, by means of literary and narrative analysis, of the portrayals of Joseph in Matthew, Luke, and John in Part II. The thesis then traces and documents the development of these earlier portrayals of Joseph in four non-canonic narratives, the Infancy Gospel of James, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the History of Joseph the Carpenter, and the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and in eighteen works of art, in Parts III and IV. In the process of this analysis several different concerns are addressed. These include: the date, provenance, purpose, and content of the various narratives and compositions; the characterization of Joseph they portray; the independence and distinctiveness these later literary and artistic representations of Joseph exhibit from earlier canonic and non-canonic literary referents and prior artistic creations of Joseph; and the different perceptions and beliefs narrators and artists and their respective ecclesiastical communities held with regard to Joseph. At the same time, consideration is given to the prospect of patterns or trajectories that might emerge as the review occurs. Attention to the development of this Wirkungsgeschichte in the four non-canonic narratives leads to the discovery of the presence of two trajectories --- one that affirms, enhances, and continues the positive narrative portrayals of Joseph found in the canonic literature (and is found to be present in two of these texts); the other that diminishes these portrayals (and is found to be present in the other two texts). Further, similar II attention to the eighteen artistic creations, also leads to two additional discoveries: first, that these two trajectories are present in these artistic creations; and, second, that most of these artistic works present positive portrayals of Joseph. Therefore, the presence of these two different trajectories in both the non-canonic narratives and the artistic compositions helps explain the very different perceptions and beliefs about Joseph found in the development of the Wirkungsgeschichte of the portrayals of Joseph in the canonic gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John between the period of approximately 150 CE and 800 CE. Finally, in Part V, the study revisits the goal of this thesis, evaluates whether or not it reached its goal, explores the implications of the discoveries made in Parts III and IV, and considers the conclusions that can be drawn.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Philosophy and Religion
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2015 08:05
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2016 16:09
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5243
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