The Rev. Dr. Gay L. Byron is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. Her scholarship focuses on liberation and womanist interpretations of the Bible, the Pauline epistles, race and ethnicity in early Christian writings, and the origins of Christianity in ancient Ethiopia. She is the recipient of several fellowships for her research, which identifies and examines ancient Ethiopic (Ge`ez) sources for the study of the New Testament and other early Christian writings. She is the author of Symbolic Blackness and Ethnic Difference in Early Christian Literature (Routledge 2002) and co-editor of Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse (SBL 2016). She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biblical Literature and is a co-editor for a new book series on Womanist Interpretations of Scripture (Lexington/Fortress Academic Press).
Spring Bible & Archaeology Fest 2022, April 2 – 3, 2022
The Invisible Lives of Ethiopic Manuscripts
In this lecture, Dr. Byron will introduce the Ethiopic (Ge‘ez) Manuscripts housed at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University. This collection of 112 manuscripts includes biblical writings, liturgical collections and prayer books, hagiographies, hymns, magic (religious) scrolls, theological treatises, and various material artifacts. These sources are a gateway for exploring questions about provenance and the related ethical and cultural questions revolving around ownership of and access to ancient manuscripts and artifacts in Western universities and museums. The lack of attention on Ge‘ez sources yields a one-sided view of antiquity, which invariably renders Ethiopian texts and traditions invisible to biblical interpreters and other scholars of religion.