Nostalgia, novelty, and the subversion of authority in "The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs"

  • Tom de Bruin Newbold College of Higher Education
Keywords: Early Christianity, Fan fiction, Judaism, Parting of the ways


The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, by negotiating the authorship and authority of its derivative readings, discusses the place of Israel vis-à-vis Christianity through almost fannish retellings of the lives of the patriarchs of Israel. The text thereby walks a line between nostalgic and novel readings of foundational narratives, in some places perpetuating canonical authority and in others subverting it. The outcome of this interplay is the displacement of the Israelite author and Christianization of Israelite history. Contemporary fan fiction studies discourse provides tools for analyzing this negotiation of textual authority.