We’re holding our next event this academic year on 13 April 2022, from 1.45pm at the John Rylands Research Institute & Library on Deansgate.

Join us for an academic led symposium to explore authentication and forgery in classical, biblical and patristic letters (and beyond). As well as the papers, there will be a public Collection Encounter of some epistolary material from the Rylands collections . The speakers and papers are:

‘Strategies of multiple stages of forgery – Ignatius of Antioch and Paul’

Prof. Markus Vinzent (Professor of History & Theology, King’s College London)

The letters of Ignatius are preserved in at least five different collections – single letters like his letter to the Romans and to Polycarp, three letters, seven letters, twelve/thirteen letters, and seventeen letters. Looking at three of these (the collection of 3, 7, 12/13 letters), the paper will highlight the strategies how new forgeries build on older forgeries and how earlier forgery stages impacted on later stages. This will then be compared to a similar phenomenon that one can discover in the growth of the Pauline letters.


‘Authentication and Innovation in antiquity: in search of the authentic’

Prof. Irene Peirano Garrison (Pope Professor of the Latin Language & Literature, Harvard)

Prof. Hindy Najman (Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, Oriel College, Oxford)

The drive to capture the authentic, to reconstruct ur-moments and unmask impostors is at the heart of both classical and biblical philology. This paper traces the history of this discourse of authenticity with special emphasis on the 19th century. After discussing the religious and cultural discourses that contributed to the rise of authenticity thus conceived, we show the ways in which this conceptualization continues to shape our respective fields even today. The paper ends with a call to integrate reception and hermeneutics by considering innovation as an authentication mechanism in antiquity.

You can sign up via the link below:


This event will take place in person at John Rylands Research Institute and Library. You can also attend remotely, as the event will be broadcast live on Zoom. Details on how to join remotely will be included in your order confirmation.