Biblical studies: December 2007 Archives

April DeConick, a scholar of biblical studies at Rice University, has published The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says, criticizing the National Geographic translation of The Gospel of Judas for getting the role of Jesus entirely backwards. She has an op-ed in The New York Times summarizing some of her arguments. [hat tip: Jollyblogger]

According to DeConick, Judas isn't in fact the hero of this late Gnostic "gospel". He's a demon sent to betray Jesus and have him killed. The intent is still to undermine orthodox Christianity. It just isn't by making Judas the hero who frees Jesus from his physical body and then rewarded for it in heaven. It's by making Judas a demon whose plot to kill Jesus makes fun of the historic doctrines of the atonement through Jesus' death, and Judas is punished with no place in heaven.

A couple people associated with the criticized translation have responded, and DeConick addresses some criticisms she's received. [hat tip: Mark Goodacre] I'm sure there will be some good discussion of this among the bibliobloggers. I intend to update this post with anything that I think is worth directing attention to.

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