I'm thrilled to say that advance copies of April DeConick's new book The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says have now come in. April, who is Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University, offers a new translation of the Gospel of Judas which seriously challenges the National Geographic version, until now the only available English translation.
April takes issue with the National Geographic interpretation of a "good Judas", and with those scholars such as Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels who have endorsed this reading, and insists rather that the gospel presents a Judas who is as evil as he has ever been. She argues that the Gospel of Judas is not about a “good” Judas, or even a “poor old” Judas. It is a gospel parody about a “demon” Judas written by a particular group of Gnostic Christians – the Sethians.
Here are some of the endorsements that we have so far received:
Louis Painchard (Universite Laval, Canada): "April DeConick's new book provides solutions to major issues raised by this fascinating but frequently misunderstood text."
Jane D. Schaberg (Prof. of Religious Studies, University of Detroit, USA): "April DeConick makes a brilliant contribution to the conversation about this puzzling gospel, whose 'bitter voice' she hears as a sophisticated, ironic parody of mainstream Christianity. Her engagement with the gospel of Mark and with movie versions of Judas deftly bring first and second century sectarian conflicts into contemporary focus. I highly recommend this book to all those interested in the apocryphal and canonical gospels."
Prof. Madeleine Scopello (Director of Research at the National Center of Scientific Research, Sorbonne, France): "Turning upside down the most accepted understanding of the Gospel of Judas, April DeConick gives a radical new reading of this Coptic text, based on her fresh, personal translation. [...] A deep original insight is offered on the intense and troubled story of early Christianity with its rival, opposing streams. Those who are interested in the Gnostic adventure cannot miss The Thirteenth Apostle."
If you would like to know more I would encourage you visit to April's excellent blog. You may also read an interview with her here, in which she talks about the genesis of the book and explains her approach to the Gospel of Judas.
Please also note that April will be speaking about the Gospel of Judas at the upcoming SBL meeting in San Diego. She will be presenting a paper at the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism session (S17-70, 1-3.30 PM, Saturday 17 November) and will also take part in the session 'Books on the Gospel of Judas: An Evening with the Authors' (S18-150, 7-8.30 PM, Sunday 18 November).
More immediately, she will be speaking at the Biblical Archaeology Society this Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.