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The Thirteenth Apostle: Revised Edition: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says Paperback – June 23, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1847065681 ISBN-10: 1847065686 Edition: 2nd Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 2nd Edition edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847065686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847065681
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

April DeConick makes a brilliant contribution to the conversation about this puzzling gospel, whose Sethian "bitter voice" she hears as a sophisticated, ironic parody of apostolic Christianity's atonement-by-sacrifice theology and cultic activity. Engagement with the gospel of Mark and with movie versions of Judas bring first and second century sectarian conflicts into contemporary focus. I highly recommend this work for all scholars and students of the apocryphal and canonical gospels.
Jane D. Schaberg, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Detroit, Mercy, USA. (Jane Schaberg)

'"Yet you will do worse than all of them. For the man that clothes me, you will sacrifice him." Thus speaks Jesus to Judas Iscariot, according to April DeConick's new translation of the Gospel of Judas. But far from being a demand addressed by Jesus to his favorite disciple, as the first editors of the Gospel of Judas claimed, this sentence is both a prediction of Judas' betrayal of Jesus, and a condemnation of it. In her discussions of this passage and many others, April DeConick's new book provides solutions to major issues raised by this fascinating but frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted text.'
Louis Painchaud, Ph.D., Université Laval, Canada (Louis Painchaud, Ph.D., Université Laval, Canada)

"Turning upside down the most accepted understanding of the Gospel of Judas (Codex Tchacos), April DeConick gives a radically new reading of this Coptic apocryphon, based on her fresh, personal translation. She unveils the techniques of an ancient author, a Sethian Gnostic of the 2nd century CE, who used mockery and sarcasm to define Judas' role in relation to Jesus on one side and the Apostles on the other. A deep original sight is offered on the intense and troubled story of early Christianity with its rival, opponent streams. Those who are interested in the Gnostic adventure cannot miss The Thirteenth Apostle."
Professor Madeleine Scopello, Director of Research at the National Centre of Scientific Research Sorbonne, Paris (Professor Madeleine Scopello)

Introductory article and Q&A session on www.thesheepdip.co.uk

"April DeConick created quite a storm with the publication of The Thirteenth Apostle, for her book overturned the then prevailing interpretation of the Gospel of Judas, according to which Judas Iscariot is presented as a hero and intimate disciple. This new edition of her book has been up-dated and expanded to include two entirely new chapters. Anyone wishing to know "what the Gospel of Judas really says" must read this book. It is clearly the most important book yet published on this much-misunderstood gospel." - Birger A. Pearson Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

"This book is a very readable presentation of the Gospel of Judas and a good introduction to the competing early Christian traditions vying for dominance in the in the second and third centuries. DeConick provides her original English translation in full, as well as significant commentary on the text. Maps and diagrams enhance the readability and three appendices provide an annotated bibliography, a synopsis of Sethian Gnostic literature, and a collection of excerpts from the Church Fathers on the Gospel of Judas. Endnotes along with indices of authors, biblical references, and ancient texts, complete the volume." —Barbara E. Bowe RSCJ, Catholic Library World (Barbara E. Bowe, RSCJ Catholic Library World)

April DeConick makes a brilliant contribution to the conversation about this puzzling gospel, whose Sethian "bitter voice" she hears as a sophisticated, ironic parody of apostolic Christianity's atonement-by-sacrifice theology and cultic activity. Engagement with the gospel of Mark and with movie versions of Judas bring first and second century sectarian conflicts into contemporary focus. I highly recommend this work for all scholars and students of the apocryphal and canonical gospels.
Jane D. Schaberg, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Detroit, Mercy, USA. (Sanford Lakoff)

'“Yet you will do worse than all of them. For the man that clothes me, you will sacrifice him.” Thus speaks Jesus to Judas Iscariot, according to April DeConick’s new translation of the Gospel of Judas. But far from being a demand addressed by Jesus to his favorite disciple, as the first editors of the Gospel of Judas claimed, this sentence is both a prediction of Judas' betrayal of Jesus, and a condemnation of it. In her discussions of this passage and many others, April DeConick’s new book provides solutions to major issues raised by this fascinating but frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted text.’
Louis Painchaud, Ph.D., Université Laval, Canada (Sanford Lakoff)

“Turning upside down the most accepted understanding of the Gospel of Judas (Codex Tchacos), April DeConick gives a radically new reading of this Coptic apocryphon, based on her fresh, personal translation. She unveils the techniques of an ancient author, a Sethian Gnostic of the 2nd century CE, who used mockery and sarcasm to define Judas' role in relation to Jesus on one side and the Apostles on the other. A deep original sight is offered on the intense and troubled story of early Christianity with its rival, opponent streams. Those who are interested in the Gnostic adventure cannot miss The Thirteenth Apostle.
Professor Madeleine Scopello, Director of Research at the National Centre of Scientific Research Sorbonne, Paris (Sanford Lakoff)

"April DeConick created quite a storm with the publication of The Thirteenth Apostle, for her book overturned the then prevailing interpretation of the Gospel of Judas, according to which Judas Iscariot is presented as a hero and intimate disciple. This new edition of her book has been up-dated and expanded to include two entirely new chapters. Anyone wishing to know “what the Gospel of Judas really says” must read this book. It is clearly the most important book yet published on this much-misunderstood gospel." - Birger A. Pearson Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

"This book is a very readable presentation of the Gospel of Judas and a good introduction to the competing early Christian traditions vying for dominance in the in the second and third centuries. DeConick provides her original English translation in full, as well as significant commentary on the text. Maps and diagrams enhance the readability and three appendices provide an annotated bibliography, a synopsis of Sethian Gnostic literature, and a collection of excerpts from the Church Fathers on the Gospel of Judas. Endnotes along with indices of authors, biblical references, and ancient texts, complete the volume." —Barbara E. Bowe RSCJ, Catholic Library World (Sanford Lakoff Catholic Library World)

About the Author

April D. DeConick is the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University (Houston, Texas). She specializes in early Christian history and theology, noncanonical Gospels, and gnostic and mystical traditions. Her books include Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (1996); Voices of the Mystics: Early Christian Discourse in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature (Sheffield Academic, 2001); Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth (T. &T. Clark, 2005); and The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation, with Commentary and New English Translation of the Complete Gospel (T. &T. Clark, 2006) and The Thirteenth Apostle: what the Gospel of Judas really says (Continuum, 2007). She has also edited the collection of papers, Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism (SBL, 2006).

More About the Author

I grew up in rural Michigan, in the northern city, Traverse. My family had a small farm on the Traverse peninsula where I spent my childhood riding horses, climbing pine trees, and swimming in the bay. When I went away to college, I went to the big city (at least I thought it was the big city at the time) Ann Arbor and graduated with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies in 1993. From there I took an assistant professorship at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. I met and married Wade Allen Greiner, a legal aid attorney who was working in Decatur. Our son was born in 2003. In 2006, we moved to Houston, Texas, so that I could join the faculty of the Religious Studies Department at Rice University.

Customer Reviews

Read her book but also read other literature.
Paul Stevenson
The book also includes her complete translation, which provides the reader the context for the interpretative debate.
DCCHEF
I have just finished reading April DeConick's new book, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says.
Neil Godfrey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Neil Godfrey on November 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading April DeConick's new book, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says. So many comments need to be made directed at so many interests:

The following is from my blog where I have more posts discussing the contents and argument of this book. See [...]

1. Firstly, the book is easily accessible to the lay reader even though it discusses technical translation issues of the Coptic, as well as some of the history of the scholarship relating to the Gospel of Judas and its broader context.

2. Secondly, for most of us who have read the National Geographic translation of the Gospel of Judas, be prepared for a radical re-think of what we have read there. The National Geographic translation depicts Judas as the only true saint; DeConick's, as the arch demon himself -- or at least destined to join with him in the end.

3. Which immediately raises the question: Why would a gospel make the central character a demon? DeConick shows how the apparent structure and thematic development of the gospel aligns it with an agenda opposing that Christianity that traced its genealogy back to the Twelve Apostles. Like the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Judas was a parody and attack on apostolic Christianity and its doctrine of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

4. Fourthly, April DeConick proposes several reasons to explain such oppositional translations:

i. She explains in easy to read terms the condition of the text and possible variations in how the original Coptic could be read;

ii.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By James D. Tabor on October 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Does the much publicized "Gospel of Judas," released in April, 2006 by the National Geographic, truly portray a positive view of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus? Dr. April DeConick of Rice University has questioned this interpretation of the newly released text. Speaking at the Biblical Archeology Society Seminar held this past weekend in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. DeConick, who holds a chair in Biblical Studies at Rice University, summarized her conclusions based on her translation and analysis of the original Coptic text. According to Dr. DeConick the idea of a positive Judas, friend and confident of Jesus, who receives a high heavenly reward for his betrayal of Jesus, is based on a series of faulty misreadings and mistranslations of the original text. Dr. DeConick argues that the "Gospel of Judas," turns out to portray a Judas that is far more demonic than in any other piece of early Christian literature, including the traditional accounts in the New Testament Gospels.

The book surveys the story of the Judas Gospel's discovery and release and includes Dr. DeConick's translation of the Coptic as well as her analysis of the translation issues upon which a positive or negative interpretation of Judas turn. It further relates the text to its historical setting, namely the thought world of an early Christian group of Gnostics known as the Sethians. Chapter 2, titled "A Gnostic Catechism," is one of the clearest expositions on Gnosticism written for the non-specialist that I have ever seen. The book also contains three invaluable appendices: A marvelously clear and complete annotated survey of "Further Reading," a synopsis of Sethian literature, and a Q&A with Dr.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul Stevenson VINE VOICE on February 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
April DeConick's book is addressed to the general public, though it includes much information useful to scholars, such as her discussion of blatant misinterpretations of the Coptic by the original National Geographic team. (Some of these errors have been corrected in the more recently published The Gospel of Judas, Critical Edition; the French translation in that book is superior to the English one.)

Another reviewer has offered many details of the content of the book, so I need not repeat any of them. What I would like to offer is a caveat. My care in approaching this book is the result of having just finished studying the Gospel of Judas in a graduate Coptic class, in which we not only read the book in Coptic but also read some of the scholarly literature that has come out since the rather rushed initial translation published by National Geographic. April DeConick's views are an important part of the mix. Scholars have expressed a range of views on this gospel. A majority seem to reject the National Geographic view. Other views are coming out, and Dr. DeConick's view is an important alternative view, but not the only one. Read her book but also read other literature. Articles published in scholarly journals are particularly helpful, if you have access to them.

But regardless of what you read now, be aware that the study of this gospel is only two years old, and it is still in a state of rapid ferment and development. Perhaps in five years a more considered consensus may emerge, so keep your eye on it. Come back in ten or twenty years, if you can. You will see a considerable body of literature and more fully developed views.
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