Monday, March 10, 2008

Thirteenth Apostle Discussion Questions

Many have written me and e-mailed me with questions and advice about my book, The Thirteenth Apostle. A woman who wrote one of the letters was concerned that she only learned about my book by accident when she came across the article that was written on it in National Review. She said she thought that information about it should be made more readily available to churches and adult education classes. So I took her good advice, and I created and posted a series of discussion questions for The Thirteenth Apostle. And my publisher put together an ad to circulate for this purpose. Check it out HERE.

6 comments: said...

I haved in mind the end of the Gospel of Judas. You might like to chew over this apparent inconsistency.

Lk.22.39 - Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives.

Lk.22.53 - Every day I was with you in the temple courts.

Now did the prophet do both every day? Or, did the prophet 'go out as usual' to the temple, not the Mount of Olives? If so, where was the prophet praying around the time he was arrested? When he was praying, was he 'in anguish' (22.44) or 'in the Spirit' so that 'he prayed more earnestly' something like Zechariah before him? If so, the prophet would surely have been in the sanctuary surrounded by the smoke of incense, and the place of his arrest would have been the sanctuary.

Jim Deardorff said...


The first ("as usual") is a Lukan addition. The second verse refers to the times when he was in the temple in Jerusalem, which evidently was nearly every day for a while. said...

The question you might have asked then Jim was: Why was this a Lukan addition? Was it dissimulation? Well yes I think it was. It's purpose was to cover up the fact that the prophet was indeed going as usual (daily) to the sanctuary which was just 'a stone's throw beyond' (22.41) the temple courts. While the other prophets were praying (22.45) waiting for the prophet to come back from the sanctuary, the prophet was in the sanctuary praying 'earnestly' in the spirit (not 'in anguish') invoking the coming of the Spirit. The similarity with the account about Zechariah (1.8-11) is inescapable. Both accounts have a Lukan 'angel' appearing, which of course was the Spirit.

Interestingly, 1.37-38 have:'Each day Jesus was teaching in the Temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.' Again, there is dissimulation here. I suggest that each day the prophet taught in the temple courts, and each evening went up to the sanctuary ('the place' - 22.40), so that in the morning he was there to teach in the temple. The sanctury altar was kept burning 24/7.

I further suggest that the time was not Passover, but Tabernacles when the Spirit was expected (referred to as 'The Feast'). The prophet was none other than Judas, and he was taken prisoner in the sanctuary by the temple guards - in effect a soft touch 'giving himself up'.

paulf said...

This is a nice concept, but I'd love to find the church where people would want to discuss these questions!

In my experience, at most churches, people think Phil Yancey or Ravi Zacharias is deep scholarship. Bible study is focused on "what does this passage mean for me?" as opposed to what it meant to the author.

Even for someone like me, who would love to talk about it, it would be problematic. The answers to the questions depend on one's understanding of Sethian Gnosticism and knowledge of obscure languages and cults. Any answer I gave would be cloaked in my ignorance.

I realize I'm the guy who has talked about the need to make scholarly topics more accessible to the public, and maybe this could be a part of it, but I think this is a bit complex.

April DeConick said...


But the book explains these concepts in terms that are very accessible. I encourage you to take a look at the book if you haven't already. Whenever I lecture on these subjects, the people in my audiences are generally very curious and very grateful that finally they can talk about these things and get answers to many of their questions.

paulf said...


Don't get me wrong, I wish you all the best in your effort. I'm sure there is a niche for this guide.

I wish I lived in a society where people would enjoy discussing these issues rather than "The Prayer of Some Biblical Character from which some pastor can derive a whole book from a sentence" or "Purpose Driven Drivel."