Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Birger Pearson speaks out publically about the Gospel of Judas

This is just published in BAR. Birger Pearson does an outstanding job (yet again!) making sense of it all in an full article on the Gospel of Judas called, "Judas Iscariot Among the Gnostics." I highly recommend reading the entire piece. Here Pearson weighs in as a "revisionist" and has some of his own words to say about the National Geographic fiasco.

A highlight:
Scholarly criticism of the National Geographic interpretation of the Gospel of Judas has been widespread. My own assessment of their work was presented in a paper at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego in November 2007. After I had prepared that paper, I received a copy of April DeConick’s new book [The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (New York: Continuum, 2007)]. I am happy to say that she and I have independently come to very similar conclusions regarding what the Gospel of Judas really says about Judas. There are others as well. In a very recent book, one of the National Geographic scholars, Marvin Meyer, refers to three scholars who have proposed “a revisionist understanding” of the Gospel of Judas. In addition to DeConick, Meyer names Louis Painchaud of the University of Laval, Quebec, and John Turner of the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, all outstanding Gnostic scholars. This is not to denigrate the distinguished reputation of the National Geographic scholars, only to emphasize the growing scholarly dissatisfaction with their work. I am happy to count myself as one of the group that Meyer calls “revisionists.”


R.Eagle said...


g. wesley said...

prof. deconick,

this kind of endorsement from pearson in a publication like this has to be pleasing.

i thought it was interesting that the bar editor/s seemed to imply that owners of the first ngs popular edition should be able to trade their copy in for the revised edition, as if it were being recalled.

any word on the ferini fragments/pages?


April DeConick said...


No word yet on the Ferrini fragments.

It would be nice if NGS would recall the first edition, but I don't think that is going to happen. Besides, it will be a collector's item one day!

Keep me posted on what is happening your way. said...

An example of a good Judas is cited by Eisenman on page 860 of James the Brother of Jesus. Eiesenman quotes a variant notice in the Syriac Apostolic Constitutions about 'Lebbaeus surnamed Thaddaeus':

"Thaddaeus, also called Lebbaeus and who was surnamed Judas the Zealot, preached the truth to the Eddesenes and the people of Mesopotamia, when Abgarus ruled over Edessa."

No doubt this church document is a heavily garbled version of something 'closer to home' - I speculate something like: "Judas the prophet proclaimed the Spirit to the prophets (Essenes) when Agrippa (I) ruled Judaea."

In any case, on the same page, Eisenman considers the name of Alphaeus as a garbling of Lebbaeus. And in the NT we have James the son of Alphaeus (Mk.3.18) who appears to be one and the same Judas. I suggest that Judas the 'brother' of James in Acts and Luke, was in fact Judas the father of James, and James the son of the so-called son of Zebedee was also the same James the son of Judas (Alphaeus). What we see are multiple garblings and perjorative additions to the name of Judas. And Eisenman does indeed connect the garbling activity as deliberate, and where not deliberate due to oral transmission.

Unknown said...

There's still more on Judas than has been popularized. A look at: might help.

Unknown said...

There's still more on Judas than has been popularized. A look at: might help. said...

Judas gave himself up to save his fellow prophets from further persecution. He risked his own life for others and he paid the price. In reality, Judas was a hero.