Wednesday, December 19, 2007

April DeConick Corrects National Geographic on Gospel of Judas

Gospel Truth

by April DeConick

AMID much publicity last year, the National Geographic Society announced that a lost 3rd-century religious text had been found, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. The shocker: Judas didn’t betray Jesus. Instead, Jesus asked Judas, his most trusted and beloved disciple, to hand him over to be killed. Judas’s reward? Ascent to heaven and exaltation above the other disciples.

It was a great story. Unfortunately, after re-translating the society’s transcription of the Coptic text, I have found that the actual meaning is vastly different. While National Geographic’s translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon.

Read April DeConick's entire op-ed piece. She properly raises serious questions concerning the approach the the National Geographic Society went about translating the documents and promoting its exclusive. Scholarly translation of an ancient text that calls for limited access also calls for the approach that the Society of Biblical Literature: "To avoid this, the Society of Biblical Literature passed a resolution in 1991 holding that, if the condition of the written manuscript requires that access be restricted, a facsimile reproduction should be the first order of business. It’s a shame that National Geographic, and its group of scholars, did not follow this sensible injunction."

For a wonderfully informative page on her book, The Thirteenth Apostle, view April DeConick's blog page here.

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