Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity

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The instant New York Times bestseller interpreting the controversial long-lost gospel

The recently unearthed Gospel of Judas is a source of fascination for biblical scholars and lay Christians alike. Now two leading experts on the Gnostic gospels tackle the important questions posed by its discovery, including: How could any Christian imagine Judas to be Jesus' favorite? And what kind of vision of God does the author offer? Working from Karen L. King's brilliant new translation,...

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Overview

The instant New York Times bestseller interpreting the controversial long-lost gospel

The recently unearthed Gospel of Judas is a source of fascination for biblical scholars and lay Christians alike. Now two leading experts on the Gnostic gospels tackle the important questions posed by its discovery, including: How could any Christian imagine Judas to be Jesus' favorite? And what kind of vision of God does the author offer? Working from Karen L. King's brilliant new translation, Elaine Pagels and King provide the context necessary for considering its meaning. Reading Judas plunges into the heart of Christianity itself and will stand as the definitive look at the gospel for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When The Gospel of Judas was published in 2006, critics trumpeted it as "a biblical discovery [that] rocks the world of scholars and laypeople alike." Now that the ground has settled a bit, one can truly ponder the significance of an early Christian document that presents Judas the betrayers as Jesus' most intimate disciple. In numerous books, Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King have established themselves as credible authorities on early Christian literature. Their Reading Judas places this rediscovered Gospel within the context of competing New Testament period texts.
John Dominic Crossan
In their slim but excellent Reading Judas, Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King rightly focus on the text's ancient and provocative theology rather than on the codex's modern and tortured history, with King also providing a new and very well annotated translation of this early Christian document.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

The Gospel of Judas represents the most baffling in a series of recently unearthed noncanonical manuscripts that bring to light divergent accounts of Christ's life and ministry. Robertson Dean reads King's translation of the ancient text with frequent pauses to note gaps of missing or untranslatable words and sentences. The main section of Pagels and King's book, narrated by Justine Eyre with occasional support from Dean who gives voice to individual historical figures, offers compelling insights about why the Gospel of Judas threatened the burgeoning religious hierarchy of the second century A.D. and how this often unsettling narrative ultimately manages to provide a surprising vision of heavenly grace amid the ravages of flawed earthly spiritual leadership. Drawing from their extensive expertise regarding contemporary understandings of the Gnostic gospels, the analysis the authors present will no doubt generate valuable theological dialogue. Yet the enigmatic nature of the source material may remain a stumbling block for listeners, and general audiences hoping for Gnosticism 101 may need to search elsewhere. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover(Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
Who but Pagels (joined by Harvard Divinity professor King) to assess the Gospel of Judas? With a five-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

The story of Judas is one of the most fascinating in the Gospels of the New Testament. Using the recent manuscript fragments discovered by the National Geographic Society, wellknown religion scholars Pagels (The Gnostic Gospels) and King (Magdala) have written a lively discussion regarding the questions this Gnostic gospel creates. They work from King's translation of the fragmentary gospel, employing their collective knowledge to present a fascinating study of the contrasts between good and evil, the still compelling stories of how Christianity evolved, and the complex nature of human suffering and redemption. Well written and researched, this book provides clues as to how the contemporary vision of Jesus compares with the view of Jesus 1900 years ago. The reading by Justine Eyre and Robertson Dean provides an excellent pointcounterpoint approach to the questions of what the lost writings have to say about the nature of God, the relationship between Jesus and Judas, the complicated-and sometimes conflicting-relationships between the other disciples of Jesus and Judas, and the insights Judas has to offer into the teachings of Jesus. Reading Judasis highly recommended for both public and academic libraries with large audio and/or religion collections. [Books on Tape also has a version available: 5 CDs. unabridged. 5½ hrs. 2007.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780713999846
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 3/29/2007

Meet the Author

Elaine Pagels

Karen L. King is Winn Professor of ecclesiastical history at Harvard Divinity School.
Elaine Pagels is Harrington Spear Paine Professor of religion at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     xi
Reading Judas   Elaine Pagels   Karen L. King
Judas: Betrayer or Favored Disciple?     3
Judas and the Twelve     33
Sacrifice and the Life of the Spirit     59
The Mysteries of the Kingdom     77
A Final Note     99
The Gospel of Judas   Karen L. King
English Translation of the Gospel of Judas     109
Comments on the Translation     123
Index of Cross-References     167
Notes     169
Acknowledgments     191
Index     193
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 14, 2009

    refreshing views of historic events...

    wonderful...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Wnat's there?

    99 percent of the book is supporting data; very little is devoted to the gospel itself. So we use that much of the book to tell us we really don't have anything to tell. I realize how hard this is, but they have so little to offer I wonder why the bother to write it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews

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