Saturday, January 5, 2008


The title says it all, really. I think I've diverged a bit from my main goal. In this new year, and in the time of Epiphany, it is time to refocus. What better way to do so than by studying the NHL (among other things)?

That's been made a little more accessible to me lately (despite the readily available texts online, I prefer to sit down with a book in my hands). Finally I have my hands on a book I've been wanting to get for quite a while. It's actually the first "(G/g)nostic" book that I own (funds are a little tight): The Gnostic Bible, edited by W. Barnstone and M. Meyer.

I had to travel an hour away to find it; what semblance of a bookstore we have here is woefully understocked on Gnostic materials (I am only half-joking). I found my copy at a Big Chain bookstore. I was a bit torn, actually. Dr. April DeConick's book was also there, and after following along with a thread on the PTG, I very much want to read her book. I could only pick one, alas, so I went with the more (G/g)nostically comprehensive of the two.

Dr. DeConick's book is an examination of the public release of an english translation done by the National Geographic Society of the Gospel of Judas in 2006. The NGS translation, as it turns out (and according to Dr. DeConick), is at best flawed and at worst detrimental to the entire field of Early Christian studies (and beyond). Dr. Deconick's book, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says, examines Judas in the context of its Sethian roots (which I find interesting in and of itself). From what I know of her conclusions she seems to make some valid criticisms of the NGS translation and the circumstances surrounding it. I am certainly not an expert on the subject, however.

I digress.

I have to say that I find the editorial notes helpful as I read The Gnostic Bible. The footnotes and information given by the editors adds a layer of intellectual comprehension to the texts that any singular translation of the texts does not provide. In my reading so far, I highly recommend said bible. I'll be reading and pondering over it for some time to come.

For more information about April DeConick (Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas), here are links to her website and blog.

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