Biblical Archaeology Review 34:3, May/June 2008

Judas Iscariot Among the Gnostics

What the Gospel of Judas Really Says

By Birger A. Pearson

As we go to press, the National Geographic has announced the publication of a substantially revised edition of its The Gospel of Judas, which it originally published less than two years ago, in 2006. The new edition is not yet available for sale but has been made available to the media. It is clearly a reaction to the scholarly criticism detailed in the following article.

According to the National Geographic’s advance promotional material, the new edition includes “new readings and new interpretations” and “a thoroughly updated translation” of the Gospel of Judas. In other words, the new edition recognizes the flawed scholarship of the original edition. As one of the contributors to the revised edition (Gesine Schenke Robinson), who was not on the original team, observes, “The Gospel of Judas had captivated the imagination of the first editors to a much greater extent than the text itself supports ... Mistakes have been acknowledged,” including “the sensationalized reading.”

Whether purchasers of the original edition, which made The New York Times’s bestseller list, can trade in their copy for the revised edition is not mentioned.

“When the hype calms down, the serious scholarship can begin,” observes the revised edition. What follows is serious scholarship by one of the world’s leading Gnostic scholars.—Ed.

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