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Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (6 Mar. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143141864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143141860
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 14.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,688,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Breaks new ground (Time Magazine )

Pagels and King do an excellent job in explaining why mainstream Christianity has got it wrong for so long (The New York Times )

Fascinating … impressive … takes such a refreshing approach to its subject (On Sunday Scotland )

Engaging, thought-provoking … wears its scholarship lightly (Church Times ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Karen L. King is Winn Professor of ecclesiastical history at Harvard Divinity School and the author of four books on Gnosticism. Elaine Pagels is Harrington Spear Paine Professor of religion at Princeton University. Her book The Gnostic Gospels is still in print from Penguin. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
FOR MORE THAN A DECADE we had heard rumors that a fabled gospel ascribed to Judas Iscariot had been discovered. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 19 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mind-bending drugs should be taken in small doses - which perhaps explains the brevity of this study. It's certainly challenging, yet surprisingly unfulfilling. The authors examine the recently discovered and painstakingly translated gospel, written about the middle of the 2nd Century CE. They include the entire available text plus commentary on the translation as part of this volume. They suggest it provides a fresh image of early Christianity - things not revealed by the other texts such as that from Nag Hammadi - the so-called "Gnostic Gospels". It demonstrates the many conflicts besetting the movement prior to the imposition of Constantine's "orthodoxy" on Christian society. The Gospel of Judas is most significant for its redefinition of the deity. It's an insightful and compelling account, but raises nearly as many questions as it provides answers.

We [should] all know of the "Judas kiss" purportedly betraying the teacher of a new relationship to the Judaic divinity. According to the four Synoptic Gospels, Judas supposedly sold out his teacher for a few coins, later regretting the act and taking his own life in consequence. This gospel demolishes that old story, replacing it with one in which Judas was directed to perform his act by the victim himself. The reasons for this overthrow many commonly accepted ideas of who the deity was and what was desired of its followers. Judas is portrayed as outside the original group of twelve, and given special recognition by his teacher. So detached was his role, that he's shown to be in serious conflict with his colleagues. The strife was intense enough that Judas, instead of a suicide, becomes the victim of murder by his colleagues.

The themes underlying this gospel are the role of martyrdom and the act of sacrifice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By calmly on 15 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Jesus taught a message of acceptance so it should come as no surprise that Pagels and King present here:

1) inclusive concerns that cuts across the "liberal" versus "conservative" divide that is used to to steer readers away in advance from reading works from a presumably "other camp".

2) a Christian teaching that is neither strictly orthodox nor Gnostic, that does not depend on any argument for an earlier dating of the text, and which addresses issues that Christians faced in the 2nd century including persecution and martyrdom.

3) A work by two knowledgeable and gifted women at a time when discrimination by gender still persists, at times blatant, within not only society at large but within Christian denominations, churches and schools.

This book is divided into two parts:

1) A general presentation, "Reading Judas", on which Pagels and King collaborated.

2) King's translation of this gospel and her fine-grained comments on that translation.

Pagels and King help us to understand a time when there were genuine Christian concerns that the theme of sacrifice and appeals for martyrdom were being manipulated by many early church leaders.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Bolder on 25 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
Elaine Pagels has devoted her research and her profound scholarship to unearthing and interpreting the evidence for the "lost " gospels which were rejected by the earliest Christian authorities. "The Gospel of Judas" seems the most unlikely and the most heretical of all of these. Existing in a fragmentary text, already copied from a lost and disputed original, the outcast Apostle is revealed as an outraged critic and denier of the mainstream New Testament tradition.

The text of this gospel is hard to understand, let alone interpret; Judas is accusing the other Apostles of leading Christian men and women to death and destruction, and to blasphemy of Christ's teaching. Elaine Pagels explains why this revolutionary history as told by a 2nd century writer attacks the legacy of Christianity in this way. Her explanation is in many ways shocking.

But in four outstanding chapters of explanation before the gospel translation itself, Elaine Pagels lays out an extraordinary new look at the history of early Christianity, of how difficult it was for the first Apostles and their converts to establish a unified church and body of doctrine, sweeping as the new faith did across the world, coming up against the traditions of other cultures. At the same time, they were coming to terms with the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Elaine's books are radical, rely on the best scholarly evidence, and are profound and searching in their quest for meaning. They demand courage and thoughtfulness from the reader. You may reject her view of what happened to the early Christian views that were banned as heretical; but you will find yourself examining your own in depth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Marilyn J. Sutcliffe on 23 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thsi was a very moving read. Elaine Pagels and Karen King have done a first class job of translating and interpreting this gospel which is both scholarly and compassionate in its treatment of the gnostic gospel of Judas. It shows the words of Judas in light of the background events of the first century of Christianity which most of us are inclined to view as a time of deep brotherhood and agreement within the early christian community. This book reveals the full extent of the divisions and traumas within this community which tore them apart in many ways. One feels a deep understanding and empathy with Judas as revealed within this gospel, whether or not Judas was the author of it( unlikely). If you value an open and developing mind and spirit, you will benefit greatly from the experience of reading this book.
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