N.T. Wright,
Judas & the Gospel of Jesus
(Baker, 2006)

I don't suppose there has been a time since the printing of the Guttenberg Bible that there has been so much media speculation, faction, fiction and fact printed about the Bible and the Gospels.

Even the once-conservative National Geographic, in its TV guise, has presented hour-long features on lost gospels and archaic finds. One of the more recent was the Gospel of Judas and even more recently the doyen of fiction in the UK, Jeffrey Archer, has presented readers with yet another take on the character we were all taught to hate.

This book eschews the sensation as author N.T. Wright -- cited as a historian, scholar and bishop -- brings us on a voyage of discovery through the mysteries or otherwise of the ancient document.

For what appears at first glance to be a rather staid religious tract we can draw some edifying conclusions as the author uses his expertise to unravel the tale. The chapter titles give us an inkling of the content; these include The Judas of Faith & the Iscariot of History, Spinning Judas and The Challenge of Judas for Today.

Despite initial forebodings, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has just the right amount of scholarship -- not too deep but far from frivolous. It reads at times like a good whodunit and at others like today's headline news.

If you were fascinated by The Da Vinci Code or just set to wondering about the history of religion, this will answer some of your questions. It may not reach the bestseller list or become a movie or TV special, but it is certainly worth your attention as a very worthwhile read that educates and entertains.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

22 September 2007

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