Coptic Gospel of Judas – critical edition released

Well, I’ve just learned that the critical edition of the Coptic ‘Gospel of Judas’ has finally appeared.  It came out very quietly over the summer, and it seems that hardly anyone noticed. If you want a copy, it’s very cheap indeed. It’s on Amazon here.

The volume also contains the other texts from Codex Tchacos. Long-term readers will remember the incredible story (here) of how a fourth century papyrus book was found under dubious circumstances, smuggled out of Egypt, bought and sold secretly, hidden in 1983 in a bank vault, sold to a dodgy dealer named Bruce Ferrini in the late 90’s, repossessed, and eventually published by National Geographic.

The edition contains all three texts found in the manuscript: the gospel of Judas, the letter of Peter to Philip and James, and the book of Allogenes.

Nothing whatever has been heard since of the other three manuscripts sold at the same time.  Bits of the Coptic Exodus keep surfacing.  The scholars entrusted with publishing the Greek mathematical treatise have done nothing further to publish it, as far as I know.  The manuscript containing a Coptic text of Paul’s letters remains resolutely lost — or rather, lost as far as you or I know.

Damn all these secretive, self-serving papyrologists.  How dare they play their little games with the heritage of all mankind?

6 Responses to “Coptic Gospel of Judas – critical edition released”


  1. Judy Redman

    Hi Roger,

    Some of us have known about this for a while. See
    April DeConick’s post
    about it back in July. Unfortunately, as she says here, the photos are not actual-sized so not of much use to scholars. :-(

    See further at
    here

  2. Judy Redman

    Bother. That link should didn’t work.

    Try again.!

  3. Walter M. Shandruk

    Ah, I’m glad a critical edition is available, and thanks for the post! I’ve ordered it just now. As far as the “games” go, I’m pleased that at least this much is now available. Far worse I consider the refusal of the scholars first approached with these mss not to raise sufficient funds to buy them. But, such is life. I will hopefully have time to look over the Coptic text carefully during my Winter break.

  4. Roger Pearse

    No, I agree. In fact the manner in which codex Tchacos has been published has been exemplary — the text and translation being made freely available, and the full critical edition at a very reasonable price a year later.

    I had in mind instead the fate of the other three mss. I believe that those who saw them in 1983 were merely the victims of inexperience in the art market, rather than culpable.

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