WASHINGTON (June 4, 2007)–National Geographic Books is publishing for the first time the complete Coptic text, with English and French translations, of Codex Tchacos, the remarkable, 1,700-year-old papyrus manuscript that contains the Gospel of Judas and three other ancient texts.
THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS, CRITICAL EDITION: Together with the Letter of Peter to Philip, James, and a Book of Allogenes from Codex Tchacos (National Geographic Books; ISBN: 978-1-4262-0191-2; June 19, 2007; $45) features full-color images of each of the codex’s 66 pages with the Coptic text alongside its English translation. A French translation follows. Comprehensive introductions to each of the four texts, plus notes and indices, reveal the astounding importance of these early Christian works, while additional essays address the restoration of the codex, the codicology of the ancient book and dialectical features of the Coptic text.
One of the most significant finds in biblical archaeology, the Gospel of Judas captivated audiences when its discovery was announced by the National Geographic Society in April 2006, and it has continued to spark popular discussion and scholarly debate around the world. Codex Tchacos contains the only known copy of the Gospel of Judas in existence.
In addition to the Gospel, the codex includes a version of the Letter of Peter to Philip, previously known from the Nag Hammadi library of Gnostic texts; a tractate called James, also known in a fragmentary version from the Nag Hammadi library, where it is commonly referred to as the First Revelation of James; and portions of a previously unknown Book of Allogenes.
Also included in THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS, CRITICAL EDITION are photographs of some 800 fragments of papyrus that the team of restorers has not yet been able to place within the crumbling manuscript.
This editio princeps, or first printed edition of a work that previously existed only in manuscript, of Codex Tchacos has been edited and translated by an international team of scholars. The Coptic text was edited by Rodolphe Kasser, one of the world’s leading Coptologists and professor emeritus on the Faculty of Arts at the University of Geneva, and Gregor Wurst, a professor of ecclesiastical history and patristics at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of University of Augsburg, Germany. Kasser organized the intricate restoration of the badly damaged codex; he was assisted by Wurst.
Introductions, translations and notes, which allow for a careful and complete reading of these texts that shed important light on the emergence of Christianity, were supplied by Kasser; Wurst; Marvin Meyer, Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University, Orange, Calif., and a prominent scholar of Gnostic religion and the Nag Hammadi library; and François Gaudard, Egyptologist and research associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS, CRITICAL EDITION is a fascinating, accessible read for anyone interested in the ancient world and Christianity’s remarkable foundings.