April DeConick is a professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University and a mighty fine blogger as well. In a recent entry she mentions a certain magazine:
Professor Tim Finlay (Azusa Pacific University) has just published a brief but detailed article on the Gospel of Judas in The Plain Truth. Most of his analysis is fairly accurate... but I have to dissent on his conclusion that the Gospel of Judas "confirms that Irenaeus and the early Church were right in what they said about the non-canonical Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John remain peerless from both theological and historical perspectives."
Why do these conclusions continue to be drawn by biblical scholars, as if the canonical gospels are any more accurate (or "peerless") theologies and histories than the non-canonical gospels? All these texts are theologies, and whether or not they are "peerless" depends upon where you are standing. None of our texts are histories, let alone accurate histories. And how much historical information we can actually reap out of any of them, and the procedures for doing so, are questions more problematic than not.
As for the accuracy of the Church Fathers' descriptions... [they] passed on false information, ill-informed interpretations, and fabricated stories in their struggle against those forms of Christianity that they hated. As the old saying goes, "All is fair in love and war."
Straight talk: gotta love it!
Finlay is a former AC graduate. While on the subject of women scholars (last time Amy-Jill Levine, today April DeConick), this coming Thursday I'm planning on attending a lecture by American Lutheran theologian (ELCA) Kathryn Tanner. Tanner's interests fall outside my reading and study experience thus far (Christianity and economics) but it should be a stimulating presentation. Remember the days (if you're old enough!) when a woman's by-line was not permitted in the Plain Truth or Good News? Now the intellectual strength of women writers and scholars is commonplace - and even the dowdy old WCG has ordained women elders.
I, for one, am enormously grateful for the winds of change.