The Gospel of Judas: A Novel
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The Gospel of Judas: A Novel

2.99 of 5 stars 2.99  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  50 reviews
A priest experiencing a crisis of faith -- and the married woman to whom he is attracted. A scroll newly discovered near Jerusalem that, if authentic, could open Christianity to a complete reinterpretation. A tragic love affair unfolding in Fascist-dominated Rome during World War II. These are the elements of a magnificent literary entertainment -- a novel that resonates w...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 8th 2002 by Back Bay Books (first published 2000)
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This tells the story of two generations in the 20th century, centered around a Catholic priest and scholar, who is translating a scroll purporting to be the Gospel of Judas. It is not the gnostic gospel of Judas that has actually been found, but rather a scroll that may really date from Judas himself (which the gnostic one does not). It's fictional, well-researched, and rather dark in all time periods that are dealt with. It's really good, but intense and not the easiest read due to some difficu...more
Started this book a couple years ago and now am starting to remember why I never finished it.

I'm sorry, I just can't bring myself to finish it. A priest has an affair with what appears to be a flibbertygibbit, he gets an interesting scroll in the course of his research, and then as a fallen priest he takes up with a woman who doesn't speak English but models for porn and paints on the side. In both attempts to read this I have yet to get to anything to do with the Gospel of Judas in the manner...more

I read this because I'm interested in Judas as dramatic character- think about it! Fascinating! There's nothing which adds up about him in the Biblical account. The more you think about it the more complex and dramatically profound it gets.

This is just goofy, pretentious, clammy-handed hogwash. I don't know anything about the author in question but he is trying SO HARD to be suave, sarcastic, erudite and worldly and he is just flailing badly throughout the story.

The title suggests that someone w...more
Didn't finish this book. It was awful. Gave up about halfway through & if you know me, you know that NEVER happens. I will normally finish any book I start. I never could get into this one, it really never made sense. So unless there is something huge that happens during the second half, this was a major bore.
Not a great read. Flipped back and forth through too many periods. A little confusing at first. Was never really drawn to any of the characters.
Mawer, Simon. THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS. (2001). ****. After reading the author’s previous novel, “Mendel’s Dwarf,” I decided to read more of his work. This novel was the next one he wrote. It was totally different. Once again, the author lets us know that he has done his research on his topic thoroughly, and proceeds to write in such a way as to draw us into his story. A new discovery of a scroll from the Dead Sea area is made. Although it certainly shows signs of age, it is still reasonably intact a...more
A beautiful, intelligent, and moving novel.

It's important to remember that this book is a work of fiction. That should be an obvious statement, but I've read several ignorant reviews that indicate that some readers forget what "fiction" means.

The Gospel of Judas is the story of a Roman priest, Leo Newman, who experiences a crisis of faith at the same time he meets and eventually falls in love with an intriguing yet unstable married woman, Madeleine. Leo is also a scholar who is called to investi...more
May 17, 2007 Lou rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of intellectual, fact-driven fiction
A fantastic, three-tiered novel about the conflict between duty and passion -- all this unfolding amidst the discovery of the oldest text in christian history that may just make the entire religion irrelevant. Although Mawer would most likely cringe at hearing this, think of it as The Da Vinci Code for the more invested fiction-reader and with much more grandiose socio-political implications (if it were true, which it is not).
Teresa Xuereb
This novel is extraordinary in the way it combines different themes and different time periods together. A scroll written by the biblical Judas is discovered near the Dead Sea, while on the other hand, Leo Newman, a Catholic priest, is going through the greatest dilemma in his life. He needs to choose between having faith in God and falling in love with a married woman, Madeleine. What will he eventually choose and in whom will he seek comfort? Will his decision be the end of him or the end of h...more
This book is fairly uneven. There is enough going on with the book before the author introduces a parallel story surrounding the protagonist's mother. I see the point of the side story, but it is weak. The real point of the side story was to make the book bigger. Without it, the Gospel of Judas is a novella.

The writing too is uneven. Mostly it is good. I like high brow language, but this author seems to go way out of his way to use words in outdated forms or words that no one ever uses.

Maybe m...more
Lisabet Sarai
A doubt-ridden priest reluctantly pursuing an affair with a diplomat's wife in Rome - a parchment scroll apparently written by Judas immediately after the execution of Christ, suggesting that the resurrection was staged for political reasons - a family history of illicit passion and betrayal - THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS weaves these threads into a compelling but not entirely satisfactory whole that I enjoyed even as its faults became more and more apparent.

On the plus side, Simon Mawer does a magnifice...more
If there were an option for 3.5 stars, I would use it for this book.

It was a very well-written story woven through multiple levels of time and character development. The theme of betrayal was returned to again and again, in ways that seemed simultaneously inevitable but also deeply unexpected.

The main character, Father Leo Newman, comes from a lineage of betrayal. We see his mother betray her husband with her lover, her lover to the Nazis, and her own identity in order to obtain a new life. The...more
What a horrible book! What a load of crock! I'm surprised that I persevered and finished it. The story is fictional - not even based on real historical elements, the writing is so bad, that during the first 100 pages I either kept falling asleep or didn't even know what the hell I was reading, what on earth was the purpose
of it all, whpere the hell I was, given that the timeline kept changing. I think the first 100 pages could have easily been left out, it still would have made more sense. The...more
A marvelously written book about a Catholic priest and early Christianity scholar who gets called in to translate a newly discovered Qumran scroll, a first-century account of the life of Jesus attributed to Judas that undermines crucial aspects of the gospels. The book is informative without being didactic, searchingly devoted to questions of faith without being pious. In dealing at the same time with the main character's own personal crisis of faith and life, it's also an account of the destruc...more
Edward Alvarez
My wife bought me this book about 2yrs ago and I'm only in chapter 6. I want to read the lost gospel of Judas not an account about a priest. Horrible book!!!!!!
Eh, this is more like a two out of ten star. Or I guess that translates to a 1.5 here. This book took an entire month to get through. I kept falling asleep while reading it. It was a great insomnia helper, I'll give it that. Actually, the middle of the book moved at a reasonable pace and the plot was close to interesting. One thing that really struck me was how much the author must hate women. Some of his descriptions of the female characters were brutal, not to mention the fact that they're all...more
To say i read this book is wrong, but goodreads doesn't offer the option for put it down because I found myself skipping full pages to get it "overwith" I don't often not finish books, but if oun d i didn't care about the characters, i was 90 pages in and i realized, i was getting nothing out of this book. I didn't remember the characters names, and all i was getting so far was that german catholics had mad issues during wwII and a priest was havign an affair, or thinking about it, or wanted to,...more
Aug 12, 2010 Carlotta rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carlotta by: No one
Shelves: dark-fiction
This book was at times fascinating, but it left you without closure on so many issues. There are probably people out there who love to imagine for themselves what is going to happen to the characters, but I kind of like to have some answers to my questions. The whole book seemed to be shrouded in mystery that would have been a lot more interesting if the author would just come out every once in a while to unshroud something.
This book could have had three or four stars if it didn't constantly lea...more
Some really poor reviews of this which had me worried but I don't know what they are on! Perhaps they were hoping for a Da Vinci Code - which of course this is not.

To me this was great - combining a pacy and thrilling adventure with plenty of depth and well-handled reflection. And nice to see some of Mawer's preoccupations getting attention. He can do no wrong for me, I shall track down the other titles I haven't yet read.
Very interesting, if sometimes disturbing, time slip novel about love, guilt and betrayal, set in Rome partly during the second world war and partly in the present. Loved the parts about the fictional gospel of Judas which the main character helps to translate and all the other speculation regarding what really happened in Judaea during the time of "Yeshu". This book will probably appeal mostly to agnostics or atheists.
Aug 07, 2007 Rima rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who liked "The Rule of Four" or "Angels and Demons
This novel follows the life of Father Leo Newman in his current day life in Rome, his recent past, and his mother's past. It shows the various situations and complications of life that test his faith. The novel weaves in complicated relationships, personal tragedies, scholarship (where the Gospel of Judas comes in), and family history as difficulties Leo faces.
Lauren Albert
I didn't like this. It wasn't dreadful but honestly I couldn't decide between a 2 and a 3. Since it was readable enough, I erred on the 3 side. The time jumps didn't work for me. The love affairs didn't have any reality to them kind of like when you're watching a movie in which the two romantic leads have no chemistry.
HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL. The author is obviously very intelligent, but I couldn't get behind a lot of his treatment of emotional issues in the characters. He almost got it, but I didn't believe a lot of the emotions as genuine. Generally a good idea as a plot, rather distressing as far as the execution of the whole thing.
Pues, recuerdo que se me hizo un libro rarito, pero bueno. No es una gran historia, al menosn o que yo recuerde. Se supone que encuentran el evangelio de Judas, entonces como que todo lo que se creía de los apóstoles cambia radicalmente, y un cura que anda haciendo la traducción está impactado.
Pero... a mi no me impactó tanto.
Each novel Simon Mawer writes is completely different. I really enjoyed this one but felt it had a touch of Dan Brown about it, albeit with a far superior level of writing. The characters are not all likeable but they are intriguing and yet again, he has written a book that I found hard to put down.
This was a difficult book to get into. The writer's style struck me as excessive; or perhaps I'm just too simple. Otherwise I enjoyed the writing, plots that kept me interested, and a subject matter that interests me as well. Consider it recommended.
I bought and read this book out of curiosity, having seen it promoted all over Barnes & Noble. At times, the writing is quite good, but the story is weak and primarily depressing. You want to like the main character, but he's just not likable.
Having learned to expect so much from Simon Mawer, I found this book a disappointment, and I can't really pinpoint why. It was well written with good characterization, yet somehow fell short of the mark. I can't say I would recommend it.
"How on earth did you survive?" Madeleine exclaimed when Leo described it to her, but the question was meaningless. The person he might otherwise have been did not survive. What did survive was the person he became. (p 36, 1st Am. Ed.)
Loved this book. The language, the time travel (so to speak), LOVED IT! Liked the fact that it focused more on the main character than on the discovery, making it very different from the usual 'ancient relic fiction' Good!
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Simon Mawer (born 1948, England) is a British author. He currently lives in Italy.

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