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The Gospel of Judas by Simon Mawer
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Aug 13, 09

bookshelves: fiction-mainstream
Read in August, 2009

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 and its lines of Koine are still legible. A priest from Rome, Father Leo Newman, is called in to provide translation and interpretation leadership for the scroll. He is an acknowledged expert in Koine. He soon discovers that the scroll appears to be a fifth gospel – one that tells the story of Jesus’ life, crucifixion and resurrection from the point of view of Judas Iscariot. If the story told by Judas – the self-proclaimed writer – is true, it will require a whole new re-thinking of the basics of Christianity. While Father Leo is working on the translation, he is also caught up in a love affair with Madeleine, a married woman. This obviously puts him under severe stress both as a priest and as a man. We also get to learn of Leo’s mother and father and their lives during World War II. The three sets of narratives all merge in the end in the behavior of Father Leo regarding the scroll itself, and the measures he takes to ease its effect on the world. Once again, we are presented with an extremely well-written novel by this writer. Recommended.
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