I have sympathy for anyone who finds consolation anywhere we can. And many people do find it in religious tradition as it has been. I mean, I love much of that tradition. But somehow, that just didn’t speak to me in the way that it does to some.
Fundamentalism does mean reading quite conservatively and literally, saying ‘the Bible is the word of God and we have to follow it. What it says is this.’
After Ann Godoff, who was editor-in-chief at Random House, left and went to Viking, I got to know Viking and the people there, and liked them very much. I also found a wonderful editor there, Wendy Wolf. It’s a very congenial press.
Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sin – a view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.
The author of the Gospel of Judas wasn’t against martyrdom, and he didn’t ever insult the martyrs. He said it’s one thing to die for God if you have to do that. But it’s another thing to say that’s what God wants, that this is a glorification of God.
What’s different about the Gospel of Thomas is that, instead of focusing entirely on who Jesus is and the wonderful works of Jesus, it focuses on how you and I can find the kingdom of God, or life in the presence of God.
People who are comfortable with very clear boundaries and group definitions don’t like the instability and ambiguity of people who say they are more advanced Christians, or they don’t have to do what the bishop says.
I am enormously susceptible to religious environments – the music, the liturgy and the prayers.
The Gospel of Judas really has been a surprise in many ways. For one thing, there’s no other text that suggests that Judas Iscariot was an intimate, trusted disciple, one to whom Jesus revealed the secrets of the kingdom, and that conversely, the other disciples were misunderstanding what he meant by the gospel.
The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible, and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visions – dreams and nightmares, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, earthquakes, plagues and war.