I first became interested in marginalized and disenfranchised
religious expressions when I came across the Gospel of
Thomas as an undergraduate. I remember reading the
sayings of Jesus there and being struck by a spirituality that
seemed at once ancient and modern. I wondered why an early
Christian book with such a beautiful form of spirituality never
made it into the New Testament. This question compelled me to
take up Biblical Studies as my major, and inspired me to write my
PhD thesis on the subject of mysticism in the Gospel of
Over the years, I have continued to strive to flesh out mystical
and esoteric currents within early Christianity. I have tried
to give the hidden and concealed a physical form, so that we might
come to know more concretely what is at the invisible margins of a
religion we think we know so well. So I have studied what
some call "alternative" expressions of Christianity, expressions
that were not the historical survivors. I have also studied
the marginalized people within early Christianity, particularly
women who suffer greatly because of holy misogyny, sexism that has
been legitimized through divine writ.
It wasn't until I became involved with the Gospel of
Judas, however, that I realized the importance that
transgression plays in so many of these movements on the
margins. So important is transgression that I think it is the
heart of all things Gnostic.
Unlike many scholars who also study Gnosticism in antiquity, I
argue that it actually existed and continues to exist today.
It is not a religion, although it fostered many religious
movements. Nor it is a rhetorical construct of the
apostolic-catholic church leaders that we have reified.
Rather it is a real form of spirituality that emerged in the early
first century CE and revolutionized religion. We are still
feeling the effects of this revolution today. This forms the
thesis of the book that I am writing currently: The Ancient New
Age: How Gnostic Spirituality Revolutionized Religion.
Recent publications on mysticism, esotericism and Gnosticism
Crafting Gnosis: Gnostic Spirituality in
the Ancient New Age. Pages 285-308 in Gnosticism,
Platonism and the Late Antique World: Essays in Honour of John D.
Turner. Edited by Kevin Corrigan and Tuomas
Rasimus. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 82. Leiden:
Who is hiding in the Gospel of
John? Reconceptualizing Johannine theology and the roots of
Gnosticism. Pages 13-29 in Histories of the Hidden God:
Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and
Mystical Traditions. Edited by April DeConick and Grant
Adamson. Gnostica Series. Durham: Acumen.
The Road for the Souls is through the
Planets: The Mysteries of the Ophians Mapped." Pages 37-74 in
Practicing Gnosis: Ritual, Magic, Theurgy and Liturgy in Nag
Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient Literature.
Essays in Honor of Birger A. Pearson. Edited by
April D. DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner. Nag
Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 85. Leiden: Brill.
Edited with Grant Adamson. Histories
of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic,
Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions. Gnostica
Series. Durham: Acumen.
Edited with Gregory Shaw and John D.
Turner. Practicing Gnosis: Ritual, Magic, Theurgy and
Liturgy in Nag Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient
Literature. Essays in Honor of Birger A.
Pearson. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 85. Leiden:
From the Bowels of Hell to Draco: The
Mysteries of the Peratics. Pages 3-38 in Mystery and
Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi Collection and Other Ancient Literature:
Ideas and Practices. Studies for Einar Thomassen at
Sixty. Edited by Christian H. Bull, Liv Ingeborg Lied,
and John D. Turner. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies
76. Leiden: Brill
Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender
Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter. New York:
Continuum. 2013, New York: Bloomsbury.
Mysticism Before Mysticism: Teaching
Christian Mysticism as Historian of Religion. Pages
26-45 in Teaching Mysticism. Edited by William B.
Parsons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
After the Gospel of Judas:
Reassessing What We Have Known to Be True about Cain and
Judas. Pages 627-662 in "In Search of Truth":
Augustine, Manichaeism and other Gnosticism. Edited by
J.A. van den Berg, et al. NHMS 74. Leiden:
Jesus Revealed: The Dynamics of Early Christian
Mysticism. Pages 299-324 in With Letters of Light: Studies in
the Dead Sea Scrolls, Early Jewish Apocalypticism, Magic, and
Mysticism. Edited by D.V. Arbel and A.A. Orlov.
Ekstasis 2. Berlin: DeGruyter.
The Codex Judas Papers: Proceedings of the
International Congress on the Tchacos Codex, Rice University,
Houston, Texas, March 13-16, 2008, NHMS 71.
Apostles as Archons: The Fight for
Authority and the Emergence of Gnosticism in the Tchacos Codex and
Other Early Christian Literature. Pages 243-288 in DeConick,
The Codex Judas Papers 2009.
Transgressive Gnosis: Radical Thinking about the
Gospel of Judas. Pages 555-570 in Gnosis and
Revelation: Ten Studies on Codex Tchacos. Edited
by M. Scopello. Rivista di Storia e Letteratura
The Mystery of Betrayal: What Does
the Gospel of Judas Really Say? Pages 239-266
in The Gospel of Judas in Context. Proceedings of the
First International Conference on the Gospel of
Judas. Edited by M. Scopello.
NHMS 62. Leiden: Brill.
Conceiving Spirits. The Mystery of
Valentinian Sex. Pages 23-48 in Hidden Intercourse: Eros
and Sexuality in Western Esotericism. Edited by W. Hanegraaff
& J. Kripal. Leiden: Brill.
The Thirteenth Apostle: What the
Gospel of Judas Really Says. London: Continuum.
2009, paper edition expanded and revised. Translations
published in Dutch and French, 2008.
The Original Gospel of
Thomas in Translation, with a Commentary and New English
Translation of the Complete Gospel, Library of New Testament
Studies 287. London: T & T Clark.
Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and
Christian Mysticism. Atlanta: Society of Biblical
Recovering the Original Gospel
of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth, Library
of New Testament Studies 286. London: T & T Clark.
The Great Mystery of Marriage: Sex and
Conception in Ancient Valentinian Traditions. Pages 307-342 in
Vigiliae Christianae 57.
The True Mysteries: Sacramentalism in the
Gospel of Philip. Pages 225-261 in Vigiliae
Voices of the Mystics: Early
Christian Discourse in the Gospels of John and
Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature,
Supplements to the Journal of the Study of the New
Testament 157. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press
and London: T&T Clark.
Seek to See Him:
Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the
Gospel of Thomas, Supplements to Vigiliae
Christianae 33. Leiden: Brill.