Rice University Department of Religion
DeConick New

Isla Carroll & Percy E. Turner Professor of New Testament & Early Christianity
Chair of Department of Religion

Ph.D., University of Michigan, Near Eastern Studies, 1994

225 Humanities Building
713.348.4995 | adeconick@rice.edu

Areas of Teaching

New Testament; Christian Origins; Early Christianities; Apocryphal Literature; History of Christian Thought; Sexuality and Christianity; Early Christian Mysticism; Nag Hammadi Literature; Classic Gnostic Studies; Coptic Language.

About Professor DeConick

April D. DeConick is the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. She is also the chair of the Department of Religion.  Her research and teaching is devoted to engaging the silenced voices of religious people and communities that were left behind or discarded when Christianity emerged in the first four centuries as a new religion.  She studies those who suffered oppression and intolerance, who were marginalized, forbidden and forgotten.  She explores everything from women's issue's in biblical and apocryphal texts to shamanic practices in Nag Hammadi literature.  To reach a broader public, she writes regularly on her blog, The Forbidden Gospels.  Her work has been called “revisionist,” challenging us to seek answers beyond the conventional.


Holy Misogyny

Most recently she published a book that reveals the locus of women's erasure from history and leadership has been and continues to be about our bodies, which are hidden away, covered, controlled and removed.  Whatever the rationalization - and there are many throughout history and cultures - it boils down to the archaic perspective that women's bodies are inferior to the bodies of males.  Because of this natural deficient state, female bodies were believed to be shameful and deceitful and, consequently, were to be controlled and dominated by the human male.  This misogyny is still with us, although we don't see it as such.  Why? Because it comes to us via the Bible and other sacred texts which have made misogyny "holy".  Her book is called, Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter (New York: Bloomsbury 2011, corrected printing 2013).


What the Gospel of Judas Really Says

Her book on the Gospel of Judas was the first to seriously challenge the interpretation and translation published by National Geographic (2006). Her book is entitled The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says (London: Continuum, 2007).  It has been translated into several languages and republished in 2009 in a revised format.


The Ancient New Age

She is currently writing a book that draws our attention to a paradigm shift in our understanding of religion and its purpose.  In The Ancient New Age: How Gnostic Spirituality Revolutionized Religion, she explores the emergence of Gnostic spirituality with its subversive view of a transcendent God, the divine human being and illusionary worlds.  Religion no longer is about obeying the gods, but transcending them in order to find spiritual union with the supreme source of all existence.  Her book will be published by Columbia University Press.


Doctoral Studies

Professor DeConick is currently accepting students to concentrate in The Bible and Beyond program, and to achieve certification in Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism.  To prepare for application, the applicant should have completed by matriculation a MA or its equivalent in Biblical Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Classics, or Early Christianity.  Second-year proficiency in both Hebrew and Greek is expected.  Students should be pursuing dissertation research in Greek and Coptic materials with the intent to integrate non-canonical materials into the history of the New Testament and early Christianity.  Contact with Professor DeConick prior to the submission of application is expected.


For a complete c.v. and links to her articles, refer to her professional website: aprildeconick.com.