"THE MAGDALENE GOSPEL: A Journey Behind the New Testament", by Yuri Kuchinsky. Roots Publishing, Toronto, 2002. Copyright 2002 by Yuri Kuchinsky.

a revolution in biblical scholarship?


This is the discovery that is likely to change biblical scholarship as we now know it. The long-lost source of the canonical Christian gospels has now been identified, translated, and published!

This mysterious medieval document first came to light in 1902 (in the Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge), and it has already been studied by a few scholars since then -- yet almost everyone has managed to miss its significance almost completely.

Now this text, the Magdalene Gospel, has been translated for the first time, so the public can judge its true significance for themselves.

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Here's some more info about my new book that has just been published. It contains the first ever translation of the anonymous gospel of MS Pepys 2498, the text that Dr. Boismard (one of the leading biblical scholars in France today), as well as quite a few other respected scholars have been very impressed by.

"THE MAGDALENE GOSPEL: a Journey Behind the New Testament", by Yuri Kuchinsky (Trade paperback, 490 pages, of which the Gospel, itself, takes up 108 pages.)

In my book, I argue that this mysterious medieval manuscript in fact contains the earliest Christian gospel text that we now possess; thus, it can be considered as the long-lost source of our standard canonical New Testament gospels. I base this on a close analysis of 80 selected passages of the Magdalene Gospel -- each one of them seems earlier than the equivalent canonical passage or passages. To this may also be added around 30 passages in the Magdalene Gospel where the "Son of Man" title of Jesus is missing, which appears to indicate that these 30 passages are likewise more primitive than the parallel canonical passages. (The "Son of Man" is missing completely in this whole text.)

Besides including numerous close textual analyses and comparisons, my commentary also deals with many difficult issues of early Christian history. In particular, I'm proposing a whole new way to explain the problem of Christian anti-semitism -- the question of how and in what circumstances a number of anti-semitic and/or anti-Judaic passages have been added to NT gospels.

I argue that the Jesus movement remained a part of Judaism a lot longer than is commonly supposed. Also, it is my view that all four canonical gospels originated as Jewish-Christian documents, and remained so until about 135 CE, when a major re-editing of all these texts had taken place in the wake of Bar Kochba's rebellion, to make them a lot more Gentile-oriented. Also, the book includes a whole long chapter on early Christian Quartodecimanism (the observance of Passover/Easter) -- the subject that is but rarely dealt with in recent literature. For the most part, the Magdalene Gospel represents a Jewish-Christian document, and it seems to have been produced still at the time when the links between Christianity and Judaism were a lot closer than they later became.

There are also numerous other historical and textual issues that I try to tackle in my book; many of them are generally considered as quite difficult, and have been rather neglected. In particular,

* I offer what may be described as a common-sense solution to the Synoptic Problem. Of course, assuming that the Magdalene Gospel is indeed a very early text, the insights that it would afford into this issue should be quite considerable.

* I deal with some important textual issues, the problem of various early text-types. Myself, I believe that Western text is the most primitive. In particular, I place a lot of importance on the Syro-Latin textual tradition, and on Old Syriac texts.

* There is a chapter on the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew -- about how it may fit into this whole puzzle of the earliest texts. I also offer a new way to interpret the findings of WL Petersen in regard to the extensive textual parallels between the Hebrew Matthew and the Dutch Diatessaron. At the end of the book, I include a detailed Chart that outlines the historical development of various early gospels and proto-gospels -- 16 of them are listed altogether -- starting with the proto-Lk, which I believe was the seminal Christian gospel.

* The book includes a detailed consideration of the history of the Diatessaron. I'm offering a whole new way to look at this mysterious 2nd century gospel, that the scholars have been debating about for ages. In particular, I argue that (1) Tatian did not really write the Diatessaron; (2) that the Diatessaron is not really what it's generally taken to be; and that (3) in fact it represents, and up to now has tended to mask behind itself, the Gospel According to the Hebrews.

Another interesting puzzle is the later history of the Old Latin Gospel -- on which MS Pepys was apparently based -- in north-west Europe. And here, the history of the Celtic Church seems to be relevant, and was investigated in some detail. One thing that emerges quite clearly from this research is that the Culdees, the ministers of the Celtic Church, were in fact "Judaizers". Early Celtic Christianity may even be described as a form of Jewish-Christianity, which indicates that this was a very primitive tradition. Considering this historical background, preservation of a primitive "Judaizing" Christian text in northern Europe will no longer seem as such an oddity.

Besides all this, my book also contains a large section devoted to the problem of the Historical Jesus. In this connection, I deal with the Gospel of Thomas, and with the purported Q-source. I also try to answer the question, Was Jesus Apocalyptic?

In general, the picture of Jesus that emerges in the Magdalene Gospel is often quite different from what we find in our familiar gospel texts. This is a Jesus who comes through as a lot more human and vulnerable. Also, this is Jesus who is a lot nicer and gentler with people around him, compared to how we find him in our canonical gospels. And there are great many other differences in this text -- for example, women are generally portrayed in it a lot more respectfully.

Go back to THE MAGDALENE GOSPEL Introduction Page.