The media campaign surrounding publication of the ancient Gospel of Judas has been launched with a television broadcast and two books sponsored by the National Geographic Society. In situations of this sort, Christians wonder: Should they ignore the commotion? Should they work themselves into a froth of defensive denial? Should they embark on a fundamental rethinking of Christian convictions? Deciding how to respond is made more difficult because it is exceedingly hard to find honest brokers of the facts. Fortunately, the editors and essayists of The Gospel of Judas avoid exaggeration and seek to inform more than entertain. The same can’t be said of the other book published by the National Geographic Society, Herbert Krosney’s The Lost Gospel.
Schmidt and Felch, both of whom teach literature at Calvin College, have produced anthologies of writings—including both prose and poetry—about each of the seasons of the year. Summer includes writers as disparate as Anne Lamott, Walt Whitman, N. Scott Momaday and Madeleine L’Engle.
At a time when religious conservatives claim a mandate and the best-selling Left Behind novels gleefully contemplate the destruction of all but a small remnant of humanity, the works of the Cambridge Platonists speak with particular resonance. These 17th-century rational theologians also lived in a remarkably fractious age.
Robert Shaw’s father was a second-generation evangelical minister with the Disciples of Christ, and Shaw said that his mother “was the best singer of gospel songs and spirituals I ever heard.” Although he intended to become a minister and served for a time in his father’s pulpit, Shaw (1916-1999) spent most of his life behind a conductor’s podium as the mo