Though Rice may have been taken over by the excitement of Willy Week and Beer-Bike, the academic community was focused on another big event on campus last week. The Codex Judas Congress, which was put together by Religious Studies Professor April DeConick, took place Mar. 13-16 in Farnsworth Pavilion, and various buildings across campus.MORE HERE...
Thirty scholars from around the world came to discuss the recently rediscovered Tchacos Codex, a fourth century collection of Gnostic documents from the Judeo-Christian tradition. In addition to the scholars invited to participate, there were also five papers presented by graduate students, including religious studies graduate students Chad Day, Franklin Trammel and Claire Villarrael. Other graduate students attended as auditors, as did several members of the Houston community.
DeConick said she was pleased with the attendance. The 45 seats set up in Farnsworth for the congress were filled to capacity on Thursday. Likewise, the two evening lectures given to the general public nearly filled McMurtry Hall. DeConick said she estimates the event drew about 200 attendees each night.
The Tchacos Codex, particularly the Gospel of Judas it contains, is very important in the scholarly community at the moment. These texts reveal the self-perception of a "heretical" religious community that had previously been known only through the condemnation of early church fathers like Irenaeus.
One of the few unanimous conclusions of the congress was that the Gospel of Judas condemned the church fathers.
"This text is a polemical text of the mainstream or apostolic church, especially in terms of its sacraments," DeConick said.
Forbidden Gospels Blog
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Bryan Ellis has written a very poignant piece covering the Codex Judas Congress at Rice University. His piece appeared in the Rice Thresher NEWS on Friday, March 21, 2008.