Voices of the Mystics
Early Christian Discourse in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature
London: T & T Clark, 2001, paperback, 2004
The Gospel of John has always been perceived as a more mystical gospel than the Synoptics. April DeConick explores in this book the mysticism of John, arguing that it is the result of an actual theological debate that engaged Christians in Syria, particularly those Christians responsible for writing the Gospel of John and those authoring the Gospel of Thomas. The subject of the debate was soteriology. Challenging the Christians who revered the Gospel of Thomas and taught salvation through ascent and vision mysticism, the Johannine Gospel argues for a mysticism based on the faith and sacramental experience. DeConick examines evidence from the Preachings of John, the Gospel of the Savior, the Apocryphon of James, the Ascension of Isaiah, and the Dialogue of the Savior to show that this soteriological controversy did not end with the composition of the Gospel of John but continued well into the second century.
"DeConick's book provides us with a thought-provoking reconstruction of trajectories of traditions that engage with a wide range of evidence, which has helpfully brought into relief the voices of the mystics."
Timothy Ling, Review in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 27:5 (2005) page 84.
Timothy Ling, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 27:5 (2005) pages 84-85.
Hans-Martin Schenke, Theologische Literaturzeitung 127:6 (2002) pages 641-642.
Jonathan Draper, Neotestamentica 35:1-2 (2001) pages 178-179.
Gilles Quispel, Vigiliae Christianae 55:4 (2001) pages 436-440.