Jim Davila at Palaeojudaica has a few posts (HERE and HERE) on the new thriller The Book of Names by Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori (read a review HERE). The book features a battle between a group of chosen ones, the lamed vovniks, mentioned in the Talmud and a rival group called the Gnoseos. Comparisons to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code are inevitable but there have been plenty of decent biblical or medieval thrillers that are worthy of mention. Ian Caldwell and Diustin Thomason’s The Rule of Four and Lev Grossman’s Codex are both highly readable literary thrillers dealing with efforts to thwart evil efforts to hide important medieval manuscripts. There are numerous Jesus novels that feature apocryphal traditions—far too many to mention.
Another early biblical thriller is the now-infamous The Mystery of Mar Saba written by in James H. Hunter 1940 which some claim inspired Morton Smith to “forge” Secret Mark. For a discussion of the book in connection with the gospel see HERE. Novelist Jeffrey Archer will add to the CA-related fiction next month with his The Gospel According to Judas by Benjamin Iscariot. You can read about it HERE, but here’s a quick publisher’s summary:
The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot sheds new light on the the mystery of Judas—including his motives for the betrayal and what happened to him after the crucifixion—by retelling the story of Jesus through the eyes of Judas, using the canonical texts as its basic point of reference. Ostensibly written by Judas’s son, Benjamin, and following the narrative style of the Gospels, this re-creation is provocative, compelling, and controversial.
The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot is the result of an intense collaboration between a storyteller and a scholar: Jeffrey Archer and Francis J. Moloney. Their brilliant work—bold and simple—is a compelling story for twenty-first-century readers, while maintaining an authenticity that would be credible to a first-century Christian or Jew.
Another thriller named The Gospel of Judas by Simon Mawer appeared in 2002, before the rediscovery of the ancient text.