April DeConick

WEBSITE(S)| AprilDeConick.com

April DeConick holds the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professorship in New Testament and Early Christianity at Rice University, Department of Religion. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1994 in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Since then, she has studied, written and taught on a range of topics revolving around the silenced voices of religious people and the communities that were left behind or discarded when Christianity emerged in the first four centuries ce as a new religion. She is the co-founder and executive editor of a new academic journal called Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies published by a very prestigious publishing house in Europe. She founded and chaired for years the Mysticism, Esotericism and Gnosticism group in the Society of Biblical Literature and is now Chair of the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism group. She is most noted for her writing on the Gospel of Judas when she challenged sensationalism generated by the National Geographic Society that wrongly claimed that Judas is a gnostic hero in this text and that his heroics would rewrite our understanding of early Christianity. Instead, her work shows that Judas remains demonic in the Gospel of Judas, just as he is in the New Testament gospels. Her work on this text was so instrumental that she appeared in CNN’s documentary on the Gospel of Judas that premiered in 2015 on the TV series "Finding Jesus". Her most recent book, The Gnostic New Age, has won an award from the Figure Foundation for the best book to be published by an university press in philosophy and religion. It is tradition that the Figure Foundation composes a koan for each book to receive this award and publishes it on the front page. The koan for The Gnostic New Age reads: “that square be squared”. If you have any insight into the meaning of this koan, she would love to hear it.

RELI 112 Comparing Christianities
RELI 304 Jesus and the Gospels
RELI 365 Paul and the New Testament
RELI 415 Secret Religion Seminar
RELI 416 Beginnings of Christianity Seminar
RELI 431 Biocultural Study of Religion Seminar
RELI 449 Early Christian Controversies Seminar
RELI 481 Gnosticism Seminar
RELI 307 Introduction to the Coptic Language I
RELI 308 Introduction to the Coptic Language II
RELI 309 Reading Coptic Texts

RELI 591 Introduction to Coptic Language I
RELI 592 Introduction to the Coptic Language II
RELI 593 Reading Coptic Texts
RELI 615 Secret Religion Seminar
RELI 616 Beginnings of Christianity Seminar
RELI 531 Biocultural Study of Religion Seminar
RELI 549 Early Christian Controversies Seminar
RELI 581 Gnosticism Seminar
RELI 600 GEM Research Forum

2017 Andrew W. Mellon Research Seminar, Emerging Religions
2016 Figure Foundation Award forThe Gnostic New Age, best book published in philosophy and religion by a university press
2012 National Endowment for the Humanities, The Mandaean Book of John, subcontract award
2012 Individual Research Fellowship, Rice Humanities Research Center, subsidy for The Gnostic New Age
2010 Andrew W. Mellon Research Seminar, Mapping Death
2009 Individual Research Fellowship, Rice Humanities Research Center, subsidy for Holy Misogyny
2007 Faculty Initiative Grant, Rice University, Codex Judas Congress

Professional Service
2017- Chair of Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, Society of Biblical Literature
2016- Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee, Society of Biblical Literature.
2015- Founding and Executive Editor for Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies. Brill: Leiden.
2014-2016 Associate Editor for Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks on Religion, 10 vols.
2014-2016 Associate Editor for Vigiliae Christianae: A Review of Early Christian Life and Language.
2012-2016 Status on Women in the Profession, Society of Biblical Literature, committee member.
2008- Editorial Board for Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, Leiden: E. J. Brill
1996- Various positions as chair and steering committee member of Mysticism, Esotericism and Gnosticism Group, Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Group, Religious Experience in Antiquity Group, New Testament Mysticism Project, Thomas Traditions Group, Mapping Memory Group

The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.

Religion: Secret Religion. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. Farmington Hills: Gale Cengage Learning, 2016.

Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions. Gnostica Series. Durham: Acumen, 2013. With Grant Adamson

Practicing Gnosis: Ritual, Magic, Theurgy and Liturgy in Nag Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient Literature. Essays in Honor of Birger A. Pearson. With Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 85. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

Holy Misogyny: Why the Sex and Gender Conflicts in the Early Church Still Matter. New York: Continuum, 2011. 2013 paper edition with new preface.

The Codex Judas Papers: Proceedings of the International Congress on the Tchacos Codex, Rice University, Houston, Texas, March 13-16, 2008, NHMS 71. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children: Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity. With David Capes, Helen Bond, and Troy Miller. Waco: Baylor University, 2007.

The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says. London: Continuum, 2007. 2008 translations published in Dutch and French. 2009 paper edition expanded and revised.

The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation, with a Commentary and New English Translation of the Complete Gospel, Library of New Testament Studies 287. London: T & T Clark, 2006. 2007 paper reprint.

Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006.

Thomasine Traditions in Antiquity: The Social and Cultural World of the Gospel of Thomas, NHMS 59. With J. Asgeirsson and R. Uro. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth, Library of New Testament Studies 286. London: T & T Clark, 2005. 2006 paper reprint.

Voices of the Mystics: Early Christian Discourse in the Gospels of John and Thomas and Other Ancient Christian Literature, Supplements to the Journal of the Study of the New Testament 157. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press and London: T&T Clark, 2001. 2004 paper reprint.

Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 33. Leiden: Brill, 1996.


Research Areas

Areas of Speciality Professor DeConick studies those who suffered oppression and intolerance, who were marginalized, forbidden and forgotten in the ancient Christian world. She explores everything from women’s issues in biblical and apocryphal texts to therapeutic and shamanic practices in Nag Hammadi literature. To reach a broader public, she maintains a blog, The Forbidden Gospels. Her work focuses on New Testament and pre-Nicene literature, non-canonical gospels, gnostic literature and movements, mysticism and esotericism in early Christianity, new religious movements past and present, the biosocial study of religion, and a theoretical point of view called post-constructivism.


Ph.D., University of Michigan


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