The Strange Case of the Nancy Johnson Translation

Anyone searching the web for a translation of the Gospel of Thomas will doubtless run across one attributed to a "Nancy Johnson". Strictly speaking, it isn't so much a translation as an adaptation or "rendering". More importantly, however, it wasn't authored by Nancy Johnson - whoever that is. Rather, it's a work by Pico Iyer that appears in a 1983 book edited by his father Raghavan, entitled The Gospel According to Thomas: With Complementary Texts. How this work came to be attributed to the unknown person "Nancy Johnson" is one of the mysteries of the internet which will probably never be solved. Did she intentionally plagiarize it or did she simply send it to some web-manager without attribution, the web-manager assuming her to be the author? Or is there some other explanation not now apparent? Whatever the case, it's so spread around now at various sites that stamping it out is like fighting the Hydra, so I've created an alternative file containing the entire text, but properly attributed. Hopefully, this file will serve two purposes: (1) to show up in web searches, as a warning to potential readers of the "Nancy Johnson Translation", and (2) to allow other web-managers to replace their currently-existing file or link with a reputable one.

The Iyer Rendition

Mike Grondin, Dec, 2006

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