Books: Ecce Homo

THE JUDAS GOSPEL by PETER VAN GREENAWAY 240 pages. Atheneum. $6.95.

Lost gospels are in literary fashion.

This spring Irving Wallace parlayed the Gospel according to St. James into a ponderous bestseller. Now comes a man called Peter Van Greenaway with The Judas Gospel. Agnostic Wallace wears a cloying, counterfeit faith on his sleeve in The Word's mawkish denouement, but Van Greenaway has the courage — and the talent — to spill his venom straight. The result is a brisk, tough and intellectually provocative novel.

Judas Iscariot is its hero. Glimpsed in old age, he has...

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