In October, Biblical scholar April D. Deconick came out with a book disputing the widely-publicized interpretation of the Gospel of Judas, that Judas was the hero of the story. Then, yesterday, she published a piece in the NYT declaring her views, which a lot of people have picked up on, and are using to heap scorn on the National Geographic.
I don't know exactly what's going on here, but one thing bothers me about the NYT piece: the leading criticism of the work of the scholars brought together by National Geographic is that they translated "daimon" as "spirit" rather than what she claimed was the correct translation, "demon." It is certainly true the "daimon" is a cognate for "demon" and therefore, the English word is "the word" for the Coptic one, but the meaning of words change over time. In the ancient world, it wasn't universally agreed that "daimon"s were all evil, as is the case with the modern English word. This makes "spirit" a more plausible translation in at least some contexts. I'm not an expert, and I don't know what, ultimately, is the best translation. I don't know how the fact that we're dealing with Greek loan words in Coptic rather than actual Greek affects the situation. I do know that the above was almost certainly part of the reasoning of the scholars who did the original translation. It's troubling that Deconick would jump right to condemning them without considering what could be said in defense of their position. It raises a suspicion that Deconick is engaging in exactly the sort of sensationalism that she accuses National Geographic of.