Gospel of Judas

]

Over the decades, the manuscript had been handled with less than sympathetic care: some single pages may be loose on the antiquities market (one half page turned up in Feb. 2006, in New York City); the text is now in over a thousand pieces and fragments, and is believed to be less than three-quarters complete. "After concluding the research, everything will be returned to Egypt. The work belongs there and they will be conserved in the best way," Roberty has stated. [ [http://www.michelvanrijn.nl/artnews/parooltrans6-7.htm The hunt for the Gospel of Judas] ]

In April 2006, an Ohio bankruptcy lawyer claimed to possess several small, brown bits of papyrus from the Gospel of Judas, but he refuses to have the fragments authenticated and his claim is being viewed with skepticism by experts.cite news|url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,192410,00.html|title=Lawyer Says He's Got 'Gospel of Judas' Papyrus Fragments|work=FoxNews.com (AP)|date=2006-04-20|accessdate=2006-04-21]

Responses and reactions

cholarly debates

Professor Kasser revealed a few details about the text in 2004, the Dutch paper "Het Parool" reported. [ [http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=178928&t=178712 The Mysteries] , The Official Graham Hancock Website] Its language is the same Sahidic dialect of Coptic in which Coptic texts of the Nag Hammadi Library are written. The codex has four parts: the "Letter of Peter to Philip", already known from the Nag Hammadi Library; the "First Apocalypse of James", also known from the Nag Hammadi Library; the first few pages of a work related to, but not the same as, the Nag Hammadi work "Allogenes"; and the "Gospel of Judas." Up to a third of the codex is currently illegible.

A scientific paper was to be published in 2005, but was delayed. The completion of the restoration and translation was announced by the National Geographic Society at a news conference in Washington, D.C. on April 6, 2006, and the manuscript itself was unveiled then at the National Geographic Society headquarters, accompanied by a television special entitled "The Gospel of Judas" on April 9, 2006, which was aired on the National Geographic Channel.

Terry Garcia, an executive vice president for Mission Programs of the National Geographic Society, asserted that the codex is considered by scholars and scientists to be the most significant ancient, non-biblical text to be found since the 1940s. However, James M. Robinson, one of America's leading experts on ancient religious texts, predicted that the new book would offer no historical insights into the disciple who betrayed Jesus, since the third-century manuscript seems to derive from an older document. Robinson suggests that the text will provide insights into the religion situation during the second century rather than into the biblical narrative itself.

One scholar on the National Geographic project believes the document shows that Judas was "fooled" into believing he was helping Jesus. ["CBC News". [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/12/04/judas-scholars.html Judas no hero, scholars say] . 4 December 2006.]

Another scholar, April D. DeConick, a professor of Biblical studies at Rice University, reports in the New York Times [cite news |first=April D. |last=Deconick |title=Gospel Truth |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/opinion/01deconink.html?_r=1&oref=slogin |work=New York Times |date=December 1, 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-01 ] that the National Geographic translation was critically faulty in many substantial respects, and that based on a corrected translation, Judas was actually a demon, truly betraying Jesus, rather than following his orders.

DeConick, after re-translating the text, published "The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says" to assert that Judas was not a "daimon" in the Greek sense, but that "the universally accepted word for “spirit” is “pneuma ” — in Gnostic literature “daimon” is always taken to mean “demon”, as she wrote in presenting her conclusions in "The New York Times", 1 December 2007. "Judas is not set apart 'for' the holy generation, as the National Geographic translation says", DeConick asserted, "he is separated 'from' it." A negative that was dropped from a crucial sentence, an error "National Geographic" admits, changes the import. "Were they genuine errors or was something more deliberate going on?" DeConick asked in the Op-Ed page of the "Times". ["New York Times". [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/opinion/01deconink.html?_r=1&oref=slogin April D. DeConick, "Gospel Truth", Op-Ed page,] December 1 2007.]

Religious responses

In his 2006 Easter address, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, strongly denied the historical credibility of the gospel, saying [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4913634.stm Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon] BBC News, April 16, 2006]

This is a demonstrably late text which simply parallels a large number of quite well-known works from the more eccentric fringes of the early century Church.

He went on to suggest that the book's publicity derives from an insatiable desire for conspiracy theories:

We are instantly fascinated by the suggestion of conspiracies and cover-ups; this has become so much the stuff of our imagination these days that it is only natural, it seems, to expect it when we turn to ancient texts, especially biblical texts. We treat them as if they were unconvincing press releases from some official source, whose intention is to conceal the real story; and that real story waits for the intrepid investigator to uncover it and share it with the waiting world. Anything that looks like the official version is automatically suspect.
Later the same year, Biblical scholar Louis Painchaud argued that the text suggests Judas was actually possessed by a demon. [ [http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_paleojudaica_archive.html#115972417984290035 À PROPOS DE LA (RE)DÉCOUVERTE DE L’ÉVANGILE DE JUDAS] ]

The uniqueness of the codex

The president of the Maecenas Foundation, Mario Roberty, suggested the possibility that the Maecenas Foundation had acquired not the only "extant" copy of the Gospel, but rather the only "known" copy. Roberty went on to make the suggestion that the Vatican probably had another copy locked away, saying:

In those days the Church decided for political reasons to include the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible. The other gospels were banned. It is highly logical that the Catholic Church would have kept a copy of the forbidden gospels. Sadly, the Vatican does not want to clarify further. Their policy has been the same for years – 'No further comment.'cite news|url=http://ds009.xs4all.nl/artnews/parooltrans6-7.htm|title=The hunt for the Gospel of Judas |date=unknown|accessdate=2006-04-22]

Roberty provided no evidence to suggest that the Vatican does, in fact, possess any additional copy. While the contents of one part of the Vatican library have been catalogued and have long been available to researchers and scholars, the remainder of the library is, however, without a public catalogue, and though researchers may view any work within, they must first name the text they require, a serious problem for those who do not know what is contained by the library. The Pope responded on April 13, 2006cite news|url=http://www.agi.it/english/news.pl?doc=200604132030-1238-RT1-CRO-0-NF11&page=0&id=agionline-eng.oggitalia |title=Vatican: Pope Banishes Judas' Gospel|work=Agenzia Giornalistica Italia|date=2006-04-13|accessdate=2006-04-21] -

The Vatican, by word of Pope Benedict XVI, grants the recently surfaced Judas' Gospel no credit with regards to its apocryphal claims that Judas betrayed Jesus in compliance with the latter's own requests. According to the Pope, Judas freely chose to betray Jesus: "an open rejection of God's love". Judas, according to Pope Benedict XVI "viewed Jesus in terms of power and success: his only real interests lay in his power and success, there was no love involved. He was a greedy man: money was more important than communing with Jesus; money came before God and his love". According to the Pope it was due to these traits that led Judas to "turn liar, two-faced, indifferent to the truth", "losing any sense of God", "turning hard, incapable of converting, of being the prodigal son, hence throwing away a spent existence".

Spokespersons say the Vatican does not wish to suppress the Gospel of Judas; rather, according to Monsignor Walter Brandmüller, president of the Vatican's Committee for Historical Science, "We welcome the [manuscript] like we welcome the critical study of any text of ancient literature".cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/24/AR2006022401799.html|title=Another Take on Gospel Truth About Judas: Manuscript Could Add to Understanding of Gnostic Sect|work=Washington Post|date=2006-02-25|accessdate=2006-04-21] Even more explicitly, Father Thomas D. Williams, Dean of Theology at the "Regina Apostolorum" university in Rome, when asked:

Is it true that the Catholic Church has tried to cover up this text [Gospel of Judas] and other apocryphal texts?

answered as follows:

These are myths circulated by Dan Brown and other conspiracy theorists. You can go to any Catholic bookstore and pick up a copy of the Gnostic gospels. Christians may not believe them to be true, but there is no attempt to hide them.cite news|url=http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=87247|title=Interview With Father Thomas Williams|work=Zenit News Agency|date=2006-04-05|accessdate=2006-05-06]

In AD 367, the bishop of Alexandria did urge Christians to “cleanse the church from every defilement” and to reject “the hidden books.”Athanasius, "Festal Epistles", 39.] It is possible that, in response to letters such as this one, some Christians destroyed non-canonical gospels.

Notes

References

* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/_pdf/GospelofJudas.pdf?fs=www7.nationalgeographic.com&fs=magma.nationalgeographic.com "The Gospel of Judas"] . Trans. and Eds. Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2006. [English Translation] , ISBN 1-4262-0042-0
* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/_pdf/CopticGospelOfJudas.pdf?fs=www7.nationalgeographic.com&fs=magma.nationalgeographic.com "The Gospel of Judas"] . Eds. Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2006. [Coptic Transcription]

* Brankaer, Joanna, and Hans Gebhard-Bethge. "Codex Tchacos: Texte und Analysen". Berlin: de Gruyter, 2007.
* Cockburn, Andrew. “The Judas Gospel.” "National Geographic Magazine". (May 2006): 78-95.
* DeConick, April D. "The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says". London: Continuum, 2007.
* Ehrman, Bart D. "The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed". Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
* Evans, Craig A. "Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels". Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2006. ISBN 0830833188.
* Gagné, André. “A Critical Note on the Meaning of APOPHASIS in "Gospel of Judas" 33:1”, "Laval théologique et philosophique" 63.2 (June 2007): 377-383.
* Gathercole, Simon. “The Gospel of Judas.” "Expository Times" 118.5 (February 2007): 209-215.
* Gathercole, Simon. "The Gospel of Judas: Rewriting Early Christianity". Oxford University Press, 2007.
* Head Peter M. “The Gospel of Judas and the Qarara Codices: Some Preliminary Observations.” "Tyndale Bulletin" 58 (2007): 1-23.
* Kasser, Rudolphe, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst. "The Gospel of Judas". Commentary by Bart D. Ehrman. Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2006.
* Kasser, Rudolphe, and Gregor Wurst. "The Gospel of Judas, Critical Edition: Together with the Letter of Peter to Philip, James, and a Book of Allogenes from Codex Tchacos". Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2007.
* Krosney, Herbert. "The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot". Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2006.
* Meyer, Marvin, ed. "The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition". New York: HarperOne, 2007.
* Pagels, Elaine, Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King. "Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity". New York: Viking, 2007. ISBN 978-0670038459
* Perrin, Nicholas. "The Judas Gospel". Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2006.
* Porter, Stanley E., and Gordon L. Heath. "The Lost Gospel of Judas: Separating Fact from Fiction". Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
* Robinson, James M. "The Secrets of Judas : The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel". San Francisco: Harper, 2006.
* Wright, N. T. "Judas and the Gospel of Jesus: Have we Missed the Truth about Christianity?" Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006.

*Gregory A. Page, "Diary of Judas Iscariot of the Gospel According to Judas" (1912, reprinted 1942, Kessinger Publishing)
*Lars Gyllensten, "Testament of Cain" (1963 Bonnier, Stockholm, Sweden; English translation in 1982, Persea)

ee also

* Lost work
* Nag Hammadi Library
* Nag Hammadi
* "The Passover Plot" (1965), a book by the Biblical scholar Hugh J. Schonfield
* "Tres versiones de Judas" (1944), a short story by Jorge Luis Borges (from the collection "Ficciones") in which a fictional Swedish theologian claims that Judas is the real savior of mankind
* "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1951), a novel (and movie) by Nikos Kazantzakis that depicts Judas in a similar vein to the Gospel of Judas
* "Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson" (1950), by G. I. Gurdjieff, presents Judas in accordance with his depiction in the Gospel of Judas
* "The Way of Cross and Dragon" (1979), a short story by George R. R. Martin that includes a fictional Gospel of Judas
* "The Judas Testament" (1994), a novel by Daniel Easterman about the discovery of a Judas testament
* "The Gospel According to Judas" (2007), a novel by Jeffrey Archer and Frank Moloney that presents the events of the New Testament through the eyes of Judas Iscariot
* "Jedi Mind Tricks" mentions the Gospel of Judas in their song Heavy Metal Kings.
* "A Time for Judas" (1983), a novel by Morley Callaghan where plot is extremely similar to the content revealed in the Gospel of Judas
* "The Judas Apocalypse" (2008), a novel by Dan McNeil, in which a testament written by Judas reveals the true history of the Crucifixion

External links

* [http://www.coptica.ch L' "Evangile de Judas" sur Coptica.ch] - texte, index et traduction française
* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/ The Lost Gospel] - online feature from National Geographic
* [http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospeljudas.html Early Christian Writings:] "Gospel of Judas"
* [http://www.ezilon.com/information/article_3083.shtml Patrick Baert, "Gospel of Judas back in spotlight after 20 centuries"]
* [http://www.washtimes.com/national/20060407-120642-3758r.htm Judas stars as 'anti-hero' in gospel] - Julia Duin, "Washington Times" - April 7, 2006
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5327692 The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot?] - NPR
* [http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/judas.htm Rodney J. Decker on the Gospel of Judas sensation (PDF, audio, and PowerPoint)]
* [http://www.michelvanrijn.nl/artnews/parooltrans6-7.htm Michel van Rijn, "The Hunt for the Gospel of Judas"]
* [http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=19372 Gospel of Judas does not deserve name 'gospel,' Jesuit scholar says]
* [http://www.gnosis.org/library/advh1.htm Text of Irenaeus, "Against Heresies", regarding Gospel of Judas]
* [http://www.psyche.com/psyche/meta/gjudas_reaction.html Survey of Early Reaction to the Gospel of Judas - 100 citations]
* [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19031 "The Betrayer's Gospel" -- Article from the "New York Review of Books"]
* [http://chronicle.com/free/v54/i38/38b00601.htm The Betrayal of Judas - An overview of the translation controversy, from the Chronicle Review]
* [http://www.coptic.org.au/modules/resources_literature/article.php?page=1&articleid=254 Associations between the Gospel of Judas and the Coptic Orthodox Church] — the Coptic Orthodox Church's response to the alleged "Gospel" of Judas


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