The Gospel of Judas

  • Introductions
  • Today’s Topic: The Gospel of Judas
    • What is it?
      • It is a part of a 66-page codex, entitled Codex Tchacos, (basically an old book) that has recently been restored and translated. It contains the First Apocalypse of James, the Letter of Peter to Philip, a text so far called the Book of Allogenes, and the Gospel of Judas.
      • Some claim that it is one of the most important documents found in the past century.
      • At least three different books have been released in conjuncton with the Gospel.
    • For an ancient text, especially one associated with the relatively little-known Gnostics, it’s attracted a lot of attention.
      • Part of the attraction is because the text was almost lost after its discovery in the 1970s because no-one really knew what it was and no-one wanted to buy it to find out.
      • It is pretty Gnostic in tone. USA Today says, “Gnostic beliefs hold that secret and personal insights are the key to redemption, rather than faith in Jesus’ resurrection, for example.”
      • Most people are fairly certain that the document is authentic.
      • Some of the controversy deals with talking about controversy about what books ought to be in the canon. “Scripture, like history, was codified by the winners, by those who emerged with the greatest numbers at the end of three centuries of Christianity, said Michael White, director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins at the University of Texas-Austin.”
      • The president of the Maecenas Founcation, Mario Roberty, suggested that the Vatican was hiding other copies of this gospel: “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.’” Echoes of the Da Vinci code?
      • The main interest for Christians, probably, is what the Gospel claims about Jesus and Judas.
      • One scholar thinks that it will help anti-Semitism (since Judas was Jewish) abate.
    • Knowing that much, do you have any thoughts on how Christians ought to approach the matter?
    • Important parts from the “gospel”:
      • It calls itself “The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a wekk three days before he celebrated Passover.”
      • “Jesus said to them, ‘How do you know me? Truly [I] say to you, no generation of the people that are among you will know me.’”
      • “Knowing that Judas was reflecting upon something that was exalted, Jesus said to him, ‘Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom.’”
      • “‘A great angel, the enlightened divine Self-Generated, emerged from the cloud. Because of him, four other angels came into being from another cloud, and they became attendants for the angelic Self-Generated…The multitude of those immortals is called the cosmos—that is, perdition—by the Father and the seventy-two luminaries who are with the Self-Generated and his seventy-two aeons.’” (Jesus talking about creation.)
      • “‘But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.’” (Jesus to Judas.)
    • Outline of the canonization of Scripture.
    • Final thoughts: It is important that Christians have a grasp of church history. I don’t—at all. I mean, I think C.S. Lewis’ books are “classics”—when Christians have been writing for 2,000 years! There’s a lot to learn. And I suspect we could learn a lot from “older” believers—about God, our faith, and Christianity in general. Also, it will equip us to better interact with a culture that increasingly seems to assume that the church is trying to hide “the Truth.”

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© 2005-2007 David and Rita Hjelle