Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gospel of Judas

So, I heard on NPR tonight that a translation of the "Gospel of Judas" is being released. A fourth-century text of the gospel was found in 1978 and is now being released by the National Geographic Society.

Apparently, according to this gospel, believed to have been written in the first or second century, Judas was "in on" the secret with Jesus and given instructions to do what he did. This is an interesting, but strange, twist to the "other" gospels saga.

The modern complaint about the canonical representation of Judas is that he is an anti-Judaic personification and demonization of the Jews in general. I don't think this "new" outlook really offers an improved outlook if Judas is still taken to be a personification of the Jews. Does it, perhaps, lend credence to his reality as a historical person? I think maybe so.

The NPR story referred to the gospel as an archealogical find as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls. That is surely a gross overstatement.

7 comments:

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I believe I heard a TV ad for a show about this to be on this Sunday evening, either on CNN or National Geo Channel. If I hear the time, I'll post it. There was a small segment on CNN last evening about it. They usually run these things ad nauseum, so we'll be sure to know what it upcoming.

Lutheran Zephyr said...

I hadn't heard much about it, just in passing, but the hype (and some emailed comments from friends) made it seem as if this were a new discovery. 1978? Wow. But releasing this just prior to Easter gets it out in time for the semi-annual Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report issues that address/exploit religious themes during a religous season . . .

Christopher said...

Hadn't heard about this. Interesting. Wonder what kind of stir it will cause. Maybe it will be as big (and misquoted) as the Gospel of Thomas, or maybe even the Da Vinci Code. I guess time will tell.
Peace,
Chris

cranmer said...

This is not news! It's your classic gnostic technique: take a Christian figure, redefine him to discredit the tradition as passed down in what would become the canonical gospels, and then present the 'real' story which was hidden all along.

The lack of historical awareness in the reporting of this has been depressing ...

See some discussion on here - http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2006/04/st-judas.html

Andy said...

NPR did include a sound byte from Catholic Biblical scholar Donald Senior saying that it really wouldn't make any difference at all. I would guess that a lot of scholars would share that opinion, but getting it from a Catholic gives it that "old guard" feel. :-)

Andy said...

Thanks for the link, cranmer.

Tom in Ontario said...

"Jesus said to him, 'Do quickly what you are going to do.' Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him" (Jn 13.27-28).

Hmmmm