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[[File:Codex Tchacos p33.jpg|thumb|right|300px|First page of the Gospel of Judas (Page 33 of [[Codex Tchacos]])]]
 
The '''Gospel of Judas''' is a [[Gnostic gospel]] whose content consists of conversations between the Apostle [[Judas Iscariot]] and [[Jesus Christ]].
 
 
It is believed to have been written by [[Gnosticism|Gnostic]] followers of Jesus, rather than by Judas himself, and, since it contains late 2nd century theology, probably dates from no earlier than the 2nd century. In 180 AD, [[Irenaeus]], the Bishop of Lyons, wrote a document in which he railed against this gospel, indicating the book was already in circulation. The only copy of the Gospel of Judas known to exist is a [[Coptic language]] text that has been [[carbon dating|carbon dated]] to AD 280, plus or minus 60 years. Joseph Barabe presented the behind-the-scenes story of the role an analysis of the [[ink]] played in authenticating the book at a [[American Chemical Society]] meeting.<ref>{{cite web|last=Pappas|first=Stephanie|title=Truth Behind Gospel of Judas Revealed in Ancient Inks|url=http://www.livescience.com/28506-gospel-judas-ink-authenticity.html|work=LiveScience.com|publisher=LiveScience|accessdate=8 April 2013}}</ref> It has been suggested that the text derives from an earlier [[Greek language|Greek]] version. A translation of the text was first published in early 2006 by the [[National Geographic Society]].
 
 
In contrast to the [[canonical gospels]] which paint Judas as a betrayer of Christ who delivered him up to the authorities for crucifixion in exchange for money, the Gospel of Judas portrays Judas's actions as done in obedience to instructions given by Christ. The document also suggests that Christ planned the course of events which led to his death. This portrayal seems to conform to a notion current in some forms of [[Gnosticism]], that the human form is a spiritual prison, that Judas thus served Christ by helping to release Christ's soul from its physical constraints, and that two kinds of human beings exist: the men furnished with the immortal soul which is "from the eternal realms" and "will abide there always" ("the strong and holy generation... with no ruler over it", to whom Judas belongs), and the other ones, the majority of mankind, who are mortal and therefore unable to reach the salvation. The Gospel of Judas does not claim that the other [[Disciple (Christianity)|disciples]] knew about Jesus's true teachings. On the contrary, it asserts that they had not learned the true Gospel, which Jesus taught only to Judas Iscariot, the sole follower belonging to the "holy generation" among the disciples.
 
 
==Background==
 
{{Gnosticism}}
 
A leather-bound Coptic language papyrus document that surfaced during the 1970s, near Beni Masar, [[Egypt]],<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4882420.stm "Judas 'helped Jesus save mankind',"] [[BBC News]] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/ website], April 7, 2006, accessed March 17, 2008</ref> was named the [[Codex Tchacos]] after an antiquities dealer, Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos, who became concerned about the deteriorating condition of the manuscript. First translated in the early 2000s, the codex contains text that appears to be from the late 2nd century AD,<ref>http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/timeline.html</ref> and includes the self-titled "''Gospel of Judas''" (''Euangelion Ioudas'')<ref>During the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, various Christian sects composed texts which are loosely labeled [[New Testament Apocrypha]]; these texts, like those in the [[New Testament]], are usually but not always “pseudeponymous”, i.e. falsely attributed to a notable figure, such as an apostle, of an earlier era.(cite needed)</ref> which claims to be the story of [[Historical Jesus|Jesus]]'s death from the viewpoint of Judas.
 
 
The manuscript was [[radiocarbon dating|radiocarbon dated]] "between the third and fourth century", according to [[A.J. Timothy Jull|Timothy Jull]], a carbon-dating expert at the [[University of Arizona]]'s physics center,<ref>Only sections of papyrus containing no text were carbon-dated, because carbon dating is physically destructive.</ref> and described by the National Geographic as being from AD 280, plus or minus 60 years.
 
 
Today the manuscript is in over a thousand pieces, with many sections missing due to poor handling and storage. Some passages are only scattered words; others contain many lines. According to [[Rodolphe Kasser]], the [[codex]] originally contained 31 pages, with writing on both sides; however, when it came to the market in 1999, only 13 pages remained. It is speculated that individual pages had been removed and sold.
 
 
It has been speculated, on the basis of [[textual criticism|textual analysis]] concerning features of dialect and Greek [[Loanword|loan words]], that the Coptic text contained in the codex may be a translation from an older Greek manuscript dating, at the earliest, to approximately AD 130–180.<ref>For example, see H.-C. Puech and Beate Blatz, ''New Testament Apocrypha'', vol. 1, p. 387.</ref> Cited in support is the reference to a “Gospel of Judas” by the early Christian writer [[Irenaeus of Lyons]], who, in arguing against Gnosticism, called the text a "fictitious history".<ref>Irenaeus of Lyons, ''Refutation of Gnosticism'', bk. 1 ch. 31</ref> However, it is uncertain whether the text mentioned by Irenaeus is in fact the same text as the Coptic “Gospel of Judas” found in the Codex Tchachos.<ref name="Witherington A">[[Ben Witherington III]], ''What have they done with Jesus'' (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2006), pp. 7-8.</ref>
 
 
A. J. Levine, who was on the team of scholars responsible for unveiling the work, said that the Gospel of Judas contains no new historical information concerning Jesus or Judas, but that the text is helpful in reconstructing the history of Gnosticism, especially in the Coptic-speaking areas.<ref name="Witherington A"/>
 
 
==Content==
 
 
===Overview===
 
The Gospel of Judas consists of 16 chapters which document Jesus's teaching about spiritual matters and cosmology. Judas is the only one of Jesus's disciples who accurately understands the words of his master. This Gospel contains few narrative elements; essentially, the Gospel records how Judas was taught by Jesus the true meaning of his message, and was then stoned to death by the other disciples.
 
 
The Gospel contains ideas which contradicted those circulating in the early Christian church. The author argues that God is essentially a "luminous cloud of light" who exists in an imperishable realm.<ref>Pagels, E., and King, K. (2007)Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. New York: Viking. pg 78.</ref> Adamas, the spiritual father of all humanity, was created in God's image and dwelled in the imperishable realm.
 
 
At the beginning of time, God created a group of angels and lower gods. Twelve angels were willed to come into
 
being [to] rule over chaos and the [underworld].<ref>http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/_pdf/GospelofJudas.pdf pg.5</ref>
 
 
The angels of creation were tasked with creating a physical body for Adamas, which became known as the first man Adam. Gradually, humanity began to forget its divine origins and some of Adam's descendants (Cain and Abel) became embroiled in the world's first murder. Many humans came to think that the imperfect physical universe was the totality of creation, losing their knowledge of God and the imperishable realm.
 
 
Jesus was sent as the Son of the true God, not of one of the lesser gods. His mission was to show that salvation lies in connecting with the God within the [[Man (word)|man]]. Through embracing the internal God, the man can then return to the imperishable realm.
 
 
Eleven of the disciples Jesus chose to spread his message misunderstood the central tenets of His teaching. They were obsessed with the physical world of the senses. They continued to practise religious animal sacrifice, which pleased the lower gods but did not help to foster a connection with the true God. They wrongly taught that those martyred in the name of Christ would be bodily resurrected.
 
 
In contrast, Jesus is able to teach Judas the true meaning of his life, ministry and death. Mankind can be divided into two races, or groups. Those who are furnished with the immortal [[soul]], like Judas, can come to know the God within and enter the imperishable realm when they die. Those who belong to the same generation of the other eleven disciples cannot enter the realm of God and will die both spiritually and physically at the end of their lives. As practices that are intertwined with the physical world, animal sacrifice and a communion ceremony centered around cannibalism (the symbolic consumption of Jesus' flesh and blood) are condemned as abhorrent. Death is seen not as a glorious event but simply as a way to escape the perishable realm of the flesh.
 
 
Of crucial importance is the author's understanding of Jesus' death. The other Gospels argue that Jesus had to die in order to atone for the sins of humanity. The author of Judas claims this sort of substitutionary justice pleases the lower gods and angels. The true God is gracious and thus does not demand any sacrifice. In the Gospel of Judas, Jesus's death is simply a final way for him to leave the realm of the flesh and return to the luminous cloud.
 
 
 
===The Gospel as a Gnostic text===
 
 
Pagels and King (2007)<ref>Pagels, E., and King, K. (2007)Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. New York: Viking.</ref> argue that a more nuanced, contextualized understanding of alternative interpretations of the Christian tradition should inform discussions of Gnosticism. In the centuries following Jesus's death, many differing views of the meaning of his life and death existed. Nicenian Christianity (i.e. a tradition based on the doctrines contained in the [[Nicene Creed]]) existed alongside other variants (one of which was labelled 'Gnosticism') for centuries. Gradually, the Nicenian interpretation became the dominant "mainstream" version of Christianity.
 
 
Before the discovery of so-called Gnostic texts (such as the [[Nag Hammadi library]]), scholars had to rely solely on the reports of proto-Nicenian church fathers for their understanding of alternative approaches to understanding Christianity. These reports were necessarily biased since they were written by people trying to crush non-Nicenian churches. Furthermore, study and analysis of original non-Nicenian texts has shown that the church fathers tended to oversimplify when writing about their doctrinal enemies.
 
 
Access to texts such as the Gospel of Judas has allowed scholars to develop a much richer, more comprehensive understanding of non-Nicenian movements. To blandly assert that the Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic text without qualifying this statement in some way does not do justice to the variety and sophistication of the 'heretical' movements.
 
 
The Gospel of Judas was condemned by [[Irenaeus]] in his anti-Gnostic work ''[[On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis|Adversus Haereses]]'' (Against Heresies), written in about 180. Despite this attack, The Gospel of Judas differs from other non-Nicenian Gospels in several ways. Far from arguing that the physical body is a prison which needs to be escaped from, the Gospel of Judas portrays Jesus as able to leave his body at will. In the text, Jesus is shown leaving his body, journeying to the imperishable realm and returning to his body. Unlike other non-Nicenian Gospels, the Gospel of Judas is [[Sethian]] in orientation in that Adam's son [[Seth]] is seen as a spiritual ancestor. As in other Sethian documents, Jesus is equated with Seth: "The first is Seth, who is called Christ".
 
 
===Modern rediscovery===
 
The initial translation of the ''Gospel of Judas'' was widely publicized but simply confirmed the account that was written in Irenaeus and known Gnostic beliefs, leading some scholars to simply summarize the discovery as nothing new.
 
 
However, it is argued that a closer reading of the existent text, as presented in October 2006, shows that Judas may have been set up to actually betray Jesus out of wrath and anger:
 
 
<blockquote>Truly [I] say to you, Judas, [those who] offer sacrifices to [[Demiurge|Saklas, the great fool]], [... ''exemplify'' ...] everything that is evil. But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me. Already your horn has been raised, your wrath has been kindled, your star has shone brightly, and your heart has [''been hardened''...]</blockquote>
 
 
The initial translators might have been misled by Irenaeus' summary, which although an exciting idea was not necessarily accurate. Their theory is now in dispute.
 
 
According to [[Elaine Pagels]], Bible translators have mistranslated the Greek word for "handing over" to "betrayal".<ref>David Ian Miller, [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/04/02/findrelig.DTL "FINDING MY RELIGION: Religious scholar Elaine Pagels on how the newly discovered Gospel of Judas sheds new light on the dawn of Christianity,"] [[San Francisco Chronicle]] [http://www.sfgate.com/ website], April 2, 2007, accessed March 17, 2008</ref>
 
 
Like many Gnostic works, the ''Gospel of Judas'' claims to be a secret account, specifically "the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot."
 
 
Over the ages many philosophers have contemplated the idea that Judas was required to have carried out his actions in order for Jesus to have died on the cross and hence fulfill theological obligations. The ''Gospel of Judas'', however, asserts clearly that Judas' action was in obedience to a direct command of Jesus himself.
 
 
The ''Gospel of Judas'' states that Jesus told Judas "You shall be cursed for generations" and then added, "You will come to rule over them" and "You will exceed all of them, for you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/04/06/gospel.judas.ap/index.html "Text might be hidden 'Gospel of Judas'"], [[CNN]], April 6, 2006</ref>
 
 
Unlike the four canonical gospels, which employ narrative accounts of the last year of life of Jesus (in the case of John, three years) and of his birth (in the case of Luke and Matthew), the Judas gospel takes the form of dialogues between Jesus and Judas, and Jesus and the twelve disciples, without being embedded in any narrative or worked into any overt [[philosophical]] or [[rhetorical]] context. Such "dialogue gospels" were popular during the early decades of Christianity, and indeed the four canonical gospels are the only surviving gospels in narrative form. The New Testament apocrypha contains several examples of the dialogue form, an example being the [[Gospel of Mary Magdalene]].
 
 
Like the canonical gospels, the Gospel of Judas portrays the scribes as approaching Judas with the intention of arresting him, and Judas receiving money from them after handing Jesus over to them. But unlike Judas in the canonical gospels, who is portrayed as a villain, and excoriated by Jesus ("Alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born," trans. ''The New English Bible'') {{bibleverse||Mark|14:21}}; {{bibleverse||Matthew|26:24}}, the Judas gospel portrays Judas as a divinely appointed instrument of a grand and predetermined purpose. "In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy (generation)."
 
 
Elsewhere in the manuscript, Jesus favours Judas above other disciples by saying, "Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom," and "Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star."
 
 
In the New Testament, Judas is said to have died by hanging himself ({{bibleverse||Matthew|27:3-10|}}), or by bursting open after a fall ({{bibleverse||Acts|1:16-19|}}). The ''Gospel of Judas'' does not specify the fate of Judas, although in the gospel, Judas tells Jesus he has had a vision where he is stoned to death by the eleven remaining apostles.
 
 
==Rediscovery==
 
 
===Origins===
 
{{Unreferenced section|date=March 2010}}
 
[[File:Giotto - Scrovegni - -31- - Kiss of Judas.jpg|right|thumbnail|"The Kiss of Judas" is a traditional depiction of Judas by [[Giotto di Bondone]], c. 1306. Fresco in the [[Scrovegni Chapel]], [[Padua]].]]
 
The content of the gospel had been unknown until a [[Coptic language|Coptic]] ''Gospel of Judas'' turned up on the antiquities "[[grey market]]," in [[Geneva]] in May 1983, when it was found among a mixed group of [[Greek language|Greek]] and [[Coptic language|Coptic]] manuscripts offered to [[Stephen Emmel]], a [[Yale University|Yale]] Ph.D. candidate commissioned by [[Southern Methodist University]] to inspect the manuscripts. How this manuscript, [[Codex Tchacos]], was found, maybe in the late 1970s, has not been clearly documented. However, it is believed that a now-deceased Egyptian "treasure-hunter" or prospector discovered the [[codex]] near [[El Minya]], [[Egypt]], in the neighbourhood of the village Beni Masar, and sold it to one Hanna, a dealer in antiquities resident in Cairo.<ref>http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0406_060406_gospel.html</ref>
 
 
In the 1970s, the manuscript and most of the dealer's other artifacts were stolen by a Greek trader named Nikolas Koutoulakis, and smuggled into Geneva. Hanna, along with Swiss antiquity traders, paid Koutoulakis a sum rumoured to be between $3 million to $10 million, recovered the manuscript and introduced it to experts who recognized its significance.
 
 
==Sale and study==
 
During the following two decades the manuscript was quietly offered to prospective buyers, but no major library or Egypt felt ready to purchase a manuscript that had such questionable [[provenance]]. In 2003 [[Michel van Rijn]] started to publish material about these dubious negotiations, and eventually the 62-page leather-bound [[codex]] was purchased by the [[Maecenas Foundation]] in [[Basel]]. The previous owners now claimed that it had been uncovered at [[Minya, Egypt|Muhafazat al Minya]] in Egypt during the 1950s or 1960s, and that its significance had not been appreciated until recently. It is worth noting that various other locations had been alleged during previous negotiations.
 
 
The existence of the text was made public by [[Rodolphe Kasser]] at a conference of Coptic specialists in Paris, July 2004. In a statement issued March 30, 2005, a spokesman for the Maecenas Foundation announced plans for edited translations into [[English language|English]], [[French language|French]], [[German language|German]], and [[Polish language|Polish]] once the fragile [[papyrus]] has undergone conservation by a team of specialists in Coptic history to be led by a former professor at the [[University of Geneva]], [[Rodolphe Kasser]], and that their work would be published in about a year. A. J. Tim Jull, director of the [[National Science Foundation]] Arizona AMS laboratory, and Gregory Hodgins, assistant research scientist, announced that a radiocarbon dating procedure had dated five samples from the papyrus manuscript from 220 to 340 in January 2005 at the [[University of Arizona]].<ref>[http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/8619.php UA team verifies age of Gospel of Judas]</ref> This puts the Coptic manuscript in the 3rd or 4th centuries, a century earlier than had originally been thought from analysis of the script. In January 2006, Gene A. Ware of the Papyrological Imaging Lab of [[Brigham Young University]] conducted a multi-spectral imaging process on the texts in Switzerland, and confirmed their authenticity.<ref name="HeraldLeader">{{cite news|url=http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/world/14284615.htm|title=Time line since discovery of Gospel of Judas|work=Lexington Herald-Leader|date=2006-04-07|accessdate=2006-04-09}} {{Dead link|date=October 2010|bot=H3llBot}}</ref>
 
 
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]]<ref name="HeraldLeader" />); 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.<ref>[http://www.michelvanrijn.nl/artnews/parooltrans6-7.htm The hunt for the Gospel of Judas]</ref>
 
 
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.<ref name="FoxNews">{{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}}</ref>
 
 
==Responses and reactions==
 
 
===Scholarly debates===
 
Professor Kasser revealed a few details about the text in 2004, the Dutch paper ''Het Parool'' reported.<ref>[http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=178928&t=178712 The Mysteries], The Official Graham Hancock Website</ref> Its language is the same Sahidic dialect of [[Coptic language|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]].
 
l
 
[[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 2nd-century manuscript seems to derive from an older document. Robinson suggests that the text will provide insights into the religious situation during the 2nd century rather than into the biblical narrative itself.<ref>Robinson, J (2006) The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel. San Francisco: Harper. p183.</ref>
 
 
One scholar on the National Geographic project believes the document shows that Judas was "fooled" into believing he was helping Jesus.<ref>''[[CBC News]]''. [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/12/04/judas-scholars.html Judas no hero, scholars say]. 4 December 2006.</ref>
 
 
Another scholar, [[April DeConick|April D. DeConick]], a professor of Biblical studies at [[Rice University]], reports in the ''New York Times''<ref>{{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 }}</ref> 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.{{Citation needed|date=March 2009}} "Were they genuine errors or was something more deliberate going on?" DeConick asked in the Op-Ed page of the ''Times''.<ref>''[[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.</ref>
 
 
The National Geographic Society responded that 'Virtually all issues April D. DeConick raises about translation choices are addressed in footnotes in both the popular and critical editions'.<ref>[http://press.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/index.jsp?pageID=pressReleases_detail&siteID=1&cid=1196944434958 Statement from National Geographic in Response to April DeConick's ''New York Times'' Op-Ed "Gospel Truth"].</ref>
 
 
[[André Gagné]], Professor at Concordia University in Montreal also questioned how the experts of the [[National Geographic Society]] (NGS)<ref>Kasser, Rudolphe, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst. ''The Gospel of Judas'' (Second Edition). Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2008. p.29.</ref> understood the role of [[Judas Iscariot]] in the Gospel of Judas.<ref>See [http://www.northernlife.ca/displayArticle.aspx?id=18573 Northern Life article entitled: Religion Professor Disputes Translation of Judas Gospel].</ref> His argument rests on the translation of the Greco-Coptic term ''apophasis'' as ''denial''. According to Gagné, the opening lines of the Judas Gospel should ''not'' be translated as "the secret word of '''''declaration''''' by which Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot" but rather as "the secret word of the '''''denial''''' by which Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot" (Gospel of Judas 33:1).<ref>[[André Gagné]], "[http://www.erudit.org/revue/ltp/2007/v63/n2/016791ar.pdf A Critical Note on the Meaning of APOPHASIS in Gospel of Judas 33:1]." ''Laval théologique et philosophique'' 63 (2007): 377-83.</ref> Gagné's conclusion is that this gospel is the story of the ''denial'' of true [[salvation]] for Judas.
 
 
An alternative possibility, that this gnostic tractate is a description of a transmutation of the inner "Judas" into the form of his mystic Master, Jesus Christ, is detailed in a book by author Robert Wahler, "The Bible says 'Saviors' -- Obadiah 1:21".<ref>Wahler, Robert. "The Bible say 'Saviors' -- Obadiah 1:21" Xlibris, 2012.</ref> "Judas" is not Judas Iscariot, who is fictional, but Jesus' brother James the Just, the successor to Jesus in all period church sources. All four canonical gospels have indications that the "Betrayal" scenario is a reversed, or inverted, record of the transfer of Mastership from Jesus to James, such as the infamous "kiss", paralleled in the gnostic First and Second Apocalypses of James, and the bread being passed to James in the now-lost Gospel According to the Hebrews. Matthew has "Judas" appear immediately after Jesus announces that his ('my' not 'their') "Deliverer" (see YLT version, not 'betrayer', Gr. "paradidomi") is at hand (26:46). The "young man" in Mark 14:51-52 "fleeing naked" (up, spiritually 'naked' as in the Gospel of Philip) is also linen-clad Nazarite James, "following" (succeeding, or "supplanting" Jesus, Psalm 41:9DRB/John 13:18) Jesus, who isn't yet ready to take over his duties as savior from him. The cutting off of the servant's right ear is allusion to mystic initiation into the mystery of the Word, the "Apophasis Logos" heard in meditation (Matt. 26:40) with the right ear,<ref name="RSSB.org">www.RSSB.org</ref> and referenced in other passages such as the "sword" from Jesus' "mouth" in Revelation.
 
 
The Gospel of Judas can be seen as a description of the process of James becoming a spiritual Master to carry on the role of Jesus with new disciples, whom 'Judas' will "rule over" as the "daemon [spirit] of the Thirteenth aeon" (p.&nbsp;46). The famous statement of Jesus' in the "Judas" gospel (The "Good news" of Judas), "You will exceed them all. For you will sacrifice the man who bears me" (p.&nbsp;57) is James merging into Jesus' form (also John 13:19, "I am he", and "Now is the Son of man [James] glorified", John 13:31). That is why he is told (p.&nbsp;56) that "no hand of a mortal human will sin against me" when Jesus tells him about what is to befall him when "tomorrow they will torment the man who bears me" (he gets stoned to death, later, as 'Judas' was dreaming in an earlier section). 'Judas', as the new Master, then ascends into the luminous cloud with Jesus and stops "gazing at Jesus" as they merge and into the Light of the Father. One thing April DeConick was right about in her dissent (above) is that Judas' 'star' "has ascended" in triumph, not "passed by" (56:23). He is the new Master, whose "horn has been raised [announcing his coming]" (56:21), whose "wrath has been kindled [against 'Saklas']" (56:22), and whose "heart has become strong" (56:24).
 
 
Several features of "Judas" tally with Sant Mat teachings:<ref name="RSSB.org"/> in "Sar Bachan",<ref>http://www.scribd.com/doc/30633238/The-Sar-Bachan-Prose-Swami-Ji-Maharaj</ref> most notably, the incipit's "Apophasis Logos" as "Shabd", or Christian "Word", and not the consensus "secret account of the revelation" (introduction, "Sar Bachan"), and the "region never called by any name", at page 47 in "Judas" as "Anami Desh" (the "no-name region", abode of God) in Sant Mat cosmology (page 27, "Sar Bachan").
 
 
The "five combatants" (p.&nbsp;55) or "five kings" (p.&nbsp;57) causing trouble in the "Judas" gospel have counterparts as lust, anger, greed, attachment, and vanity in Sant Mat, and also, notably, as the "five kings" slain without mercy by Joshua in his devotions in Joshua 10:22-27. This raises profound questions about the validity of orthodox Christian teaching, with an obvious mistranslation of "paradidomai" as "to betray" instead of the correct "to deliver" as elsewhere in the gospels (John 19:16), and the misinterpretation of something from the oral tradition that mystics would say Jesus Christ almost certainly did say: "For you will sacrifice the man [Judas] who bears me [Jesus]." Not knowing mysticism, the ones who heard these words in the first century didn't know what to make of them, so thus was born the Pauline orthodox gospel version of Judas as "traitor" of the now-sacrificial Jesus.
 
 
The payoff to Judas at page 58 appears as a sop to the canonical "betrayal" version, which was otherwise by then too well-known from the canonical gospels to leave out. What the scholars have not explained in the "handing over" version of the famous climax scene is why Jesus Christ would need any help turning himself into the authorities, or why the release of his soul required an execution. Instead of not offering any "historical insights" as one orthodox researcher, Dr. James Robinson, has said, the "Gospel of Judas" may actually indicate just how the canonical betrayal story began.
 
 
In 2006 [[Géza Vermes]] commented the gospel was "a typical product of Greek (Platonic)-Christian speculation" representing Judas "assisting the Jewish authorities’ arrest of Jesus and bringing about his liberation from the prison of his body."<ref>Géza Vermes, "The great ''Da Vinci Code'' distraction", in ''[[The Times]]'', 6 May 2006. Article reproduced in Vermes, ''Searching For The Real Jesus: Jesus, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Religious Themes'' (SCM Press, 2009). ISBN 978-0-334-04358-4</ref>
 
 
===Religious responses===
 
In his 2006 Easter address, [[Rowan Williams]], the [[Archbishop of Canterbury]], strongly denied the historical credibility of the gospel, saying<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4913634.stm Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon] BBC News, April 16, 2006</ref>
 
 
<blockquote>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.</blockquote>
 
 
He went on to suggest that the book's publicity derives from an insatiable desire for conspiracy theories:
 
 
<blockquote>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.</blockquote>
 
Later the same year, Biblical scholar Louis Painchaud argued that the text suggests Judas was actually [[demonic possession|possessed]] by a [[demon]].<ref>[http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_paleojudaica_archive.html#115972417984290035 À PROPOS DE LA (RE)DÉCOUVERTE DE L’ÉVANGILE DE JUDAS]</ref>
 
 
==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 suggest that the [[Vatican City|Vatican]] probably had another copy locked away, saying:
 
 
<blockquote>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.'<ref name="Schutten">{{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}}</ref> </blockquote>
 
 
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, 2006-<ref name="vatican1">{{cite 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 |archiveurl = http://web.archive.org/web/20060415103027/http://www.agi.it/english/news.pl?doc=200604132030-1238-RT1-CRO-0-NF11&page=0&id=agionline-eng.oggitalia <!-- Bot retrieved archive --> |archivedate = 2006-04-15}}</ref>
 
 
<blockquote>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." </blockquote>
 
 
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."<ref name="vatican2">{{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 | first=Stacy | last=Meichtry}}</ref> Even more explicitly, Father Thomas D. Williams, Dean of Theology at the ''Regina Apostolorum'' university in Rome, when asked:
 
 
<blockquote>Is it true that the Catholic Church has tried to cover up this text [Gospel of Judas] and other apocryphal texts?</blockquote>
 
 
answered as follows:
 
 
<blockquote>These are myths circulated by [[Dan Brown]] (who wrote/recorded them purely as part of a fictional novel) and numerous 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.<ref name="vatican3">{{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}}</ref></blockquote>
 
 
In AD 367, bishop Athanasius of [[Alexandria]] did urge Christians to reject “books called apocryphal.”<ref name="Athanasius">[[Athanasius of Alexandria|Athanasius]], [http://earlychurchtexts.com/main/athanasius/festal_letter_39.shtml]</ref> It is possible that, in response to letters such as this one, some Christians destroyed or buried non-canonical gospels.{{OR|date=July 2013}}
 
 
==See also==
 
* [[Lost work]]
 
* ''[[The Passover Plot]]'' (1965), a book by the [[Bible|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 [[Sweden|Swedish]] theologian claims that Judas is the real savior of mankind
 
* ''[[The Last Temptation of Christ]]'' (1951), a [[novel]] by [[Nikos Kazantzakis]] (and [[film]] by Martin Scorsese) 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
 
* ''[[A Time for Judas]]'' (1983), a novel by [[Morley Callaghan]] where plot is extremely similar to the content revealed in the Gospel of Judas
 
* ''[[Talmud Jmmanuel]]'' (1963), a purported ancient gospel found by [[Billy Meier]] and [[Isa Rashid]] which is said to have been written by Judas Iscariot.
 
 
==Notes==
 
{{reflist|2}}
 
 
==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, 2007. [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. Revised edition, 2009.
 
* Ehrman, Bart D. ''The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed''. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
 
* [[Craig A. Evans|Evans, Craig A.]] ''Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels''. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8308-3318-8.
 
* [[André Gagné|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.
 
* [[Simon J. Gathercole|Gathercole, Simon J.]] “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 (eds). ''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.
 
* 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)
 
 
==External links==
 
{{Commons}}
 
{{wikiquote}}
 
*[http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/pdf/GospelofJudas.pdf The Gospel of Judas] PDF Version hosted by nationalgeographic.com
 
*[http://www.coptica.ch/5801/816601.html CHERIX, P., ''Évangile de Judas''], 2007-2012, sur Coptica.ch - texte, index et traduction française
 
*[http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/ The Lost Gospel] – online feature from National Geographic
 
*[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 of Alexandria|Coptic Orthodox Church's]] response to the alleged "Gospel" of Judas
 
*[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4887222.stm Not so secret gospels] – BBC article
 
 
{{DEFAULTSORT:Judas}}
 
[[Category:Gnostic Gospels]]
 
[[Category:Sethian texts]]
 
[[Category:Cainite texts]]
 
[[Category:Judas Iscariot]]
 
[[Category:Coptic literature]]
 
[[Category:2nd-century manuscripts]]
 

Revision as of 15:45, 6 November 2013