I’m going to begin keeping a running track of informative articles about the re-discovered Gospel of Judas. There are important implications for Christ-followers today. While being open-minded, let’s also not be open-ended. There were strong reasons that the early church vetoed the Gospel of Judas.
The Gospel of Judas was condemned by early church leaders as heretical, as was that of Thomas and Mary. Here’s what Irenaeus (c. 135 – c. 200) said about it:
Others again declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves. On this account, they add, they have been assailed by the Creator, yet no one of them has suffered injury. For Sophia was in the habit of carrying off that which belonged to her from them to herself. They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas. [Refutation of All Heresies I.31.1]
The early church was very aware of other writings about Jesus that had their own "spin" much as we encounter today. The fact that this has been the only parchment found to date of the Gospel of Judas (in contrast to thousands of parchments and fragments of the other New Testament documents) should cause us to pause. Just as modern-day works of revision fade from the scene quickly due to their unreliability or political agenda, so too have older works faded from the scene which were not regarded as truthful, valuable, or honest. I find it somewhat humorous that this "missing piece of the puzzle" suddenly offers up Judas as not being a traitor, and not just being a good guy, but actually the only disciple that really gets it. Yea. Read the text.
With all that being said, I am definitely fascinated. I hope you are too. It means that our world is once again alit with a flame of interest in Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity. Sieze the day and share how much Jesus means to you!
Links and references of interest:
- Actual text of Gospel of Judas – It contains far more weird, gnostic stuff than the media is letting on.
- New York Times – very balanced piece
- Scott McKnight’s blog, Jesus Creed is beginning an ongoing look at these findings. VERY good! A MUST visit. He has since added Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
- Wikipedia’s article
- Mark Robert’s commentary – This is excellent and references the source materials available on National Geographic’s website (which in and of itself is amazing! You’ve got to go to the timeline and explore it!). Mark has been writing a long series on the Da Vinci Code.
- Ben Witherington’s blog Part 1, Part 2
- More info than you’d ever want at The Coptic Gospel of Judas
- Mark Daniel’s blog
Oh, and get ready for the marketing campaign! Judas stuff galore. Oboy. I can see it now… WWJD? all over again. With a twist.
Follow the money trail…
Mark Roberts made this astute observation on his blog article listed above…
You may wonder why the National Geographic Society has waited to this
moment to release the document and to air the television program. James
Robinson offers what I believe to be a telling insight. In the AP story I mentioned earlier,
Robinson " speculated the timing of the release is aimed at
capitalizing on interest in the film version of "The Da Vinci Code" ? a
fictional tale that centers on a Christian conspiracy to cover up a
marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene." There’s no question in my
mind that this is part of what lies behind the timing of the release of
the Gospel of Judas and the related television program. This is good
Again, I would encourage you to use this "news" as a wonderful opportunity to dialogue with others about your faith. The media is actually helping you! Be informed about the Gospel of Judas, but be passionate about what the Gospel of Jesus has done for you.
More to come…