The Gospel of Judas

Photo courtesy of nicholasbarlow1

"An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of what is known as the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced after 1,700 years. The text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported today. In this version, Jesus asked Judas, as a close friend, to sell him out to the authorities, telling Judas he will "exceed" the other disciples by doing so."

From: 'Gospel of Judas' Surfaces After 1,700 Years - New York Times

Is this a big deal? I guess it's news from the perspective that it does suggest that there was, as there is now, a diversity of faith in 300AD. That sort of explodes the nostalgic thinking that the "olden days were better," which permeates a lot of our modern American (and Christian) thinking (the 1950's ideal for example or the "early church" ideal).

But from a theological perspective it's not new. The idea of the Gnostics - that physical and spiritual are separate and different, bad and good, respectively - is an old persistent deviation from what Jesus taught. Other books of the canonical Bible put forward theological defenses of Gnosticism earlier than 300AD. The gnostic idea still is with us today, I believe it is the reason why there is "Christian radio" vs "radio" and "Christian bookstores" rather than just "bookstores". The Christian stamp has to be put on something physical that is inherently bad (according to gnostic tradition) before we can embrace it. In contrast the scriptures teach that creation was created uniformly "good" and warped through interaction with sinful people. The role of Jesus was to redeem people and creation, and the role of people is to accept that redemption from Jesus and follow Jesus' example in redeeming people and creation in response.

I doubt the Judas book is accurate as Judas committed suicide after betraying Jesus. An unlikely scenario given that Jesus has called you the greatest disciple. Whereas the other disciples went on to do incredible things in building the early church, Judas disappears from the record.

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