Category Archives: Judas


2012-06-04

17. Earl Doherty’s Response to Bart Ehrman’s Case Against Mythicism – Pt.17

by Earl Doherty

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Jesus Tradition in the Acts of the Apostles

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COVERED IN THIS POST:

  • Ehrman accepts Acts as reliable history
  • Acts as a second century product
  • Judas treated as an historical figure
  • More Aramaic tradition?
  • Quoting Paul quoting Jesus
  • The speeches in Acts
  • Adoptionism: Jesus becomes God’s son
  • Tracing the sequence of ideas about Jesus
  • Syncretizing two separate movements

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* * * * *

Canonical Sources Outside the Gospels and Paul

(Did Jesus Exist? pp. 106-113)

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In the midst of addressing the testimony to an historical Jesus in epistles both canonical and outside the New Testament, Bart Ehrman devotes several pages to the “Jesus Tradition in Acts.” In introducing Acts he fails to enlighten his readers that there is great uncertainty within mainstream scholarship over the historical reliability of the content of this document. Furthermore, he accepts without question that the author of Luke was the author of Acts, and thus what was known to the former was known to the latter.

Is Acts reliable history?

Ehrman fails to question any aspect of this ‘history’ of the spread of the faith. He treats everything from Acts as though it were part of known Christian tradition, and as reliable as anything else. . . .

– No matter that the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is nowhere mentioned in the epistles (despite their focus on inspiration and revelation).

– No matter that the figure and martyrdom of Stephen is nowhere attested to outside Acts.

– No matter that in Acts the settling of the issue of requirements for gentile converts is presented in an Apostolic Council which the authentic Pauline letters seem to know nothing about.

– Nor is the dramatic shipwreck episode at the end of Acts mentioned by early writers who talk about Paul, inviting us to see it as sheer fiction, emulating a popular element in second century Hellenistic romances. (The so-called “we” passages, often alleged to be from a Lukan journal, have also been identified as a common literary feature in recounting travel by sea, such as is found in earlier parts of Acts surrounding such travels.)

When and why was Acts written?

There is also no discussion about the dating of this document.

Ehrman places it in the most traditional position, some time in the 80s of the first century, shortly after the most traditional dating of the Gospel of Luke, c.80 CE. No mention is made that much critical scholarship has moved toward a date at least a couple of decades, sometimes more, into the second century (Townsend, Mack, O’Neill, Tyson, Pervo). And, of course, no mention that the first attestation to Acts comes around 175 in Irenaeus, with possibly an allusion to it a decade or so earlier in Justin. That such a ‘history’ could have lain unnoticed for so long if it had been written a century earlier (or more, for those who maintain it was written before Paul’s death), is not considered worthy of note.

As long ago as 1942, John Knox (Marcion and the New Testament) presented a compelling case that Acts was not written until the 140s or 150s, an ecclesiastical product to counter Marcion’s appropriation of Paul in which he used the letters to demonstrate that Paul operated independently of the Jerusalem apostles and with a very different view of Jesus.

Thus, Acts was written and designed to show the opposite, that Paul immediately upon his conversion subordinated himself to the pillars and subscribed to their teachings, lock, stock and circumcision. Which is why the speeches in Acts, clearly composed by the author, show the identical content between those of Peter and those of Paul. (Neither does Ehrman discuss the considerable discrepancies between Acts and the Pauline epistles.)

Independent witnesses to Judas’ death

Ehrman hardly covers himself in glory with his treatment of the figure of Judas in Acts. According to him,

the author of Acts has access to traditions that are not based on his Gospel account so that we have yet another independent witness. (DJE? p. 107)

Independent from whom? Was Luke the author of the Gospel “independent” of Luke the author of Acts? It seems that for Ehrman every saying or anecdote which can be found nowhere else, or fails to agree with some other version of that saying or anecdote, constitutes an “independent witness” to the historical Jesus. read more »


2010-12-29

Judas Did Not Exist

by Neil Godfrey
Иуда. 1874

Judas by Fyodor Bronnikov; Image via Wikipedia

Some people might be disturbed at the suggestion that Jesus did not exist, but surely all good people would be happily hopeful were they to hear an argument that very symbol of anti-Semitism has been nothing more substantial than an unhappy fiction. After reading Bishop John Shelby Spong’s Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes some years ago I was naive enough to conclude that most biblical scholars (of the nonfundamentalist variety) were well aware of the evidence that Judas was nothing more than a literary creation. I would still like to think that is the case, and that those scholarly works that speak of Judas as a real person of history who in fact did betray his master really are an aberrant minority in the current field of Gospel scholarship.

Don’t misunderstand, though. By no means does John Shelby Spong deny the historicity of Jesus.

Is there then no literal history that is reflected at the heart of the Christian story? Yes, of course there is; but it is not found in the narrative descriptions of Jesus’ last days. (p. 258)

But who was Judas?

  • Was he a person of history who did all of the things attributed to him? . . .
  • Or was there but a bare germ of truth in the Judas story, on which was heaped the dramatic portrait that we now find in the Gospels? Can we identify the midrashic tradition at work in the various details that now adorn his life? . . .
  • Or was he purely and simply a legendary figure invented by the Christians as a way to place on the backs of the Jewish people the blame for the death of Jesus?

(p. 259, my formatting)

The rest of the post follows Spong’s argument that Judas was created by “Christians [who] made Jews, rather than the Romans, the villains of their story. [Spong] suggest[s] that this was achieved primarily by creating a narrative of a Jewish traitor according to the midrashic tradition out of the bits and pieces of the sacred scriptures and by giving that traitor the name Judas, the very name of the nation of the Jews.” (p. 276)

It may be possible to quibble over Spong’s use of the term “midrash”, which some scholars define as something that is known among the Dead Sea Scrolls but not quite found in the Gospels. But regardless of the term used, the identification of the details of the Judas narrative in the Hebrew Scriptures remains a telling argument that Judas was a literary creation of the Gospel authors.

The post is in two parts. The first part here outlines the main argument for Judas being a late fictional creation and reflecting a mounting anti-semitism within the Church. The second part looks in more detail at the inconsistencies with which the different Gospels present the Judas narrative.

read more »


2010-11-29

The historical truth about Judas Iscariot

by Neil Godfrey
"The Kiss of Judas" is a traditional...

Image via Wikipedia

Maurice Casey has explained the motive of Judas Iscariot, his level of literacy, his religious interest, his worship customs before he met Jesus, and along the way has proved the historical factness of Mark’s account of Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. This is all included in Jesus of Nazareth.

Firstly, the key to understanding Judas’s motive lies in understanding his place of origin. Casey begins by explaining that his point is only a “may have been”, but by the time he finishes his explanation all such qualifiers have disappeared.

The last man in Mark’s list is Judas Iscariot. . . . This means that his name was Judah. His epithet [of Kerioth]. . . locates him as a man from a village in the very south of Judaea rather than Galilee. It is accordingly probable that he could speak and read Hebrew as well as Aramaic. His origins may have been fundamental to his decision to hand Jesus over to the chief priests, for he may have been more committed to the conventional running of the Temple than the Galilaean members of the Twelve. (pp. 191-2) read more »


2010-01-17

Other Fragments of the Gospel of Judas

by Neil Godfrey

The recent National Geographic translation of the Gospel of Judas was not based on all the fragments. Some of these had been apparently withheld, fraudulently.

April DeConick has linked to preliminary (private use only) translations by Professor Marvin Meyer of these other Tchacos fragments of the Gospel of Judas. See her post, Ohio Fragments of the Gospel of Judas.

An excerpt on how these fragments came to be separated from the main collection and their significance by Herb Krosney:

All that changed, dramatically, on March 17th, 2008, . . . Ferrini not only admitted that he had withheld materials in 2001.  He also . . . . returned to the court an hour or so later with a sort of lawyer’s briefcase with what appeared to be full page fragments inside.

These were delivered to the custody of the court-appointed receiver, . . . . No one in the know . . . . were allowed to see the photographs, . . . .

The photographs were sent to Prof. Gregor Wurst, . . . .

Gregor Wurst was amazed.  What he discovered within these materials was essentially the balance of the Gospel of Judas.  He could not show the photographs even to his closest colleagues – according to the obligations undertaken in good faith in Ohio.

I have discussed April DeConick’s views in outline previously, including a review of her book on the National Geographic translation of the Gospel of Judas. (See my Judas archive.)

April and others have given reasons for questioning the National Geographic translation that presents Judas as the hero.

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2008-07-13

The Twelve Disciples: their names, name-meanings, associations, etc

by Neil Godfrey

This post is nothing more than a bit of idle trivia per se. But maybe Kakadu Dreamtime wisdom somewhere says “Clever bower bird can find something among trivia to relocate so it has power to attract a mate.”

The data comes primarily (not exclusively) from two sources:

The Gospel of Mark as Midrash on Earlier Jewish and New Testament Literature by Dale and Patricia Miller (marked with *)

The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable is the Gospel Tradition by Robert M. Price (marked with *)

Both these works discuss some of the following name-meanings within a broader context of what the various gospel authors were attempting to convey through their characters. But for most part here I’m skipping that side of the discussion.

read more »


2007-12-11

Recent developments in the Gospel of Judas debate

by Neil Godfrey

Little doubt that the tenor of the April DeConick translation is winning open misere. The National Geographic and its translators have been paid their silver for betraying the real Judas. Suspect some would rather hang DeConick than themselves now they’ve been found out, though.

The National Geographic and one of its translators of the Gospel of Judas have replied to April DeConick’s criticism of their translation and publication that portrays Judas as the one disciple with the true spiritual understanding of Jesus. Actually that’s not strictly correct. At least one of the replies seemed to studiously avoid DeConick’s specific criticisms.

There are two discussions on the internet addressing this debate between DeConick and the National Geographic translation.

1. The April DeConick Reinterprets the Gospel of Judas thread on the Biblical Criticism and History section of the Internet Infidels discussion board. This thread goes back to late October but is well worth scanning for background alerts on the underlying issues of treatment of the original evidence, past form of some of the players, in particular custodians of source documents, etc. — e.g. point blank refusal to make public the full size images of original manuscripts.

2. Of course there is also April DeConick’s latest blog post with discussion of the most recent New York Times response by the National Geographic and one of the translators. (See also earlier responses to DeConick’s translation and post to the New York Times on the same blog.)


2007-11-20

“We need a good Judas”

by Neil Godfrey

April DeConick’s blog has linked to a Macleans.ca article about The Thirteenth Apostle in which two motives underlying the National Geographic’s publication of the “good Judas” translation of the Gospel of Judas.

In my own comments on DeConick’s book I referenced her discussion of reasons why some people want to find a good motive for Judas

  • She suggests with Professor Louis Painchaud that since World War 2 and the Holocaust, and the widespread anti-Semitism preceding those years, there has been a powerful cultural need to absolve our collective guilt over the treatment of the Jews. And this compulsion has led us to reappraise our portrayals of the bad Jew/Judah/Judas embedded in our foundational Christian myth. So much for Maloney and Archer’s collaboration on their fictional cum theological treatise of their Judas gospel!

This point is underscored in the Macleans.ca article:

When she discussed her findings at a conference, one colleague responded, “I don’t see why Judas can’t be good; we need a good Judas.” DeConick says, “I stopped in my tracks. I realized that people were reading Judas positively because they wanted, however unconsciously, a good Judas. Everything that could be tweaked in that direction was. I think our communal psyche, knowing how Judas the betrayer always functioned as a justification for atrocities against Jews, wants to explain him, wants to take the guilt of Christ’s death from him.” Even if we have to make it up.

There should be nothing surprising about this. Albert Schweitzer long ago famously noted that scholars who write about the historical Jesus are writing about the Jesus they want to see. The evidence is so scant that it is quite possible to construct from it a political revolutionary Jesus, a miracle working magician Jesus, a mystical other-wordly Jesus, a Cynic sage, a Pharisee, . . . See Peter Kirby’s Historical Jesus theories site for a good coverage. This fact alone ought to be a flag to tell us that there is something fundamentally wrong with studies about Jesus. What other historical character can raise such opposing arguments as to his purpose and teachings? Does not such extreme and opposing diversities even slightly hint at many self-important onlookers attempting to describe the clothes of the naked emperor?

But the problem is not simply the paucity of the evidence. It is the cultural matrix in which such studies feed and breathe. Can anyone really imagine a scholarly view of Jesus that came down on the side of a view expressed in some of the noncanonical texts — maybe one that went so far as to suggest that the original Jesus was none of the above but as much a metaphorical construct as Adam, a derivation of Wisdom, or an Illuminator who evolved to take on human and historical trappings? Those who do attempt such a model of Christian origins quickly find themselves on the outside of academia’s circled wagons. There is simply too much at stake, it seems, for anything more than bold claims that the evidence is too strong to doubt the basic orthodox (really Lucan-Eusebian) model despite all its scholarly nuances that and mutations. I have not seen any of those bold claims about thorough examination of the evidence for a historical Jesus at the core of any model of Christian origins justified. Each time I have attempted to follow through and examine them I find nothing but simplistic dot-points of arguments that I know have been either found to be circular or without foundation.

It would be nice to think that the controversy that will hopefully avalanche from the clash of the National Geographic’s and April DeConick’s translations of Judas will prise open a wider debate about not just the role of Judas in our culture and scholarship, but the very origins of Christianity itself.

Till then, maybe we need to find a document and a publisher that gives us a good Goliath. Something to redress the post-war bifurcation of anti-Semitism that has transferred the fundamentally bad Semite to the Arab leaving the Jew the fundamentally good one. Why not? The cause is good. The intellectual honesty is no less than that which sees a “need for a good Judas”.

(I’m joking — about the need for a good Goliath thing. We need human David’s and human Goliath’s or human creator of these characters , not actors in a some biblical pantomine.) It appears to me as an outsider that biblical scholarship has, with rare exceptions, failed to accept responsibility for wider cultural enlightenment.

But I should be philosophical. Isn’t this the way history has always worked? Isn’t that the historical job of intellectuals? To support the status quo? And the myths it finds so useful to support all sorts of behaviours?


2007-11-11

Critical edition of the Gospel of Judas / Tchacos Codex

by Neil Godfrey

Roger Pearse has noted the very quiet release of the critical edition of the gospel in contrast to the sensational publicity of the initial translation.

Check his The Coptic Ps.Gospel of Judas (Iscariot) site.

Roger has compiled there a vast list of reports that together show the “curious backstory” to the whole saga leading to the National Geographic’s release of the gospel.

DeConick comments on the critical edition in her book:

At this time, the critical edition of the Tchacos Codex has just been released by National Geographic. Now begins the long and arduous process of critically evaluating the transcription against the photographs and the originals. So any translation remains provisional until this evaluation is completed. (p.65)


Related posts



2007-11-10

Mark’s attack on the eucharist?

by Neil Godfrey

I have been rethinking Mark’s Last Passover scene in the light of:

  1. the obligations guests have towards their host at a meal
  2. the two earlier feedings of the 5000 and the 4000
  3. other themes found in common between Mark’s gospel and the Gospel of Judas
  4. and the inclusio structure in which the eucharist is narrated
  5. the original meaning of the (Pauline) eucharist underlying 1 Corinthians 10-11

#3 — my recent reading of DeConick’s The Thirteenth Apostle — kicked me into bringing together other perspectives on the eucharist I had been playing with for some time. It was as if the Gospel of Judas as translated by DeConick is the final licence to run with my suspicions that Mark, too, was attacking the eucharist ritual as savagely as he was the Twelve themselves.

read more »


Gospel of Judas — Opposing translations and their significance

by Neil Godfrey

The National Geographic had a best seller on its hands when it published the Gospel of Judas that presented Judas as the hero of the Twelve rather than the villain as he is in the canonical gospels.

But the significance is not just that in one version Judas is a hero and in the other he is as bad as ever. DeConick’s translation (see previous post regarding her book) gives us a second century gospel that was ridiculing that branch of Christianity that claimed descent from the Twelve Apostles and that has bequeathed us the “orthodox” teaching about the sacrifice of Jesus.

National Geographic has bound to secrecy those scholars it hired to do the work of translation. Those scholars are unable to answer questions from other scholars about translation issues and what eventually appeared in the National Geographic publication of the gospel.

In at least one instance, however, DeConick reports that the National Geographic translators have reconsidered their translation and independently come to her view of a corrected translation (p.54 of The Thirteenth Apostle)

April DeConick has published her translation of the Coptic gospel and compared it with some of the more sensational passages in the National Geographic version. Unlike the translators for the National Geographic, she is able to discuss the issues behind her translations, and her discussions with scholarly peers in regard to the translations, both hers and those appearing in National Geographic.

Here are some of the more notable contrasts between National Geographic’s and April DeConick’s translations:

Spirit or Demon (p. 44.21 of the gospel)

National Geographic

And when Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to him, “You thirteenth spirit, why do you try so hard?”

DeConick’s correction

When Jesus heard (this), he laughed. He said to him, “Why do you compete (with them), O Thirteenth Demon?”

DeConick further outlines the history of the word for demon (daimon), explaining that it had lost the benign meaning it held in the early classical era and had taken on the negative attributes we associate with the word in later Greek philosophical writings. More specifically, “When the word daimon is used in Gnostic sources, it is applied frequently and consistently to the rebellious Archons and their malicious assistants.”

“You will exceed all of them” or “You will do worse than all of them” (p. 56.18 of the gospel)

National Geographic

But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man who bears me.

DeConick’s correction

Yet you will do worse than all of them. For the man that clothes me, you will sacrifice him.

The National Geographic translation implies that Judas is destined to perform the greatest and most heroic act by sacrificing Jesus for the salvation of all. But DeConick believes the context in the gospel requires another understanding: Jesus is saying that Judas will “exceed” in the sense of “do worse” than all of these by offering the body of Jesus himself for a sacrifice.

DeConick’s explanation for her disagreement with the National Geographic translation is that the critical words take their meaning from its context. The discussion preceding these lines is negative, but lines are missing from the text, so the National Geographic is able to begin the passage with a new meaning. DeConick argues that despite the missing lines the negative discussion earlier justifies her correction to the negative meaning.

How negative was the earlier passage? It speaks of offering sacrifices to Saklas (a chief Archon assisting the Demiurge or lower god of this world). The specific nature of the sacrifices described earlier were sacrifices of children and wives. These sacrifices were accompanied by homosexual acts. Jesus is saying that Judas will “exceed” in the sense of “do worse” than all of these by offering the body of Jesus himself for a sacrifice.

Other translation differences

National Geographic’s “Set me apart for” becomes “Separated me from” (p. 4617)

“Could it be that my seed is under the control of the rulers?” becomes “At no time may my seed control the archons!” (p. 46.6-7)

“They will curse your ascent to the holy [generation]” becomes “And you will not ascend to the holy [generation]” (p. 46.25)

“Your star has shone brightly” becomes “Your star has ascended” (p. 56.23) (The significance of this change is that the latter corrected translation means the fate of Judas is sealed. The meaning is negative in this context.)

Correcting the National Geographic Myths about Judas (pp. 60-61 of The Thirteenth Apostle)

April DeConick sums up the sensational but false attributes of Judas sold by the National Geographic and compares their claims with her discussions with peers about this translation, and with her own revised translation. In my paraphrase:

  • Judas is the most enlightened of the gnostics — actually a demon
  • Judas ascends to the holy generation — actually Judas is separated from the holy generation and will not ascend there
  • Judas performs a righteous act by betraying Jesus (Jesus wants to be betrayed) — Judas does the worst thing of all by sacrificing Jesus
  • Judas will be able to enter the divine realm — actually Judas cannot enter the heavenly house
  • As the thirteenth, Judas surpasses the twelve disciples and is blessed — Judas does far worse than the twelve and will lament and mourn his fate

I have only sketched a barest outline of what DeConick writes here. But enough, I hope, to give the general idea that we need to move beyond the National Geographic publication of this gospel.


Related post: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says

Critical edition of the Gospel of Judas / Tchacos Codex — which includes link to Roger Pearse’s site, The Coptic Ps.Gospel of Judas (Iscariot)

Also Mark’s attack on the eucharist draws in part on DeConick’s Gospel of Judas.



2007-11-09

What the Gospel of Judas Really Says — April DeConick’s new book

by Neil Godfrey

I have just finished reading April DeConick‘s new book, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says. So many comments need to be made directed at so many interests:

  1. Firstly, the book is easily accessible to the lay reader even though it discusses technical translation issues of the Coptic, as well as some of the history of the scholarship relating to the Gospel of Judas and its broader context.
  2. Secondly, for most of us who have read the National Geographic translation of the Gospel of Judas, be prepared for a radical re-think of what we have read there. The National Geographic translation depicts Judas as the only true saint; DeConick’s, as the arch demon himself — or at least destined to join with him in the end.
  3. Which immediately raises the question: Why would a gospel make the central character a demon? DeConick shows how the apparent structure and thematic development of the gospel aligns it with an agenda opposing that Christianity that traced its genealogy back to the Twelve Apostles. Like the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Judas was a parody and attack on apostolic Christianity and its doctrine of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
  4. Fourthly, April DeConick proposes several reasons to explain such oppositional translations:
    1. She explains in easy to read terms the condition of the text and possible variations in how the original Coptic could be read;
    2. She suggests with Professor Louis Painchaud that since World War 2 and the Holocaust, and the widespread anti-Semitism preceding those years, there has been a powerful cultural need to absolve our collective guilt over the treatment of the Jews. And this compulsion has led us to reappraise our portrayals of the bad Jew/Judah/Judas embedded in our foundational Christian myth. So much for Maloney and Archer’s collaboration on their fictional cum theological treatise of their Judas gospel!
    3. DeConick even has an interesting section that surveys the different films of Jesus before and since World War 2 and compares particularly the portrayal of Judas in those pre- and those post-Holocaust movies — in the pre-war movies he was always an evil villain through and through; in the post-war movies he has been depicted with more understanding and compassion — a well-meaning idealist who just happened not to think the same way as Jesus;
    4. DeConick gives enough information about the transmission of the text and the role of National Geographic in its initial public translation to alert the reader to possible motives and controls at work other than those normally associated with scholarly professionalism.
  5. The book gives a clear overview of the nature of the Christian world in the second century, showing that Apostolic Christianity (claiming descent from the Twelve Apostles) was only one branch; others explained are Marcionites, Ebionites, the Church of the New Prophecy (Montanism) and those diverse others traditionally labeled Gnostics.
  6. Sixthly, the book gives one of the most readable introductions to the intricacies of (Sethian) gnosticism I have ever read. Anyone who has started out cold and attempted to grasp the cosmology of the Sethian gnostics from the Nag Hammadi texts alone as they are presented in the most accessible translations will appreciate this the most.
  7. For Gospel of Mark lovers such as myself I was especially interested in DeConick’s comparisons with the theology and attitudes towards the Twelve Disciples in the Gospel of Mark. My mind cartwheeled as I read. What needs to be worked through, I was thinking, was not just the similarities between the Judas and Mark Gospels’ dismissiveness of the Twelve, but the fact that both gospels are addressing in many ways the same theological (and church genealogical) issues. Could they really be separated by as much as 100 years as orthodox datings propose?
    1. Also closely related to the Gospel of Mark is the way both that gospel and the Judas gospel demonstrate that it is the demons who have the superior understanding of who Jesus really was. (Even Peter’s confession appears tainted with some form of demon-possession given that Jesus calls him Satan at the same moment as his confession.) Even the demons understand more than the apostles!
  8. DeConick provides a clear and easy to read account of the “orthodox” reaction to the theology expressed in the Gospel of Judas. This culminated with Origen’s formulation of the doctrine of Jesus’ sacrifice as a ransom and atonement to trick the Devil and rescue humanity from his power.
  9. The Thirteenth Gospel was one of the very few books where I was drawn to read all the appendices:
  1. DeConick’s annotated bibliography of the Gospel of Judas, second-century Christianity, the New Testament Apocrypha and Gnosis and the Gnostics;
  2. her annotated synopsis of Sethian Gospel literature;
  3. her annotated citations of the testimony from the Church Fathers on the Gospel of Judas;
  4. and finally a Q&A section with April DeConick. This summed up some of the common questions asked about the Gospel of Judas (why is it appearing only now, why such opposing translations, what is the position of other scholars given such opposing translations, early Christianity and the role of Judas. . . .)

I can see myself returning regularly to this book in future references on this blog. (Especially in relation to my special interest in studies relating to the Gospel of Mark and Christian origins.)

Almost forgot — Yes, the book contains a complete and new translation — with commentary — of the Gospel of Judas.

NOTE: Wikipedia’s article on The Gospel of Judas is in urgent need of updating since April DeConick’s book!

P.S.

The only point I did not like about the book was one that is really a matter of my own idiosyncratic taste. The offending “no no” paragraphs were an attempt to justify the relevance of the gospel to today in terms of its addressing issues of authority — does it come from without, or from our consciences within? That might appeal to those who like to immerse themselves in the minds and philosophies of the ancient and who attempt to bring them into our modern questions. But for one such as myself I find no need for justifying my interest other than the fact that the gospel helps inform us better of the origins and nature of early Christianity.


Related posts found at my Judas category

See also Opposing translation — further discussion of one section of DeConick’s book.

Critical edition of the Gospel of Judas / Tchacos Codex — which includes link to Roger Pearse’s site, The Coptic Ps.Gospel of Judas (Iscariot)



2007-10-09

Mark’s Judas problem: binding the kiss and the sword

by Neil Godfrey

(updated 6:50 am)

If Mark wanted to show that the Twelve were not reliable witnesses and that they collectively withered and died at the Passion of Jesus, he had a problem with Judas. (For background discussion to this see my earlier post.)

Judas (always labeled “one of the twelve” as if that association alone were enough to taint his reputation) worked well enough to stage a betrayal scene. But the betrayal also created a problem. read more »


2007-10-05

Why Judas was singled out after Mark’s gospel

by Neil Godfrey

Judas was not much worse than the other disciples in the earliest gospel but by the time we read about him in Matthew, Luke and John he has become the arch villain. In the first gospel a case could be made that Judas was not singularly worse than the rest of the Twelve. read more »


2007-05-29

Tales of the 2 Judas gospels

by Neil Godfrey

And one more — again a set of Rachel Kohn Spirit of Things interviews — this time discussions of the “real” gospel of Judas as recently made public, AND the novel! Why not! I haven’t had time to catch up with this program myself but I’m sure it will have much of interest — in both halves. read more »