National Geo releases so-called “Gospel of Judas”
The National Geographic Society has announced the discovery and translation of an ancient document that purports to tell the story of Jesus Christ from the perspective of Judas Iscariot.
“The Gospel of Judas,” an ancient Egyptian manuscript vilified by the early church as heresy, was released yesterday by National Geographic as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the past century.
“We are confident this is a piece of genuine, Christian apocryphal literature,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic executive vice president. “This is the most significant discovery in the last 60 years,” comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls, he added.
Purporting to tell the story of one of history’s most vilified men, the gospel is named after Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities for 30 silver coins.
The Judas gospel, in 1,000 fragments before it was recently assembled and translated, includes conversations between Jesus and his disciples about angelic hierarchies, cosmology, the underworld and Creation. Judas is given star billing in this account as Jesus’ chief confidant among the disciples, contrary to the portrayals in the four canonical Gospels.
“Judas is presented as the one to whom everything is told,” said Gregor Wurst, a German scholar who helped translate the document. “Judas was an anti-hero.”
It claims that Jesus and Judas planned Jesus’ Crucifixion so that the death of Christ’s weak, earthly body could release His spirit to enjoy the glories of heaven.
I hope I’m imagining the elated tenor of the comments made by scientists who seem quite eager to cast doubt on the Catholic Church’s teachings. I doubt it, but I can always hope.
Further into the article they tell you that the so-called “Gospel of Judas” was already known of. How? Because a highly placed Bishop in the Church at the time, one Irenaeus, bishop of what is now Lyon, wrote about the document in the year 180. He called it a “ficticious story.” But never mind that, and never mind that the scholars themselves admit there’s not a shred of evidence that this document is in any way connected to the betrayer of Christ. This single document which tells of events known and noted in numerous other texts but reverses the narrative completely and portray’s the death of Christ not as the sacrifice of the Son of God but as a self-inflicted martyrdom conspiracy is being given the same weight as all the other Gospels combined.
Ah, but there’s more. The document’s carbon dating shows the document to have been made between the years 220 and 340. Irenaeus wrote about it in 180. So what do we have, here, really? We have a document written in coptic that was written down by someone 200+ years after the events described and clearly not the original document spoken of by Irenaeus. This telling of the story claims that the part played by Judas in these events is completely different than that described by multiple witnesses to the events.
I can write a document today claiming that George Washington was a covert agent of a British cabal seeking the marginalization of King George III and was simply doing as these shadow Brits were telling him to do during the American Revolution. If some scholar finds that document 2000 years from now, would he be some brilliant visionary for claiming with a straight face that my scribblings should command the same level of belief that the dozens of documents refuting my claim are given? Hardly. He’d be a gullible fool grasping at straws to “prove” something the rest of his society doesn’t give credit to.
And so it is today. I have no doubt that the document is an authentic ancient text. But writing ill of someone in order to undercut their appeal to the masses isn’t something unique to American politics and it’s nothing new to humanity. I have great respect for the National Geographic Society whose journal I have happily paid for for years. To offer this text up as something more than a wonderful find of some written words from antiquity in the face of so much to the contrary shows a fine “poisoning the well” attitude there. They and the scholars who did the translation seem all too ready to discount the writings of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John and the assertions of a man far closer in time to the actual events than they are and accept the unsubstantiated writings of an unknown.
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