Monday, April 10, 2006

The "Gospel" of Judas

Posted on Friday was this story from Catholic News Service: Found 'Gospel of Judas' paints alternate portrait of Jesus' betrayer

This is, of course, a story that has been thrown about in the secular media for several days now. Taken from the CNS story:

The document, a third-century Coptic translation of what had originally been written in Greek before 180 A.D., paints Judas in a more sympathetic light than his well-known role as Jesus' betrayer in the canonical Gospels.

In it, Jesus said Judas would "exceed all" of the other disciples, "for you will sacrifice the man that clothes me" -- a reference to Judas' impending betrayal of Jesus. It is also an allusion to gnostic belief that held the spirit in higher esteem than the body, and that, through the liberation of Jesus' body, his spirit would be freed.

The Gospel of Judas was mentioned in a book condemning heresies that was written by St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, France, in 180 A.D.

A news brief from the same day deals bluntly with the find:

The Gospel of Judas was unimportant to most Christians when it was written hundreds of years ago and it is unimportant today, said a Jesuit professor who has convoked a series of ecumenical studies of the historical Jesus. Jesuit Father Gerald O'Collins, a longtime professor of Christology at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, said the text, like the gospels of Mary Magdalene and Philip, "does not merit the name 'Gospel.'"

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