|april 25, 2006 (0023us)
the gospel of Judas
Gospel of Judas is all the rage in chat rooms. Please tell us about it!"
users of the blog email me.
Well, let's go! The Gospel of Judas written in Coptic (a language
descended from pharaonic Egyptian) is no novelty. The papyrus you read
about in the papers was found three decades ago, but a Gospel of Judas
had been known to exist since the second century! A lot of gospels used
to circulate then, whether poor and uninteresting like the Gospel of
Judas or very interesting like those ascribed to James, Bartholemew,
Nicodemus, Thomas, though they were not chosen as canonic sources.
What's so special about the Gospel of Judas is its utmost esotericism,
let alone its views on Judas and Jesus altogether opposing or
incompatible with the other sources: Judas portayed as a hero, Jesus as
an emotionally disturbed entity: taunting and angry, supernatural and
impatient by turns. "Christianity turned on its head," says religious
historian Ehrman. Other commentators, on the other hand, see it as "one
of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century" and "likely to create
a crisis of Christian faith."
My own opinion is not very commentative, because to me the Gospel of
Judas's no big deal!
The Gospel of Judas is not a gospel at all. It
is a recondite poem on a
Jesus totallly unrelated to the Bible's Jesus. It begins shortly before
Jesus' fatal last trip to Jerusalem. At a dinner table the disciples
say grace. Jesus laughs at them. As all of them but Judas are annoyed,
Jesus says that he has only laughed at their silly idea of pleasing
God. Judas then tells Jesus, "You are from the immortal realm of
Barbelo," the name that gnostics used to give an alleged "celestial
mother." Jesus replies, "Judas step away from the others so that I can
tell you the mysteries of the Kingdom."
Things are now growing
downright conter-evangelic. Jesus explains that Barbelo, whose realm
beyond the stars he belongs to, has a progeny, notably the
Self-Generated One, the real good God, who is not the Bible's God, not
the Old Testament's Eternal who is no friend of man, but rather the
cause if his pains. Jesus' mission is to urge men, those lucky enough
to understand that they ought to abandon the Bible's Eternal, to join
the blessed realm. Now we realize that he laughed at the disciples
because they kept on praying to Moses' God, who has never made men
happy. Jesus sort of consecrates Judas by telling him, "Lift up your
eyes, look at the stars. The star that leads the way is your star," and
then Judas agrees to turn over Jesus to the high priest, which is not a
tragical act, but a divine mission, and what's more probably useless,
as Jesus seems to be a pure spirit and the crucifixion likely to be
painless. The author of that gospel might suffer from delirium. Just
imagine Jesus depicting to Judas the quite bureaucratic organization of
the immortal realm. But the most counterevangelic side of the document
is found in this that you don't have to love your neighbor, but just
seek your star.
I dont think that the Gospel of Judas, a cock-and-bull-story, is
"likely to create a crisis of Christian faith." It may, however, be
likely to strengthen atheistic arguments, notably by adding one more
evidence of the fragile groundlessness of religions, whose scriptural
fundament is unstable and questionable, since paradoxical variants of
their sources are found now and then. This atheistic argument is not
absolutely unfounded, we have to admit. Which makes The Revelation
of Ares even more important, because I can guarantee its
genuineness and purity.