The Gospel of Judas  

Monday, April 10, 2006

The National Geographic Channel had an awesome presentation last night about the Gospel of Judas. If you saw it, you know what I mean.

The show was great, but you know me. I get curious about these things. So I read a translation (linked bove).

Quite interestingly, there wasn't much in this particular gospel that I would disagree with. In fact, it would confirm my instinct that the teachings of Jesus may have been much more intense than what we study in the "accepted" scripture. Judas's account of Jesus's description of heaven is nothing short of confusing, though damage to the manuscript definitely comes into play. The story ends at the point of the betrayal.

This would make perfect sense if Judas passed soon after betraying his master, but who would then live on to tell the story? Surely, Judas would not have had time to tell this whole story before offing himself in a tree the same day, or would he? Perhaps Judas managed to tell someone his account of his private conversations with Jesus before becoming so stricken with grief that he committed suicide. Of course, Judas hanging himself isn't the only account of his death that scripture gives. Maybe Judas's true fate in this world can simply not be known.

If there is no account of the crucifixion in this gospel, then what exactly is its message? If Judas died before Jesus, he would have had no knowledge of the resurrection to account, and would therefore have spent his energy disclosing the secrets Jesus had told him and delivering the message he believed Jesus wanted him to deliver.

I personally learned two lessons from my reading of the Gospel of Judas. First, I learned that I am not the only one who has believed that Judas was destined (chosen by God) to deliver Jesus to the Sanhedrin, and that in fulfilling this prophecy (reiterated by Jesus in the Gospel of Judas), Judas was not committing an evil deed per se, but instead following those orders God had given him - following what many modern Christians call "God's plan". apparently Judas believed the same thing himself, and if his account is correct, Jesus also believed the same thing.

Second, I learned that despite the demonization of these gospels by the early church, there is still much to be learned about Jesus and his people by reading them, even if you don't agree that they were divinely inspired. Much of what apprears in these texts is similar to what already appears in the more accepted gospels.

Of course, I had been open to this being the case for some time, and even considered reading some of these writings before. Today, I had a little time to do it, so I did.

Yeah, OK. This wasn't the political rant I was thinking of this morning. I'm just as pissed as any one else that a bunch of illegal aliens are converging on an American city and the INS is standing idly by.

But hey, why not blog about something positive? Everyone already knows how I feel about illegal aliens. Religion hasn't been much of a topic here.