The Gnospel Of Judas

Dead Sea ScrollsI’ve actually been fairly amused over the media hyperventilating precipitated by the “recent” “revelation” of the Gospel of Judas, a Gnostic text long thought lost to the vagaries of time, unearthed in 1978 and recently released for translation by the discoverers/owners in coordination with the National Geographic Society. I have seen talking head after talking head ask their “experts,” in hushed tones, whether this discovery doesn’t raise Serious And Important Questions For Christians, which the media feels are raised because the notion of a competing “Gospel” fits neatly into their notion that the early Church was filled with strife over canonical texts (see the Beliefnet piece linked below for commentary on that misguided notion). Had they bothered to ask actual theologians and/or Biblical scholars, they would have realized that the “Gospel” instead raises Questions About The Sanity Of The Questioner, As The Questions That Once Were Serious And Important Were Debunked As Heresy Over 1900 Years Ago. The hype reminds me of the media’s intimations of Serious Questions surrounding the release of Kevin Smith’s Dogma and those associated with Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, both of which were dismissed by serious scholars as the works of lapsed Catholics with little functional understanding of the underlying theological issues; Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code also falls under this Stupid Questions umbrella. The news, particularly of the television variety, has once again shown itself to be filtered pap produced by clueless people for clueless people and I look forward to more Serious Questions being Raised by the release of the DaVinci Code movie.
While the situation may be amusing for those “in the know”, it is worrying in one respect: there is a very real chance that many of the people that take the clueless media at its collective word could be led astray by their coverage.
(For more discussion on the issue, see Dave Kopel’s piece at The Volokh Conspiracy, as well as commentary at Pontifications, comments from Ben Witherington here, here, here and here, a summation of the issues at Beliefnet, and a discussion at Ann Althouse’s blog, which features the single best quote on the “Gospel” I’ve yet seen: “This isn’t just fiction, it’s Gospel fanfic, complete with Judas as the Gnostic MarySue.” Heh.)

One comment

  1. I don’t know. I’m not saying I lend ANY credence to some of the stuff in there (so now there are many levels of heaven, and different gods in each?), but I will say the following:
    1) Some of the stuff make sense. Jesus KNEW (or at least it is a tenent of our faith that he did) that his trip to the big city was his last. But he couldn’t just walk up to the authorities – he had to be Martyred (sp?), which in this case would require capture, otherwise it very well could have been viewed as suicide, which is bad MMkay.
    2) We know as fact that there were MANY different things going on in the early church, and in fact there was no single institution in charge. We know as fact that people pick and chose what they thought should be in the bible back then, and there was great debate. We also know (but I won’t say fact here) that early christianity was trying to “sell” itself to the masses, and would have used every means available to it, including sensationalist media to do it. So I find it ironic that many people are railing against “the media” for making a big deal out of this when in fact it was “the media” 2000 years ago that…made a big deal out of this. Christianity would have never grown without it.
    I love, LOVE history.

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