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The Gospel of Judas by Rodolphe Kasser

The Gospel of Judas (2006)

by Rodolphe Kasser (Translator), Judas Gospel Author

Other authors: Bart D. Ehrman (Commentary), Craig A. Evans (Contributor), François Gaudard (Translator), Marvin W. Meyer (Editor), Gesine Schenke Robinson (Contributor)1 more, Gregor Wurst (Translator)

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Jury definitely still out on this one ..... ( )
  GinnyBelveal | Dec 8, 2013 |
The Gospel of Judas, by its very name, sounds dangerous and heretical. What could the arch-traitor of history teach us?

Well, there isn't too much. To be fair, the text was in horrible condition when it was finally in the hands of researchers, and it took an astonishing effort to put the thing back together. There are still many gaps in the text, and a lot is speculation. But what remains is tantalizing, and makes you want more.

The book, some 50 incomplete verses in 40 pages provide a brief portrait of Gnosticism. Here's how the story goes: Judas, the one of the twelve disciples, was ordered by Jesus to 'betray' and kill him. Christ tells him some of the secrets of Holy and Secret Wisdom, mainly that:

1) the creator of the earth is not good, and not all-powerful.
2) That all creation is imperfect and inherently leading to suffering
3) Through death we might be separated from the imperfect physical bodies and move to a more perfect spiritual existence

Sounds a lot like some Eastern philosophies rather than the Christianity we know. No wonder books like these were suppressed! Such teaching is anti-authority, and criticizes institutions and churches for perverting Christianity.

The essays are a very useful addition and should not be passed over.

An fascinating start, but more study is needed. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
This volume presents a full English translation of the surviving text of the Gospel of Judas from the Codex Tchacos, with evaluative and interpretive essays by several conspicuous modern scholars of Gnosticism, all of whom (except for Ehrman) were party to the edition presented. That word "surviving" is key, because, as Rodolphe Kasser details in his contribution, the Codex Tchacos was subjected to the most pernicious effects of antiquities speculators in the 20th century. Much of the text is now missing or illegible as a result of damage sustained in the last few decades.

Like the Nag Hammadi Codices, to which it is clearly kin, the Codex Tchacos appears to consist of Coptic translations of Greek texts. The Gospel of Judas is the third of these, and represents an expression of Sethian Gnosticism. Gregor Wurst, in his useful essay making the case for identifying this text with the "Gospel of Judas" mentioned by the ancient heresiologist Iranaeus of Lyon, suggests that it is one of the earliest such texts available to us today. In fact, I think he sets a false limit on how early it could be. He writes that it could not have been written earlier than the canonical Acts of the Apostles (ca. 93 C.E.), because it refers to the event of Judas' replacement among the twelve apostles. But surely this overlooks the possibility that Judas and Acts could share a narrative source -- or even (though I doubt it) both be grounded in prior facts! The earliness of the Gospel of Judas and its likely translation from a Greek original are reasons to hold out hope that a more complete version may someday be recovered.

Bart Ehrman's essay is a primer of wide scope regarding the contents of the Gospel of Judas, which presumes a minimum of prior knowledge on the part of the reader. (One conspicuous feature of the text that Ehrman fails to note is its strident rejection of ritual sacramentalism.) The concluding essay by Meyer is more sophisticated, and helpfully draws comparisons with other literature of ancient Gnosticism, as well as Hellenized Judaism and Middle Platonism. All of the essays are very accessible, and the whole book can be read in just a few sittings.

Even in its degraded present condition, the Gospel of Judas is treasure comparable to the most provocative of the Nag Hammadi texts, or to the Bruce Codex materials, preserving scripture that was valued by the Gnostics who were eventually suppressed by what became Christian orthodoxy. This book serves as a well-constructed introduction for popular audiences to the good news of the man who sacrificed Jesus. May they go and do likewise.
3 vote paradoxosalpha | Feb 9, 2012 |
While I'm a bit disappointed with myself for having taken so long to finally get around to reading this, I am equally disappointed with the essays offered as commentary in this book. Reading the actual text of the "Gospel of Judas" in full was a very interesting experience. It is certainly filled with insights and potential insights into the relationship between Platonism and Christianity in the first several centuries of the latter, and, of course, of the nature of the syntheses of these two philosophies in the various gnostic sects. Unfortunately, I think that these insights have far too much potential to be overlooked or forgotten about in favor of the sensationalism and nonsense that has steadily become the standard among academics who focus on early Christianity. I was particularly disappointed by Bart Ehrman's essay here, in which he does a great job of covering some of the basic facts and yet ends with nonsensical, controversial conclusions with no relation to the facts stated. ( )
  davidpwithun | Sep 16, 2011 |
A fascinating story of how the gospel of Judas was found, including a preliminary translation of the ancient text.
  Aerow | Aug 15, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kasser, RodolpheTranslatorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Judas Gospel Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Ehrman, Bart D.Commentarysecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evans, Craig A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaudard, FrançoisTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meyer, Marvin W.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, Gesine SchenkeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wurst, GregorTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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When the bound papyrus pages of this lost gospel finally reached scholars who could unlock its meaning, they were astounded. Here was a gospel that had not been seen since the early days of Christianity, and which few experts had even thought existed--a gospel told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, history's ultimate traitor. And far from being a villain, the Judas that emerges in its pages is a hero. In this radical reinterpretation, Jesus asks Judas to betray him. In contrast to the New Testament Gospels, Judas Iscariot is presented as a role model for all those who wish to be disciples of Jesus. He is the one apostle who truly understands Jesus. This volume is the first publication of the remarkable gospel since it was condemned as heresy by early Church leaders, most notably by St. Irenaeus, in 180.--From publisher description.… (more)

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