Skip to comments.'Gospel of Judas' Called An Authentic Fabrication
Posted on 04/07/2006 6:38:55 AM PDT by presidio9
The National Geographic Society released the manuscript of what is called "The Gospel of Judas" yesterday. By National Geographic's own account, a team first assembled by the Maecenas Foundation has been working on the text since 2001. As a result of press releases tied to publication of the text, widespread coverage has repeated the claim that this is an authentic and unique representation of the historical relationship between Jesus and Judas, and that Jesus encouraged Judas to betray him.
Despite the careful work by scholars that has gone into a document of obvious interest, I have to express disappointment when I see National Geographic stoop so low into hyperbole as to distort the significance of this discovery.
In its release, National Geographic repeatedly states that it has "authenticated" the document. Several press outlets have simply repeated those claims. But "authentic" turns out to be a slippery term as used by the National Geographic Society. No scholar associated with the find argues this is a first century document, or that it derives from Judas. The release says the document was "copied down in Coptic probably around A.D. 300," although later that is changed to "let's say around the year 400." This amounts to saying that "The Gospel of Judas" is an authentic fabrication produced by a group of Gnostics in Egypt. Gnostics believed that their direct knowledge of heaven permitted them to understand what no one else knew, or could know by historical knowledge. For ancient Gnostics to believe in their own powers of divination is charming; for their flights of imagination to be passed off as historical knowledge in our time is dishonest or self-deceived.
During the second century, a theologian of the Catholic Church named Irenaeus referred to a writing named "The Gospel of Judas." Was that
(Excerpt) Read more at nysun.com ...
No. More like find a copy of the CBS national guard memos 1000 years from now.
Judas never wrote that stuff. As someone else pointed out here, he hung himself before he had time to write a "gospel".
First, the website you link to constitutes one man's opinion - and his opinion is definitely toward the anti-orthodox extreme. His use of evidence almost overwhelmingly cites Jesus Seminar associates and supporters - many of whom have never done professional work and who in total comprise less than one-tenth of one percent of NT scholars.
Second, even he admits that 22 of the 27 NT documents fall within a 1st century range of composition.
I'll also point out that the more work that is done, the earlier the dates seem to get - 30 years ago a significant minority of NT scholars dated Revelation to after 110 - now almost no one dates it later than 96.
Most of the arguments against the pastorals' 1st century provenance are based on the assumption that the Church had no hierarchy by the end of the 1st century - but research continues to confirm that the Church was well-organized from early on. Which makes good historic sense, since local synagogues indubitably had highly articulated structures of responsibility.
The only canonical NT works that are unequivocally first century are some of the epistles, Matthew, Mark, and the Apocalypse of John. In contrast 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter are unequivocally second century.
Whether or not you agree with the voluminous work referenced on the Early Christian Writings site, its existence clearly contradicts what you wrote.
//'Gospel of Judas' Called An Authentic Fabrication//
I think we might have a DanRathersm in there somewhere.
"So what's the date of the earliest surviving manuscript of the canonical Gospels?"
Most believe he oldest "new testament" writings are those by Peter (his letters), which are obvious near-contemporaneous writings, given Peter's well-documented (by Christian and non-Christian sources) execution by Rome not too long after Jesus.
Peter's letters clearly state, or require as knowledge to make sense, many or most of the accounts found in the gospel --- most notably the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In sum, my somewhat non-answer to your question is the gospels-written-long-after dispute is a bit of a red herring.
As I understand it, the Gnostic spiritual movement predates Christ. Jesus just gave them a more current vehicle to spread their word. They didn't acknowledge the human flesh quality of Jesus. The Orthodoxy at that time felt that belief short circuited their teachings especially about the Eucharist.
The point is that if the date of the 'Judas' manuscript is being raised, as it was, one should also point out that except for a few fragments, the canonical manuscripts date no earlier than the fourth century. And while Judas is younger than most of the canonical NT, it may well be within the range of the later books.
I do agree news coverage has been superficial and somewhat tendentious, and that this m/s is nothing new to anyone familiar with the gnostic gospels and other works.
From another forum:
Around 180 A.D., Irenaeus of Lyon, in 'Against the Heretics,' I,31,1, warned about an apocryphal 'gospel of Judas' which was then circulating. Later, Epiphanius and a pseudo-Tertullian spoke of it.
According to these sources, the apocryphal gospel of Judas was a Greek text of Gnostic origin, written by the Cainites' sect, in the middle of the second century.
The Gnostic sect of the Caininites attributed a positive value to all the negative figures of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, such as the tempter serpent, Cain (where Caininites get their name )-- Esau and Judas.
See also post 61.
Not in the way you're claiming.
While it is true that people who have done intensive work on the NT some time in the past (Bultmann, etc.) have disputed these dates - serious contemporary scholarship no longer accepts that late-dating system.
Additionally, the contemporary scholars who gravitate toward the today's later date ranges (which are substantially earlier than the later dates assigned a generation ago) generally admit that the core document dates from the 1st century and that they are only arguing that the present text was later emended, not that it was composed from scratch in the 2nd century.
For example, someone who dates the Gospel of Luke to 130 will concede that 90% of Luke or more dates to the 1st century and that they are only arguing that certain short passages date to 130.
No contemporary scholar of any reputation claims that more than 3-5% of the canonical NT text dates from after 100 AD.
He killed himself in a different fashion in Acts 1:18. But your point is still well taken.
Nobody believes that the disciple Matthew wrote the gospel of his name, either.
A legitimate comparison.
Of course, this is from someone (me) that accepted the truth of gospels according to the Watergate principle.
I read this story in this morning's paper, and it seems to be an item of historical interest, but not necessarily historical significance.
The article I read said that it appeared to be a hand-written copy of "an original", and may be of more use as a tool for decyphering ancient Coptic, but there was nothing about this document redefining, confirming, or disproving anything in the Holy Gospels.
Sad thing is -- Couric probably doesn't understand that.
I'm not sure she is capable of understanding that.
That's a pipe dream.
Even your source admits that the Passion Narrative of the canonical Gospels dates from 30-60 AD and that narrative account gives the lie to this Judas text.
The very first mention of the Judas text is from 180 AD. That's a 100 year differential at best, if we assume that Irenaeus was not responding to a very current cult.
Bingo. If we were Muslims, we'd be screaming in the streets for heads to roll, literally. But, by God's grace, Christians don't need or want to react that way. Praying for those who persecute us is more our style.
Where can I buy a copy?
Do you claim the pastoral epistles date to the first century?
If you're saying that few people believe that Matthew actually sat down and physically wrote out the text of Matthew in Greek, then sure.
But there is no reason to doubt that the Gospel of Matthew was originally composed by amanuenses of the disciple Matthew.
Indicating it existed well before 180, since Ireneaus was inveighing against a text which had some currency among the Gnostics.
There were many, many early Christian writings in existence. Many of them were contradictory.
The ones we find in the New Testament didn't magically appear one day at the end of a copy of the Old Testament.
It wasn't until much later that a committee met and decided which of the early writings would get that special honor.
I agree, this is much ado about nothing.
I recently read Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord," and while the eminent novelist is not herself a biblical scholar, in the afterward she details her extensive research - which supports your post. I'm reading NT Wright's "The Resurrection of the Son of God" right now...
My point is, regardless of date, the simple fact that this is a known writing from a known Gnostic Cainites' sect --- who thought the tempter serpent was good guy --- completely discredits this fake "gospel."
An old lie is still a lie.
Sounds like Scientology, doesn't it? New Age = Old Lies.
There was a funny interview yesterday with a "Church spokesman." The reporter breathlessly asked if the Church was "suppressing" the Gnostic "gospels" out of "fear" that they would "undermine" the faith. The priest answered: "Not really. You can buy them in any Catholic bookstore."
heh heh heh
Absolutely. The evidence against their 1st century provenance is extremely tenuous, consisting of quibbles over vocabulary, the perceived "tone" of the letter and circular reasoning - i.e. "They must have been written later because my preconceived timeline of Paul's career excludes them from being written earlier, and my timeline of Paul's career is based on my assumptions about the dating of the Pauline corpus."
The historical argument that the community addressed is too "organized" to be a 1st century community is easily refuted, as I pointed out earlier.
This does not support your accusation of "gross exaggeration."
I think you are referring to Ms. Rice's current bestseller, "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt." Ms. Rice has undergone a profound conversion experience, returning to the Catholic faith of her youth. Her Afterward in the novel chronicles her journey to Christ. It's quite inspiring.
No contemporary scholar is closer to the situation than Irenaeus was.
No, real but inaccurate. Just more gnostic BS.
There is no indication it existed "well before" - since we know from external sources that many of Irenaeus' criticisms in the Adversus Haereses were directed at newly-minted groups as well as older ones.
For all we know the Cainites were just as likely the hot new cult on the scene.
While we are on the subject of "fake but accurate" Bill Berkett has a bull for sale.
We're looking for one, my husband came across this on the interent. Bill Burkett in Baird TX. Didn't want to take the chance that he had forged the register papers.
Add Acts and Luke to that list, which you have no good reason not to, and you have roughly 88% of the NT right there.
Dontcha know that any book that sells 40 million copies turns into non-fiction ?
Perception is 90% of reality...
Is this the Gospel where Jesus warns against global warming, and denounces Bush?
The case for dating any document later than 100 AD is predicated on debates over vocabulary, the exactly nuanced meaning of words in certain contexts, etc.
There is not one piece of hard evidence to the contrary.
It's written in proportional Coptic - they didn't have the ability to do that back then!
Sounds like something Judas would say.
"Nobody believes that the disciple Matthew wrote the gospel of his name, either." ~ Dog Gone
Being dubious about the "written directly" claims is one thing, but when some of them question the "authorship" of the canonical gospels, that's where they go off the deep end.
"With these general considerations http://www.tektonics.org/ntdocdef/gospdefhub.html , we now offer these mini-essays on each Gospel."
I agree, that this truly is a tempest in a teapot. There have always been gnostic gospels and I've been amazed at recently so many fiction writer have been doing mysteries that "seek to twist and claify Christian values". The Da Vinci Code--everyone knows is fiction, but what does it do to belief systems. Dave Barry's The Third Secret does a smiliar thing that attacks the Catholic Church's belief that priests cannot marry. I just call tomes like these Today's Gnostics. I read some of these gnostic texts years ago. My favorite one to snicker about was the one where it was purported Judas and Jesus played together as children in Egypt. There's also a Gnostic gospel devoted to Mary Magdalene. Take it with a grain of salt.