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Long-lost Gospel of Judas to be published
Religion News ^ | Dec 19th, 2005

Posted on 12/19/2005 7:19:55 AM PST by laney

The heresy-fighting bishop Irenaeus of Lyon, France, mentioned the Gospel of Judas about 180 AD, linking the writing to a Gnostic sect. Some two centuries later, Epiphanius, bishop of Cyprus, criticized the Gospel of Judas for treating the betrayer of Jesus as commendable, one who "performed a good work for our salvation."

Until recent years, no copy of the text was generally known to exist. It was not among, for instance, the 46 different apocryphal texts of the Nag Hammadi Library discovered 60 years ago this month in Egypt. Other fragmentary texts, such as the Gospel of Mary, were discovered well before that.

But in 2004, Rodolphe Kasser of the University of Geneva announced in Paris that by the end of 2005 he would be publishing translations of the Coptic-language version of the Gospel of Judas. As it turned out, the owner was a Swiss foundation, and the torn and tattered papyrus text had been hawked to potential buyers in North America and Europe for decades after it was found at Muhazafat Al Minya in Middle Egypt.

The "Judas" saga was confirmed in detail last month at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Philadelphia. Retired Claremont Graduate University professor James Robinson, general editor of the English edition of the Nag Hammadi Library, said he was first contacted in 1983 about negotiations to buy certain texts, including the Gospel of Judas. Many years later, he saw blurry photographs of part of the text.

Robinson said that early in November he learned that Kasser and several European, Canadian and U.S. scholars had signed agreements with the National Geographic Society to assist with a documentary film and a National Geographic article for an Easter 2006 release and a succession of three books.

Robinson was critical of the secrecy and inaccessibility surrounding the document—a recurring academic problem that delayed for decades the publishing of translations of some Dead Sea Scrolls and many Nag Hammadi codices. In his talk, Robinson called the practice "skullduggery"—with a glance at fellow panelist Marvin Meyer of Chapman University, a longtime colleague in the field and one of the contracted authors.

Meyer refused to describe the text's content, but he essentially confirmed the basic publishing arrangements to Robinson and to the Century at the Philadelphia meeting.

In amended remarks to his speech, Robinson said Meyer told him that he was sworn to secrecy—not by the document's owner but by the National Geographic Society, a procedure Meyer said was justified by the organization's large financial investment.

A spokeswoman for the National Geographic headquarters in Washington declined to comment. But Meyer said in a brief interview, "It will all be out for everyone to see by the spring." He added without elaboration, "It will be good. It will be good."

Hardly anything is known about the document's contents "other than a few personages" it names, said Robinson, identifying them as the mythological figure Allogenes (literally, "the stranger") known from some Nag Hammadi texts, and Satan, Jesus and Judas.

Another scholar, Charles Hedrick, who recently retired from Missouri State University, saw photographs of six damaged pages from the gospel in 2001. Hedrick agreed with Robinson that the original Gospel of Judas was probably written in Greek in the second century AD. Scholars also agree that the scribal hand used in the Coptic translation would date that text to the fourth or fifth century.

"I don't think it will unsettle the church," Hedrick said in an interview. "I mean we are not talking history here. We know very little about Judas from the New Testament, and some people have even challenged whether Judas was a historical person."

The Coptic texts, owned by the Maecenas Foundation, consist of 62 pages and also contain "The First Apocalypse of James" and "The Letter of Peter to Philip"—two texts also found at Nag Hammadi. How many of the 62 pages contain the Gospel of Judas has not been disclosed.

Hedrick said the last six pages of the Judas document describe a heavenly scene in which Allogenes is being tested and tried by Satan, followed by an earthly scene in which Jesus is being watched closely by scribes. At one point Judas is told, "Although you are evil at this place, you are a disciple of Jesus." The last line of the text says, according to Hedrick: "And he [Judas] took money and delivered him [Jesus] over."

So, Hedrick said, "it appears that Judas is working at the behest of God when he betrays Jesus as part of the divine plan." When translations of the Gospel of Judas are released with accompanying analyses, Hedrick expects that "there will be a lot of sensationalism, but it will dribble out, leaving only the scholars interested."

Yet, in academic and religious circles, the text may stir excitement for years, according to a scholar from the University of Ottawa. "It is a major discovery not only for Coptic, Gnostic or apocryphal studies, but also for ancient Judaism and early Christianity," said Pierluigi Piovanelli in an e-mail to colleagues in 2004 when the first plans to publish were announced.

Some scholarly discussions will focus on whether the document was produced by a branch of the Sethian Gnostics called Cainites by church leaders. The Cainites were said to have glorified Cain and other disgraced figures in the Bible because, according to Gnostic viewpoints, they were doing God's work.

Church discussions conceivably could revolve around the extent to which New Testament Gospels present events in Jesus' life and passion as ordained from the start. Judas Iscariot, depicted minimally by the Gospel of Mark, receives elaboration in Matthew, Luke and John. The latter Gospel says Satan entered Judas at the Last Supper just before Jesus told the disciple, "Do quickly what you are going to do."

For Robinson, the significance of the Gospel of Judas has to do not with first-century history but with second-century mythology. Still, he offered these half-serious reflections in his closing remarks last month: "Where would Christianity be, if there had been no Judas, and Jesus—instead of dying for our sins on the cross—had died of old age?" he asked. "So: Thank God for Judas? Even the most broadminded among us would call that heresy!"


TOPICS: Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; gospel; gospelofjudas; judas
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1 posted on 12/19/2005 7:19:56 AM PST by laney
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To: laney

Give it a few years and the liberals will be celebrating Judasmas.


2 posted on 12/19/2005 7:21:58 AM PST by freedomlover (If you read this tag line, all your wildest dreams will come true.)
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To: laney

When did he have time to write a gospel?


3 posted on 12/19/2005 7:23:27 AM PST by sandbar
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To: laney

Judas was absolutely necessary to the story of Jesus. Without his betrayal, known in advance, according to the story, by Jesus, the arrest and ensuing events would not have occurred.


4 posted on 12/19/2005 7:24:27 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: Coleus

*ping*


5 posted on 12/19/2005 7:25:23 AM PST by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: sandbar
When did he have time to write a gospel?

Presumably between the time he was hanging on the tree until his rotten body fell off and he burst.

6 posted on 12/19/2005 7:25:29 AM PST by highlander_UW (I don't know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future)
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To: laney

Judas betrayal was foretold by Jesus so I see no reason to discredit him. Did he really have a choice?


7 posted on 12/19/2005 7:25:41 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: sandbar
Hah, good point. I wonder why they didn't point that out in the article.
8 posted on 12/19/2005 7:26:44 AM PST by bahblahbah
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To: sandbar

It's probably not "his" but a description of what his gospel would look like if he did one. Quite a bit of that went on back then.

The Devil using Judas to kill Christ is one of the greatest ironies. Satan thinks he scored a great victory and ends up wearing Gatorade while his team suffers a huge loss.


9 posted on 12/19/2005 7:27:04 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: laney

bump for later read


10 posted on 12/19/2005 7:27:37 AM PST by penelopesire
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To: Gamecock

Interesting article. Might be worth pinging the GRPL, just for fun.


11 posted on 12/19/2005 7:28:13 AM PST by Terabitten (Illegal immigration causes Representation without Taxation.)
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To: AppyPappy

> The Devil using Judas to kill Christ is one of the greatest ironies.

Yes... because, apparently, God used the Devil to use Judas to kill Jesus.


12 posted on 12/19/2005 7:31:17 AM PST by orionblamblam (A furore Normannorum libra nos, Domine)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
yes he had a choice...God knew what choice he was going to make.

that's the diff between predestination and foreknowledge...

of course that's just my opinion...and I could be wrong.

13 posted on 12/19/2005 7:31:22 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: Terabitten
Could be as interesting a read as the Gospel according to Mary.

The gnostic gospels I believe add alot to better see the history and early years rather than the edited version from the Council of Nicea.

14 posted on 12/19/2005 7:31:42 AM PST by Cliff Dweller ("get thar fustest with the mostest." GEN NB Forrest)
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To: laney
Arnold Judas Rimmer is pleased.


15 posted on 12/19/2005 7:32:08 AM PST by orionblamblam (A furore Normannorum libra nos, Domine)
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To: laney
Epiphanius, bishop of Cyprus, criticized the Gospel of Judas for treating the betrayer of Jesus as commendable, one who "performed a good work for our salvation."

Introductions to the gospels will be provided by Pelosi, Murtha, Kennedy and Kerry!

16 posted on 12/19/2005 7:33:28 AM PST by Bommer (Christmas is in your heart, not WalMart!)
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To: MineralMan

Sure they woulld.


17 posted on 12/19/2005 7:33:28 AM PST by steve8714
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To: orionblamblam
Yes... because, apparently, God used the Devil to use Judas to kill Jesus.

I agree, but what does this say about free will? Regardless, it is another of many examples in the Bible of human nature and weakness.

18 posted on 12/19/2005 7:34:52 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: Dick Vomer
God knew what choice he was going to make.

Doesn't that by its nature eliminate choice?

of course that's just my opinion...and I could be wrong.

As can I. We are dealing as best we can with the tools and conditioning given us.

19 posted on 12/19/2005 7:37:29 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: steve8714

"Sure they woulld."

I don't think so. According to the Gospels themselves, Judas was the one. Jesus knew it aforehand. Without the betrayal by one of his own, the story would not be complete.

A Gospel of Judas would be interesting to read, especially written at this early date. One more glimpse into the times.


21 posted on 12/19/2005 7:53:47 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: sandbar
When did he have time to write a gospel?
Another scholar, Charles Hedrick, who recently retired from Missouri State University, saw photographs of six damaged pages from the gospel in 2001. Hedrick agreed with Robinson that the original Gospel of Judas was probably written in Greek in the second century AD. Scholars also agree that the scribal hand used in the Coptic translation would date that text to the fourth or fifth century.

Apparently, as with most of the gospels, a century or so after the death of the attributed author. A few of Paul's epistles excepted, of course.

22 posted on 12/19/2005 7:57:40 AM PST by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
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To: laney

Sounds like more glorifying of gnostic forgeries designed to steal Christians into the gnostic heresy.


23 posted on 12/19/2005 8:08:03 AM PST by x5452
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To: Mind-numbed Robot

He had no fee will?


24 posted on 12/19/2005 8:09:17 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: MoeDeRooster
What it says is that the human will is corrupted, loving evil instead of God and always acts according to the bent of it's affections.

That would be Original Sin, wouldn't it?

....and always acts according to the bent of it's affections.

Doesn't "always" negate our ability to obey God? I think Jesus freed us from that, didn't he?

25 posted on 12/19/2005 8:10:41 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: MoeDeRooster

Doesn't it also mean, that God has a plan for all of us, which includes, what we believe to be our free-will choices?


26 posted on 12/19/2005 8:11:08 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: stuartcr
He had no free will?

That is what my comments and questions are trying to flesh out. Of course we are dealing with our limited human ability to understand. However, it seems to my limited ability that if Jesus foretold it, Him being a perfect representation of the perfect, that it must come about, therefore negating Judas' free will. But what do I know? Nothing.

28 posted on 12/19/2005 8:15:40 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: Mind-numbed Robot

Sunday Christians are fond of demonizing Judas: the spawn of Satan, etc, etc.
I once proposed to a Bible study class that we are each guilty of the same sin as Judas. I was met with gasps of shock and horror. They viewed my insight as an admission that I sided with Judas and I was summarily dismissed from that self-sanctified body.
Christ came into a fallen world, separated from Him by lust for the objects of creation. Judas was one among all who denied Jesus.
Jesus suffered died and overcame the suffering and death of this world by rising from a grave dug by sin to pure life eternal with the Father. He offers to carry each of us with Him.
Judas might have been forgiven. But, like so many of us, he could not believe that his sins could be forgiven.
We all sell our salvation for silver. We are all convicted by our sin. Some surrender their lives at Jesus' feet and beg for His forgiveness. Others are so lost in their darkness they can not even see a glimmer of hope. They destroy themselves believing God hates them.
Judas did not wait for the ressurection. His vision did not extend beyond the failure of his own plans and dreams. He died in hopelessness.


30 posted on 12/19/2005 8:18:03 AM PST by Louis Foxwell (Here come I , gravitas in tow.)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: laney
Gospel According to Judas:

Judas 1:1 Screw over everyone in sight. Then disappear. Amen.

32 posted on 12/19/2005 8:19:12 AM PST by Lazamataz ("Over it is not, until over it is." -- Yoda Berra)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: Dick Vomer
yes he had a choice...God knew what choice he was going to make. that's the diff between predestination and foreknowledge... of course that's just my opinion...and I could be wrong.

Of course you are correct. You got to the very heart of the entire event of Judas.

If God hadn't allow Judas to choose evil, then the entire concept of free will would be meaningless. Judas was God's "tool" because it was Judas' own sad choice to betray Jesus. No victimology here with Judas.

34 posted on 12/19/2005 8:23:22 AM PST by starfish923 (Socrates: It's never right to do wrong.)
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To: sandbar; laney

Somehow I can't imagine this to be really authentic, because Judas wasn't around for the Resurrection, nor the Ascension. On top of that, wasn't it commonly thought at the time of the Apostles that Our Lord would return in their own lifetimes, and so no written versions were even recorded until many years after His Death and Resurrection?


35 posted on 12/19/2005 8:26:36 AM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: stuartcr
He had no fee will?

Judas's betrayal was the very heart of the entire event of Judas.
If God hadn't allow Judas to choose evil, then the entire concept of free will would be meaningless. Judas was God's "tool" because it was Judas' own sad choice to betray Jesus. No victimology here with Judas.

36 posted on 12/19/2005 8:26:39 AM PST by starfish923 (Socrates: It's never right to do wrong.)
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To: MoeDeRooster
After being begotten from above by the Holy Spirit, then one can obey God because the heart and will have been changed to being bent towards God and not evil.

Meaning that God, through Jesus, has given us a way to overcome earthly restrictions.

When I said that Jesus freed us from that, (well, I asked but it was a rhetorical question) I meant what you said, that the formula for overcoming earthly laws was accepting the existence and gospel of Jesus as truth.

Does that then mean there was no free will prior to Jesus? According to the Old Testament, apparently not.

37 posted on 12/19/2005 8:27:31 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: MoeDeRooster

This was all in GOD's plan, as he can see the sin in us before we can, in other words he knew Judas would do what he did by his free will before Judas knew...


38 posted on 12/19/2005 8:27:55 AM PST by laney (Merry Christmas Freepers!)
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To: MoeDeRooster
>"Apparently, as with most of the gospels, a century or so after the death of the attributed author. A few of Paul's epistles excepted, of course."

Overwhelming evidence dates the writing of all four gospels prior to AD70 and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple.

I apologize for my lack of clarity. I was referring to the multitude of gospels that are not canonized in the New Testament. I agree that Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John were almost certainly written around the timeframe you state.

After rereading my post, I can see how it appears that I was speaking only of the four canonized gospels. Again, I apologize for that misconception.

39 posted on 12/19/2005 8:28:22 AM PST by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
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To: Amos the Prophet
They viewed my insight as an admission that I sided with Judas and I was summarily dismissed from that self-sanctified body.

Their loss. None are so blind as those who cannot see (IOW, choose not to see).

40 posted on 12/19/2005 8:29:24 AM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: Amos the Prophet

How is Judas' betrayal for silver different from Peter's denial to save his own skin?


41 posted on 12/19/2005 8:31:07 AM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: MoeDeRooster; Mind-numbed Robot
Howdy, Moe. Welcome to Free Republic!

"What it says is that the human will is corrupted, loving evil instead of God and always acts according to the bent of it's affections."

And always would without a paradigm that would reach and convict the soul, regenerating hearts and minds.

42 posted on 12/19/2005 8:42:40 AM PST by Eastbound
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To: Amos the Prophet
We all sell our salvation for silver. We are all convicted by our sin. Some surrender their lives at Jesus' feet and beg for His forgiveness. Others are so lost in their darkness they can not even see a glimmer of hope. They destroy themselves believing God hates them.
Judas did not wait for the ressurection. His vision did not extend beyond the failure of his own plans and dreams. He died in hopelessness.

Suicide is the final act of hopelessness, despair and a loss of courage. Who knows what finally happened to Judas. His was one of history's saddest stories.

That God loves Judas is a fundamental in Christianity. Only God could love Him. He's easy for us to despise....thus the Judas goat. That is not a bad thing, I think, if we remember your words about him. He was a good lesson for us.

43 posted on 12/19/2005 8:45:13 AM PST by starfish923 (Socrates: It's never right to do wrong.)
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To: laney
Heresy stems from idleness!
44 posted on 12/19/2005 8:49:10 AM PST by Killborn (Pres. Bush isn't Pres. Reagan. Then again, Pres. Regan isn't Pres. Washington. God bless them all.)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot; MoeDeRooster
To expand this beyond Judas, the scriptures state:

Everyone of us, both Jews and Gentiles, were gathered together against our Lord Jesus-just as God predestined it to happen.

Man naturally runs to unrighteous things UNTIL the Son sets us free.

45 posted on 12/19/2005 8:51:32 AM PST by HarleyD ("Command what you will and give what you command." - Augustine's Prayer)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot

I don't believe anyone has free-will...we just think we do. As you said, it was foretold. If God really has a plan for us, then I believe, everything we do is part of His plan. I don't see where our choice would come into play.


46 posted on 12/19/2005 8:51:51 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
Doesn't that by its nature eliminate choice?

I look at it more like, If I was all knowing and all powerful and could see into the future.

I would have seen the Dallas Cowboys suck against the Redskins.... I am in the future and I am in the past and I am in the now....

Just because I've seen the future and can say... the cowboys defense will sucketh on this day.... doesn't' effect the players. Even if I know they will suck, the Cowboys chose to suck.

Now if I was evil, I'd tell the Cowboys all the Redskin plays, have all the Redskin players show up at game time with dysentery and puking and my beloved Cowboys would win... and I could do that for the whole season.

We'd be undefeated and win the Super Bowl.

It would be nice but boring..like a fixed game.

The great thing is allowing the cowboys to struggle, to overcome adversity, to find it within themselves to use the gifts that have been given these fine young athletes and to excel by making their own choices. That way the victory is so much sweeter and comes from the players who I've "created" and not by my manipulation.....

or something like that....I just love football comparisons.

;-)

47 posted on 12/19/2005 8:52:24 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: Terabitten; lockeliberty; Diamond; Tares; Precisian; Dr. Eckleburg; BibChr; snerkel; nobdysfool; ...

GRPL ping...


48 posted on 12/19/2005 8:55:03 AM PST by HarleyD ("Command what you will and give what you command." - Augustine's Prayer)
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To: stuartcr

see my post 47


49 posted on 12/19/2005 8:55:48 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
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To: starfish923

Since God knew the outcome of his choice...how is this a choice for Judas? He could not choose otherwise, could he? God cannot be wrong, can He?


50 posted on 12/19/2005 8:58:31 AM PST by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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