Skip to comments.TV special plants Judas kiss on Catholic Church (malice involved says Dominican biblical scholar)
Posted on 04/12/2006 7:41:01 AM PDT by NYer
THE CATHOLIC Church has not hidden from Christians the existence of the Gospel of Judas and other Gnostic writings. But scholars and certain sectors of the media have tended to use the controversial writings to forward their own agendas and discredit the Church, a Catholic biblical scholar has warned.
"There may be malice involved," said Spanish Dominican Fr. Angel Aparicio of the University of Santo Tomas. "They may be scholars, but they have their own agendas. I am so surprised the National Geographic is promoting this (Gospel of Judas)."
Aparicio was referring to the National Geographic Society special aired on Palm Sunday that reported on the discovery of the so-called Gospel of Judas, an archeological find that non-Catholic biblical scholars such as Elaine Pagels, who was interviewed in the special, said should confirm the attempts of the early Church fathers to marginalize other Christian groups in a bid to establish the institutional Church.
"Elaine Pagels is a genuine scholar but she's biased for feminism," said Aparicio, who trained at the renowned Ecole Biblique et Archeologie in Jerusalem.
"Scholars like her promote a critique of the Church as monolithic and patriarchal. They want pluralism, but Christianity cannot just be any which way you want it to be."
Aparicio said the Gospel of Judas and other Gnostic writings such as the supposed Gospel of Mary Magdalene were excluded from the final canon of the New Testament not because the Catholic Church was trying to silence other Christian groups, but because their authenticity and fidelity to the teachings of Christ were suspect right from the start.
"There are guidelines for canonicity," Aparicio said.
"They included apostolicity or paternity from the apostles; that the books should be promoted by the big churches and big communities; they should be universally accepted, and they should be consistent with doctrine."
He said none of the Gnostic writings and "apocrypha," lost or hidden books purporting to show the hidden life of Christ or fill in certain gaps in his life, fulfills the criteria.
Aparicio, who handles a course on the Synoptic gospels at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties, explained that canonization, in which the Church selected the books that would comprise the New Testament, or the scriptures of divine revelation, was a long drawn-out process. Across the centuries, the Gnostic gospels and the apocryphal writings were consistently rejected as incompatible with Christianity, he said.
Knowledge as salvation
He said the questionable writings emerged because of "the need of ordinary Christians to know certain unknown details about Jesus, such as his youth," and also because some "heteredox Christians wanted to justify their beliefs."
Aparicio explained that Gnosticism was not compatible with the Christian faith because it promoted self-knowledge (gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge) as the sole basis of salvation. "Even St. Paul in his Letter to the Corinthians was already critical in his time of certain Gnostic tendencies which were inimical to the Gospel. To the Catholic Church, salvation involves both knowledge and practice."
He said knowledge as salvation is in fact promoted by the Gospel of Judas, in which Judas Iscariot, the apostle whom the Bible said betrayed Christ to his persecutors and killers, is portrayed as divinely appointed to do so by Christ himself in order to fulfill the design of salvation.
In the National Geographic special, a dramatization of the Judas codex has Jesus telling Judas in confidence that his star would shine the brightest for turning over Christ to his death.
What TV special didn't say
What the TV special does not say, according to Aparicio, is that the Gospel of Judas was promoted by the "Cainites," an ancient Christian sect that defended the role of Cain in the design of salvation.
Cain, in the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, was the first son of Adam and Eve after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In a fit of sibling jealousy, Cain slew his younger brother, Abel, in what the Bible says was the first murder committed by mankind.
"Judas Iscariot was considered a saint by the Cainites," Aparicio said.
The Gospel of Judas and the sect of Cain, therefore, were guilty of "determinism," for showing that Judas's betrayal and Cain's murder had been predestined as part of the design of salvation, Aparicio said.
In effect, the Gospel of Judas excuses Judas for his act of betrayal because it had been determined from early on, the Dominican scholar said, "contrary to what the Church teaches that man has free will."
In contrast, the other apostles, whom Christ had predicted would abandon him, "prevaricated" and in fact left him, but repented later on.
"They did not fall for determinism or predestination," Aparicio said. "They acknowledged their failings."
Request for balance
Because the Gnostic gospels contain dangerous implications for Christianity, Aparicio called on the National Geographic and the popular media to be accurate, objective and balanced in their presentation of the controversial texts.
In the special, a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission was quoted only toward the end of the two-hour presentation as saying that the books of the New Testament should be accepted by Christians as a matter of faith.
It's kind of like someone 1700 years from now believing that Dan Rather's account of Bush's service was accurate.
**"There may be malice involved," said Spanish Dominican Fr. Angel Aparicio of the University of Santo Tomas. "**
Of course there is malice involved!
The Gospel of Judas was examined and dismissed as gnostic fraud 1827 years ago!
Irenaeus of Lyons
The holy and glorious, right-victorious Hieromartyr Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202) was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyons, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. He was a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna, who himself was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian. His feast day is August 23.
Irenaeus is thought to have been a Greek from Polycarp's hometown of Smyrna in Asia Minor, now Izmir, Turkey. He was brought up in a Christian family, rather than converting as an adult, and this may help explain his strong sense of Orthodoxy. Irenaeus was one of the first Christian writers to refer to the principle of Apostolic Succession to refute his opponents.
Irenaeus is remembered as the second bishop of Lyons, although there is no clear evidence that he ever officially assumed the episcopal duties. The first bishop, Pothinus, was martyred around 177 during persecutions under Marcus Aurelius, when Irenaeus was visiting Rome.
Irenaeus is remembered as a martyr, although there is no evidence for how he died, presumably shortly after the turn of the third century. He was buried under the church of Saint John in Lyons, which was later renamed St. Irenaeus. His tomb and his remains were destroyed in 1562 by the Calvinist Huguenots. (The remains of Leonardo da Vinci and Kepler, among others, also were lost in the religious wars of those times.)
Irenaeus wrote a number of books, but the most important that survives is the five-volume On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, normally referred to as Adversus Haereses (in English, Against Heresies). Only fragments in its original Greek exist, but a complete copy exists in a wooden Latin translation, made shortly after its publication in Greek, and Books IV and V are present in a literal Armenian translation.
The purpose of Against Heresies is to refute the teachings of various gnostic groups. Until the discovery of the Library of Nag Hammadi in 1945, Against Heresies was the best surviving description of Gnosticism. Additionally, Irenaeus' descriptions of Gnostic teachings had long been doubted by scholars as the product of polemical hyperbole, but the find at Nag Hammadi confirmed Irenaeus' descriptions in the words of the Gnostics themselves.
Irenaeus cites from most of the New Testament canon, as well as works from the Apostolic Fathers, I Clement and the Shepherd of Hermas, however he makes no references to Philemon, II Peter, III John and Jude, which isn't surprising, since the canon of the Holy Scriptures had not yet been set. Irenaeus was the first Christian writer to list all four and exactly four of the canonical Gospels as divinely inspired, possibly in reaction to Marcion's edited version of Luke, which Marcion asserted was the one and only true gospel.
His works were published in English in 1885 in the Ante-Nicene Fathers collection.
Saint John Bosco's dream comes right to my mind, all the little ships trying to sink and attack 'our ship.'
Course we know how the dream ends.
The History Channel usually puts on the standard Christ was really just a stonemason who "..."ed Mary Magdalene, yada-yada.
Newsweek and Time usually put forth something similar. Their Easter issues NEVER say anything BUT the obvious anti-Jesus. Christ-haters especially loathe EASTER because it's the core of our faith. Christmas is mostly harmless because it's just a baby's birthday. EASTER, however, is the fruition of the faith, followed by 2+ billion humans. THAT, for Christ-haters is too much.
This "new" discovery of the gospel of Judas is the MSM's latest offering to the altar of Christ-hate.
Thanks for posting, NYer.
More blanket statements from the usual suspect
You forgot to tell me to "get over it."
I wish you all the best on the eve of the great festival that celebrates the 3318th anniversary of the day Pharaoh's chariot "got stuck in the mud!" (Um, you either get that or you don't.)
That's almost funny.
Long before the advent of television and its talking heads. The MSM loves nothing more than to plant seeds of doubt into the minds and hearts of its gullible fans.
Thank you for your excellent analysis of the media.
...and they're very good at it, unfortunately.
1)There was the report about how Jesus must have been walking on ice--not water, 2)There was the "Gospel of Judas" story, 3)Nightline featuring the author of a book that claimed Jesus and John were "co-messiahs," 4) The the Village Voice magazine cover, and last but certainly not least 5) all the hype about the upcomming Da Vincci Code Movie.
You nailed it! Great observations, especially Jesus walking on ice ... ROFL! (guess Peter had his skates on that day :-)
I don't have a problem with these stories. We live in a pluralistic society and we are stuck with those who are anti-Christian.
What I do have a problem with is that all of these stories are released just before Easter. The media would not dream of running stories about the fraud of Kwanza during that festival. Nor would they attack any other religion or group during their most important period of the year.
Well, if you support their anti-Christianity, I guess, for you, it comes down to HOW OFFENIVE it is. Crude "Christ on the crucifix" cartoons are simply part of our pluralism....but choosing to publish same crude cartoon this week is over the line.
I find it "over the line" at all times. Same cartoon mocking Moses or Muhammad simply WOULDN'T be published in this country because it would be considered BIGOTRY. Hating Muslims and Jews is not tolerated here.
Your sense of outrage at bigotry gets a pass, based on the natural out come of "pluralism" but same pluralism gives you a problem only a few days a year. I don't consider hating Christ and voicing that hatred in vile cartoons, stories or movies as a natural part of pluralism. RESPECT for Jesus is a natural part of pluralism, not Sleazywood's and MSM's (et al) reaction.
My opinion: you are too tolerant of Christ-haters. I think you have it backwards.
I find them egregious at all times, guilty of the same bigotry for which we excoriate Muslim and Jew haters.