Skip to comments.Judas 'gospel' is pure fiction
Posted on 04/15/2006 6:52:25 AM PDT by truthfinder9
Judas 'gospel' is pure fiction
Rev. Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News, 4-12-06
Today, we remember the arrest, trial and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
While Christ went willingly to the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind, his arrest came as a result of one of the greatest betrayals in history. One of Jesus' disciples, a member of his inner circle, betrayed him with a kiss.
For this action, Judas Iscariot was forever condemned as a traitor. For centuries, that has been the story that we have all known and accepted until a few months ago.
Over the past few weeks, the media has been saturated with coverage of the newly discovered "Gospel of Judas." This recently translated text is purported to be an earth-shaking, faith-breaking book from the early church. Its content calls into question the authenticity of the four inspired gospels of the New Testament, some so-called theologians said, and will cause believers to question their accounts of Jesus Christ's life.
Sadly, I am sure it will cause some weak believers to question and doubt their faith, and it will undoubtedly add fuel to the nonbeliever's ongoing attacks on our faith. However, even the most summary of overviews shows this alleged "Gospel of Judas" to be riddled with inaccuracy and fantasy concocted by a strange, pseudo-Christian cult of the second century.
TIME AND TEXT
Unlike the four canonical gospels of the Bible, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), the "Gospel of Judas" has only a single textual source. There are hundreds of sources for the inspired New Testament gospels, some dating back as far as only 20 to 30 years after Christ left earth.
Yet the "Gospel of Judas" comes from just a single 4th or 5th century Coptic (ancient Egyptian) translation, allegedly from an original Greek source. This single copy, at least 200 years removed from its original source material, is fragmented, to say the least.
Rudolphe Kesser is a philologist, archeologist, and one of the world's leading Coptic scholars. He led the team responsible for preserving the crumbling text. According to Kesser, the codex (an ancient type of bookcover/folder used for holding papyrus documents) that contained the "Gospel of Judas" was originally 62 pages long. When it came to the market in 1999, only 26 pages remained.
The recently released translation comes from a mere 13 papyrus pages that have, for the most part, dissolved into small fragments. These have been pieced together, then translated around the gaps and missing portions. Needless to say, there is far more missing from the text than what is present.
Mario Roberts, another expert in ancient texts, further muddies the waters with his assertion that the first four pages of those 13 are part of a different tract entirely, one that apparently was stored in the same codex.
America's foremost expert in ancient Coptic and Egyptian religious texts is Dr. James M. Robinson, professor emeritus at Claremont Graduate University. In an interview with the Associated Press, Robinson said, "While the codex is old, it isn't old enough. Does it go back to Judas? No. There are a lot of second-, third-, and fourth-century gospels attributed to various apostles. We don't really assume they give us any first-century information."
Already you can see, the authenticity and significance of "Judas" is dubious at best. But this so-called gospel does indeed have a history. It is a genuine, ancient document, written around 170 A.D., more than 130 years after Jesus lived. It was fabricated by a strange, small cult called the Cainites.
The Cainite cult had splintered from the theological questionable Gnostic breed of Christianity. The Gnostics had a long history of producing theirown gospels and epistles to fit their own peculiar brand of Christian intellectualism. The Cainites took these beliefs and practices to a new level of heresy.
While the Cainites are relatively unknown today, their heretical gospel was not unknown to the early church fathers.
Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon is known as the father of the canon. In 180 A.D., he set about to determine which gospels were worthy of use in worship and study, and which were not. Though his list gave credibility to several texts that ultimately were not included in today's canon, his view of the "Gospel of Judas" was a reflection of what most of the 2nd century's true Christians thought.
Irenaeus said: "They (the Cainites) produce a fictitious history ... which they style the Gospel of Judas."
Irenaeus rejected the text as fiction. Two centuries later, Epiphanius of Salamis, the Bishop of Cyprus, confirmed the canon we have today. In his writings, he rejected the "Gospel of Judas" as false and blasphemous.
Recently, the Coptic Orthodox Church also rejected any value in the "Gospel of Judas." According to Metropolitan Bishop, the theological leader of the church, "The codex is nonChristian babbling resulting from a group of people trying to create a false amalgam between Greek mythology, the Far East religions and Christianity. The texts are neither reliable or accurate Christian texts, as they are historically and logically alien to the main Christian thinking and philosophy."
As for Judas and his relationship with Jesus, the truth is summed up in Matthew 25:24, when Jesus says, "Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
The fascination with such a ludicrous fragment of worthless text as the "Gospel of Judas" seems to reflect America's need to reconnect with God.
My suggestion, if you are looking to find God, look in the complete, reliable and inspired texts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, rather than the rejected revisionism and fragmented fiction of the Gospel of Judas.
Divine truth will shine through.
And human interpretation will cloud it. Content yourself with your faith, your knowledge can never be enough. There are but two real commandments, love your G-d and love his children. All else is vanity.
A piece of reputed "history" written 300 years after the fact...unreliant on many other sources and contemporary eyewitnesses, does not qualify as one of the "papers of the time" unless that time is the 4th Century.
"Virgin" in Hebrew can mean simply "unmarried woman" (or more accurately just "young woman.") But since in ancient times the virginity of a young never-married woman was considered absolutely essential (similar to the attitude on that subject in Middle Eastern societies today) for her marriageability--and the context in Isaiah 7 (that of a remarkable future event foretold...) doesn't make sense unless its understood as a virgin, not merely a young woman. There is NOTHING remarkable at all about a young woman concieving and bearing a child--UNLESS she was an actual virgin.
The authors of the gospels of Matthew and Luke clearly understood both the word "virgin" and the concept which we have for it today--and understood the Isaiah prophecy that way as well.
These issues are not that complex...they just require reliance on and trust of God, and His care for His word.
The Lord will open the eyes of the wise and grant them perception. Memory knowledge is useless without charity to the neighbor. If there's goodness in a person's heart, the Lord is there. I know this from my own experience this Easter. The Messiah approaches quickly.
"...for Mark, Luke, et al they have put their own spin on things just as today's police know, if there are 3 eye witnesses, there will be 3 versions of what happened and none may be fully correct. Mark wasn't there at the birth, so he only knows what he was told just as the others were repeating much of what they'd been told since they weren't eye witnesses either."
Me, I'd suggest you actually study a bit more before you start blathering. But then, that's just me.
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