As I said in my last post, after receiving an out-of-the-blue query about the Gospel of Judas I looked it up to refresh my memory: it was allegedly a book used by a group of Gnostics named the Cainites, a book that told the story of Jesus from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, his betrayer – not in order to malign Judas but, evidently, to celebrate his deed, since it was (somehow) to Jesus’ advantage.
Soon after reading up on the Gospel (there was very little to read about it, since we didn’t have it; all we had were some comments in the writings of church fathers who opposed it, principally Irenaeus), I received a second phone call, this one from a person at National Geographic, asking what I knew about the Gospel of Judas. I obviously realized that something was up.
So I told her what little we knew about the Gospel as probably a Gnostic text. In my mind, I wasn’t sure – before this – that the text actually *ever* existed. Some of the church fathers more or less made up some things, including books that their enemies allegedly used, in order to be able to attack them more persuasively (“You think the *Gnostics* are worth considering? Ha! They revere the Sodomites and their Gospel is about Judas Iscariot!!”). So I was somewhat agnostic about whether any such thing really ever had seen the light of day. But now National Geographic was calling me about it.
Once I told her what we knew about the Gospel, I asked her what the deal was. And she responded by asking me a question: “Do you think it would be significant if we found it?”
Ai yai yai. Do I….
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