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Video: The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot Part 1

 

This past November I flew to Yelm, Washington, outside of Seattle, to deliver a lecture on the Gospel of Judas Iscariot at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment.  When I had been invited to give the talk the year before, I frankly had never heard of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment.  In fact, when I was invited, I was told that the school was called The Gnostic School of America — and so I naturally thought that it was some kind of college made up of west-coast-modern-day-Gnostics who saw themselves standing in line with the ancient Gnostics.  Such people do exist!

But that is not what this school is.  The School of Enlightenment was founded by a woman named JZ Knight, and it is named, obviously, after Ramtha.  In case you don’t remember who that was, let me tell you.  Ramtha was a philosopher-warrior who lived 35,000 years ago, who, with his 2.5 million soldier army, conquered most of the known world at the time, including the island of Atlantis.   JZ  channels him.  (In one of her many former lives she was Ramtha’s daughter, who wanted to lead the troops into battle; women weren’t allowed to do such things back then; but now that they have been liberated, Ramtha has returned and is communicating through her to give his message to those who are open to receiving the truth.)

The school is not an accredited institution of higher education, but is more like a retreat center where people who are followers of the teachings of Ramtha, as channeled by JZ, come together for multi-day retreats to learn from Ramtha and from other teachers in the school who have been advanced in their enlightenment.   These retreats are well attended; there were probably 700 people there for my talk, each of whom paid $500 for the four days they would be there.  Other retreats are better attended and charge more.  They hold them periodically throughout the year.

The retreats are held in a large facility that looks like a large auditorium, but with no seats.  Everyone sits on the floor (with pads they bring usually), to be close to the earth.   And for several days they participate in learning more about Ramtha’s teaching, including an appearance by JZ who lives in a very elegant house next to the facility, and speaks for an hour and a half or two hours, chanelling Ramtha.

For more on JZ and Ramtha, see http://www.ramtha.com/content/faq.aspx

In any event, they wanted me to speak about the Gospel of Judas, since they are interested in the idea that humans are themselves divine and need to learn how to get their minds and bodies out of the way to reveal the true divinity within.   They find Gnostic texts amenable to that point of view.

I should say that it was a terrific audience.  From what I could tell, they were largely middle to upper-middle-class folk.  Extremely kind and interested and (enthusiastically) receptive, and not at all non-plussed by the fact that I personally have a very, very different view of the world.  Opposite view of the world, actually.

The following is the lecture I gave.  Afterwards I had a long question and answer session which, for me at least, was more interesting than the lecture.  I’ll post that second part of the video soon.  The video was made, obviously, by the staff at the school, which has given me permission to post it here.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    rajaspargaonkar  January 16, 2014

    I am happy you are willing to appear to all sorts of audiences, but don’t you worry about giving credibility to a group of people that basically believe something as zany as they do? It seems from your description that they want to understand the underpinnings of the Gospel of Judas so they can use it to boost their own crazy belief system. I haven’t gotten a chance to watch the video yet, but I get the sense from your Facebook post that their interest is self-serving, and not for elucidation on an academic subject.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      I’m happy to speak to all audiences, in hopes that they may see the light!!

      • Avatar
        judaswasjames  January 22, 2014

        What *you* need to do is to “engage” with your audience so that *YOU* may “see the Light”! I really felt sad for you — seriously — when you said in your personal views segment of the Q and A session that you are a “Materialist” and that you think this life is all you get. That’s a very sad and pointless view, I think. The whole idea of life is to “REJOIN” the Infinite (the definition of “religare” or “religion”).

  2. Avatar
    ALIHAYMEG  January 16, 2014

    So cool! It’s really entertaining to listen to people laugh at the ridiculous notions and mythology surrounding this gospel, especially when the mythology of the orthodox position is just as absurd.

  3. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  January 16, 2014

    You do live an interesting life indeed. I didn’t think anyone but Neanderthals and a few early humans lived 35,000 year ago>

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      Well, there certainly weren’t any warrior-philosophers with 2.5 million person armies!!

  4. Avatar
    mary  January 16, 2014

    Bart, could you speak some more on the connection of the apostles as having chosen the leaders? Roman leaders? Is that in the lost Gospel of Judas or some other writings?

    Thanks

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      The legends that developed said that the apostles chose the leaders of the major churches that they left behinds. It’s not in any of our Gospels, but in sources that recount the legends starting in the late second century.

  5. Avatar
    Steefen  January 16, 2014

    Dear Dr. Ehrman, do you agree with the following statement found on wikipedia?

    In the past, some scholars thought that gnosticism predated Christianity and included pre-Christian religious beliefs and spiritual practices argued to be common to early Christianity, …, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, and Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism). The discussion of gnosticism changed radically with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library and led to a revision of older assumptions. To date, no pre-Christian gnostic texts have been found, and gnosticism as a unique and recognizable belief system is typically considered to be a second century (or later) development.

    Dr. Ehrman, what wasn’t successful was Jesus “opening a portal to the Son of Man Kingdom” with his Palm Sunday/Early Holy Week. What wasn’t successful was Jesus’ “It is time. Let us go to Jerusalem. Let us all take our places for the apocalyptic event.” Jesus faired no better than the other messiah who led thousands to the Jordan so he could part the waters like Moses,

    Over time early Christianity got away from an earthly messiah, shunning the material world (somewhat of a gnostic stance), for a heavenly messiah.

    What is the scholarly view of the percentage of Gnosticism within the canonized and synoptic Gospels?

    The new sermon series at Highland Park, Kerygma service is on Jesus of Nazareth – What Do We Know; and, in last Sunday’s sermon we heard the scholarly world (not necessarily yours but, specifically, the scholarly world of Seminaries and Schools of Theology) is into the Fourth Quest for the historical Jesus by quarrying the Gospel of John.

    You are SO well-travelled and admirably so, please let me know if you agree that there is a difference between the Historical Jesus scholarly work of Seminiaries/Theology Schools and the Historical Jesus scholarly work of Universities? I would think there would be some overlap BUT a seminary [cough, Baptist Seminary] would not go WHEREVER History takes them, whereas a University has some additional freedom to do so.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      On the question of “pre-Christian gnostic texts” it completely depends on what one means by “gnostic.” Is the Hermetic literature “gnostic”? It’s certainly not Christian gnostic, and it certainly predates Christianity.

      But if by Gnosticism we mean the fully developed systems we konw about in the second century, then I’d say yes, texts supporting these are (obviously) all later.

      • Avatar
        dwmoran  January 19, 2014

        I thought the Hermetic Literature had been dated to second or third century CE…?

        Enjoyed your lecture as always. Thank you for posting it!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      BTW, I’m not aware of a massive movement to turn to the Fourth Gospel for reconstructing the life of Jesus.

      • Avatar
        Steefen  January 18, 2014

        Just got clarification from Rev. Marcum (9:52p Friday). Here it is:

        The ‘fourth quest’ is a term used by some of the John, Jesus and History Group of the Society of Biblical Literature.

        They have postulated that a ‘fourth quest’ could be done based on a mining of the gospel of John. One author in one book referred to the work of the group so far as a the results of this tentative fourth quest. I use the term in that sense: bringing in the work of the John, Jesus and History Group into the discussion of the historical Jesus. There is not a generally recognized fourth quest at this time.
        Here is a link to their home page including publications so far: http://johannine.org/JJH.html
        Walt

  6. Avatar
    ottomobile  January 16, 2014

    You probably wouldn’t remember that I emailed you months ago with my husband’s response to learning the lecture was at the Ramtha Center. It has taken me months to restore your credibility in his eyes; he was sure anyone lecturing there was on the fringe and that all the bible scholarship I’d been sharing with him amounted to nothing but conspiracy theories.

    I was really looking forward to attending, but being sick and facing a 2+ hour drive forced me to abandon the plan, and so I’m grateful the Ramtha Center has made the video available. I watched the first part of the lecture and I was surprised to see the audience sitting on the floor. While the informality was a little jarring at first, I think the audience seemed more engaged than in a typical auditorium lecture. I look forward to the Q&A session.

  7. Avatar
    toejam  January 16, 2014

    Regarding this “channelling” of Ramtha and other spirits: My latest read was Stevan L. Davies’ book “Jesus the Healer” in which Davies’ main argument is that Jesus is best seen as a faith-healer whose primary niche was the ability to induce himself to “receive” the spirit of God. Davies sifts the NT texts through the filter of modern day psychological understandings of multiple-personality-disorder, as well as anthropological studies on how ‘possession cults’ get started. The similarities he draws are quite striking. I didn’t agree with every conclusion he made, but I’d definitely recommend it as the primary focus is on Jesus’ faith-healing ministry and his underlying psychology, unlike most historical Jesus books that tend to focus on his socio-political outlook and the historical details of last week of his life. Check it out if you get a chance!

  8. Avatar
    toejam  January 16, 2014

    I’m also curious – would you have done this gig if you knew prior the whole ‘Ramtha’ thing? It does seem a bit … cultish!

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      Sure! Everyone deserves a chance to hear a different perspective (or to be brought to the light! 🙂 )

      • Avatar
        judaswasjames  January 17, 2014

        That’s twice now you’ve said that. Just what is your “light”? (Like Pilate’s “What is truth?”)

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  January 18, 2014

          Yup, same thing. It’s my view of the truth.

          • Avatar
            judaswasjames  January 24, 2014

            WELL, what is it? You keep saying that, but never SAY what it is (“apophasis”!). What are you, a lawyer, too? Car salesman?

  9. gmatthews
    gmatthews  January 16, 2014

    There’s a Gnostic Coptic Church (or maybe it’s Coptic Gnostic Church) that I’ve seen in the area of Duluth, GA in the Atlanta metro area. I go down there a lot for business and every time I see it I do a double take. I’ve been wondering how many Gnostic churches there are around the country so this makes 2!

  10. Avatar
    Joshua Gordon  January 17, 2014

    As soon as I saw Yelm, I thought, what….(I live in Vancouver WA) and sure enough……..

  11. Avatar
    drdavid600  January 17, 2014

    I’m jealous, but I can’t decide of whom I’m the most jealous or perhaps of whose money I’m the most jealous. Like hitting a baseball, I suppose persuasive channeling is harder than it looks, whatever it is that’s being channeled. Still there’s something in here about human nature that is both simple and amazing, applying to the Gospel of Judas as much as to all other human beliefs based in vapor. P.T. Barnum was right?

    If only human nature could be harnessed strictly for love and truth, … at least this blog is all for charity.

  12. Avatar
    donmax  January 17, 2014

    My computer is too old to watch these sorts of videos, but the group you describe reminds me of those Robert Eisenman addresses on occasion. Did you know there are modern-day Essenes, too, and disciples of James the Brother of Jesus?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 17, 2014

      Yup!

    • Avatar
      judaswasjames  January 18, 2014

      My affiliation is with the Radha Soami Satsang Beas, India. http://www.RSSB.org
      We are taught EXACTLY the same teachings John the Baptist, James the Just and even Melchizedek taught their disciples. I have found traces of nearly every major tenet of the teachings of RSSB Sant Mat (Teachings of the Masters) in the Bible, Old and New T. I don’t believe Jesus lived as a real person. In think he was a literary creation, preceded and succeeded by real Masters, John and James. There are many details in the NT for supporting this, IMHO.

      • Bart Ehrman
        Bart Ehrman  January 19, 2014

        It’s a bit hard to know if you’re taught exactly the same thing ancient people taught — when we have no writings by them and no reliable writings *about* them! You may as well claim you’re teaching exactly what Enoch taught. There’s no way to know! The fact that your teaching says you know don’t make it so!

        • Avatar
          judaswasjames  January 20, 2014

          Bart,

          But I do know. I *recognize* the tenets of today in the tenets of the ancients. For example: Melchizedek was Abraham’s Master (Genesis 14:20). Abraham “tithed” a tenth of “everything” to him. It doesn’t say what, just “everything”. We are taught today to “tithe” a tenth of our time daily (2 and a half hours) to meditation. This is what the author of Genesis meant. It is repeated in 28:22 with Jacob. “All that thou [the Lord] givest me” is not goods, but time. The Lord does not want our “goods”. He wants our attention. It got corrupted into goods later.

          It is no accident that David picks up “five smooth stones in the brook” (1 Sam. 17:40) to strike Goliath’s ‘forehead’. These are symbolic names of archons in the inner realms that are as passport words to transit the aeons (to use Gnostic terminology) by repetition of a mantra at the thinking center “single eye” (Matt. 6:22). “Goliath” is David’s ego. I’m not the first to notice that. David cuts off Goliath’s head with his own sword, indicating that his own efforts released him from the bondage of his ego-self. The Gospel of Judas is also about this transformation. It is not about Jesus! It is the Gospel (‘Good News’) OF JUDAS! Judas (his lower self) is the ‘sacrifice’ and the focus. He is becoming the new Master (read the ode section properly: “wrath kindled – against self, star ASCENDED”). And ‘Judas’ is James throughout (I explained before, he dreams he is stoned by fellow disciples) and in the canon as “Stephen” in Acts 7, “Judas” in the ‘Betrayal’. I can cite tons of support detail for this, but space will not permit, nor will you, I fear. (not yet, anyway!)

          You rely on documents. I rely on Teachings. They are ONE and the SAME today as yesterday, as tomorrow, as a thousand years from now! I don’t *need* to know Coptic to ‘get it’. I can point to poor translation by knowing where *you* get it wrong: “Apophasis Logos”, for example. And, “your star has *passed by*” for another. Poor translating on both, Bart. I’m sure there are more examples. I’ll find them.

          Point of interpretation: “Baptized in your name” is not “Jesus”, but the WORD. This is as crucial as recognizing that “the Word” is not the Bible. It is an esotericism, not a written or spoken “name” or word.

  13. Avatar
    judaswasjames  January 17, 2014

    Thanks so much, Bart, for posting this. I was wishing I could have gone to RSE for it, but I see it is in-house.

    You have the gist right so far as you go with it. You stop short of the “punchline”, though. The “sacrifice” is not Jesus, but JUDAS. Judas is to become his chosen successor (John 13:18) by his merging Judas into his Being, merging being the essence of Gnosticism. This is seen in the canon (John 13:18/Psalm 41:9 and 13:19), in gJudas at 56:20, and in ‘James’ at 13:23-25 “Then you will attain to the One Who Is [God], and *you will no longer be James”. That text of James (Nag Hammadi First Apocalypse of James) immediately precedes gJudas in the Codex Tchacos. The parallels are striking. In N.H. 29:4-5 of First Apoc. (19:4 of ‘James’) has “YOU have stirred up your wrath against YOURSELF”. Do you remember what *follows* “You will exceed them all, for you will sacrifice the man that bears me”? (“Your horn has been RAISED, your WRATH has been KINDLED, your star has ASCENDED, and your heart has grown strong”) Is it making any sense for you yet — James here?

    “Woe to that man who ‘betrays’ me” in the Synoptics is the same thing! The Greek word “paradidomai”, or the appropriate conjugation of it in the canon, is the parallel to the “wrath” and “sacrifice” of the Gnostics! It is the word used as “to deliver” as well as “to betray”, and in fact is seen in the gospel of John that very way at 19:16: “They handed Jesus over”. It is inverted tendentiously by the antiSemitic (anti-Jamesian) author, John, TO HIDE the successor, James. I think the obfuscation regarding word meaning was intentional. The evidence comes as a veritable avalanche. I can’t take up your blog space detailing it all, which is I why I have a book and website.

    The Gnostic author of gJudas was trying to write the Gnostic retort to the canonical writers, to set the record straight. Thank God he had the nerve, and some monk the foresight to bury it. All *you* have to see is how ‘Judas’ is James. He dreams he is stoned BY FELLOW DISCIPLES (44:24-26). James was stoned by fellow disciples in Clement of Alexandria (Recognitions, 1:70). He is REPLACED by someone (unnamed) at 36:1 in gJudas “IN ORDER THAT the Twelve can come *again* to completion in their God”. THIS CANNOT BE MATTHIAS. ‘Judas’ was replaced IN ORDER THAT the Twelve (including himself) can come to completion again (gnostic predestination of Pneumatics) “IN THEIR GOD” — *spiritually*. James (the gnostic tractate) has James REPLACED at 13:25. John (the canonical book) has James REPLACED at 13:19, “I am HE [James]”, and in the Synoptics at “Woe to the one who delivers me”. Even “Letter of Peter to Philip” has Philip told “You will die” (meaning his lower-self). This is Gnosticism! Judas *was* James. There is need for a LIVING successor. THAT is why the NT canon was conceived — to HIDE him! The Gospel of Judas is the Gnostics’ reply to that deception. The canonical gospels’ one goal was to clear the way for a Pauline church founded on “the Spouter of Lying”, Paul (per Dead Sea Scroll Pesherim, Damascus Document and Habakkuk Pesher). They were most like commissioned by the church. All four ‘Betrayal’ versions have clues leading to James as “the Betrayer”, successor to Jesus, only inverted, tendentiously. Robert Eisenman started this. We can finish it. He would not listen to me.

    I am a life-long practicing Mystic (aka ‘Gnostic’). I have taken a great Indian Master (since 1975) as teacher, Maharaj Charan Singh. No, I don’t know Coptic (someday I hope to), but I can help interpret this new find. I only touched on the most essential part here.

    Call me anytime and we can talk it over. (808) 896-6203. I want to bring this to the widest possible audience.
    judaswasjames.com
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Bible-says-Saviors-ebook/dp/B00CFWE40I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378005590&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bible+says+saviors

    -Bob Wahler

  14. Avatar
    judaswasjames  January 18, 2014

    Bart,

    Allow me to show you where you err in your version of things: Gospel of Judas, 36:16-17, in answer to the query from the disciples as to where he went “when you left us”: “I went to another great and holy generation.” Now, unless you can explain how that is somewhere in this world, Jesus obviously had the means to “escape his mortal body” — the reason the consensus scholars — that would be you — say that Jesus was “sacrificed” by Judas. King and Pagels pointed this out flaw in the consensus logic, so it isn’t mine, but theirs. ‘Judas’ is the sacrifice, Bart.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 18, 2014

      I don’t think that Jesus was sacrificed. The “man that clothes him” was. As he explicitly states.

      • Avatar
        judaswasjames  January 19, 2014

        Bart,

        But you assume that what the “man that clothes me” means is the body OF JESUS. It does not anywhere state that! Gnostic teaching revolves around self-sacrifice and becoming one with the savior. You scholars all make an unwarranted assumption that the “man” here is Jesus. That’s orthodox corruption. (You are the expert on it, right?)

        Look what follows: “Your horn has been raised, your wrath has been kindled [against *self*! — as in 1st James, 19:5/NH32:10, just before gJudas], your star *has ascended* [DeConick trans.], and your heart has become strong.” That’s an ode to a new Master, not a lament over a “betrayer”! Judas is the one who will be persecuted just before this part in gJudas (“Tomorrow they will torment the one who bears me” — JUDAS, NOT Jesus — he is James, as he is in “1st James” just before this text (C. Tchacos p.11ff. Read this sad, plaintive section and put it into context right before 56:20 in gJudas. “No hand of a mortal human will sin against me” means JAMES (as ‘Judas’) — not Jesus.

        You have read Nag Hammadi, you should recognize how prevalent this theme of self-elimination is: “When you become the One Who Is, *you will no longer be James*”, James, Codex Tchacos, 13:25, NH 27:10. “When you strip off *what is corrupted* then you will become illuminators within [not ‘among’] mortal men” – Letter of Peter to Philip, NH 137:5 (p435, Robinson). There’s two examples and both present in Codex Tchacos itself (in part for ‘Philip’). “I saw that he was naked, and there was no garment clothing him” – Second Apoc. of James, NH 58:20, is the “naked young man” in Mark 14. “Naked man with naked man” in Secret Mark is the Master, Jesus, merging with James. That’s another clue that ‘Judas’ was James. The ‘kings’ that have “gown weak” are his lower desires, conquered now by his merging into Jesus, and becoming the new Master: “The star that leads the Way is your star.” (Joshua 10 has the same *evil kings* ‘slayed’ by Joshua.)

        This is why I’m telling you over and over, I know Gnostic teaching, as I *have* a Mystic (‘Gnostic’) teacher: Maharaj Charan Singh. I understand the Gospel of Judas in ways only a gnostic will. Remember, I DO gnostic practice DAILY. Our goal is the elimination of self, to be merged into the Master. This is why Gesine Robinson was wrong to tell me that I had to be wrong when I said it was Judas ascending into the luminous cloud at the end of the story — he had MERGED INTO Jesus, and “lost sight of him” not from the ground, but from on high — *because they were ONE*! You can easily misread gnostic writings when your life-long orthodox bias upsets your clear vision. We ALL have it — including me. I read gJudas a dozen times before *I* realized that the sacrifice was Judas, not Jesus. He is replaced — by Jesus — “IN ORDER THAT” the Twelve may again come to completion in their God” (36:1). How is that “Matthias”??? This new replacement is a divine actuator! HE is the facilitator of this “completion”. And it is JAMES: Judas dreams he is stoned BY FELLOW DISCIPLES. Only James was so stoned. Tell me of another religious figure “stoned by fellow disciples” in first century Palestine. (Hegesippus and Clement [conflated] record James stoned BY disciples.) All early church sources like Papias and Eusebius show James as successor to Jesus. Eisenman shows the R.T. was JAMES, and was fleeing PAUL (orthodox founder) when he fled to Qumran (‘Pella’). Paul KILLED James, leading the stoning mob.

        The David and Goliath saga is the same dynamic, as is the “Betrayal” in all four canonicals. It was reversed by the anti-Jamesian gospel authors TO HIDE JAMES. The Gospel of Judas was the Gnostics’ retort to the canon lie about James. I can’t do this subject justice in this small forum space. We need a whole separate discussion for it to handle all the details. I cover every single passage in all four Betrayal scenarios in my book, “The Bible says ‘Saviors’ — Obadiah 1:21”. All the supporting ‘prophecies’ are mistranslations.

        This is the most important revelation IN HISTORY. You can’t drop the ball this way, Bart. You MUST see that ‘Judas’ is the one Jesus passed on the Mastership to, and that he is JAMES.

      • Avatar
        judaswasjames  January 19, 2014

        This is the “Gospel OF Judas”. It isn’t about Jesus!

  15. Avatar
    gabilaranjeira  January 18, 2014

    Ave Bart!

    So, did the Gnostics deny the resurrection or did they give it a whole other interpretation?
    The second century AD was a fascinating period.

    Thank you.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 19, 2014

      Different Gnostics had different views. For some (apparently), the divine Christ raised the man Jesus from the dead. For others, the “resurrection” was the escape of the divine Christ from the physical shell of his body. And there were probably other views!

  16. Avatar
    Wilusa  January 18, 2014

    I’m really looking forward to the Q&A portion of this. I found it interesting that the audience laughed at the points where most of us would laugh – where you, not having known in advance about their presumably strange beliefs, had expected laughs.

    I don’t mean to mock Gnostic beliefs, but…if they believed freeing themselves from their mortal incarnations was a good thing, did their writings spell out reasons why simple, relatively painless suicides wouldn’t work? Why, for instance, Jesus had to be “handed over” to the authorities and subsequently executed, when he could – after passing on the intended “secret knowledge” to someone – have simply taken poison?

    A related question about the Cainites…is it known whether, in their interpretation of the myth, Cain was doing Abel a favor by killing him? As Judas, in the Gnostic view, was doing Jesus a favor by setting in motion the events that would lead to his death?

    • Avatar
      Wilusa  January 18, 2014

      I’m assuming, here, that they thought of Jesus as a real person – didn’t view the whole story as symbolic.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 19, 2014

      No, I don’t know that they addressed suicide. And no, we don’t know what they thought of as Cain. But I do think that for the Gospel of Judas, it was understood that Judas was doing Jesus a favor.

      • Avatar
        judaswasjames  January 20, 2014

        Bart,

        But your reasoning is flawed. Gospel of Judas 36:16 explicitly states (since you like the word “explicit” so much, allow me to use it here) that Jesus had access to “another great and HOLY generation”. So unless there are Holy Nephilim or something walking around here on earth, he must *already* have had access to extra-bodily realms. Now, what was the reason you say Judas was doing Jesus “a favor”?

        King and Pagels point this out, not just me.

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  January 21, 2014

          My view is that he could temporarily visit other realms, but he still had a body until he was released from it — just as Paul could be taken up in an ecstatic heavenly experience to see the divine realms (2 Corinthians) but had to die in order finally to “be with Christ” (Philippians)

          • Avatar
            judaswasjames  January 22, 2014

            Ridiculous. Then why is it YOU or I don’t need to be “sacrificed”? Do you think Jesus was condemned to wander forever in a human body? Pretty feckless “Son of God”, this one.

          • Bart Ehrman
            Bart Ehrman  January 23, 2014

            Some people think that I *should* be….

          • Avatar
            judaswasjames  January 23, 2014

            Also, Bart, Paul didn’t say it was HE that went to heaven (unrepentant murderers don’t go to heaven), but that he “knew a man”, who was certainly James, since he never knew James’ Master, Jesus. I’ll keep bringing you back to James, yes — because James is why the New Testament was written: not to reveal Jesus, but to HIDE James.

          • Avatar
            judaswasjames  January 25, 2014

            I noticed just now, that it was James Paul had seen “after three years” in Jerusalem in Galatians , then came back after the 14 years he mentioned in the 2 Cor. 12 part where he said “knowing a man” — certainly James. Interesting that he says in Galatians, “I do not lie!” Paul must have known James was calling him the “Spouter of lying”. It is the very next verse after Paul mentions James the brother of the Lord. The obfuscation starts with Paul and continues through the Gospels Betrayal, hiding James all along.

    • Avatar
      judaswasjames  January 20, 2014

      Willow,

      You see how ridiculous the scholarly consensus reasoning is. Bart won’t even pause to consider that *maybe I am right when I tell him he doesn’t UNDERSTAND gnostic teaching*. There WAS NO betrayal of Jesus. That’s the whole point of the gospel of Judas. The ‘sacrifice’ in Gnosticism is of SELF. Judas was giving up HIMSELF to become one with his Master (36:1). “Judas” was James (44:26-7). He will “grieve a great deal” (35:27) because he will not personally ascend — only his MASTER will, who is within him. This is why I tell Bart that I can help translate gJudas, even though I can’t read Coptic. I know the meaning of the teachings, and he doesn’t! Not yet, anyway. I’m working on it. It isn’t easy.

      Your horn has been RAISED,
      Your wrath has been KINDLED [against self, “James” CT19:4/NH32:10]
      Your star has ASCENDED [DeConick trans.]
      and your heart has become strong [to become successor Master]. –Jesus to JAMES (‘Judas’)

    • Avatar
      judaswasjames  January 24, 2014

      My mission in life is to turn this Titanic away from the iceberg of “Judas handed Jesus over”. Dr. Eisenman has *already* proven from the Scrolls at Qumran (the Pesherim) that the m.o. of Pauline gospel writers (and Paul) was to INVERT the sense of their doctrine. Peter sees a “heavenly tablecloth come down from heaven” (Acts 10:13) to tell him to “Kill, and eat!”, this after three YEARS with his Master. What was he doing for three years? Jesus didn’t teach him it was OK to eat meat? No, they were Nazirites, who *did not eat meat*. The entire gospel story is filled with such reversals: dining with harlots and Roman tax collectors, paying taxes to Rome, the whole deal, when they were militantly xenophobic. This is literary fiction. Judas is the self-sacrifice, and they INVERTED it, to make it into a traitorious farce. The goal was to hide James the Just, who was the successor. There is so much to support this, I can’t take the space here to cover it all.
      Read more here:
      judaswasjames.com

  17. Avatar
    Rosekeister  January 19, 2014

    I noticed the standing ovation and wondered if you sometimes speak at places that obviously aren’t receptive to higher critical views of the Bible. You mentioned speaking at Liberty (I grew up several blocks from the Thomas Road Baptist Church) but they probably treated you well even if they had to put you in a room while they indoctrinated their students with all your “errors” in a manner that didn’t allow you to respond to what they said.

  18. Avatar
    gavm  January 20, 2014

    they seem pretty silly but in my opinion people will believe what they want to believe then work out how to justify that belief latter. when r you coming to Oz to speak?

  19. Avatar
    nichael  January 20, 2014

    As always, thank you for posting this.

    A couple notes on the Cainites and other Gnostics revering the “bad guys” of the Bible (i.e. because they oppose the “evil god of this world” and His law).

    First, as a footnote: One notable example occurs in the Nag Hammadi text “The Hypostasis of the Archons”, which contains a Gnostic retelling of the Genesis story. In this, the Serpent of Eden in explicitly identified as Christ[!]. (I realize I’m not telling Dr Ehrman anything he doesn’t already know, but it seems worth mentioning.)

    Second, it seems curious that one of the main pieces of evidence against the Apostles is the vision they share (in which in the Apostles act “immorally”, “violently”, etc). All things considered, in view of the Cainites/Gnostic “reverence of the bad guys” it would seem that these could be considered marks in their [the Apostles’] favor. (I realize that this may be conflating views from varying Gnostic traditions. And, moreover, we don’t have texts that might do “Gnostic apologetics” to explain these sorts of things. But it does seem to be a curious contradiction.)

  20. Avatar
    nichael  January 20, 2014

    A question about the title “The Gospel of Judas”.

    My understanding in that, in the Coptic, the text really is titled “The Gospel *OF* Judas” ( that is, as distinct from the most other Gospels –“The Gospel According to Mark”, “… According to John”, even “… According to Thomas”– whose actual titles are often muddied in translation into English).

    Is this correct? If so, this would seem to imply that the focus –the “star”, if you will– of the text really is Judas. I.e. It’s telling _his_ story.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 21, 2014

      The problem is that in Coptic, as in Greek, and in English, the word “of” can mean lots of things: “belonging to,” “originating with,” “about,” “by,” “according to,” and so on.

      • Avatar
        judaswasjames  January 22, 2014

        Nichael is right. Evangelium NIOYDAC (Gospel OF Judas) It isn’t “by”, that much is clear. It isn’t “originating with”, “according to” or “belonging to” either. The focus THROUGHOUT is Judas, and it is POSITIVE (“Good News”) because self-sacrifice (56:20), or “replacement” by the Master IN ORDER THAT the Twelve may again come to completion in their God” (36:1) is the gnostic m. o.

        Judas is the one whose “horn is raised”, and whose “star has ascended” (DeConick). He is the one who will not be there when he is persecuted “tomorrow”, because Jesus will replace him spiritually. The text of James covers the same ground, more openly. This is the Gnostic reply to the canonical shenanigans in the “Betrayal”.

        Gregor Wurst, Critical Edition, The Gospel of Judas, 58:27-8, p 177: titular subscript: “Gospel of Judas”

        Richard Smith, A Concise Coptic-English Lexicon:
        N [NN] Before vowels (mainly OY) — genitive particle “of”

        Judas is James. He dreams he is being stoned and persecuted severely by other disciples! WHO do you know of besides James for whom this is historically recorded? Are you aware that PAUL threw James off the Temple steps in Clement’s Recognitions, chapter 1:70, breaking his legs and leaving him for dead?
        http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.vi.iii.iii.lxx.html

        Hegesippus, via Eusebius, records the fall, the stoning, and the fatal blows on James’ head:
        http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/hegesippus.html

        HELLO?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  January 23, 2014

          Really? So “of” is a clear word to you? And if I tell you that I want “to give you one of my books” I must not mean one of the books that I wrote?

          • Avatar
            judaswasjames  January 23, 2014

            Context, Bart, context. Read the darn thing:

            “They could not find the courage to stand before him, except Judas”, “step away from the others and I will show you…” (and the “not so that you will go there” reflects the ‘sacrifice” — he is still going, just not as Judas! ~), “someone else will replace you IN ORDER THAT the Twelve may again come to completion in their God” (replacement is a good thing — AND for Judas too: “AGAIN!” – “again”, “again”, “again”! They are all coming BACK. ‘Judas’ is “coming” too!), “NO ONE born of this aeon will see that generation” (all are born here, so he must mean a transformation), “No person of mortal birth is worthy” (“sacrifice the MAN [within]” — has to be *someone* worthy, right?), “YOU WILL COME TO RULE OVER THEM” (This is a traitor?), “Come that I may teach you”, “Your star will RULE over the Thirteenth Aeon (see Pistis Sophia — This is a very exalted place), “no hand of a mortal human will sin against me [myself WITHIN you — in spirit!]”, “You will exceed all of them”, “Your horn has been RAISED”, “Your wrath has been kindled [against self – Codex Tchacos, James 19:4]”, “Your star has ASCENDED” (DeConick), And your heart has grown strong”, “The star that leads the way is your star”, “Judas *lifted up his eyes* [in meditation — TO the ‘third’, or ‘single eye’ – Matt. 6:22] and saw the luminous cloud, and HE JUDAS entered it.”

            Does this sound like a bad guy or a Master? He is the new Master, Bart. The Paulines were trying to HIDE him — JAMES THE JUST. Judas dreams he is stoned by fellow disciples. That ALONE should clinch it. Do you know of another figure in first century Palestine who was “stoned by the other disciples”?

            He “handed him over”, sure, but that was a necessary addition to the text because by the time this was written, everyone expected to see it. It is a sop to the canonical version, too well known to leave out.

            “AGAIN”, Bart. The Twelve are coming BACK to God. Gnostics never LEFT the Pleroma. Only in their minds. Is this not making sense yet? The canon is a con job. Always has been.

    • Avatar
      judaswasjames  January 22, 2014

      Nichael,

      You are absolutely correct. The translators of the Gospel of Judas say it is the Gospel OF Judas:
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Gospel-Judas-Second-Edition/dp/142620048X

      The entire text is about what is to become of Judas, and ‘Judas’ is not Judas, but JAMES THE JUST, ‘brother’ of Jesus. He is the successor. They wanted to hide him in the canonical gospels, so the Pauline church could grow without interference from a living Master who would not teach after-death salvation. The Gospel of Judas is the Gnostics reply to the ‘Betrayal’.

      The gnostic Apocalypse of Peter has a condemnation of this church (third paragraph section:)
      http://gnosis.org/naghamm/apopet.html

      ‘Judas’ is James because he leads the others to “completion in their God” after his Master, Jesus, “replaces him” (36:1-3). He is James because he dreams he is stoned by the other disciples, exactly the fate of James in Hegesippus and Clement:
      http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/hegesippus.html
      http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf08.vi.iii.iii.lxx.html

      ‘Judas’ is the mystic “sacrifice” at the climax, followed by the ode to the new Master:
      Your horn has been raised,
      Your wrath has been kindled [against self],
      Your star has ascended,
      and your heart has grown strong.

      This ode is incompatible with a “traitor”. Judas is a MASTER, and he is James, inverted.

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