I have said some things about the Gospel of Judas in my previous posts, but not much, really, about what is actually in it.   You can find a translation, done by my colleague Zlatko Pleŝe, in the volume we co-edited and translated: The Other Gospels: Accounts of Jesus from Outside the New Testament.  We also give the following Introduction to the text; I will give the rest of the Introduction and a bibliography, and a bit of the translation itself, in the next post.




The Gospel of Judas is the most recently discovered Gospel to be published, and is arguably the most important and intriguing Christian text to appear since the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945.  Details of the discovery and the mishandling of the manuscript by antiquities dealers are provided in the exhaustive account of Herb Krosney.  The manuscript containing the Gospel preserves three other gnostic works as well: the “Letter of Peter to Philip,” known in a slightly different version from the findings at Nag Hammadi; the “(First) Apocalypse of James,” also known from Nag Hammadi; and a treatise entitled the “Book of Allogenes,” unrelated to the Nag Hammadi treatise also called “Allogenes” (= the Stranger).  All four texts are in Coptic, but they are clearly translations of Greek originals.  The manuscript was discovered by peasants rummaging through a burial cave in the Al Minya province of Egypt in 1978; but its existence was not known to the scholarly world at large until the Swiss Coptologist Rudolf Kasser announced its discovery and pending publication at the Eighth International Conference of Coptic Studies in Paris, in July 2004.

By this time Kasser and conservationist Florence Darbre had been at work for three years conserving the text, after it had been subject to abuse by the overly zealous and poorly informed antiquities dealers who had, over the years, torn the manuscript straight through, reaaranged its pages, frozen and then thawed it, and so on.  As a result of this mishandling, something like 5-10% of the contents of the Gospel of Judas has been permanently lost.  But ….

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