The Gospel of Judas, Second Edition Paperback – 6 Apr 2006
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"In one sense, this document is huge news...it provides a touchstone for what certain people believed 150 or 200 years after Christ s death.""Knight/Ridder Tribune News Service""
About the Author
Rudolphe Kasser is one of the world's leading Coptologists. He is professor on the Faculty of the Arts at the University of Geneva. He has organised the restoration and prepared the editio princeps of the codex containing the Gospel of Judas. Gregor Wurst is a professor of ecclesiastical history and patristics at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of University of Augsburg, Germany. He is widely published in the field of Coptic studies. He is one of the two editors of the original Coptic of the Gospel of Judas and one of the translators of the text. Marvin Meyer is Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies and director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Chapman University, Orange, California. He is one of the foremost scholars on Gnosticism, the Nag Hammadi library, and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament. He is one of the translators of the codex and the author of The Gnostic Gospels and The Unknown Sayings of Jesus.
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Top Customer Reviews
These ideas were then incorporated into the teachings of the Gnostics, where the god becomes a Saviour figure who would descend from the Realm of Light into the Realm of Darkness to redeem mankind and then to return to the Realm of Light. Such and similar Gnostic ideas had an influence on certain groups of pre-Christian Judaism and then on early Christianity also.
So far these influences have been deduced by comparing parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and parts of St John's Gospel with Gnostic works; but the rediscovery of the Gospel of Judas gives us a text that is so explicitly Gnostic that it actually wholly subverts the message of the Gospels in the New Testament. As a result it was of course declared heretical by Bishop Irenaeus in 180 and suppressed. Its text was lost until a manuscript of it in Coptic, dating to around 300 AD, was found in Egypt in around 1978; its fragments, making up 85% of the original, were painstakingly reassembled; and the work was finally published in 2006. The book under review gives us a translation of the reconstituted text, followed by four illuminating essays of explanation and commentary. That by Bart D.Read more ›
For a broader appreciation of alternative early Christian writings - such as the gospels of Thomas and Judas - I would recommend "Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas" by Elaine Pagels which shows that a key difference between so-called Gnostic writings and those of more orthodox Christianity is the discovery of truth. In books like the Gospel of Judas Jesus is represented as teaching that the kingdom of God is within us, and we must search within ourselves to discover the truth. In orthodox Christian books such as the Gospel of John the light of truth is not to be found in ourselves but in Jesus, who alone is the Way to God.
So alternative early Christian writings such as the Gospel of Judas present a more open and pluralistic way to God, as opposed to the more exclusivist dogma of traditional Christianity.
There were originally more than four gospels, and literally hundreds of apostolic letters and manuscripts floating around the ancient world. These were of variable quality literarily and theologically, but it took hundreds of years for the Christian community to come to a consensus about what should be included and what should be excluded. Generally, Gnostic texts were excluded, and this lost gospel of Judas is most likely a Gnostic production, according to the authors. It was referenced by early church leaders such as Irenaeus, who argued strongly for the now-standard vision of four canonical gospels.
What is the issue with this gospel? The central idea that places this text as odds with the canonical gospels is that it paints Judas is a very different light - Judas is no longer the villain who betrays Jesus for his own personal gain, or because of his own spiritual confusion, but rather an obedient servant who, when turning Jesus in to the authorities, is simply following Jesus' own direction as a necessary step for God's plan to come to fulfillment. Judas is portrayed as the closest of the apostles to Jesus, a leader among the apostles, and thus perhaps the object of jealousy.
To be sure, these ideas are not new. Varying images of Judas and confusion about his role have been present throughout much of Christian history, with no single definitive vision of his personality nor his action superseding all others. (See the book on Judas by scholar Kim Paffenroth, published recently).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is nice to see this sort of book available as it addresses many inconsistencies, and presents a balanced view of the disciple Judas, by Rodolphe Kasser.Published 1 month ago by Paul Treacy
this book was interesting, don't know it everyone would like it though, i thought it was okPublished 18 months ago by suzanne
Good introduction to the Gospel of Judas, although partly outdated already. Be aware of the fact that some of the interpretations given in this book have been highly debated, and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Margret Helga Stefansdottir
Haven't finished the book yet - not something you can read all at oncePublished 22 months ago by Marilyn C
The Gospel of Judas is fascinating. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the Bible.Published on 6 Jun. 2014 by T. J. Keane
I enjoy light reading, so I won't go into depth as some of the other reviewers have done. I don't read many books but I found this one to be particularly fascinating. Read morePublished on 9 Sept. 2012 by Mr. S. A. Roome
An essential gospel, even if we must be very cautious because of the great lacunae. Judas can finally be rehabilitated, at least in his intentions. Read morePublished on 20 Sept. 2009 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU