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The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed Paperback – 16 Dec 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.; Reprint edition (16 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195343514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195343519
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 1.8 x 14.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 595,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Well judged and informative. (Church Times)

Bart Ehrman offers a sane and sensible introduction to a text that has been the subject of wild claims in the media...A clear account. (Rev David Blatherwick, Methodist Recorder)

Rigorous and informed. (Edward Norman, Literary Review)

Bart D Ehrman explains the status of this manuscript with cool-headed clarity. (Boyd Tonkin, The Independent)

[A] splendid book. (Church of England Newspaper)

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the major public experts on early Christianity, Jesus, and the New Testament, he is very well known in his field and to a general audience through his books, including the New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene, Lost Christianities, Lost Scriptures, and Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. He has appeared on N.B.C.'s Dateline, A&E, the History Channel, C.N.N., and a number of nationally syndicated N.P.R. programs, and has taped several highly popular lecture series for "The Teaching Company."


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As Ehrman notes, it's hardly necessary to introduce Judas Iscariot to readers. The many allusions to betrayal or deception: the kiss, the "thirty pieces of silver", the "one among you" reference are scattered throughout our literature, politics and daily circumstances. Even the fratricide of Cain receives less attention. However, a long-lost text providing an alternate view of this man, known to scholars but never seen in its original form, is likely to change all that. Ehrman, who was among the first to study the remants of it after it was found in Eygpt over thirty years ago, here provides an analysis of its contents. In a well-written account, he traces the document's history as known, and what it might mean for Christianity.

Judas, Ehrman notes, is portrayed in various ways in the "Synoptic Gospels", the accounts of Jesus that are the standard fare of Christian teachings. They range from a man driven by greed to an instrument of Satan. "The Gospel of Judas", originally written at about the same time as those stock accounts, depicts somebody else altogether. Not written by Judas, the writer tells the story of a man specially favoured by the teacher. According to the text, Judas was the one among "the Twelve" who actually "got" the message. Instead of "betraying" the teacher, Judas is actually given the task of freeing him from the "man who clothes me". Jesus, then, is but a spirit occupying a human body. Judas thus becomes the first Christian.

The foundation of this shift of role lies in a religious philosophy known as "Gnosticism". Although much debate has raged around the term as well as its tenets, its underlying thesis is that the material world is inherently evil, created by corrupt gods. The god revered by the Jews and transferred to Christianity is a false deity.
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Format: Hardcover
A really good read. It's a standalone book in that you don't need to have read Bart Ehrmans other books (or the books of other academics) to understand the context and content of the gospel of Judas in relation to early Christian writings. This book will not only talk you through its discovery and journey to publication (which is quite interesting) and a summary of what the gospel contains, but it will also summarise early Christian writings and Ehrman owns views on what the gospel means in the context of other early Christian writings/theology schools. So no need to worry about reading this book from the point of view that you have no knowledge. I think however that this is where the book fails some readers. If you have read other books on the subject (particularly Bart's) allot of the book is re-covering the same ground. In addition it's not a serious academic analysis as it does not actually provide an analysis of the complete work (Just Bart's `quotations of the bits he finds relevant or interesting). However these aren't really criticisms, because Bart has clearly targeted an audience on the assumption of no prior knowledge. This then is an enjoyable, well written, very informative look at the gospel in the context of other early Christian writings that could be read quite easily by a 12 year old. It is not a detailed academic analysis of the gospel. I would recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading "The Gospel of Judas", I was drawn to this book to help me make sense out of what I had read. I trusted that Ehrman could do that given the breadth and depth of his knowledge as I had found in previous books I had read by him including "Misquoting Jesus", "The Lost Christianities" and "The Orthodox Corruption of Scriptures". He seemed, when he wanted to, to address a lay audience well.

I haven't been disappointed with this book. In fact, there is a bonus book hidden inside of this one. In the course of considering Judas in light of this new gospel, Ehrman presents his speculations on Jesus as an apocalyptic Jew. This view of Jesus had made more sense to me of the life and death of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity than any other book I have read. It also makes me want to read soon Ehrman's 2001 book "Jesus: Apocalytic Prophet of the New Millenium" in which he apparently presents in more detail a view of Jesus associated with Albert Schweitzer.

But if you, like I, are less concerned with the historical Jesus and more with Gnostic Christianity than this book may be somewhat disappointing. I expect too much, perhaps, from Ehrman. The breadth of this book does indeed put "The Gospel of Judas" into good general context within early Christianity. But Ehrman's interest does not seem to be primarily in Christian Gnosticism and so, for all his knowledge, he doesn't quite seem to want to inspire us about the value of the Christian Gnostic myths. Even with the "Gospel of Judas" essentlally in his hands, Ehrman is not a Hans Jonas. He'd rather use the opportunity to remind us of his understanding of Jesus as an apocalyptic Jew and of Gnostic Christianity as evidence of the diversity of early Christianity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is terrific. Not unfamiliar ground for those who have read, for example, Robert Eisenman, but well-researched, well-written, and a welcome addition to the canon.
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