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Most complete text of the Gnostic Gospel of Judas yet discov

by Ziks511 / April 7, 2006 6:50 PM PDT

ered. Given the religious bent of so many here at SE I'm surprised that noone has commented on the discovery of what I understand to be the most complete text of the Gnostic Gospel of Judas yet discovered. It has been mouldering in a safety deposit box in suburban New York (White Plains, I think) for some 12 years and is due for review by the National Geographic.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospeljudas.html a link pre-discovery of the "new" manuscript.

Having read various articles, this seems the best and most thorough: http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/08/stories/2006040806770200.htm

Though if you prefer it all to be played down as much as possible here's the Charlotte Observers observation: http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/local/14294305.htm

I suspect that a well informed person will now have to wade through the Nag Hammadi Library, and the Gnostic Gospels in addition to this new discovery in order to discuss Christian belief knowledgeably.

Both Elaine Pagels' book (The Gnostic Gospels) and the Nag Hammadi Library have been on my "to get to" list, but don't seem to be getting any higher on the list which is probably a personal failing. I read new stuff when I'm feeling my best, and that hasn't been for a few years now. Perhaps this summer.


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Why would it arouse much interest?
by Bill Osler / April 7, 2006 11:12 PM PDT

I saw the news reports but my reaction was basically 'so what?'

There are any number of non-canonical 'gospels' in circulation. Many of them (don't know about this one) were known to the early church and rejected as being erroneous or inadequate for various reasons.

Those who do not accept the authority of the canonical gospels may choose to amuse themselves with a revisionist version of history but I don't see any reason this should be of special interest to more than a handful of scholars.

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It was on the front page, with pic & bold type,
by John Robie / April 8, 2006 1:05 AM PDT

on our San Antonio newspaper yesterday, giving the L.A. Times write-up,


as we do have a large Catholic population.

I'll stick to the version that is in the current Bible, however the article is interesting.

An English translation of the manuscript was released Thursday; the Coptic version, and other information, is displayed on the National Geographic Society website, http://www.nationalgeographic.com

A two-hour program about the project will air Sunday night on the National Geographic Channel at
8PM Eastern Time
7PM Central Time
9PM Pacific Time

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Exactly what
by Glenda / April 8, 2006 1:49 AM PDT

my husband and I discussed when it came on the news the other night. It doesn't affect us one way or the other. Just not an important find.

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Why it matters
by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 2:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Exactly what

Not being a blind faith type person, I want to know who, what, when, where and why and the Coptic gospels provide information that the first church decided was not important. The reason they left a lot out was so they could shape and control the religion and maintain power. What they came up with definitely made Christianity. But Christianity is supposed to be like democracy, for the people, not the power brokers. Have read the Gospel of Thomas and it was very interesting. It was not a narrative but just the sayings of Jesus. Have heard the Gospel of Mary is also enlightening.


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"But Christianity is supposed to be like democracy,"
by drpruner / April 8, 2006 4:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Why it matters

Boy, that's a new one on me!

"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Mt 4:10, ASV
He was citing Ex 20:
"And God spake all these words, saying, I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Jehovah is not a democrat - big or small "d". Happy

Man-directed religions cause most of the problems in the world.

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supposed to be
by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 5:20 AM PDT

As the rest of the sentence said, for the people. Please do not take things out of context. Thanks.


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"But Christianity is supposed to be like democracy,
by drpruner / April 10, 2006 12:37 PM PDT
In reply to: supposed to be

for the people, not the power brokers"

Same basic answer, plus these:
Purpose of Christianity is at Ec 12:13,14
"The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man. For the true God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad."

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I agree with you Tom. Anything that throws light on the
by Ziks511 / April 10, 2006 3:19 PM PDT
In reply to: supposed to be

early church is of great worth. Now eartly Gnostics and Coptics did go in directions that we find uncomfortable now, mass masturbation is no longer a favored form of worship, but it was early on in some Gnostic Churches. (Ref. Testament: The Bible and History, John Romer British Historian and archaeologist on religion). Try Abebooks. http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805009396/qid=1144732501/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_0_3/702-3581181-5884861

This whole thing sheds a lot of light on why the early manistream of Christianity was called the Orthodox Church, because there were some pretty unorthodox things going on.


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I'm not that cynical ...
by Bill Osler / April 8, 2006 8:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Why it matters

I agree that it is important to be familiar with the basic issues rather than blindly accepting dogma. However, I cannot accept that The reason they left a lot out was so they could shape and control the religion and maintain power. I am not naive enough to believe that everybody involved acted only from pure motives, but I don't think your cynicism is even remotely justified. There was a lot of 'stuff and nonsense' written about (and sometimes by) Christians during the early days of the church and it was important for the leaders to sort out the wheat from the chaff. I am amazed at the quality of the work they achieved during those messy conferences in the early part of Christian history even though the process was not always conducted on a completely spiritual plane.

That said, I didn't claim that this new 'gospel' is irrelevant. It just is not that important. I may even get around to reading the translations of the Gospel of Judas. Sometime. When I don't have something more important to do. Just don't hold your breath waiting for that time to come.

It is interesting to compare the cynicism you expressed above (as quoted) with the naivet

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by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 9:46 AM PDT

I am a cynic and a pessimist. The glass is half full and someone else will probably get to it before me! I believe in God. I believe in Jesus as the Christ, much to the chagrin of Mom, with some reservation. And I do have the naivete of a child. Had a sheltered childhood, church and all that and learned about the real world thanks to the Marines and some good friends in the Corps with me. I can't remember the fellow's name, Origen or something like that, who played a big part in the early formation of the church. Not being well read or educated I have to rely on my inner being where the Spirit resides to guide me. Have you ever come across a book or article that when you look at it you know, somehow, that you are meant to read it! I love these forums because of the good talkers and listeners; I learn from y'all and you usually cause me to think about something from another angle. Anyway, should y'all get a chance, read the Gospel of Thomas. I think it would surprise, enlighten and for some cause great consternation. Thanks for the opportunity to interact with you good folks.


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God did not send His Son into the world so that we could
by Kiddpeat / April 8, 2006 9:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Cynical

blindly grope around seeking what might be true. I've had a lot of the kinds of feeling you describe. Many people advocate them as a means of guidance. My experience says that they are very unreliable. Many people have been mislead on that basis.

If you read this document, compare it to what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul have to say. If it doesn't agree with them in every respect, you can be sure that it is a false gospel. God does not contradict Himself.

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Know that one
by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 10:12 AM PDT

Beware of false prophets. Being an idiot, I would like to read some of the things the first church left out, just for my own satisfaction. I do not mean to disparage anyone's faith or ask them to question it or prove it to me. The 3 wishes thing- would he come down and explain it to me or come on and take there so I could understand. Always wanting that which one can't have, metaphysically speaking!


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If your ''he'' = Jehovah, then he won't come
by drpruner / April 10, 2006 12:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Know that one

himself - disastrous to us. (Ex 33:20)
Instead he sent the best possible spokesman: John 1:18

Spend more time with Jesus and less with scholars of post-biblical writings, no matter how earnest they are. That's life-giving knowledge. John 17:3

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''He preached a counter-cultural message...''
by Dragon / April 8, 2006 10:03 AM PDT

Yep, he was the first hippie. Wink

Maybe the power brokers she is thinking of were the ones some 300 years after the fact. It seems (I did just a bit of reading)that Constantine was a very important figure who, due to political considerations only, decided it was a good idea to decide once and for all a few important things about Jesus.

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The culture he was "countering"
by drpruner / April 10, 2006 12:47 PM PDT

was the established, accepted, majority religion of his day. What if the same thing happened today? Different result? Mt 10:16-23

Constantine's religion just a matter of political expediency?! They gonna burn you, Dragon! Happy

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Basic misunderstanding, I think...by your quote
by Steven Haninger / April 8, 2006 8:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Why it matters
"But Christianity is supposed to be like democracy, for the people....."

Sorry...no cigar...not even close. Religion...any that I know of...involves a surrender to a greater power. But man has no power like that of God's...nor has man the ability to show the same quality of mercy. Surrender to the power of man brings one to slavery and spiritual death but to surrender to the power of God brings one to freedom and eternal joy. Happy
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by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 9:51 AM PDT

All I meant was a democracy, according to the Constitution, is for the people, in a governed civilization. Religion is for the people, no matter their race, color, creed, job title, political persuasion, etc. Does this make better sense or I have I muddied the waters again? If so, rats.


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Perhaps I did misread but here's the first quote that
by Steven Haninger / April 8, 2006 10:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Misunderstanding

didn't sound like you understood early Christianity. ''The reason they left a lot out was so they could shape and control the religion and maintain power.''

You'll have to understand that the early establishment of Christianity and churches teaching such could have nothing to do with maintaining power. These people were severly persecuted and concerned about their own extinction. Some feel that the it possible that the Bible was a product of later realization that Christ's "second coming" was not imminent...that too much time was passing without any sign of His return. It was felt that a written record (the Bible, as we call it now) was important if the integrity of the teachings of Jesus was to be maintained. There were fewer and fewer living persons that had direct contact with the "Apostolic Fathers" and oral traditions do tend to lose their accuracy. The criteria for which existing writings were authentic and trustworthy to be included in the Bible were quite stringent. I could believe that much that was viable was excluded during the argueing and nitpicking that happened...such as lawyers today do over admissible evidence in court cases.
It was much later when kings and such sought to use the church and Christianity for their own purposes and to maintain their power by demanding conversion and integrating church law into secular law. Unfortunately, too many church ''officials'' went along with it. This might have been because of their own fears in that aligning with powerful rulers provided them with some protection as well. Remember, the church never had it's own armies and industries. While you might be calling it a ''power'' thing, I call it a survival thing.

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Good response
by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 11:04 AM PDT

Even my feeble brain understood it. Have you ever read The Last Great American Hotdog Stand. It's funny. Themain characters have a whacko friend who ends up working in the Vatican. Being the whacko he is he goes exploring the tunnels and lo and behold he finds Christs body! So he's on the run from the Vaticans super secret fix-it squad. Get my drift? Think they know more than they are telling and so I read things not in the official Bible. But the book is funny as all get out.


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Sorry to say I am not much of a reader
by Steven Haninger / April 8, 2006 11:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Good response

The last book I read cover to cover was "Catch 22" and that was many moons past. My attention span for reading is way too short...the mind drifts off. I admire and am jealous of the ability to stick with a good book until it's finished.

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You sound just like a gnostic. All that secret knowledge
by Kiddpeat / April 8, 2006 12:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Good response

known only to the initiated. I suggest you read the real thing. The Apostle John, if I recall correctly, condemns gnosticism.

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by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 3:48 PM PDT

Read the bible, front to back, been to bible classes. Why would I want to be initiated into a "club" that would have me as a member! My search for knowledge is a personal journey to God. As was said before, I have doubts and I believe there are sources not recognized by the established church that can help me on my path. Now if you believe in the religious fervor of monks, read Dark Night of the Soul by ST John of the Cross. It is not for those who are looking for an easy way. Just because our sins were forgiven through His blood and sacrifice does not mean we should quite trying to learn more about the Path to Him, the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit. God bless you all in your journey that we all strive for.


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(NT) (NT) Couldn't find that book
by Diana Forum moderator / April 9, 2006 9:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Good response
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Christianity is not a democracy. Jesus' title the King
by Kiddpeat / April 8, 2006 9:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Why it matters

of Kings is not going to be voted on by the faithful. He gave authority to certain individuals, and the church recognizes what they wrote as authoritative. Judas and whoever wrote this document were not given any authority.

It should be fun trying to establish authenticity for a document found in New Jersey. Ya think?

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Why not an important find, Glenda?
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 8, 2006 11:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Exactly what

There were more than 20 different Gospels; the orthodox four that were selected by a group male Bishops 300+ years after Christ may not in fact represent the entirety of His message. Do we know that they were not in fact divinely inspired, as we consider the ordained four to be? It's a very important question for all Christians, I should think! Incidentally -- I'm sure that parts of this Gospel were known long before this "most complete text" was discovered, as the Judas in Kazantzakis' "Last Temptation of Christ" (one of my favorite religious books, which both the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches have tried to suppress) and to a lesser extent "Jesus Christ Superstar" are very much like what I've read about the "Gospel 0f Judas." BTW, that's a misnomer, as it's not supposed to have been written by Judas. Anyway, my point is that the similarities are too great to be coincidental (though I suspect Tim Rice, who wrote the book and lyrics to Superstar had read Kazantzakis). Unless, of course, Kazantzakis was actually inspired to write the book...

I highly recommend Kazantzakis book, as it solves many of the paradoxes in the Bible stories that thoughtful people have wondered about. The heart of the book is ALL the Temptations of Christ, not just the last one. The paradox is, how could God be truly tempted to worship the Devil -- and if it wasn't true Temptation, how was He really a model for us? Kazantzakis answer is to postulate that Christ, though truly Godand man, did not truly know Himself to be God until after the Resurrection -- that all the Gospel claims to be the Son of God were written by the Evangilists after the fact, as reinterpretations in light of the knowledge that none but Peter truly had until then. After all, Thomas wasn't the only doubter among the Disciples, merely the last to put them aside; even Peter denied Him three times... If you accept that p0stulate, that Christ thought Himself to be "just another prophet" until after the Ressurrection, then the Temptations make sense, and more importantly, the Agony in the Garden becomes more understandable and meaningful. That was the Last Temptation of Christ, says Kazantzakis -- to "chuck the mission," finally deny His call (to die a criminal's torturous death), and live a normal, human life as husband to Mary Magdalen. If Christ knew Himself God, and that He could not truly die, then is there really any point to Paul's triumphant "obedient unto death, death on a cross?" How can One who cannot die truly die -- haven't you ever wondered that? Kazantzakis answers the paradox -- because He did not KNOW He could not die until after He had accepted doing so.

So there's a LOT for orthodox Christians in the various Gnostic Gospels, and in Kazantzakis spiritual masterpiece. Rather than causing doubts (except perhaps about the earthly church) as the othodox churches feared they would, these "heretical tomes" can lay those fears to rest!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Then DK, you have absolutely no standard for determining
by Kiddpeat / April 8, 2006 12:08 PM PDT

the historical or theological truth of Christianity. How can you possibly say which of these conflicting accounts is true? You can't. It seems DK, that you don't know what the truth is. According to the historical documents, Jesus said that you are in a very precarious condition indeed. I can't see that you have any escape route other than to pick and choose what you like. Picking and choosing what you like will not lead to God, or His truth. It will lead only to your own preferences.

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Thank you, KP
by Glenda / April 8, 2006 1:05 PM PDT

I am staying out of this one as no matter what you say to some they won't understand. I just don't feel like another argument:( BTW I totally agree with your thoughts in this thread.

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by marinetbryant / April 8, 2006 4:13 PM PDT

Have you ever read several books with a religious or theologcal subject and after digesting the material you find yourself only remembering certain things. That, to me, is the Holy Spirit in you separating the wheat from the chaff. He gave us free will and I trust the Spirit to keep the truth from the BS separated. Again, I'm not knocking anyone's faith or belief. Nor do I believe that by reading other sources I will be able to ascend through any metaphysical means without the Lord's official okay dokay or that I am paving may way to hell.

Sincerely, Tom

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It sounds as if you think that God's truth is largely
by Kiddpeat / April 8, 2006 11:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Standard

subjective whereas God expended great effort to make it objective. Christianity is not about a solitary search for truth. The Truth has come, and it has been laid before us because God spoke through holy men. Do you think He would have allowed the message to be buried in antiquity? Christianity is about being a member of a body of believers who are making God's truth a part of their lives. I think there have been many forgeries that the church, under God's direction, has rejected. God's decisions are reflected in the historical process which, I think, God directs and controls. God has preserved His Word, and brought it to us in the Bible. It was He who guided the historical processes that caused this to happen. I think that to strike off exploring such forgeries under one's own authority is a very risky behaviour. The contents of scripture were chosen for solid, rational reasons. Perhaps you should understand that process better before discarding it.

If God intends that we go off exploring new sources of spiritual truth, why not dealve into the Hindu or Muslim scriptures? Are there not many things there to which our spirit will respond?

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