Friday, April 07, 2006

The gospel of Judas

Judas: This is what really happened from the Mail & Guardian is interesting. The National Geographic Society unveiled the leather-bound Gospel of Judas Iscariot, supposedly written in AD 300.

I always thought it strange that Judas was villified by most Christians and that his name has been synonymous with neing a traitor, when he was supposedly helping with God's "great plan" for the salvation of mankind. It seems someone had to turn Jesus in, and Judas was the lucky one to get to do it. (I wonder why God didn't just have the Roman soldiers find Jesus by accident, or have Jesus hand himself over? hmm...)

I've recently gotten re-interested in the Gnostic gospels after reading some interesting quotes from the Gospel of Thomas in a great little book of aphorisms. (The World in a Phrase, by James Geary) There are some real gems in this book, and it gives a really interesting sampling of various philosophies over the ages, with little biographies and anecdotes about the various philosphers, authors, and wits that created the selected aphorisms.

As a result of reading this book, I have a few books about the Gnostic bible from the local library waiting for me to read them...

PS: The Dead Sea Scrolls will be in Seattle later this year. Does one go despite the high liklihood of encountering freaky religious nuts? Hopefully the freaky history nuts will outnumber them... :)

Update: 4/10: Slate has a story on the manuscript's history:

After it was found—the official story is that this happened in the 1970s, but it was probably much earlier—shadowy figures in the black-market antiquities trade took the text to Europe and kept it out of public view. The reason for their secrecy was not theology, but greed. The sorry tale is a narrative of venal irresponsibility.

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