Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

No doubt, I am not the only person receiving e-mails from friends telling me about this text. However, I wouldn’t take the Gospel of Judas as gospel. What is amusing is that some people who doubt the authenticity of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, believe that the Gospel of Judas, though written well after the Familiar Four, tells the intimate truth about what really happened 150 years before. The scholars who call the Gospel of Judas “authentic” use the word in another sense than that of Barzun and Graff:

[Genuine and authentic] may seem synonymous but they are not: that is genuine which is not forged, and that is authentic which truthfully reports on its ostensible subject. Thus an art critic might write an account of an exhibition he had never visited; his manuscript would be genuine but not authentic. Conversely, an authentic report of an event by X might be copied by a forger and passed off as his own work. It would then be authentic but not genuine.
—Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher, 6th Edition, 2004, p. 69n.

At least everyone agrees that the Gospel of Judas was not written by Judas, or any disciple of Judas, except perhaps, in the form of its “dramatic recreation,” the National Geographic Society.

The Anchoress nicely distinguishes “the gospel of” and “the gospel according to”.

Read also This Holy Week in Fausta’s blog.


Blogger goliah said...

Like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi discoveries, this latest 'gospel' increases the amount of new scriptural material only available this century, making the concept of 'canonical scriptures' untenable and any claims of understanding founded upon them both incomplete and even less credible.

What might 'Christianity' look like if all these resources were available from the beginning? Check this link:

9:00 AM  
Blogger Leo Wong said...

I am glad for whatever discoveries there may be that might tell us more about the life and times, including the after times, of Jesus. All these resources and more were available, unless hidden or unnoticed, from the beginning of Christianity. The Church did not accept them as authoritative. The very idea of a canon implies that some writings are in, and others are out.

6:59 PM  

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