The Gospel of Judas

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I wish I had the time to comment on the media failure about the Gospel of Judas, but enough people have already done so that I can just link to them.

David Kopel at The Volokh Conspiracy has The Judas Gospel, which mainly refutes the ridiculous sorts of claims being made by most of the major media outlets who have been suggesting that anything in the Gospel of Judas has some bearing on scholarship on the historical Judas and will force everyone to reevaluate this man.

Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping has Judas Gospel a Yawner at Winds of Change (he also has it at his personal blog, but he's got comments and trackbacks at Winds of Change), which fills in more details on the apostolic origins of the NT canon and the rejection of non-apostolic works like the Gospel of Judas.

Ben Witherington has The Gospel of Judas et. al. -- Part One, which has some inside information about the process that has led to the publication of this new English translation of the Coptic translation that scholars we have had for years but has been unreadable by most NT scholars who know no Coptic (and the original Greek, if there ever was one, has not been found). He says he intends to follow up on this more.

Mark Roberts focuses more on the actual content of the Gospel of Judas in Excursus: The Gospel of Judas -- A Special Report, in an extended aside in the midst of a series evaluating the claims made by characters in The Da Vinci Code. It's not wholly off-topic, since both works raise issues related to Gnosticism, but this post is a stand-alone treatment of the Judas "gospel".

Update: Witherington's The Gospel of Judas -- Part 2 is now up. It deals with doubts about whether this Gospel of Judas is even the same one Irenaus knew in the second century, which means it could be a fourth century document written originally in Coptic. He also has some choice words for those who think any of the NT documents might be pious forgeries.

Update 2: Scot McKnight has begun a series on this. He doesn't say much in the first post. The second is due Monday. He does interact quite a bit with commenters in a decently long comment thread.

Update 3: Darrell Bock chimes in with Will the Real Judas Please Stand Up?

5 Comments

My reaction exactly. "This is a pail of dung, and no man may abide the stench thereof."

David, I think I agree with everything you say in your post except that nonsense about the pastoral epistles being accepted as forgeries. Many scholars think someone in Paul's circle wrote them after he died, but a number of others think they were written by someone (probably Luke) at Paul's behest at the end of his life, which isn't exactly a forgery. Then there are, of course, those who think Paul simply wrote them himself, and that happens to be the position of four of the six most recent scholarly commentaries on those books. Luke Timothy Johnson (Anchor Bible on I-II Timothy), William Mounce (Word Biblical Commentary), and George W. Knight (New International Greek Testament Commentary) defend Pauline authorship. Quinn and Wacker (Anchor Bible Titus and Eerdmans Critical Commentary on I-II Timothy) and I. Howard Marshall (International Critical Commentary) do take a view along the lines of pseudonymity, though Marshall thinks even that term is wrong, never mind terms like 'forgery'. The next scholarly commentary on these books by Philip Towner (New International Commentary) also defends full Pauline authorship. So it is by no means secure in scholarship today as it once was that Paul didn't write these books.

Jeremy,
Here is one more link to an article that I found to be good:

A Layman’s Guide the Gospel of Judas

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2006/04/laymans-guide-gospel-of-judas.html

The much touted National Geographic special on the Gospel of Judas is on tonight at 8p on the National Geographic channel(NCG).

-God Bless
- Raj

Hello,

I want to mention about an interesting site about Judas.

www.gnosticjudas.com

regards

I suppose if you consider historically inaccurate propaganda to be interesting, it can count as interesting.

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