Friday, July 02, 2004

EXCITING NEWS ABOUT THE COPTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS � Pierluigi Piovanelli (University of Ottawa) e-mails the following:
. . . I attended the Annual Meeting of the AELAC in Dole (France), together with Francois Bovon, Stanley Jones, Nicole Kelly, Stephen Shoemaker, as well as many French, Italian, and Swiss colleagues.

The AELAC meeting was, as usual, very interesting, but it was today [Thursday], during the 8th International Congress of Coptic Studies, here in Paris, that I heard of a new and exciting "apocryphal" discovery, that I would like to share with you.

Rodolphe Kasser (University of Geneva) announced that he is going to publish a Coptic papyrus codex of 31 folios (62 pages). The manuscript is written in Sahidic and can be dated, on paleographical grounds, to the 4th/5th century. It is rather damaged and in poor and fragmentary conditions. It comes from Muhazafat Al Minya, in Middle Egypt, and is presently hold by a Swiss Foundation.

The codex contains three "treatises": (1) the Epistle of Peter to Philip, (2) the First Apocalypse of James (both of them are also present among the NHC [Nag Hammadi codices] but, according to Kasser, in a "different version"), and (3) ca. 31 pages of the previously unknown Gospel of Judas!

For Kasser there are no doubts that we have here the text of the "blasphemous" work bearing the same title that Irenaeus criticized in his Refutation of All the Heresies.

Kasser's publication is (hopefully) scheduled for the end of 2005.

In the discussion, James Robinson pointed out that, some years ago, Stephen Emmel had already seen such a codex and made a brief mention of it. Could it be a new and previously unknown NHC?

In any case, this is a major discovery not only for Coptic, Gnostic or apocryphal studies, but also for ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

UPDATE: Stephen C. Carlson at Hypotyposeis comments.

UPDATE (5 July): Wieland Willker comments on the Textual Criticism list.

UPDATE (9 July): Welcome Instapundit readers. If you're interested in ancient history, critical historical study of the Bible and ancient Judaism and early Christianity, new discoveries like the Gospel of Judas, etc., please have a look at the "About" link and the "Home" (main page) link to the right. I also try to keep up in a general way with the current situation with antiquities, museums, etc. in Iraq.

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