Monday, December 19, 2005

THE COPTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS is to be published under the auspices of the National Geographic Society, with a documentary and article planned for the spring of 2006, followed by three books. John Dart (journalist and author of a good popular book called The Jesus of Heresy and History) has an article in the Christian Century in which Charles Hedrick describes the contents:
Long-lost Gospel of Judas to be published
by John Dart


Hedrick said the last six pages of the Judas document describe a heavenly scene in which Allogenes is being tested and tried by Satan, followed by an earthly scene in which Jesus is being watched closely by scribes. At one point Judas is told, "Although you are evil at this place, you are a disciple of Jesus." The last line of the text says, according to Hedrick: "And he [Judas] took money and delivered him [Jesus] over."

So, Hedrick said, "it appears that Judas is working at the behest of God when he betrays Jesus as part of the divine plan." When translations of the Gospel of Judas are released with accompanying analyses, Hedrick expects that "there will be a lot of sensationalism, but it will dribble out, leaving only the scholars interested."

Yet, in academic and religious circles, the text may stir excitement for years, according to a scholar from the University of Ottawa. "It is a major discovery not only for Coptic, Gnostic or apocryphal studies, but also for ancient Judaism and early Christianity," said Pierluigi Piovanelli in an e-mail to colleagues in 2004 when the first plans to publish were announced.


You can read Piovanelli's original announcement here, which was available at PaleoJudaica long before the press got wind of the story. And for more on the Coptic Gospel of Judas, see these links.

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