Monday, July 02, 2007

GOSPEL OF JUDAS WATCH: The discovery, transmission, sale, publication, and continued recent study of the Gospel of Judas are covered in this interesting article by Peter Nathan in Vision Insights and New Horizons:
Judas: It's Still About Money

Cashing in on the craze for Gnostic gospels

The re-release this year of several books in paperback reflects continuing popular interest in obscure nonbiblical works regarding the life of Jesus and the early church.

Last year it was the newly translated so-called Gospel of Judas, the latest pseudo-Christian text to grab attention. It’s release was conveniently timed to generate sales during the Easter season. A companion book, The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, told the story of the purchase and translation of the ancient Gnostic work. Both titles were published by the National Geographic Society and launched together with a prime-time documentary.

It was a great multimedia success, with top-echelon book sales. But while National Geographic’s Terry Garcia has pointed out that the society spent a significant sum on the manuscript’s restoration and that the project was “not a commercial enterprise,” the sentiment would carry more weight if claims made about the text were not so hyperbolic. For example, it is highly questionable that this is “the most significant archaeological discovery in 60 years,” as National Geographic News subjectively reported, or that “this lost gospel . . . bears witness to something completely different from what was said [about Judas] in the Bible.”

As I noted, the scope of the piece is considerably wider than one would expect from the title.