Monday, April 10, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

The Ottawa Citizen had an article on the Gospel when I got up on Friday.
The Halifax Chronicle Herald ran a similar article.
I didn't really read it too hard, but the basics were:

* A manuscript that had bounced around for about 30 years was
subjected to analysis, scrutiny and translation.
* It was a Coptic script written early Gnostic text
* It was dated to the 4th century
* Judas was depicted as heroic and following Jesus' directions. He
didn't betray; he obeyed.

The thing with it is that I don't really know what new, philosophically
or theologically, this brings to the table. First of all, Judas' role in
the crucifixion is well known, but the idea that it's vital and
indispensible has also been teased out of the canon and hashed over
pretty well. That an all powerful being's earthly incarnation would have
seen it coming is pretty obvious.
That Judas might have been dispatched isn't canon to my memory, but it's
hardly new either. Most famously it was dramatized in The Last
Temptation of Christ, which has a great exchange between Willem Dafoe
and Harvey Keitel on the subject.
Now, as a historical document it's riveting.We finally have a copy of
something that we'd only had references to previously. We have another
piece of the puzzle concerning the early history of Christianity.

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