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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
April 23, 2006
The Gospel of Judas ?

    With all the uproar that was caused by the finding of the Gospel of Judas, the one most important factor that was brought to the surface is the need for more knowledge on the part of the Christian faithful.  There is always a certain percentage of people who are left unaffected by any new information.  The rest of the population however is divided into several camps.  The two major camps are:  those who refuse to even give it a second thought less it disturb their security of present beliefs and those whose curiosity is triggered and whose brain will not rest until there are some answers to the entire proposal.  Perhaps we can help the two camps to come together if we take a little time to reflect on the following.

    Let us begin with the facts.  The Gospel of Judas definitely exists.  We cannot deny it.  The first fact about this gospel is that it was dated back to the second century.  Scientists tell us that is was  written around 180 A.D.  This tells us that Judas himself definitely did not write this gospel.  It was written by others who gave the gospel the name of Judas.  This was a very customary practice in the early church.  (Thus, the importance of Scripture study.)  The date also tells us that the gospel was not written in a time when there were any eye witnesses to the life, passion and death of Jesus.  All eye witnesses had died at least 80 -100 years prior to the writing of this gospel. (This is a major difference with the four gospels.)

    A second fact that we need to realize is that the Christian faith had various points of view in the early beginning.  Thus we see the importance of the Council Nicea in the fourth century.  One point of view that would support the gospel of Judas was the philosophy of Gnosticism.  For many years, Gnosticism was considered to be a corruption of Christianity.  Time and study have told us that the Gnostics existed even before Christianity.  Their origins could date back to several centuries before Christ.  Their thought pervaded every major religion for centuries.

    Gnostics (not to be confused with agnostics) were a philosophical/religious group with a bottom line of pessimism.  They believed that this world’s existence was evil.  All that existed was to be replaced magically or otherwise in order that humans could rid themselves of evil and corruption.  The body was no exception.  For the Gnostics, the human body was seen as a shell that enveloped the soul and prevented the soul from attaining joy and happiness.  Gnosticism was condemned by the early Church fathers.  This tells us that there were some Christians who had adopted the Gnostic point of view.

    Knowing what we know about the content of the Gospel of Judas, we need not stretch our imagination a great deal to see the connection between the theme of Jesus wanting to rid himself of his “outer shell” in order to reach a state of happiness.  Judas, therefore, would have been the perfect person to have “helped” Jesus accomplish this feat.  Rather than be a traitor, he would have been seen as a hero to the Gnostics.  Thus, they wrote their own version of the Good News.  
    Whether or not we want to accept this as Good News is another matter.  It certainly cannot be easily integrated into our present view of the purpose of Creation.  
 
Lorette P. Nault