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The Gospel of Judas Hardcover – April 6, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The story of the gospel’s rediscovery and salvation [The Lost Gospel by Herbert Krosney] reads like a Hollywood mystery.” –The Boston Globe

“The long journey of the codex that ended up in box No. 395 at the Citibank…began in the caves along the Nile…when peasants discovered leather-bound papyrus written in an indecipherable language, according to Herbert Krosney, author of The Lost Gospel.” –Newsday

Jesus says to Judas: “Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star.” –from The Gospel of Judas

“(The Gospel of Judas) is one of the greatest historical discoveries of the twentieth century. It rivals the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Gnostic Gospels of Nag Hammadi.” –Bart D. Ehrman, author of Lost Christianities

“The discovery of the Gospel of Judas is astonishing.” –Elaine Pagels

“The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot…” –The Gospel of Judas

About the Author

Rodolphe Kasser, Ph.D., a professor emeritus on the Faculty of Arts at the University of Geneva, is one of the world’s leading Coptologists. He has organized the restoration and prepared the editio princeps of Codex Tchacos, containing the Gospel of Judas and three other Coptic Gnostic texts.

Marvin Meyer, Ph.D., Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University and Director of the Chapman University Albert Schweitzer Institute, is one of the foremost scholars on Gnosticism, the Nag Hammadi Library and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament.

Gregor Wurst, Ph.D., is professor of Ecclesiastical History and Patristics at the University of Augsburg, Germany.

Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an expert on early Christianity.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; 1st edition (April 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426200420
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426200427
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Marvin Meyer is one of the foremost scholars on gnosticism, the Nag Hammadi library, and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament.

Customer Reviews

I think it gives us a choice to believe in something other than hate and blame for one who walked with and loved Jesus.
Theresa Flanery
This book is certainly an interesting read, with good, informative explanations about some details of the Gnostic movement.
Orville B. Jenkins
The basic and most startling feature of the Judas Gospel is that Judas was the only disciple who really understood Jesus.
Ralph Blumenau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

588 of 618 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This new book by the National Geographic Society is bound to be of interest. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the outline of the lost gospel being translated and highlighted here, it still presents an intriguing look into the early mind of Christians, who were a very diverse group.

There were originally more than four gospels, and literally hundreds of apostolic letters and manuscripts floating around the ancient world. These were of variable quality literarily and theologically, but it took hundreds of years for the Christian community to come to a consensus about what should be included and what should be excluded. Generally, Gnostic texts were excluded, and this lost gospel of Judas is most likely a Gnostic production, according to the authors. It was referenced by early church leaders such as Irenaeus, who argued strongly for the now-standard vision of four canonical gospels.

What is the issue with this gospel? The central idea that places this text as odds with the canonical gospels is that it paints Judas is a very different light - Judas is no longer the villain who betrays Jesus for his own personal gain, or because of his own spiritual confusion, but rather an obedient servant who, when turning Jesus in to the authorities, is simply following Jesus' own direction as a necessary step for God's plan to come to fulfillment. Judas is portrayed as the closest of the apostles to Jesus, a leader among the apostles, and thus perhaps the object of jealousy.

To be sure, these ideas are not new. Varying images of Judas and confusion about his role have been present throughout much of Christian history, with no single definitive vision of his personality nor his action superseding all others. (See the book on Judas by scholar Kim Paffenroth, published recently).
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The New Testament portrays Judas as the corrupt disciple who betrayed Christ, and this negative portrait of him, with additional hateful characteristics, has prevailed for centuries. Only in recent times has the figure of Judas been seen in the context of very ancient Hellenic cults in which gods have to be killed by a `sacred executioner' to be reborn, after which this sacred executioner is disowned by and driven out of the community.

These ideas were then incorporated into the teachings of the Gnostics, where the god becomes a Saviour figure who would descend from the Realm of Light into the Realm of Darkness to redeem mankind and then to return to the Realm of Light. Such and similar Gnostic ideas had an influence on certain groups of pre-Christian Judaism and then on early Christianity also.

So far these influences have been deduced by comparing parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and parts of St John's Gospel with Gnostic works; but the rediscovery of the Gospel of Judas gives us a text that is so explicitly Gnostic that it actually wholly subverts the message of the Gospels in the New Testament. As a result it was of course declared heretical by Bishop Irenaeus in 180 and suppressed. Its text was lost until a manuscript of it in Coptic, dating to around 300 AD, was found in Egypt in around 1978; its fragments, making up 85% of the original, were painstakingly reassembled; and the work was finally published in 2006. The book under review gives us a translation of the reconstituted text, followed by four illuminating essays of explanation and commentary. That by Bart D.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Daniel B. Clendenin on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the year 2000 the Swiss antiquities dealer Frieda Tchacos Nussberger acquired a sixty-six page papyrus codex (now called Codex Tchacos) that contained four books or treatises, one of which turned out to be the long known but long lost Gospel of Judas. The codex was in horrible condition, "a thousand fragments scattered like crumbs." When Rodolphe Kasser of Geneva, a renowned Coptologist, saw it for the first time on the evening of July 24, 2001, he described it as "partially pulverized, infinitely fragile, crumbling at the least contact." Nussberger gave the manuscript to the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art, which through collaborative efforts restored as much as 80 percent of the codex, which will eventually be given to the Coptic Museum in Cairo. This brief description, however, hardly does justice to the murky origins and history of Codex Tchacos before it came to Nussberger. A companion volume by the National Geographic Society entitled The Lost Gospel (2006) tries to reconstruct that mysterious past.

The original Gospel of Judas (which we do not have) was composed in Greek some time before 180, when Irenaeus mentions it in his work Against Heresies. The version we have in the Codex Tchacos is a later Coptic translation from the Greek that according to radiocarbon-dating was composed between 220-340, with a margin of error of +/- sixty years. The present volume is its first translation into English.

The Gospel of Judas is only one of several dozen apocryphal writings of the early Christian era, some of them now extant only as fragmented papyri, others known only in name (like Paul's letter to the Laodiceans per Colossians 4:16), that did not find their way into the canon or "rule" of Scripture that bear authentic witness to Christ.
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