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The Gospel of Judas, Second Edition [Kindle Edition]

Rodolphe Kasser , Marvin Meyer , Gregor Wurst , Francois Gaudard
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For 1,600 years its message lay hidden. When the bound papyrus pages of this lost gospel finally reached scholars who could unlock its meaning, they were astounded. Here was a gospel that had not been seen since the early days of Christianity, and which few experts had even thought existed–a gospel told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, history’s ultimate traitor. And far from being a villain, the Judas that emerges in its pages is a hero.

In this radical reinterpretation, Jesus asks Judas to betray him. In contrast to the New Testament Gospels, Judas Iscariot is presented as a role model for all those who wish to be disciples of Jesus and is the one apostle who truly understands Jesus.

Discovered by farmers in the 1970s in Middle Egypt, the codex containing the gospel was bought and sold by antiquities traders, secreted away, and carried across three continents, all the while suffering damage that reduced much of it to fragments. In 2001, it finally found its way into the hands of a team of experts who would painstakingly reassemble and restore it. The Gospel of Judas has been translated from its original Coptic to clear prose, and is accompanied by commentary that explains its fascinating history in the context of the early Church, offering a whole new way of understanding the message of Jesus Christ.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews


"In one sense, this document is huge provides a touchstone for what certain people believed 150 or 200 years after Christ’s death."—Knight/Ridder Tribune News Service

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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 Maeyer, Ph.D., Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies at Chapman University Albert Schweitzer Institute, is one of the foremost scholars on Gnoticism, 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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 476 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; Reprint edition (June 17, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,344 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
585 of 615 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once was lost, now is found... April 6, 2006
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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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gnostic-Christian text rediscovered January 20, 2007
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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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fascinating but sensationalized January 17, 2007
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a very good Friend, who you love and respect
Aside from the exciting events related to the discovery and final rescue of this codics,
What if you have a friend, a very good Friend, who... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sacred Chapel
3.0 out of 5 stars OK only
I didn't find this a big deal. I'm glad the book was left out.
Published 2 months ago by Templar
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating book I believe
I haven't finished reading the book. What I have read I find it to be captivating with information and books about Christianity that I did not even know existed. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Snuggleknightly
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely interesting
this is not an easy read. It does, however inspire thinking. I am still reading it. I read this along with other books.
Published 4 months ago by sandy munster
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Downloaded very easily. Opened much as anticipated. Easily read on Kindle. What else can one say about an electronic book?
Published 6 months ago by Robert G. Buice
5.0 out of 5 stars Judas Gospel
This was very interesting and enlightening. So often Judas was betrayed as bad. This sheds light to the lessons of Jesus
Published 6 months ago by Suzanne Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Very revealing insights to what was originally taught
Judas. The name evokes so many different images and feelings in the 21st century. Doing a search online reveals incredible negativity and animosity for this person. Read more
Published 7 months ago by R. B. James
3.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written.
As a standalone book, the same information along with other "missing" gospels are better covered in other books. Read more
Published 8 months ago by lynnie
5.0 out of 5 stars Judas was truly the greatest disciple.
It is one of the most well researched "Bibles of Judas! I truly enjoy this type of research book and the perspective it provides.
Published 8 months ago by Robert C. Conaboy
3.0 out of 5 stars Impulse buy
It's interesting, but not worth the 10 dollars I dropped to read it on the kindle. BTW, despite the hype in the documentary, Judas is still damed in this gospel as well - Jesus... Read more
Published 8 months ago by James Kayten
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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.

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May 29, 2006 by David P. Graf |  See all 3 posts
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