Saturday, April 08, 2006
This is very much a Gnostic idea about the material world being a generally bad place & has lead to lots of people being burned at the stake. Whether there is a historical core to the Jesus story is very questionable - the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are BC, contain many ideas which are said to come from Him & from its date this seems, if it is not accepted as the word of God,to be an example of how early parts of the myth came together. My favoured reason for doubt is that in many cases the names of heroes are particularly unsuitable for their mythic use (Moses is an Egyptian name, Hercules derives from Hera who was always trying to kill him) whereas Jesus is a name about as common as Jack or Smith (who would believe in Winston Smith or Jack McConnell).
'Gospel of Judas' Surfaces After 1,700 Years
An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of what is known as the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced after 1,700 years. The text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported today. In this version, Jesus asked Judas, as a close friend, to sell him out to the authorities, telling Judas he will "exceed" the other disciples by doing so.
Though some theologians have hypothesized this, scholars who have studied the new-found text said, this is the first time an ancient document defends the idea.
The discovery in the desert of Egypt of the leather-bound papyrus manuscript, and now its translation, was announced by the National Geographic Society at a news conference in Washington. The 26-page Judas text is said to be a copy in Coptic, made around A. D. 300, of the original Gospel of Judas, written in Greek the century before.
Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the geographic society, said the manuscript, or codex, is considered by scholars and scientists to be the most significant ancient, nonbiblical text to be found in the past 60 years......
The most revealing passages in the Judas manuscript begins, "The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week, three days before he celebrated Passover."
The account goes on to relate that Jesus refers to the other disciples, telling Judas "you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me." By that, scholars familiar with Gnostic thinking said, Jesus meant that by helping him get rid of his physical flesh, Judas will act to liberate the true spiritual self or divine being within Jesus.
..... "These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse — and fascinating — the early Christian movement really was."
As the findings have trickled down to churches and universities, they have produced a new generation of Christians who now regard the Bible not as the literal word of God, but as a product of historical and political forces that determined which texts should be included in the canon, and which edited out.
...... the discoveries have proved deeply troubling for many believers. The Gospel of Judas portrays Judas Iscariot not as a betrayer of Jesus, but as his most favored disciple and willing collaborator.
Scholars say that they have long been on the lookout for the Gospel of Judas because of a reference to what was probably an early version of it in a text called Against Heresies, written by Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons, about the year 180.
Irenaeus was a hunter of heretics, and no friend of the Gnostics. He wrote, "They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas."