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Saturday, April 08, 2006


As a non-believer i shouldn't be interested but I found this (courtesy of Chaos Manor) fascinating. A lost book of the Bible the Book of Judas has been found. This edition was written in 300AD but is known to be a translation of Greek version a century earlier. It potrays the Crucifixion in an entirely different light with Judas, as Jesus' favourite disciple, accepting his order to hand him over for crucifixion so that it wil release his spirit from his mortal body.

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."


On Friday I got a cheque for £20 from the Daily Record (Scots tabloid newspaper) for my letter having been chosen as the "comment of the day". This is the first time I have been paid for my opinions.

The only problem is I don't know what they published. The cheque was drawn on the 31st of March so it could have been the letter shown here (West End News March 31st) on the SLD's insistence that Hunterston be closed in 2011, irrespective of consequences or the Scots Wha Hae letter on the national anthem (in the Scotsman 28th March) or conceivably the one on the Milosevic murder (Scottish Daily Mail 21st March) all reprinted here. My guess is the anthem letter. All went out to many papers but I didn't really think they were folksy enough for the Record (also I had a run in with the Glaswegian, the Record's local Glasgow free paper stablemate some years ago about Yugoslavia). Unfortunately their search engine shows only today's letters

So if anybody happens to have a Record from the few days up to the 31st I would be interested to know.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Apparently the EU Parliament is less interesting than we thought.
The European Parliament is subsidizing journalists to cover its parliamentary sessions in Strasbourg, a move that legislators say aims to ensure that the EU's only democratically elected body is not ignored.

......The funding for journalists can include payment of a first-class round- trip train ticket or an economy-class plane ticket to Strasbourg from any of the 25 EU countries and a daily stipend of €100 to cover hotel, food and entertainment over two days.

........The Parliament also provides television journalists with unlimited use of free state-of-the-art television studios, free sound and camera equipment, and free two-person camera crews that can be borrowed for the day.

"The parliamentary sessions are stultifyingly dull, so the Parliament does whatever it can to make it easier for us to work here, including paying for our journeys and providing plush facilities," said a broadcaster who has benefited from the program and who requested anonymity. "I would never get my Parliament reports on the air if the Parliament wasn't paying for it."

Hans Peter Martin ... who has been campaigning to rein in parliamentary perks, came to prominence in 2004 for surreptitiously filming fellow Parliament members leaving Brussels and Strasbourg after signing in for daily stipends.

"The funding of journalists creates the impression that the Parliament is paying for propaganda, and by doing so it harms the ideals of the EU more than any positive headlines they might get out of it," he said. He added that journalists could not hold the Parliament accountable if they themselves were benefiting from its funds.

Although it is generally viewed as unethical for journalists to accept funding from institutions they cover, analysts said that in countries that rely on public broadcasters, the notion of using available public money to fund journalists may be viewed as acceptable.

Jaime Duch, spokesman for the Parliament, said the funding was intended to encourage EU journalists who would not otherwise cover the Parliament to make the monthly pilgrimage to Strasbourg. He said the Parliament under no circumstances interfered with what was reported. "If we didn't help them, they wouldn't come because they have other priorities," Duch said. "And if we stopped the funding, the journalists would protest."

One television journalist who regularly travels to Strasbourg using funding from the program said the daily stipend was sufficient to pay for a quality hotel and lunch at an upmarket brasserie, including a glass of Bordeaux wine and a dish of Strasbourg's celebrated sausages. The neo-classical Hotel Hannong in Strasbourg - popular with journalists - costs about €60 a night if booked on the Internet.

Another broadcaster, who like others interviewed for this article requested anonymity, said perks such as these had prompted journalists to refuse requests by editors to write stories on members' privileges and travel expenses at the Parliament, a topic of growing interest in Europe. "How can I expose such perks when I myself am benefiting from them?" the journalist asked.

Harald Jungreuthmayer, a correspondent for ORF, the Austrian broadcaster, defended the funding as necessary to generate coverage of an institution that is often maligned and even more often ignored. "It's part of the PR of the European Parliament," he said. "The Parliament's aim is not to put a spin on coverage, but to get any coverage at all."..........

Brussels's 1,550 journalists, one of the world's largest press corps outside Washington, benefit from a host of perks and privileges from EU institutions, including free meals and unlimited free phone calls during EU summit meetings and free television studios at the European Commission. At the beginning of every six-month EU presidency, the presiding country invites journalists to a free junket in the capital. In February, Austria, the current holder of the EU's presidency, invited 62 Brussels-based journalists to Vienna, paying for their lodgings in a lavish Hilton hotel and hosting a complimentary dinner in an 18th-century baroque castle where a soprano sang Strauss operettas - all on the tab of the Austrian government. Media organs had the option of paying for the trip. Only eight opted to do so, according the Austrian representation to Brussels.

"It was a worthwhile investment," said Nicola Donig, spokesman for the Austrian presidency. More

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


"GET rid of Scottish Enterprise, put the £500m a year into a 25% cut in Scottish corporation tax and see Scottish enterprise flourish. "

A very short letter in the Herald today. I am glad of this since I was somewhat scunnered that they hadn't published anything of mine since Christmas.

They do say brevity is the soul of wit.

Monday, April 03, 2006


The willingness of various Churches to clamber aboard the environmentalist bandwaggon has been taken as evidence, according to preference, that they are taking a moral stand in the real world or that they are recognising that the Green movement is tapping the instincts of religious hysteria that conventional religion can no longer profit from. This certainly seems to suggest that the Archbishop's conversion will not interfere with his finances.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has been accused of hypocrisy for lecturing politicians on global warming while the Church of England reaps millions of pounds from shares in oil firms.
Rowan Williams warned last week that climate change was a “huge moral problem” that could cause billions of deaths. He said politicians who reject changes will face “a heavy responsibility before God”.

He added that the shortage of fuel supplies for high-fuel economies — “heavy-car-using economies to put it bluntly” — will be a factor in destabilising global politics in the next decade.

But an audit of the Church Commissioners’ investments shows its oil shares increased in value by £46.9m last year. Its portfolio includes more than £12m of shares in Exxon Mobil, the American oil group blamed for the world’s biggest environmental disaster when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off Alaska in 1989.....

Williams is chairman of the commissioners, who also have investments in BP worth £140m and shares in Shell totalling £80m. Another investment is BAA, the airports group, which has been partly blamed for the rise in carbon emissions because of the way it has encouraged cheap air travel.

Dan Lewis, of the Economic Research Council, a think tank, said: “If anyone wanted proof that for some people global warming has become a religion this is it. It is hilarious that the church has shares in Exxon.”

But John Reynolds, chairman of the Church of England’s ethical advisory group, said: “The investments we have allow us to have an active dialogue with the oil companies about the environment.”

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said: “The archbishop’s leadership has never been about micro-management and investment decisions. It is more about leading by example.”

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