Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Gospel of Judas (review)

Tonight's presentation was enlightening to say the least. National Geographic told the story of a text found near El Minya Egypt and sold onto the anitquity market. This gospel was carbon dated and found to be "Authentic" of the time period to which it was written about the time of 220 and 334 a.d.

This is categorized as a "Gnostic Gospel" one of those texts that were purposely kept out of the biblical canon by the ancient bishop Irenaeus. So there is factual proof that this gospel existed in ancient early Christian times. It paints a very different picture of the relationship between Judas and Jesus. Does this bring about questions? yes, it does, because it brings to light a different story line, that most of the scholars on the panel tonight dismissed.

A Scholar named Elaine Pagels was on the advisory panel, I happen to agree with her view of this gospel. She writes "The astonishing discovery of the Gospel of Judas - along with the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the many other recently discovered gospels that had remained hidden for nearly 2000 years - is transforming our understanding of early Christianity. These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse - and fascinating the early Christian movement was." Ms. Pagels seems to think that having these stories and gospels augment our understanding of religon, namely that of Christianity.

I have seen Ms. Pagels on other religion related programs and documentaries and I have followed alot of what she has shared with us. As a student of religion, I keep an open mind about what religion offers me to look at, read and study. I don't think religion is static and immovable or unchangeable. With all of this new data coming to light and new gospels being found, decoded - translated and shared - we have more to look at to paint a broader picture of what the early christian church was like and how those who may have written the "gnostic gospels" really believed and spoke about. There has to be more to the biblical stories, because so many texts really did exist in early christian times, and if they were denied entry into biblical scholarship, then they did exist. So why not find them, decode them and share them.

I think that I am solid enough in my faith to accept that there may be more to the story of early christianity - and that's something I hope to explore later on. I have a copy of the program and it was shown twice tonight, hopefully some of you have seen it and will offer your take on this new subject which is now become part of the story of early christianity and the life of Christ and his relationship to Judas Iscariot.

Gospel of Judas Information: HERE

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