Gospel of Judas

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This document is like many of it’s Gnostic counterparts: a second century text (scholars dating it anywhere between 130-170AD), contains conversations between Jesus and in this case Judas to which esoteric knowledge is provided. But what additions are made is telling the Jesus story from Judas’ perspective of Jesus’ crucifixion. There is but a single manuscript of this supposed gospel. The text was discovered in the 1970’s near Beni Masah in Egypt (You need these dry, arid places) written in Coptic and it is very damaged, missing much of its text.

Reasons for rejection/non-inclusion

  1. It is from outside the Apostolic age
  2. It is clearly Sethian Gnostic in nature
    1. Esoteric knowledge
    2. One on one dialogues revealing secret knowledge
    3. Equates Jesus to Seth, the son of Adam
  3. It matches the Gnostic texts of Nag Hammadi
  4. Appears 100+ years after Judas’ actual death
  5. Irenaeus condemns the text around 180AD as a fictitious work
    1. Epiphanius of Salamis also did the same for it’s favourable treatment of Judas
  6. Completely changes the perspective on Judas compared to the Canonical Gospels

Useful external attestation details 

  1. Presumes the canonical Gospels are true and available to those who have this text
  2. Affirms the last supper
  3. Recognises Jesus as “The Son of God”
  4. Jesus is a miracle worker
  5. Jesus had a group of disciples
  6. Jesus is a reliable source of information from heaven
  7. Judas was approached by Jewish leadership to betray Jesus and received payment for the location of Jesus

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