Sunday, April 09, 2006

The apocryphal Gospel of Judas

Eastern week has come, and with it, all the meditation and Jesus movies that I like to wach during this time. Yes, I do. My all time favorite has to be "Jesus of Nazareth" directed by Franco Zefirelli in 1977. When I think about Jesus, he has to looks like a)Robert Powell or b)like the picture of the Divine Mercy, although he surely might looked more arab that these two caucasian representations.

Anyway, keeping up with the topic, have you heard about the news about the Gospel of Judas ? (a new documentary of the Gospel of Judas just shown by the National Geographic TV) I just ended watching it and I must saw it was fascinating. According to this Gospel, Judas is not the ultimate traitor but the ultimate loyal friend and disciple who helps Jesus to accomplish his mission in life. Wow. Very interesting. Actually puts him on the level of obedience than Abraham, who was one of God's favorite son. Can you imagine how hard if you are one of Jesus apostles and he ask you to hand him in? Hand in the son of man to the romans? And you will be curse by your friends and everybody forever and ever? The church is saying about this that Judas was a good guy who turned bad and didn't repent, but to me this gnostic account makes a lot of sense. I have to say that I always have found the fate of Judas a little bit unfair since he did what he did because he was possessed by the evil one. If you ask any catholic priest who he thinks might be in hell he will probably said that the only one person the catholic church thinks with some certainty (since nobody has come to tell ever) would be Judas Iscariot. But his soul really didn't do anything since he was possesed, or was he? Did he had responsibility on his actions or he was just following orders?

As a catholic, this document really put a lot of questions and doubt in my mind, unfortunately, more by ignorance than because of anything else, since those questions are apparently the reason of the gnostic movement came to live in the 1st century A.D. So, I went to the basics and dig a little bit about what is the position of the church in this regard and this is what I've found. The questions about good and evil, as I say before, were the origin of the gnostic movement, and for them, evil can be explained as follow:

"Q: Why would the leaders of the Gnostic movement have been interested in Judas?

Father Williams: One of the major differences between Gnostic belief and that of Christianity concerns the origins of evil in the universe.

Christians believe that a good God created a good world, and that through the abuse of free will, sin and corruption entered the world and produced disorder and suffering.

The Gnostics blamed God for the evil in the world and claimed that he created the world in a disordered and flawed way. Thus they champion the rehabilitation of Old Testament figures such as Cain, who killed his brother Abel, and Esau, the elder brother of Jacob, who sold his birthright for a plate of pottage.

Judas fits perfectly into the Gnostic agenda of showing that God intends evil for the world.

Q: But wasn't Judas' betrayal a necessary part of God's plan, as this text suggests?

Father Williams: Being omniscient, God knows full well what choices we will make and weaves even our bad decisions into his providential plan for the world.

In his last published book, Pope John Paul II eloquently reflected on how God continues to bring good out of even the worst evil that man can produce.

That doesn't mean, however, that God intends for us to do evil, or that he intended for Judas to betray Jesus. If it wasn't Judas, it would have been someone else. The authorities had already decided to put Jesus to death, and it was just a matter of time. "

I have to say the catholic church never, ever has fail me with inconsistences with doctrine. God bless.

This codex founded was proven written by 3 to 4 A.D. But how old is the book written? This book was condemned by St. Irenaeus, who lived in Lyon by 180 A.D. and also condemmed all the other gnostic books (1st century) so, this book was already know by that time.

According to an article posted by Time magazine online, in resume, the message change as following:

The Bible:

TRAITOR But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. Matthew 26: 24

POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests ... and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. Luke 22: 3-4

A DEAD END With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Acts 1: 18

The Gospel of Judas

CHRIST'S CONFIDANT Jesus said to him, "Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom."

LOYAL SERVANT "You will be cursed by the other generations ... But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."

TRIUMPHANT Jesus answered and said, "[Y]ou will come to rule over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy.


About Judas Iscariot here, and here (last one, infamous disinformation tool wipipedia, mentions St. Ireneus relationship with this writings).

Other gnostic books: The Nag Hammadi library.

Other early cristian writings here.

The divine misericordy of Jesus, please, don't forget to do a Novena, starting this Good Friday and celebrate the Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Eastern Sunday). En español, click here.

Interesting, interesting...

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