a PR blitz for Judas

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 17, 2006

Easter is coming.

How can you tell? Sure, there's the liturgical calendar, and the rumbling in your stomach after days of Lenten fasting. But there are also those reliable harbingers of the season: the crackpot theories debunking traditional Christian belief.

This year, even before the members of the Jesus Seminar weigh in with their helpful explanations of what Jesus really said-- which, curiously enough, always turns out to be very close to what Oprah is saying right now-- we have an impressive entry in the Gospel-Deconstruction department.

The buzz is coming from Australia, where (unless I miss my guess) some busy publicity agent is flogging the newly discovered "Gospel of Judas." Which was-- I'm not making this up-- discovered in Egypt, written in Coptic, in the 4th century.

You might be wondering, about now, why a document written in Coptic and discovered in Egypt in the 4th century is attributed to a man who hanged himself in another country a few centuries earlier. Good question. Australian newspapers have anticipated such questions; they point out that the work might actually have been written in 187 AD. All perfectly clear now?

The "Gospel of Judas," we are told, offers a sympathetic portrayal of the apostle who betrayed Jesus. If the document is authentic, then Judas is that rarest of men: a criminal who says he's not guilty.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2006 10:00 AM ET USA

    What fools these mortals be is the definitive observation.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 18, 2006 1:09 PM ET USA

    I hear the Gospel of Richard McBrien is actually a forgery. Of course, he opens with the Liar's Paradox.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 18, 2006 7:17 AM ET USA

    "It was the practice of the heretical sects, especially the Gnostics, to write gospels in support of their peculiar doctrines..."- Fr. Johannes Quasten, who knew a thing or two about Patrology and apocrypha. He listed no fewer than 8 apocryphal 'gospels'. So watch for the 'discovery' of the other seven: those of Andrew, Thaddeus, Basilides, Cerinthus, Valentinus, Apelles and Eve. They can then be followed by the apocryphal 'Acts' of Peter, Paul, Andrew, John, Thomas and Thaddeus...

  • Posted by: - Mar. 18, 2006 12:24 AM ET USA

    Yes, Judas betrayed Our Lord. Yes, Judas killed himself. But look out, for there is some really tricky theology loose here. Were not Judas and the vile soldiers who visciosly whipped Him, the vile soldiers who cruelly nailed Him instruments of our salvation? What if Pilate had given Him 200 hours of community service?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 17, 2006 8:33 PM ET USA

    National Geographic is going to have to go into a major spin cycle once they find out that Judas was a plagarist.

  • Posted by: Quadratus - Mar. 17, 2006 6:13 PM ET USA

    Discover Channel, History Channel, National Geographic Channel love this kind of sensationalist “science”. Of course any apocryphal “gospel” is given more credence and authority by our bible “scholars” like Crossan and others. The pattern is so clear; destroy the real Gospels, undermine peoples faith, make the Church irrelevant. But let not anyone suggest that the real Gospels are older than the scholars dictate, or accept them as the true Word of God, you will be riduculed and mocked.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 17, 2006 4:28 PM ET USA

    Maybe the Gospel of Judas is a 2nd century historical novel, kind of like that DaVinci novel that wasn't written by the Italian Renaissance master? Or maybe the Gospel of Judas is a 4th century historical novel about the writing of a 2nd century historical novel? In any case, it's unlikely to contain much truth and certainly wasn't written by Judas. I dare say, where Judas is today, he didn't proofread the copy either.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 17, 2006 4:08 PM ET USA

    I suppose that Ron Howard will soon direct the film, and Tom Hanks can stash more money into his retirement account for his award-winning portrayal of Judas. And surely the film will be in all the DVD shelves of the Judas fans, starting with the presidents of many Catholic universities, Catholic pro-choice political figures, the leadereship of the World Council of Churches, and former Kabbalah expert, Madonna.