Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

A codex dating to about 300 A.D. has been discovered. It's in Coptic and it's Gnostic, claiming that Jesus told Judas he should sell him out to his enemies and that "you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."

It's apparently been authenticated as being an ancient document, but that doesn't mean it's true. It's obviously written to provide support to the Gnostic doctrine that Jesus was not a human, but a spirit appearing in the form of a man, or occupying the material body of man. They believed that the body Jesus occupied was crucified, but that Jesus himself was not killed.

There were a bunch of these "secret" documents written and circulated among Christians in the post-apostolic period as people with various philosophies attempted to attract supporters. These were the "grievous wolves" Paul mentions in Acts 20:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
The New Testament is full of warnings of this sort and admonitions to communities of Christians against the false teachers who have been sowing false ideas among them. Ultimately, the apostates gained control and the church lost leaders who had the gift of prophecy, the apostles who had led them. They knew there would be a falling away, but they also knew that there would be a restoration of the true church in the future before the Second Coming, with the true organization and the true authority from God.

Update: The WaPo has a better report.

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