[Washington Post -- free registration required]
The first translation of an ancient, self-proclaimed "Gospel of Judas" will be published in late April, bringing to light what some scholars believe are the writings of an early Christian sect suppressed for supporting Jesus's infamous betrayer.This article outlines the "Gospel of Judas" contention that since Judas was acting as a part of God's overall plan, he was not to be condemned for what he did. While Scripture indicates that Judas felt remorse after the fact, it is a bit of a stretch to consider his betrayal of Jesus as anything but craven. It might be useful to speculate as to whether or not he was beyond redemption, but that would be arguing from silence.
If authentic, the manuscript could add to the understanding of Gnosticism, an unorthodox Christian theology denounced by the early church. The Roman Catholic Church is aware of the manuscript, which a Vatican historian called "religious fantasy."
There is a reason why the Gnostic writings were not considered canonical by the early Church. They portray a movement that relies on "secret knowledge", sees the physical world as something to be despised (including human bodies), and appears to rely on human seeking to achieve spiritual knowledge.
One of the gnostic scriptures, the Gospel of Thomas, while showing many similarities to the canonical Gospels, has some unusual things to say about women. In addition, it suggests that the only way to achieve the Kingdom is to abstain from the world -- a view that is not shared by either the Old Testament or the New Testament. For further reading, read the translation provided by Patterson and Robinson.
Technorati tags: religion, gnosticism, apocrypha