Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post
Published: Monday, April 10, 2006
"In the year 4006, an enterprising team from Global Geographic announces that experts in late second-millennium languages and data retrieval have pieced together an authentic copy of the long-rumoured-to-exist Da Vinci Code. Religious experts say that the discovery challenges traditional Christian doctrine, as the widely circulated document shows that early-21st-century Christians believed that Jesus was not divine, had married Mary Magdalene, founded a royal dynasty, etc ... It is believed that early fourth-millennium Vatican officials suppressed the sacred textHere's an interesting look at the issues surrounding the Da Vinci Code by a Canadian priest. He points out that the appearance of the Gospel of Judas in the seccond century A.D. was not the first time a "false gospel" would appear, nor would it be the last.
That is more or less the story of the much-ballyhooed Gospel of Judas. It is, no doubt, a remarkable historical find -- an apparently authentic fourth-century copy of a second-century document. But it tells us no more about Christian doctrine than does Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code...."
I took the opportunity Sunday to download a pdf file of the Gospel of Judas from the National Geographic website. I read it in preparation for the 2 hour television special on the discovery and subsequent history of this "lost gospel". This TV special told us much about the gnostics, as well as the cultural milieu of the time, and one would have to concede that these papyrus fragments do tell us much about the Gnostics (at least the particular sect that wrote the gospel). But does it tell us anything substantive about Jesus? I suppose one way one could characterize the Gospel of Judas is "genuine, but false" (as opposed to being "fake, but accurate...").
Having read the Gospel of Judas and heard what the people interviewed on the National Geographic special had to say, I am grateful that the canon of Scripture left it and the other gnostic texts out.
As reformed Christians we believe that the Scriptures alone determine "what Man is to believe concerning God and what duties God requires of Man" (Westminster Shorter Catechism). There is no secret knowledge that is imparted to just a few. We all have equal access to the foundations of our faith and we are to pass on our faith to each other, and to the larger world around us.
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