Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Betrayal of Judas -

The Betrayal of Judas - :
"... As soon as the show ended, she went to her computer and downloaded the English translation from the National Geographic Web site. Almost immediately she began to have concerns. From her reading, even in translation, it seemed obvious that Judas was not turning in Jesus as a friendly gesture, but rather sacrificing him to a demon god named Saklas. This alone would suggest, strongly, that Judas was not acting with Jesus' best interests in mind — which would undercut the thesis of the National Geographic team. She turned to her husband, Wade, and said: "Oh no. Something is really wrong."

She started the next day on her own translation of the Coptic transcription, also posted on the National Geographic Web site. That's when she came across what she considered a major, almost unbelievable error. It had to do with the translation of the word 'daimon,' which Jesus uses to address Judas. The National Geographic team translates this as 'spirit,' an unusual choice and inconsistent with translations of other early Christian texts, where it is usually rendered as 'demon.' In this passage, however, Jesus' calling Judas a demon would completely alter the meaning. 'O 13th spirit, why do you try so hard?' becomes 'O 13th demon, why do you try so hard?' A gentle inquiry turns into a vicious rebuke. ..."
This is a lengthy and fascinating piece written by Thomas Bartlett on the work done by April DeConick on the Coptic manuscript released over two years ago by National Geographic. She noted not only the mistranslation described in the quotation, but at least two others that stated that Judas "would ascend to the holy generation" and that Judas would be "set apart for the holy generation". In the first of the "holy generation" passages, deConick claimed that a negative in the text was overlooked, thus rendering the meaning as "would not ascend to the holy generation". Apparently National Geographic agreed because the passage was corrected in a second edition of the Gospel of Judas. The second passage was translated by DeConick as "set apart from the holy generation", which National Geographic acknowledged in a footnote as being a valid translation. These three passages are key to whether Judas is viewed as a hero or a traitor.

According to the article, the preponderance of scholarly opinion is that DeConick's translation is accurate. To be sure there is controversy over DeConick's revelations, revolving mostly on the fact that they were not delivered in private or published in a scholarly journal, but rather appeared in an OpEd piece in the New York Times.

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