Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

So, there have been some recent news reports about the Gospel of Judas. The Gospel of Judas was one of some 20+ gospels that were basically deemed heretical by the Council of Nicea; they were tossed in favor of the four that became the core of the New Testament.

The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic text. Gnostics were an eclectic group who basically believed that the physical being is bad, evil, meaningless, and that the divine was completely spiritual. Basically, the goal is to go from matter to energy. The emphasized transcending to the spiritual over faith (the primary focus of the Gospels that made the New Testament). But, Gnostic gospels were not divorced from morality; the Gospel of Thomas, for example has a bunch of Gnostic allusions, but is basically a moralistic text. On the other hand, there was the Gnostic gospel of Phillip, with references to Christ and Mary Magdalene smooching a bunch (pissing off the disciples! In other words, the disciples were haters!)

So, in the Gospel of Judas, Christ basically says to Judas that Judas will be doing him a favor by betraying him, because he was meant to leave the physical and return to the divine. Some may say it is a revisionist telling of the Judas stories by Judas sympathizers, but it makes sense if you have Gnostic leanings. Christ would not have valued his physical life because, ultimately, it was meaningless.

It raises an interesting question: Was Christ really get mad about having to die? If you are a Gnostic, you'd think he'd be ok with it. If not, we wonder about his inner conflict, speculate about suffering. Do we make Christ too human by assuming he reacted the way we would to his last days?


Blogger Natalia said...

I think a lot of the so-called "information" we have on Christ has been distorted by layers and layers of historical propaganda, politics, and interpretation.

That's why I don't really do Christianity anymore. It separates me from Jesus.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

You raise an interesting question: how much of Christianity is a construct? A human construct. I don't know.

2:11 AM  

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