Thursday, April 06, 2006

What a difference a text can make

Judas and Jesus. What exactly was going on here?

Bob Dylan asked in the 1963 classic God on our Side "Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side.", it now appears that the answer was yes, he did.

A collection of papyri found in Egypt in the 1970's a dating back to the 4th century have been finally translated, authenticated and released by their owner the National Geographic Society and what they say is a bit surprising.

"The only known surviving copy of the lost gospel of Judas portrays the treacherous disciple as a loyal deputy acting at the behest of his leader." (SMH)

Of course, how this is received by the millions who follow the established texts is probably going to be somewhat similar to the sentiment of the Coptic Orthodox Church:

"Non-Christian babbling resulting from a group of people trying to create a false 'amalgam' between the Greek mythology and Far East religions with Christianity … They were written by a group of people who were aliens to the main Christian stream of the early Christianity,"
H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, Kafr El-Sheikh, Barary and the Monastery of Saint Demiana

Basically the same thing they say about the Nag hammadi texts. The group who wrote these texts was destroyed by "the main Christian stream” in the 5th century. What a difference a text can make.

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