Judas, Jesus & Gnosticism
The latest issue of Commonweal just went up online. Apropos of the must-read thread on Gnosticism below, here’s a snippet from Jack Miles’s piece on Gnosticism and the Gospel of Judas–now the lead story on our home page.
The recently published Gospel of Judas, writes biblical scholar Bart Ehrman, “has a completely different understanding of God, the world, Christ, salvation, human existence-not to mention of [sic] Judas himself-than came to be embodied in the Christian creeds and canon. It will open up new vistas for understanding Jesus and the religious movement he founded” (see “Christianity Turned Upside Down” in Rodolphe Kasser et al., The Gospel of Judas [National Geographic Society]).
I doubt it. In fact, I venture to say that almost any reader, religious or irreligious, who takes the trouble to download the text of the Gospel of Judas (available at www.nationalgeographic.com) will come away less enthusiastic than Ehrman. Aesthetically, the newly published text is quite without charm, a few numinous verses notwithstanding. As for historical importance, one is sadly accustomed to seeing a newly discovered text, the relevance of which is no more than incremental, inflated into an epoch-making new departure.