By David Maillie
Judas Iscariot is the person who betrayed Jesus Christ and had stood as one of the most hated men in history. That is until the Gospel of Judas came along and shattered all myths. Considered the greatest archaeological find in the last sixty years, the Gospel of Judas has had the Christian world up in flames, by presenting Judas in an entirely different light.
Gospels hold a great significance in Christianity. They are actually early Christian literatures that recount the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Vatican Church regards the four books in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as the four canonic gospels. These canonic gospels almost constitute the foundation of Christianity and Christians all around the world have come to understand Jesus as the New Testament has presented him.
The four canonic gospels of the New Testament brand Judas as a traitor. According to the New Testament, Judas was a greedy person, who identified Jesus with a kiss in front of the Roman soldiers and had him caught. And all for 30 pieces of silver. Thus stands Judas as the most heinous conspirator in the Christian world.
Later however, Judas, filled with remorse, returned the money and took his life.
The Gospel of Judas has created quite a stir with revelations that go right against the writings in the Bible. Written in the form of dialogues between Jesus and Judas, the gospel begins with the proclamation that it is “the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot.”
The Gospel of Judas has stirred the hornet’s nest. Hidden for about 2,000 years and discovered only in the late 1970s in Egypt to be stolen again and resurface in 2005, the discovery of the gospel is in itself an epical mystery. Written in Coptic language, the gospel has been scientifically traced back to sometime between 220 and 340 A.D. The mammoth translation process of the Gospel of Judas was undertaken with the funding of the National Geographic Society, and the world got to know about the facts with the revelation of the gospel itself at the National Geographic Society Headquarters and a special episode aired on the channel on April 9, 2006.
As the gospel reveals, Judas is the closest ally of Jesus Christ and also his closest confidante. In fact, Jesus even considered him worthy amongst all his followers, to receive his special teachings. Thus Christ takes Judas aside saying, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom…”
One interpretation of the Gospel of Judas is that Jesus was feeling trapped inside his body and wanted someone to free him. And he preferred to be released by a friend rather than a foe. Jesus chose Judas for this act and told him, ‘…you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”
The Gospel of Judas has challenged some age-old beliefs. Skeptics are raising doubts about the authenticity and the antiquity of the gospel, while the Archbishop of Canterbury deems the gospel to be more along the lines of “the eccentric fringes of the early century Church” that is being capitalized on by the conspiracy theorists.
While the world is still trying to come to terms with these newly unearthed facts about the “traitor”, Judas waits in the wings for his share of justice. The Gospel of Judas, it seems, has raised more questions than answers.