• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The False Gospel of Judas

False GospelGospel of Judas” – like other Gnostic false gospels – is not a gospel at all. The four New Testament gospels all recount eyewitness testimonies and historical events about the ministry of Jesus. The Gospel of Judas, on the other hand, was written by an unknown author (not Judas) and contains a muddled collection of sayings.

The “Judas document” is made of papyrus. It is a Coptic copy of an alleged earlier Greek document, which no one has ever found. But, even this “so-called” original document was written long after the four New Testament gospels. The document begins by saying, “The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot.”

The “Judas document” is a heretical Gnostic writing of the 2nd or 3rd century. The Gnostics were not Christians, but were a mystical movement which attempted to incorporate some Christianity into its doctrines to gain credibility with Christian communities throughout the Roman Empire. The Gnostics believed that salvation was acquired through secret hidden knowledge (gnosis). Gnostics did not believe that salvation was based on grace through faith in the Jesus Christ. They rejected the idea that God could become incarnate. The “Judas document” also makes fantastic supernatural claims; for example, it says that Jesus often appeared as a child to his disciples. This is typical of 2nd and 3rd century legendary writings. In one place in the text, Jesus tells Judas “Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star.” The “Judas document” gives a much more favorable account of Judas than the New Testament Gospels.

Like other Gnostic writings, the “Judas document” is falsely attributed to an author (Judas) who was long dead. It also makes reference to ideas popular in other Gnostic writings. Obviously, this “Judas document” is not another Christian gospel. Irenaeus (130 – 202 AD) in the 2nd century called the gospel of Judas “a fictitious history”.

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