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Lost Gospel of Judas – National Geographic has it authenticated and Translated

April 7th, 2006

Lost Gospel of Judas – National Geographic has it authenticated and Translated

The Gospel of Judas

The National Geographic Society headquartered in Washington D.C. announced that they have pieced together and translated the Gospel of Judas which has been lost for almost 1,700 years.  Also called the codex, the National Geographic Channel will premiere a television two hour event on April 9th called "The Gospel of Judas.”

National Geographic in Washington D.C. has opened a public exhibit opening Friday, April 7th, which shows pages of the ancient papyrus codex manuscript.  If you miss the exhibit there are books available along with an upcoming May issue of National Geographic magazine which will be discussing their discoveries.

The National Geographic Society collaborated with Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and Waitt Instititue for Historical Discovery.  One of the world’s leading Coptic scholar is Rodolphe Kasser from Switzerland participated in the restoration and transcription of the documents. 


There are a total of 66 pages.  In addition to the Gospel of Judas is text that was titled James, which is also known as the First Apocalypse of James.  It also contained a Letter of peter to Philip and a part of another text the scholars are temporarily calling Book of Allogenes.  The pages and fragments were extremely fragile and would fall apart with the slightest touch.  It took a lot of care during the restoration of this manuscript.

What does the Gospel of Judas say?  The Gospel of Judas which was written on 26 pages with 13 sheets of papyrus with writing on both front and back, says that Jesus requested Judas to act as a traitor.  Judas is not portrayed as a bad guy but more of a hero doing as Jesus asked of him.  In the other Gospels Judas is viewed as a traitor that betrays Jesus.  There is also a strong Gnostic perspective established in this text.  Gnostic Christians believe that salvation comes from a secret knowledge that Jesus gave to his disciples.


Here is a passage from the Gospel of Judas:

"Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom. It is possible for you to reach it, but you will grieve a great deal," Jesus says. He also 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 codex has been authenticated as a genuine work of ancient Christian apocryphal literature on five fronts: radiocarbon dating, ink analysis, multispectral imaging, contextual evidence and paleographic evidence," said Terry Garcia who is the executive vice president for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society. "This dramatic discovery of an ancient, non-biblical text — considered by some to be the most significant of the past 60 years — enhances our knowledge of the history and theological viewpoints of the early Christian period, and is worthy of continued study by historians, scholars and theologians. This process will take time and ongoing dialogue, which has just begun."


The ancient manuscript dates back to around 300 A.D.  The Codex was then found in the 1970’s in a desert near El Minya, Egypt.  It was sold and traded with antiquity dealers.  It traveled from Egypt to Europe and finally rested in the United States in a safe-deposit box in Long Island N.Y. for 16 years.  In 2000, it was purchased by Zürich-based antiquities dealer Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos.

Tchacos had no luck in reselling the item and noticed it was falling apart so he conveyed it for the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art in Basel, Switzerland in February of 2001 for the intention of restoration and translation.   The Codex will be moved to Egypt and be stored in Cairo’s Coptic Museum.

This discovery and translation of this text is extremely important to further look at how Christian beliefs and the separated from Gnostic beliefs.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

Books about Judas at Amazon

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