Gospel of Judas

Submitted by Peter on

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This bookstudy will begin April 24, 2022 only on Zoom.

For 1,600 years its message lay hidden. When the bound papyrus pages of this lost gospel finally reached scholars who could unlock its meaning, they were astounded. Here was a gospel that had not been seen since the early days of Christianity - a gospel told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, history's ultimate traitor.

With the dedication and expertise of an international team of scholars, the fragile manuscript has been carefully reconstructed and restored and the text translated from its original Coptic into clear English prose. For the firs time in centuries, scholars and enthusiasts can now read for themselves the gospel's unique perspective as it sheds new light on the concerns of early Christians.

This book is an introduction, a translation, and six essays by various scholars.


1 – Do you feel like you have an understanding (now) of the difference between the New Testament environment and the gnostic environment? What is it? 156
2 – How well do you think you are doing at “escap[ing] from the clutches of this world”? Do you think that is harder or easier now than in Jesus day? 157
3 – Can you imagine a Jesus who fits ALL the gospels, both canonical and non-canonical? Is it worthwhile to try? 159
4 – Now it looks like we will have to consider the spacial arrangement of Dorothy’s diagram(s). How far is it between the various levels and pieces? 161
5 – Does the inherent patriarchy of Jesus time dictate that Sophia can never be placed any higher in the story? 162
6 – How do you think the idea of anyone being carried away in the clouds arose? 163
7 – What do you think about our author’s argument that we have a larger story that Irenaeus had? 165
8 – Why didn’t Jesus teaching have much (any?) effect on the other 11 disciples? 168
9 – “more than one Gospel of Judas.”? What do you think? And what are the implications for many more gospels? 173
10 – Do Wurst and Robinson disagree about editing of the gospel? If so, with whom do you agree, why and what if any effect does this have on your ides of the other gospels? 179
11 – What (or what kind of) book shall we do next?

1 – How would you describe the difference between mystic and gnostic? 126
2 – Draw a diagram of the heavenly creatures. 128
3 – Our culture seems to go directly up from human to God in one step. Why do you think the Sethians wanted more layers? 129
4 – What are your favorite numbers, and why? 132
5 – Do you think “corruptible wisdom” fits well into the material world? Comments? 134
6 – Compare Sophia and Eve. 135
7 – Do you believe there were good and evil say 10 million years ago, before we were conscious of them? 137
8 – Comment on the difference between spirit and soul on pg. 144.
9 – What might it mean for your star to lead the way? 145
10 – Light is used often. How (and how many ways) would you describe this light? 148
11 - “the text proclaims how salvation may be realized-” not A but B. How do you think salvation may be realized? 151
12 – Comment on the last sentence. 154

A – Gospels mentioned in this chapter: Thomas, Peter, Egerton, Mary, Secret Mark, Judas, and Diatessaron. Since we have already read about five of these, you may want to read Peter and Egerton. They are very short.
1 – How much weight do you give to extra-canonical gospels in forming your picture of Jesus? Comments? 104
2 – Joanna Dewey (Westar scholar) proposes that the Gospel of Mark was a circulated oral story before ever being written. How does this affect our author’s argument? 108
3 – Perhaps the canonical gospels were the “public” ones, for everyone, and the other gospels were all “private”. Comments? 112
4 – What effects do you see as arising from the canonization of only a few gospels (and other writings)? 113
5 – What is the value of of four gospels rather than only one? 116 Is more better?
6 – Can you say how you pick and choose sources for your faith views today? 122
7 – Our author seems to want to move all the mentioned noncanonical gospels later in history so as to be less important. Then he says the Gospel of Judas is “of great importance”. How do you fit all these pieces together?

1 – Take a quick look at: the Letter of Peter to Philip, the (First) Revelation of James, and Allogenes. How do they compare to the Gospel of Judas? 59
2 – “it’s message has survived largely intact.” Do you agree? 77
3 – Comment on the paragraph: “Readers over the years… such a bad thing?” on pg. 82.
4 – Why do you suppose the divine world is “inordinately complex and difficult to understand.”? 87
5 – Why did Jesus need someone to turn him over to the authorities? Could he simply have given himself up? 88 (Compare to suicide…..)
6 – How would your world view change if you believed the theology on pg. 91? Could you imagine yourself in that world?
7 – Do you know of any docetic examples in the New Testament? 93
8 – Can all, or only some, escape this world and return to the aeon of Barbelo? 94
9 – Compare White Christian Nationalism with the story presented here. 96
10 – Why do you think Ehrman leaves out any reference to the Roman Empire influencing the canon?
11 – Would the views presented in the Gospel of Judas have “worked” as well as the prevailing views for the ongoing development of Christianity? 102

1 – Knowing Jesus: How do you feel when someone enters your group and laughs? What difference does it make how well know (or over what time period) that person has been acquainted? 31
2 – What do you think “no generation of people among you will know me” means? (feel free to modify the translation a bit, modernize it.) 31
3 – Do you think Jesus is differentiating between his own God and the God of the Disciples? Why, after a year (or three) of traveling together, would they be different? 33
4 – What word would you use to replace “generation” as this is the third time (of very many) that it is used? 33
5 – Can you describe, either in modern terminology or ancient, the difference between the Jesus pictured here and the disciples themselves? 34
6 – Any comments on the temple nightmare? 35
7 – Does it make any sense to think of the Roman Emperor as the God of the Disciples? Does this change your thinking? 37
8 – What do you think of the section from pg. 42 to 50, the cosmology, adds to the story? (This is partly my brain becoming numb at all the strange writing.)
9 – Is the single sentence ending at note 151 the main content of the entire Gospel? Or is there a better description of the main theme? 51
10 – What do you suppose the voice of Judas from the cloud would have said? (Use your imagination!) 52
11 – Last week Matt mentioned the difference between Gospel OF and Gospel ACCORDING TO. Has anyone looked into this difference? 53

1 – Before reading further, (I know some/many of you already have…..) what was your previous opinion of Judas? 8
2 – How many of these references have you encountered? Did they make any impression? 8
3 – Describe the Christology implied in paragraph 2, pg. 9.
4 – What other writings do you know about that were composed in Greek but for which we have primarily Coptic versions? 12
5 – How well does the idea of God as “the spirit and light within” agree with your theology? 12 Any differences?
6 – What do you think about the idea that “the fundamental problem in human life is not sin but ignorance”? 13
7 – And then “the best way to address this problem is not through faith but through knowledge.” 13 (Two separate issues?)
8 – What are your thoughts about the kinds of translation issues presented on pages 19 – 20?
9 – Any comments about the view presented by April DeCornick? 22
10 – What is your current thinking on any of the questions in the middle of pg. 23?
11 – Is your primary interest in this book problem solving, gaining knowledge,variations in early Christianity or something else? 25