The "Gospel of Judas":
Attacks Christianity With Biased "Research"
is well known for its popular expositions of ancient civilizations - most of which are quite well researched. However, at the beginning of Christianity's Holy Week in 2006,
aired a television special that can best be described as a hatchet job on Christianity's leader, Jesus of Nazareth. Their biased reporting was quite evident with their failure to report what the Gnostics really believed, along with some of the less easy to swallow claims of the "Gospel" of Judas.
A 62-page codex, dated to the third or fourth century and written in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic, was found in the Egyptian desert in the 1970's. It was passed around for several years and eventually sold and acquired by
in 2001. After four years of restoration and translation, the "Gospel of Judas" was revealed in a much-hyped
National Geographic Channel
special on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2006. The "gospel" reported an interesting twist on the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Judas Iscariot, instead of being the evil one controlled by Satan, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, is portrayed as the obedient one who did Jesus' bidding by turning Jesus into the Sanhedrin, the council of Jewish leaders. Reportedly, Jesus wanted to escape from His human body and return to the spiritual realm by being executed. So, Jesus conspired with Judas and ordered him to betray Him, so that the Old Testament prophecies might be fulfilled. According to the "Gospel of Judas", Judas was actually the hero of the world!
The timing of the release
The timing of the
special with the beginning of Christianity's Holy Week was not by accident. What better way to hype their anti-Christian message then run their "Gospel of Judas" special on the high Christian holiday of Palm Sunday. This technique has been used previously to attempt to discredit Christianity's founder at a time of the year when popular interest focuses on His death and resurrection.
Does the dating make it a "gospel"?
The "Gospel of Judas" manuscript was carbon dated at 220-340 A.D. In addition the ink was analyzed, confirming the radiocarbon date of the manuscript. However early the date, it is still at least two centuries after the actual events. In contrast, the biblical manuscripts date as early as 125 A.D., with most scholars agreeing they were all written in the first century. However,
-hired scholars claimed that the manuscript found represents a translation of an earlier second century Greek document. However, there is no physical evidence to back up this belief. There is circumstantial evidence for the existence of "Christian" Gnostic writings from the writings of leaders early Christian church, such as Irenaeus, who wrote
These Christian leaders strongly denounced the Gnostic writings, which were attempting to cash in on the growing popularity of Christianity, as factually untrue and heretical in their theology. Promotion of the
program and book ignores such evidence and makes claims that are obviously untrue. For example, their website claims the gospel of Judas comes from "the earliest days of Christianity": "Dramatic recreations portray and clarify the complex story of intrigue and politics of the earliest days of Christianity, and reveal the contents of the Gospel itself."