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Judas Iscariot has been demonized as the quintessential traitor, the disciple who betrayed his master for the infamous thirty pieces of silver. But the recent sensational discovery and publication of the long lost Gospel of Judas, with its remarkable portrayal of Judas Iscariot as the disciple closest to Jesus, raises serious new questions. Was Judas the only member of the Twelve who truly understood Jesus? Did Jesus secretly collaborate with Judas to set in motion the series of events that would redeem all of humankind? In search of answers, Marvin Meyer, one of the world's leading experts on the Gospel of Judas presents a collection of the earliest accounts of Judas, which together paint a fuller portrait of this most enigmatic disciple.

This book presents the essential texts that deal with the figure of Judas, including New Testament writings, Gnostic documents, and other early and later Christian literature. These are the earliest known testimonies about Judas and include selections from the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, the Acts of the Apostles, and relevant passages from Paul. The centerpiece of the book is the Gospel of Judas, followed by excerpts from three other Gnostic texts—the Dialogue of the Savior, the Concept of Our Great Power, and the "Round Dance of the Cross"—which may shed new light on the figure of Judas. A series of additional writings on Judas produced over the centuries provide glimpses of the vilification of Judas and the emergence of anti-Semitic themes.

Meyer offers evidence of traitors before Judas—the Genesis story of Joseph's brothers who sold him into slavery, the duplicitous friend of the poet in Psalm 41, and Melanthius the goatherd in Homer's Odyssey—all of which raise the question of whether the story of Judas Iscariot could be simply a piece of religious fiction derived from earlier stories.

Judas provides a rich collection of original sources that tell the story of Christianity's most infamous figure, offering the fullest understanding of Judas Iscariot's undeniable importance in the climax of Jesus's life.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061746000
List price: $9.99
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This slender book does not live up to its subtitle of being "the definitive collection of Gospels and legends about the infamous apostle of Jesus." There are many such legends omitted; for example, Benedeit's "Voyage of St. Brendan." Perhaps the author meant to limit the book to only legends from ancient times. The main section consists of a translation of the recently discovered Gospel of Judas. What is really disappointing and distracting in this book is the use of endnotes. Mostly the endnotes direct the reader to "cf." some biblical passage. In order to do so, the reader must have the Bible with the passage referred to immediately available. Although it would have markedly increased the size of this book, it would have been much more convenient to the reader if the endnote supplied the passage referred to, rather than to require the reader to interrupt the flow of his reading to look up the endnote, then to look up the passage in a separate book. Moreover, the constant use of the "cf." appears to reflect a laziness on the part of the author. There is little or no discussion of the importance or significance of the comparison. If the comparison is of minor importance, then the reader would be better served if the author would omit the distraction of endnotes and simply state the general point that the stories have certain similarities. All in all, it appears this book is merely one more exploitation of the discovery of the Gospel of Judas, dressed up in pseudo-scholarship for the masses.read more
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This slender book does not live up to its subtitle of being "the definitive collection of Gospels and legends about the infamous apostle of Jesus." There are many such legends omitted; for example, Benedeit's "Voyage of St. Brendan." Perhaps the author meant to limit the book to only legends from ancient times. The main section consists of a translation of the recently discovered Gospel of Judas. What is really disappointing and distracting in this book is the use of endnotes. Mostly the endnotes direct the reader to "cf." some biblical passage. In order to do so, the reader must have the Bible with the passage referred to immediately available. Although it would have markedly increased the size of this book, it would have been much more convenient to the reader if the endnote supplied the passage referred to, rather than to require the reader to interrupt the flow of his reading to look up the endnote, then to look up the passage in a separate book. Moreover, the constant use of the "cf." appears to reflect a laziness on the part of the author. There is little or no discussion of the importance or significance of the comparison. If the comparison is of minor importance, then the reader would be better served if the author would omit the distraction of endnotes and simply state the general point that the stories have certain similarities. All in all, it appears this book is merely one more exploitation of the discovery of the Gospel of Judas, dressed up in pseudo-scholarship for the masses.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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