The publication of the Gospel of Judas within Codex Tchacos represents a significant moment for the study of religion and culture. It is a rare occurrence that a previously unknown gospel manuscript is discovered, particularly one that was mentioned in early Christian sources, and that is precisely what is the case with the Gospel of Judas. The Gospel of Judas can be dated, with some certainty, to around the middle of the second century, or perhaps even a bit before, and the materials included within it are even older. The gospel is thus an early source for our knowledge of an important mystical movement within early Christianity and Judaism, namely the Sethian gnostic school of religious thought. Further, the text provides the opportunity to evaluate, and perhaps reevaluate, the historical role of a figure-Judas Iscariot-who has been much maligned within Christianity and has been a prominent figure in the development of anti-Semitism. All in all, the Gospel of Judas sheds important light on the character of developing Christianity, and reminds us again of the rich diversity of the early church.
The Gospel of Judas really has been a surprise in many ways. For one thing, there's no other text that suggests that Judas Iscariot was an intimate, trusted disciple, one to whom Jesus revealed the secrets of the kingdom, and that conversely, the other disciples were misunderstanding what he meant by the gospel.
The spring is here, young and beautiful as ever, and absolutely shocking in its display of reckless maternity; but the Judas treewill bloom for you on the Bosphorus if you get there in time. No one ever loved the dog-wood and Judas tree as I have done, and it is my one crown of life to be sure that I am going to take them with me to heaven to enjoy real happiness with the Virgin and them.
You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary-it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me." Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, "If you had to betray your master, would you do it?" Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, "No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.
You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary""it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me." Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, "If you had to betray your master, would you do it?" Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, "No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.
Peter denied Jesus; Judas betrayed Jesus. The bad news was that both of them fell off the track and were both filled with regrets, remorse and anguish for their mischievous behaviours. However it was only Peter who chose to rise again after falling! Judas chose to end it with suicide! If you fall, you can rise again!
If the Gospel of Judas found in Codex Tchacos can be convincingly identified as being a Coptic translation of the original Greek Gospel of Judas that Bishop Ireneaus mentioned around A.D. 180 in his book, "Against Heresies, " it will be an important step in the study of ancient gnosticism. We would have for the first time the chance to trace back the history of Sethian gnosticism to before the time of Irenaeus. This would be a significant gain in our knowledge of early Christianity.
Just as if Manetho's "Aegyptiaca" or the second book of Aristotle's "Poetics" reappeared, the simple fact that such a significant text as "The Gospel of Judas," believed to be lost forever, comes back to light, constitutes in itself an absolutely exceptional event. But in the present case, the impact of such a discovery takes on particular importance, since, through the rehabilitation of Judas, by presenting him as the closest disciple of Christ and as the one he chose to "betray" him in order to fulfill God's will, this text not only seriously challenges one of the most firmly rooted believes in Christian tradition, but also reduces one of the favorite themes of anti-Semitism to nothing
Nobody wanted to hear about all the Preterite, the many God passes over when he chooses a few for salvation. William argued holiness for these "second Sheep, " without whom there'd be no elect. You can bet the Elect in Boston were pissed off about that. And it got worse. William felt that what Jesus was for the elect, Judas Iscariot was for the Preterite. Everything in the Creation has its equal and opposite counterpart. How can Jesus be an exception? could we feel for him anything but horror in the face of the unnatural, the extracreational? Well, if he is the son of man, and if what we feel is not horror but love, then we have to love Judas too. Right? How William avoided being burned for heresy, nobody knows.