In this text, scholars reported yesterday, the account of events leading to the Crucifixion differs sharply from the four gospels in the New Testament. Here Jesus is said to entrust Judas with special knowledge and ask him to betray him to the Roman authorities. By doing so, he tells Judas, "you will exceed" the other disciples.
"You will be cursed by the other generations, and you will come to rule over them," Jesus confides to Judas in the document, which was made public at a news conference at the National Geographic Society in Washington.
And there is more:
Unlike the four standard gospels, the Judas document portrays Judas Iscariot as alone among the 12 disciples to understand Jesus' teachings.
In a key passage in the new-found gospel, Jesus had talks with Judas "three days before he celebrated Passover." That is when Jesus is supposed to have referred to the other disciples and said to Judas: "But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."
Wow Harvey Keitel really was Jesus' best friend!
Thanks Peppita. [Update - below the fold]
On the bus to work I read another article in on the manuscript in the Boston Globe ...
The story of the gospel's rediscovery and salvation reads like the plot of a Hollywood mystery.
It began when a leather-bound collection of papyrus pages was discovered in the desert near El Minya, in central Egypt, in the 1970s.
It circulated among antiquities dealers in Europe and then in the United States, until it was put in a safe deposit box on Long Island by an Egyptian dealer who had shopped it around to collectors and failed to find a buyer.
There the gospel lay for the next 16 years, until it was purchased by an antiquities dealer in Zurich. That dealer also tried and failed to find a buyer and, alarmed by the manuscript's rapid deterioration, she handed it over to the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art in Basel, where its importance was recognized by Rudolphe Kasser, an eminent Swiss scholar and translator of Coptic, the language of Egyptian Christians.
By then, the papyruses -- which contained portions of three other texts, in addition to the Gospel of Judas -- were in nearly 1,000 pieces and were almost beyond saving. Scholars from Switzerland, Germany and the United States -- supported by the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery of La Jolla, Calif., and the geographic society -- became involved in conserving and translating the text and checking its authenticity.
After five years of work, European scholars assisted by new computer methodology were able to reassemble more than 80 percent of the text.
In February 2006, a missing half-page of the gospel was located in New York City.
Interesting. Judas still sounds kind of like a jerk, though.