As I indicated in the first post, the best way to deal with the news about the Gospel of Judas is to read it, reflect on it, and then evaluate the claims being made. Today we look at the second scene in the GJ. Big idea: cryptically, the GJ rejects the legitimacy of the orthodox party [those who shaped the Nicene Creed and the 27-book canon of the NT].
When Jesus was asked by his disciples about the “strong and holy generation” [the spiritual realm], Jesus again laughed. Jesus immediately announces that no one in this generation is worthy of that generation. They were troubled.
Then the disciples relate to Jesus that they had a vision of a great house with twelve priests and an altar. Jesus asks to hear more about the priests. The disciples say they sacrifice children and wives, some sleep with other men, and generally sinful. And, the disciples say, they stand between the altar and “invoke your name.”
Jesus interprets the vision : they plant trees without fruit. They are, according to the translators/editors, the orthodox party. You, he says to the disciples, are those priests, and this must mean the successors to the disciples. Jesus says these leaders of the orthodox will be judged. This vision is actually a vision of their own earth-bound and wholly mistaken religious beliefs. In other words, we have here a cryptic damning description of the orthodox faith.
Then Judas asks about that generation. Jesus answers in what I see as little more than the obvious: this generation’s soul will live. [He must mean “that” generation?] The current generation is defiled and have corrupted “Sophia” [Wisdom]. The text is very corrupt in this section and not enough is left to make it clear.
This is a good time to explain that this ms was actually discovered in about 1978, but its owner at the time wanted more money than museum curates, etc., were willing to pay. To make an involved story short, the ms ended up in a safe box in a bank, and in the process it had been folded to fit into a box and frozen to protect it — neither of which were good ideas. Folding it destroyed precious lines and freezing it damaged the ms irreparably. When Rudolphe Kasser finally was granted rights to encase the leaves of the ms in glass and work on its restoration, which took several years, it began to see the light of the day. Only this year is its translation being released and by the end of the year a full set of photographs and official critical text will be released.
Tomorrow: Scene 3.