Scene 3 has all the sensational and new stuff about Judas, and I will briefly summarize what this Scene tells us.
I see four sections, and then a final conclusion.
First, Judas informs Jesus that he, too, had a vision, and in this vision the 12 apostles were stoning him. Judas also sees a “house” but Jesus informs Judas that this massive, heavenly house is not his destiny.
Second, Judas asks about his own destiny, and wonders if he is under the control of the “rulers” (of this world). Jesus then predicts that Judas will become the “13th” [re-instated into the apostolic circle] and will be exalted to rule over them. “In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy generation.”
Third, and a lengthy, complex, and nearly unintelligible section, Jesus explains to Judas how the creation of everything proceeded, from the various luminaries down to Adam and Eve. [All of this has to do with the separating of God from the material, sinful world.] In this, Seth is manifested as Christ. Some call this text Cainite, but Sethian (rather than Cainite) ideas are often present. “Cainite” is the term Irenaeus uses for those gnostics who appealed to the GJ, but there is no other evidence for such a group of gnostics apart from those who apparently use Irenaeus. It is not clear that Irenaeus had seen GJ personally; he may simply be referring to it. (See my post Friday.) Since biblical figures like Cain and men of Sodom and Judas were vilified, they became attractive to the gnostics who saw progress in this world as progress in nothing good. So, those who were vilifed naturally became proponets of their world-denying gnostic spirituality.
Fourth, Judas asks about the destiny of Adam and Humanity. There is a brief discussion of Michael and Gabriel and the spirits they grant. The wicked will be destroyed.
At this point the decisive ideas come to expression: Judas asks about the fate of the baptized, and the ms is corrupt so it is not clear. But, it ends with this now famous line from Jesus to Judas:
“But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”
Judas will be exalted above all the disciples; and Judas has the task of betraying Jesus and that means he gets to “sacrifice the [earthly] man that clothes me [Jesus’ true spiritual self, being].”
Then the text describes Judas’ exaltation, and the language is not unlike that of Jesus’ own transfiguration and baptism.
Thus, “the star that leads the way is your star.” [Stars are big; they thought stars shaped fate of individuals.]
“Judas lifted up his eyes and saw the luminous cloud, and he entered it.”
The text concludes then by returning to rock-solid historical reality. We are back to the days of Jesus’ death; he is celebrating the last supper; Judas is betraying Jesus and the text ends. But, now the betrayal is an act of heroic spirituality.
What has to be observed is this: the climax of the gospel is the return of Jesus to the divine not the death and resurrection of Jesus. Redemption is by way of knowledge, not by way of God’s redemptive act in the death and resurrection. And there is no need for resurrection; in fact, resurrection is an abominable idea for it would involve the goodness of the body.
Nothing could be further from the traditional perception of redemption. And the one who realizes this is Judas, the one vilified. Only he really got it, and the other Gospels distort his heroic deed.