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Christianity / Apocryphal gospels /
Gospel of Judas

Full text in translationFull text in translation (link to National Geographic)

In Christianity, Gnostic apocryphal gospel to around 300 (280 CE plus/minus 50 years), and was written in Coptic language.
Based on the example of other gospels, it is assumed to have been translated from the Greek. The text was on papyrus, and found in 1970 near Minya, Egypt. The manuscript went through the usual process of the treasure hunt with art dealers and middlemen. When it finally came to the market in 1999, only 13 of an estimated 31 original pages remained. The text of this gospel has been reconstructed and was first published in 2006 by National Geographic with great publicity.

This gospel is named after Judas for his central and unique role in its story, and towards the end of the text it is written "The Gospel of Judas". There is no information to its author.

The core message of this gospel is the radically different understanding of the role of Judas. Where Judas in common Christianity is considered as a betrayer of Jesus, this gospel makes his betrayal an act commanded by Jesus. Jesus expressively asks for Judas' aid in his final act.
Considering that the betrayal of Judas was a prerequisite for the salvation by Christ, this gospel actually comes closer to what is the conclusion of common Christian theology; that without Judas the mission of Christ could not have been completed.
The salvation is understood in a Gnostic sense. The execution of Christ releases the spirit from the flesh, which is in perfect alignment with Gnostic theories. This secret message was not intended to be widely known.
This gospel clearly indicates that it was only Judas that truly understood the truth about the divine message, that he alone had been let into the truth about the crucifixion.

By Tore Kjeilen