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The Gospel of Judas

M.T.Vasudevan Nair has made a style of re-writing history with different perspectives. His book, Randaam Oozham (The Second Turn), retells Mahabharata from Bheema’s perspective. His movie, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha retells a popular story from the perspective of the person characterized as the villain in the original.

Now in what seems to straight out of a MT novel, comes the Gospel of Judas, a long lost manuscript which tells the story of Jesus from the perspective of Judas.

In this version, “Judas is the good guy,” said Bart Ehrman, a University of North Carolina professor of religious history.

The 3rd or 4th Century manuscript, written in Coptic on sheets of papyrus, was discovered in Egypt in the 1970s only to vanish again into an underworld of smugglers and shadowy antiquities dealers. On Thursday it was unveiled by the National Geographic Society, which is publishing the text and other materials.

The text describes itself as “The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he celebrated Passover.”[The Judas gospel]

The 13 sheets of manuscript dated to between 220 and 340 A.D reveals that Judas was Jesus’s friend and is asked by Jesus to betray his identity. Similar to what is mentioned in the Bhagavad Geeta, Jesus also says about the death of the body while the soul remains alive and then goes on to say

“The star that leads the way is your star, Jesus said to Judas… You will exceed all of them for you will have sacrificed the man that clothes me.

Even though it says Gospel of Judas, there is nothing which indicates who the author is. Some scholars think that the author could be a scribe, in the Gnostic community of Cainites who regard Cain, Esau and Judas as heroes.

Herb Krosney, author of The Lost Gospel : The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, says that this document may not be included in the New Testament, which is no surprise.

I would really doubt that it might be included in the New Testament. In early Christianity, there were at least 30 potential gospels floating around, and there were dozens and dozens if not hundreds of original documents which were winnowed down at an early stage in the 3rd and 4th centuries which became the New Testament and the basis of the new religion called Christianity. I don’t think that any apocryphal document will now be accepted in the canon of orthodox Christianity. But what this document does is it opens us up into a whole world of history that we had not been able to fully appreciate before, and it gives a new and different interpretation of both Judas and his relationship to Jesus.[The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot?]

See Also: The Gospel of Judas, Explore the Document

5 Responses to The Gospel of Judas

  1. Kingsley April 7, 2006 at 3:10 pm #

    Any pointers to the original of the Vadakkan story? I prefer English, but Malayalam will work as well.

    On a related note, one of the more controversial Tamil books is RaavaNa Kaaviyam, a retelling of Ramayana with Raavana as the a misunderstood anti-hero.

  2. JK April 7, 2006 at 3:59 pm #

    Kingsley, I don’t know if there are any books on the Vadakkan story. Most of it is folklore, told via Vadakkan Paatu songs. There are many movies mainly starring Prem Nazir which tell the original story.

  3. Srijith April 7, 2006 at 11:43 pm #

    I wonder how long it will take Dan Brown to weave a best seller out of this!

  4. Jo April 10, 2006 at 10:24 am #

    Quite interesting. I missed out the telecast of this yesterday. :-(

    I heard from a friend that he saw a hardbound three-volume book named “The Gospel of St: Jerome” in a monastry, but never seen it else where.

    If you have any link to the gospel of Judas, St: Thomas, St: Jerome etc please send me those in an email.

  5. varnam April 2, 2007 at 11:14 pm #

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