Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The lost Gospel: The Quest of Judas Iscariot

The covers of the May 2006 National Geographic magazine and two National Geographic books, 'The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot' and 'The Gospel of Judas,' an annotated translation of the text, are seen in this handout photo. Judas Iscariot, vilified as Christ's betrayer, acted at Jesus' request in turning him over to the authorities who crucified him, according to a 1,700-year-old copy of the 'Gospel of Judas' unveiled on April 6, 2006.

The ‘Gospel of Judas’

When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."

The Gospel According to John

"You will be cursed by the other generations—and you will come to rule over them," Jesus tells Judas.

"Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom," Jesus says to Judas, singling him out for special status. "Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star."

Jesus tells Judas, "You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."

The Gospel According to Judas

Was Judas Iscariot, the most reviled man in history—whose very name has become synonymous with betrayal and greed—the only apostle to truly discern Jesus Christ and His one unwilling accomplice?

Is it an irrelevant heresy revealed to capitalize on the current fascination with the film and novel The Da Vinci Code as well as the advent of the Holy Week? Or is it an earth-shaking discovery that will rehabilitate the memory of Iscariot?

The story behind the "Gospel of Judas" is one of tomb raiders digging up caves in the Egyptian desert; of seductive, sweet-talking thieves looting looters; of clandestine meetings between scholars and a wily antiquities dealer in Switzerland; of a priceless treasure slowly crumbling in bank vault in Hicksville, New York; and of experts on ancient Coptic language, papyrus and carbon-dating coming together to stake their reputations on a possible hoax. It is the stuff of mystery thrillers and Hollywood blockbusters. But this is real.

After some 17 centuries, scientists and scholars have authenticated and deciphered the only known copy of the "Gospel of Judas." The National Geographic, which helped assemble the team of world-renowned experts to verify and deduce the artifacts, airs its television documentary.

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