Our Easter sermon included a strong rebuttal of the latest fads in pseudo-Biblical sensationalism, including the “Gospel of Judas”. I dismissed the whole “Judas” document last week as “just another heresy”, but the additional information makes it clear just how far the TV documentaries and the rash of news stories went to avoid legitimate academic thought and virtually all other relevant facts to sensationalize the document as somehow revolutionary, or requiring a complete re-thinking of Christian doctrine. Yes, the “Gospel of Judas” is an authentic 3rd-Century document, which is historically and academically interesting in some respects. No, in every other sense, it isn’t remotely worth the papyrus it’s written on.
I was kind of surprised to find that the Wikipedia entry for “Gospel of Judas” includes the broader academic and historical context. It identifies it as a “gnostic gospel”, fundamentally opposed to Christian tradition, and associates it with the gnostic Cainite cult of the 2nd Century A.D.. It also mentions the rebuttal to the gnostics and this “gospel” by Irenaeus, who repudiated it in 180 A.D. as “fictional”.
To see how National Geographic views Christian criticism of the Judas document, such as the anti-heretical writings of Iranaeus, see Gospel of Judas Pages Endured Long, Strange Journey :
“St. Irenaeus’s method was to savage alternative theological views….”
National Geographic has made a translation of the surviving portion of the “gospel” available on its “Gospel of Judas” site , but reasonable people shouldn’t have to read much of it to identify it as basically pathological.