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13233Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Judas

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  • Nik
    Dec 2, 2007

      From Gerry

      Nik, perhaps it's too much for us to "assume" the Judas had done some good in his life.  I mean, would we not also expect that the other apostles had done some good?  Yet, clearly, they are mocked by Jesus in the Gospel of Judas  for their lack of understanding and their bonds to the Demiurge. 

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      But it's not unusaul to find this sort of denunciation, you can find the same sort of concept in the other Gnostic gospels; for instance in the Gospel of Thomas whereby we find Thomas and a very few others are represented as having a true understanding of what Jesus teaches; whereas the other disciples are used to represent the wrong teachings of those that would come to represent the orthodox Christian faith. For instance there is a similarity to the Gospel of Judas where Jesus recognises Judas understanding of Jesus is superior to the others and tells him to 'stand aside' from them, he is now receives special instruction the others are not privy to. In Thomas saying 13 Jesus does the same in that he separates Thomas from the other disciples again because Thomas has shown a deeper insight into who Jesus really is and is thus ready for deeper instruction. Thomas feels he can not reveal this knowledge to the others due to their lack of understanding which and will compel them to kill him ( "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, (..........) 13. It is interesting to note the similarity with Thomas concerning stoning in that in a vision of Judas we have a scene of the disciples stoning Judas to death. Again take the Gospel of Mary she takes preference over the other disciples for she is described as he one whom Jesus loved more than the rest; and shows her deeper understanding having being asked too provide some of her private discourses with Jesus to the other disciples which we find he chose not only not to reveal to them but to actually hide from them! It just seems common for groups of Jesus advocates in the Gnostic community to have their own particular personage who they thought excelled the others.

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      >>>>If someone is doing good deeds while in the service of Saklas, just how "good" (from a Gnostic perspective) can we really consider those actions?

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      Well I don't think one can only look from a Gnostic perspective. I was brought up within the fold of Orthodoxy and it was seen that it was our duty to go and convert as many people as we could to the worship of Saklas (of course I did not realise that this was the God I was serving at the time) and there's not much you can do about it when your still controlled by your parents. But can we really say that they are doing is evil or are they just merely misguided? after all they no of no other and believe sincerely they are serving the true God. They make no real effort to understand the God they worship unlike the defunct Marcionites for as a quote I once read say's "Christians who do not realise there is a serious problem in the way the Bible describes their God, simply do not know their Bible." But even Jesus in Judas does not seem to condemn them to harshly  only their lack of perception and vision which is augmented by the blind guides of the priesthood represented by the disciples:

      Reading Judas
      15:4). So even though Jesus tells the disciples to "cease sac[nfic-ing]" (Judas 5:17), the issue for the Gospel of Judas is not simply whether Jesus's death and the deaths of his fellow Christians should be understood as sacrifices—he agrees that they should. But what he thinks is wrong is when bishops like Ignatius and Irenaeus teach that those who "perfect" themselves through ,a martyr's death are ensuring that God will reward them by raising them physically from the dead—they are wrong both in the "God" they worship and in thinking that the physical body will be raised to eternal life.
      These errors arise because people are unable to perceive that anything exists beyond this mortal, visible world; they are unable to understand their place in the divine scheme of things. Because of this ignorance, the true God and Father sent Jesus to teach and heal so that people could come to know what "no human will see" and "whose measure no angelic race has comprehended" (Judas 10:1,2). He teaches Judas that there is a wider universe of the spirit beyond the limited world people perceive, and unless they come to know it, they will never know God or fulfill their own spiritual nature. For there is another glorious divine realm above the material world, and an immortal holy race exists above the perishable human race: these, he says, are "the mysteries of the kingdom" (Judas 9:20). As long as they remain ignorant, people are easy prey to the error of false gods. But Jesus appeared on earth in order to show the true nature of the universe and the end time so that those who understand these Sacrifice and the Life of the Spirit things would turn away from the worship of false gods—with all its sacrificial violence and immorality—and discover their true spiritual nature.(Pagels and King)
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      >Similarly, as we often give consideration to the nature of Jesus/Christ when evaluating these texts, we may want to ponder DeConick's arguments concerning the "thirteenth" >apostle.  Was Judas possessed by Yaldabaoth, or in some way destined to unite with him?  Was he just a regular man with the ability to choose?  Was he a regular man afflicted >with the Counterfeit Spirit? 

      >Like you, I hate to feel like it's necessary to write off completely someone like the character of Judas, but issues involving predestiny often bring me to that point.  As >distasteful as it may seem at times, how did the Sethians view it?

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      Well according to the Apocn of John:

       "And I said to the savior, "Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely into the pure light?" He answered and said to me, "Great things have arisen in your mind, for it is difficult to explain them to others except to those who are from the immovable race. Those on whom the Spirit of life will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, they will be saved and become perfect and be worthy of the greatness and be purified in that place from all wickedness and the involvements in evil......................... I said to him, "Lord, the souls of those who did not do these works (but) on whom the power and Spirit descended, (will they be rejected?" He answered and said to me, "If) the Spirit (descended upon them), they will in any case be saved, and they will change (for the better). For the power will descend on every man, for without it no one can stand. And after they are born, then, when the Spirit of life increases and the power comes and strengthens that soul, no one can lead it astray with works of evil. But those on whom the counterfeit spirit descends are drawn by him and they go astray."

      It seems there are two spirits at work within the individual and it is up to each one of us who we choose to follow but the Good spirit will fall upon everyone of us even it seems Judas.

      Nick

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Gerry
      Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 8:37 AM
      Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Judas


      --- In gnosticism2@ yahoogroups. com, "Nik" <nicholson2007wan@ ...> wrote:
      >
      > […]
      > Well seeing we are using DeConick's viewpoint on what is evil I don't think there needs to be much debate on the matter since she say's Judus is doing evil by offering Jesus to the archons even according to her interpretation Judas has no choice in the matter. But Judas can not be inherently evil as he must have done some good in his life so he must choose to betray Jesus which would invalidate her interpretation.
      > […]
      >
      > Nick
      >

      Nik, perhaps it's too much for us to "assume" the Judas had done some good in his life.  I mean, would we not also expect that the other apostles had done some good?  Yet, clearly, they are mocked by Jesus in the Gospel of Judas  for their lack of understanding and their bonds to the Demiurge.  If someone is doing good deeds while in the service of Saklas, just how "good" (from a Gnostic perspective) can we really consider those actions?

      As I said in my previous post, I was far from eager to jump on DeConick's bandwagon in the beginning.  I still think I can recall some comments of hers that didn't sit well with me at the time, and I'll happily play Judas's advocate if and when I locate the actual quotes. 

      I agree that the gist of the initial National Geographic translation could easily be viewed from a Gnostic POV, especially considering how many other traditional texts were turned upside down to convey their heretical understanding.  In this case though (translation issues aside), I believe that DeConick is simply suggesting that this work might be even more effective as a Gnostic tool against the proto-orthodox rhetoric by remaining at least somewhat more faithful to the story with which those Christians were already familiar. 

      Similarly, as we often give consideration to the nature of Jesus/Christ when evaluating these texts, we may want to ponder DeConick's arguments concerning the "thirteenth" apostle.  Was Judas possessed by Yaldabaoth, or in some way destined to unite with him?  Was he just a regular man with the ability to choose?  Was he a regular man afflicted with the Counterfeit Spirit? 

      Like you, I hate to feel like it's necessary to write off completely someone like the character of Judas, but issues involving predestiny often bring me to that point.  As distasteful as it may seem at times, how did the Sethians view it?

      Gerry

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