Judas Iscariot was on a divine mission, according to ancient text
Judas Iscariot was on a divine mission, according to
Source: The Courier Mail (3-13-06)
A DOCUMENT which portrays Judas Iscariot as a hero and
Christ's favourite disciple is set to cause a storm
when it is published next month. The ancient text says
that Judas -- one of history's greatest villains --
was fulfilling a divine mission when he betrayed Jesus
for 30 pieces of silver.
The distinguished National Geographic magazine is
about to publish what it believes is an extract of the
previously unknown Gospel of Judas.
But Christian scholars, particularly in the Vatican,
dismissed the document.
Vatican theologian Giovanni D'Ercole told The Mail on
Sunday that it was ''dangerous to re-evaluate Judas
and muddy the gospel accounts by reference to
National Geographic said it had done its due diligence
and was working with a team of experts to preserve the
The papyrus document is written in the ancient Coptic
language of the Egyptian Christians and dates from the
4th century, but experts hired by National Geographic
say it is a translation of a Greek text dating from
According to London's Mail on Sunday, the gospel says
that Jesus actually told Judas to betray him.
''You will become the apostle cursed by all others,
Judas, you will sacrifice this body of man which
clothes me,'' the document says.
The paper says the gospel goes on to quote Jesus
telling Judas: ''You will become the 13th, and you
will be cursed by the other generations -- and you
will come to rule over them.''
According to leaked versions of the script, Jesus also
says to Judas: ''Step away from the others and I shall
tell you the mysteries of the kingdom.
''It is possible for you to reach it, but you will
grieve a great deal.''
For more than 2000 years, Christians have been taught
that Judas betrayed Jesus to Roman soldiers and was
paid 30 pieces of silver for his treachery.
The contents of the manuscript will be unveiled in the
US on April 6 and it contains another surprise.
The papyrus text was found in an Egyptian tomb in the
late 1970s and then spent 16 years in a New York bank
vault after numerous dealers failed to recognise its
It was acquired by a Swiss art foundation in 2002 and
a deal was struck with National Geographic.
The publication comes just before Christianity's
holiest period and a month before the release of The
Da Vinci Code movie and has led critics to label the
exercise as sensationalism.
In January a Vatican historian, Monsignor Walter
Brandmuller, denounced the document as a ''product of
An Anglican Church spokesman welcomed the publication,
but warned that if National Geographic ''hype it as a
new gospel'' then there could be a lot of cancelled
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 at 4:03 PM