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Judas Iscariot was on a divine mission, according to ancient text

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/22832.html Judas Iscariot was on a divine mission, according to ancient text Source: The Courier Mail (3-13-06) A DOCUMENT which
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 15, 2006
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      http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/22832.html

      Judas Iscariot was on a divine mission, according to
      ancient text

      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
      apocryphal writings''.

      National Geographic said it had done its due diligence
      and was working with a team of experts to preserve the
      manuscript.

      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
      about AD187.

      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
      significance.

      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
      religious fantasy''.

      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
      subscriptions.

      Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 at 4:03 PM
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