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Apr 6 2006
"gospel of judas" from 300AD found in Egypt

The "Gospel of Judas" was an ancient Christian text that we knew existed (from being mentioned in other old texts) but no copy of it had ever been found. Or so we thought! It turns out that a document which was discovered in the Egyptian dessert in the 1970's was only recently recognized as the only known copy of this gospel! It is one of many early Christian texts which was not selected for inclusion in the Bible by church officials. Like the others, this one offers an alternative view of the story of Jesus that was believed by at least some early Christians.

This one, in particular, definitely gives a different view of the character of Judas. Here, he is portrayed as the greatest of the disciples, the only one who really understood Jesus' teachings and recognized that he would have to be killed in order for his spirit to be freed from the prison of his body. Jesus, in this version of the story, is very grateful to Judas for what he does.

Of course, finding this document will not change much. Bible "believers" will have no trouble interpreting this as a false history written by a misguided author. Non-believers like me see it as just another fictional account presented as if it were true history. And even academics have not yet learned much from this document, since we already had an idea of what it said.

But hey, you've got to admit it is cool that a copy of this old document has finally been found and analyzed!

For more info, check out this NYT account.

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