New York: An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of what is known as the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced
after 1,700 years. the text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported.
In this version, Jesus asked Judas, as a close friend, to sell him out to the authorities, telling Judas he will "exceed" the other disciplies by doing so. Though
some theologians have hypothesised this, scholars who have studied the newsound text said is the first time an ancient document defends the idea.
Copy Of Coptic
The discovery in the desert of Egypt of the leather - bound papyrus manuscript in the 1970s and now its translation, was announced by the national Geographic Society at a news conference in Washington. The 26- page Judas text is said to be a copy of Coptic, made around A.D 300 of the original
Gospel of Judas Which was writtenin Greek the century before.
Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the geographic society, said the manuscript is considered by scholars and scientists to be the most significant ancient, non-biblical text to be found in the past 60 years.
"The codex has been authenticated as a genuine work of ancient Christian apocryphal literature," Mr. Garcia said, citting extensive tests of radiocarbon dating, ink analysis and multi-spectral imaging and studies of the script and linguistic style. The ink, for example, was consistent with ink of that era, and there was no evidence of multiple rewritting.
The most revealing passages in the Judas manuscripts begins," The secret account of the revelation that Judas spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week, three days before he celebrated Passover".
The account goes on to relate Jesus refer to the other disciples, telling Judas " You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me".
By that, scholars familiar with Gnostic thinking said, Jesus meant that by helping him get rid of his physical flesh, Judas will act to liberate the true spiritual self or divine being within Jesus.
Unlike the accounts in the New Testament Gospels of mathew, Mark, Luke andJohn the annoymous author of the Gospel of Judas believed that Judas
Iscariot alone among the 12 disciples understood the meaning of Jesus' teachings and acceded to his will.
In the diversity of early Christian thought, a group known as Gnostics believed in a secret knowledge of how people could escape the prisons of their material bodies and return to the
spiritual realm from which they came.
Elaine Pagels, a Professor of Religion at Princeton who specialises in studies of the Gnostics , said in a statement:" These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse - and fascinating - the early Christian movement really was."
One Of many :
The Gospel of Judas is only one of many texts discovered in last 65 years, including the gospels of Thomas, mary magdalene and Philip, believed to be written by Gnostics. The new 66- page codex contains a text titled James ( also known as the First Apocalypse of James)
, a letter by Peter and a text of what scholars are provisionally calling the Book of Allogenes.