Gospel of Judas – Heresy and Unreliable History

The newly published “Gospel of Judas” contains teaching that is completely foreign to the New Testament, according to the assessment of several Union University professors.

“It presents a completely different cosmology and theology from what we find in the New Testament,” said George Guthrie, the Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union University, a Baptist-affiliated university in Jackson, Tenn.

Guthrie and other Christian studies faculty members at Union said the Gospel of Judas document is unreliable as a source for the actual historical events in the life of Jesus and promotes the heresy of Gnosticism, an ancient teaching condemned by the early Christian church.

“It is not in any way, shape or form a writing that tells us anything reliable about either the real Jesus or Judas,” added Greg Thornbury, dean of Union’s school of Christian studies.

Thornbury referred to a quote from Elaine Pagels, a Princeton University religion professor who was a paid consultant for the National Geographic project that translated and published the Gospel of Judas. Pagels pointed out that the people who wrote and circulated these gospels “did not think they were heretics.”

“When do heretics admit that what they believe is, in fact, heresy?” Thornbury asked. “Whether one is talking about the fourth century or the 21st century, there has been no shortage of people trying to discredit the Christian faith.”

Ray Van Neste, associate professor of Christian studies at Union, said it’s important to distinguish between authentic and authoritative.

“Sure it’s authentic, meaning it came from that time,” Van Neste said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the true gospel.”

Van Neste used as an example histories written during World War II that denied the Holocaust. They were written at that time, but they were far from accurate or authoritative, he said.

He added that the discovery of the “Gospel of Judas” should in no way change what people believe about traditional Christianity, because documents like this have been around for a long time. […more…]
– Source: ‘Gospel of Judas’ is heresy & unreliable history, profs say, by Tim Ellsworth, Baptist Press, Apr. 10, 2006

This post was last updated: Apr. 11, 2006