[W]hen Judas Iscariot handed Jesus over to the Romans, he was acting on orders from Jesus to carry out a sacred mystery for the sake of human salvation: 'Jesus said to Judas, 'Look, you have been told everything. You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.'
For nearly 2,000 years, most people assumed that the only sources of tradition about Jesus and his disciples were the four gospels in the New Testament. But the unexpected discovery at Nag Hammadi in 1945 of more than 50 ancient Christian texts proved what church fathers said long ago: that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are only a small selection of gospels from among the dozens that circulated among early Christian groups. But now the Gospel of Judas — like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and many others — opens up new perspectives on familiar gospel stories. …
Startling as the Gospel of Judas sounds, it amplifies hints we have long read in the Gospels of Mark and John that Jesus knew and even instigated the events of his passion, seeing them as part of a divine plan.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The Gospel Truth - New York Times
Elaine Pagels writes about the newly translated Gospel of Judas.