Thursday, May 28, 2009

Judas Iscariot

The Gospel of Judas by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, Gregor Wurst, Bart D. Ehrman felt like it had been rushed to press. That isn't to say that it wasn't good but it felt like parts of it hadn't been fully contemplated. When I was in college, we had to write an essay about metaphors and analogies etc. from Homer's Iliad. Almost every person in the class wrote about one particular quotation--namely, "A generation of men is like a generation of leaves; the wind scatters some leaves upon the ground, while others the burgeoning wood brings forth - and the season of spring comes on. So of men one generation springs forth and another ceases." Some of the essays were beautiful, but only one person considered the the most important question: "Are men really like leaves?" It seems obvious to do so, but only one person did. No one else had really questioned the validity of Homer's assertion.

This book's essays didn't really question "The Gospel of Judas." The writers assumed the Gospel was equally as valid as the ones that were included in the Bible as we know it. The essayists were so enthralled with its discovery and preservation, that it felt like they never reached the most interesting questions. That failing is most clear when one of the essayists wrote that what is included and discarded from the Bible is arbitrary. Isn't it possible that there might be real reasons behind the exclusion or inclusion of one text over another, that there continues to be real religious dialogue about what should be included or excluded?

I agree that the gospel is a wonderful discovery, but where's the second part of the analysis. Is the Gospel of Judas equally as valid, as authenticated, as philosophically rich as those Gospel's included in our present day Bibles? What can we learn from it? I just don't think the essays pushed far enough.