The recent National Geographic special on the Gospel of Judas was a major media event, introducing to tens of millions of viewers one of the most important biblical discoveries of modern times. Now, a leading historian of the early church, Bart Ehrman, offers the first comprehensive account of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas, revealing what this legendary lost gospel contains and why it is so important for our understanding of Christianity.
Ehrman, a featured commentator in the National Geographic special, describes how he first saw the Gospel of Judas, surprisingly, in a small room above a pizza parlor in a Swiss town near Lake Geneva, and he recounts the fascinating story of where and how this ancient papyrus document was discovered, how it moved around among antiquities dealers in Egypt, the United States, and Switzerland, and how it came to be restored and translated. More important, Ehrman gives the reader a complete and clear account of what the book teaches and he shows how it relates to other Gospel texts, both those inside the New Testament and those outside of it, most notably, the Gnostic texts of early Christianity. Finally, he describes what we now can say about the historical Judas himself as well as his relationship with Jesus, suggesting that one needs to read between the lines of the early Gospels to see exactly what Judas did and why he did it.
The Gospel of Judas presents an entirely new view of Jesus, his disciples, and the man who allegedly betrayed him. It raises many questions and Bart Ehrman provides illuminating and authoritative answers, in a book that will interest anyone curious about the New Testament, the life of Jesus,and the history of Christianity after his death.
Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham, N.C.
In typically brilliant fashion, Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus) tells the lively tale of the modern discovery of the Gospel of Judas and its significance for us today. In order to differentiate the Judas of the newly discovered text from the character in the canonical gospels, he examines the portrayal of Judas in Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, as well as in other early Christian gospels such as the Gospel of Nicodemus. He chronicles the events surrounding the discovery of the text and its transmission since its discovery (which involves rumors of black market trading in looted documents). Ehrman also provides a helpful overview of the content of this once lost gospel, which depicts Jesus teaching Judas about a divine realm that no one has ever seen and to which Jesus must return. Ehrman concludes that the discovery of the Gospel of Judas is significant not only because it adds to our knowledge of the diversity of early Christianity but also because it portrays a Judas who is not a traitor to the cause but one who is instrumental in fulfilling Jesus divine mission. Ehrmans fast-paced study introduces us engagingly to the Gospel of Judas.
- Publishers Weekly