Re: RARA-AVIS: Judas

From: Gratefulbear (
Date: 09 Apr 2006

Scholars have long known of the existence of the Gospel of Judas (Bishop Iraneus denounced it in the year 180), but this is the first time we've been able to read the document itself in well over a thousand years. The statement you quoted, "you will sacrifice the man that clothes me," shows the dualistic view held by the Sethian Gnostics who produced the Gospel of Judas. They viewed spirit as good and matter, including the physical body, as evil. I don't share that view (I like bodies!) but as a theology geek I'm fascinated with this newly found "lost gospel." You can download the English text as a pdf file at

There is a noir quality to presenting history's "ultimate villain" as being a good guy after all. As in a good noir novel, there's moral ambiguity here: the good guys, the disciples, aren't all good (they're rather thick-headed) and the bad guy, Judas, isn't all bad. And the way the gospel ends -- abruptly, with Judas receiving the pay-off and handing Jesus over to his executioners -- is rather noir, too.

(fan of lost gospels as well as Hard Case Crime & Perry Mason)

----- Original Message -----
  From: Tim Wohlforth
  To: Rara Avis
  Sent: Sunday, April 09, 2006 12:18 PM
  Subject: RARA-AVIS: Judas

  Okay, so it's a rather old story. However, now we can understand it
  in a new light. Nothing like a new twist after 2,000 years. It is
  difficult to discuss noir writing without sooner or later touching on
  the theme of betrayal. That is, dealing with Judas. We now learn
  that it is possible that Judas was a good guy, Jesus' most loyal
  disciple, the betrayal orchestrated by Jesus himself. There are even
  hints of the tradition gospels that suggest this: that the
  crucifixion was part of some divine plan. Think about it for a
  moment. If we are to accept for the moment the Christian concept that
  Jesus was the son of God then when the Gospel of Judas says "For you
  will sacrifice the man that clothes me" Jesus is expressing a
  determination to free himself of his human characteristics. Now that
  is a rather noir comment on the human condition. He was relieved to
  be done with being like us. If, on the other hand, Jesus was a
  mortal, then this casts him in a rather dark light. That is he wished
  to be martyred in order to be remembered as such. Sort of like

  I am not testifying to the accuracy of the Gospel of Judas, nor
  trying to say anything about religious belief as such. I am trying to
  say something about story. To see Judas as a good guy does not put a
  period to the story of betrayal. One way or another betrayal is part
  of the broader human narrative along with salvation. We live now and
  always have in a manichaean world. The noir tale feeds on this and
  explores, so to speak, one side, the dark side, of this larger
  story. The Gospel of Spade.

  Tim Wohlforth

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

RARA-AVIS home page:
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Apr 2006 EDT