A recent National Geographic special introduced millions to the newly discovered Gospel of Judas. Ehrman, a commentator featured on the show, explains how this papyrus was found and the way it was restored and translated; then discusses what one should make of its rather fantastic claims. 224 pages, hardcover. Oxford University.
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 chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the major public experts on early Christianity, Jesus, and the New Testament, he is very well known in his field and to a general audience through his books, including the New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene, Lost Christianities, Lost Scriptures, and Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. He has appeared on NBC's Dateline, A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and a number of nationally syndicated NPR programs, and has taped several highly popular lecture series for "The Teaching Company."
The recent discovery of the Gospel of Judas has rattled the rafters of
Christendom. This Gnostic text along with others of its ilk has become
increasingly important in understanding Christianity's genesis. Simply put, it
challenges the authority of the canonical Gospels. Prolific scholar and
historian Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill;
Misquoting Jesus) illuminates this important third- or fourth-century
manuscript. Not only does he provide an overview of Judas in the traditional
New Testament, but he also surveys the Gospel of Judas, from its discovery to
its content. "Throughout the Christian tradition," writes Ehrman, "Judas has
been portrayed as the rotten apple in the apostolic barrel." Yet the Gospel of
Judas reveals a radical new understanding of Christ's mission and Judas's role
in it. Judas, in fact, is the lone member of Christ's inner circle who
understood Jesus's message. Furthermore, Judas did not really betray Christ.
According to Ehrman, his action was a "kind deed performed for the sake of his
Lord." Recommended for both public and academic libraries. C. Brian Smith,
Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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. Ehrman's fast-paced study introduces us engagingly to
the Gospel of Judas. (Oct. 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Readers of Ehrman's popular scholarly works such as Misquoting Jesus
should be pleased with his latest offering...a compelling study of an important archaeological find..."--Dallas Morning News
"A must for those interested in the subject of early Christianity,this volume will also attract readers intrigued by all the hoopla arising from the discovery of the lost Gospel."--Booklist
"In typically brilliant fashion, Ehrman tells the lively tale of the modern discovery of the Gospel of Judas and its significance for us today." --Publishers Weekly
"The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot
is a gem of a book. Smart, lively, and eminently readable, this book provides a brilliant glimpse into the world of research and scholarship on one of the most provocative gospels from the world of the early church. It is required reading for anyone who wishes to learn more about Judas and the Gospel of Judas." --Marvin Meyer, Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies, Chapman University, and co-author of The Gospel of Judas
"An insightful, penetrating and provocative study of Christian origins. Bart Ehrman brings a scholarly, encyclopedic mind and a talented pen to this study. The Judas who has inspired centuries of anti-Semitism, feeding the dark side of Christian history, will never be the same. Neither will be the reader who engages this book." --John Shelby Spong, author of The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love
, and Bishop, The Episcopal Church
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