An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced after 1,700 years, and it portrays Judas Iscariot not as a betrayer of Jesus but as his favored disciple and willing collaborator.
In this text, scholars reported yesterday, the account of events leading to the Crucifixion differs sharply from the four gospels in the New Testament. Here Jesus is said to entrust Judas with special knowledge and ask him to betray him to the Roman authorities. By doing so, he tells Judas, ‘you will exceed’ the other disciples.
“These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion and demonstrating how diverse — and fascinating — the early Christian movement really was,” said Elaine Pagels, a professor of religion at Princeton who specializes in studies of the Gnostics.
It’s interesting to see other “Christianities” and how early Christians believed. Contrary to popular belief, Christianity was no monolith. The term heretic is anachronistic for the first four centuries of our tradition. Competing understandings of Christ existed and named themselves the true keepers of the tradition Jesus left us mediated through his Apostles.
It makes me realize how special faith is and how tradition is just as human as faith is. Incomplete, imperfect, yet sacred and holy. After reading a good book on this topic, my appreciation of this fact has only increased.