Well, to begin with, we have to listen long enough to hear what is being said. And we have to read these texts if we can to see if what they say supports the claims. So, I want to do just this with The Gospel of Judas: let’s see what it says.This post's comments are spawning an equally interesting conversation, so scan down through them.
Now, I’d like to make a suggestion: apologetically speaking, we can only do two things — compare these texts to the canonical Gospels and say “they are really different” (no one denies this). And in saying that some will be done because “really different” means “really wrong.” If you’re honest, this proves nothing: we might be dead wrong in believing those canonical Gospels as the ones that tell the truth. Saying the two approaches differ does not tell us which is right or which is more authentic or which is more likely to be first century.
So, second, what do we do? I suggest this: the only substantial argument against the alternative Gospels is a confidence that God’s Spirit directed the Church (inspired the texts and preserved the texts and led the Church to recognize the texts) to the canonical Gospels. But, along with this we can say this: the text is late, the orthodox Christians said The Gospel of Judas was nonsense, and the theology (which is clearly gnostic) is not 1st Century Jewish/Galilean. No one can dispute any of these three points.
What I really like about this line of examination is that it’s getting back to why we believe what we believe in the first place. That's why I'm also all for the hoopla surrounding the Da Vinci Code. I’m with Mark Roberts on this one: any debate on issues raised by texts like these are wonderful opportunities—not only to engage in dialogue with others about Jesus but also to get to know more about why we believe what we do.
For more information on Judas, see National Geographic's article. For previous posts on the topic on this blog, go here and here and here.)
(Image: Public Domain)