. . . thanks to this text, we can further confirm what we already know about Gnostics—those pesky heretics condemned by early-church leaders like Irenaeus. . .But my favorite part, while definitely not the meat of the article, is Hansen’s witty passing comment on the NY Times article by John Noble Wilford and Laurie Goodstein (which I noted earlier here), who wrote that “the discoveries have proved deeply troubling for many believers.” Hansen’s comes back? “Who are those troubled believers? We're not sure, because Wilford and Goodstein apparently didn't talk to any of them.”
Until the release of the Gospel of Judas and other Gnostic texts discovered decades ago near Nag Hammadi in Egypt, we learned about Gnosticism mostly through the polemics of Christian apologists. Now thanks to the Gospel of Judas, we can further verify two major Gnostic teachings. According to many Gnostic teachers, Jesus either did not actually appear in the flesh, or he at least wanted to shed his skin as soon as possible. Jesus longed to return to the spirit world. Judas helped make that happen. ("You will sacrifice the man that clothes me," the "spiritual" Jesus tells Judas in this document.) Also, Gnostics believed only a select few would truly apprehend the knowledge of heaven. The Gospel of Judas teaches that only Judas, Jesus' favorite disciple, fully understood.
Christian belief contrasts sharply with Gnosticism. Fully God and fully man, Jesus endured birth in a manger and death on a Cross. He shared in our humanity, "so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death" (Heb. 2:14). This message is not restricted to a few who will ascertain gnosis (knowledge). The gospel "is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (Rom. 1:16).
(Image: www.cts.edu Public domain)