Saturday, August 22, 2015
The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot
Rating: 3 Stars
I must first say that I do not buy into anything in any way related to Gnosticism. I don't believe that there was some secret wisdom imparted onto Judas from Jesus before His death.
What I do find fascinating, however, is the idea of a Gospel being written in relation to Judas, a man considered to be one of the most evil men in history. The history of the physical manuscript itself is also beyond intriguing, and reading about its journey into the light made for an interesting adventure. It gave me a lot of insight into the world of antiquities trade - something I knew nothing about. I guess I had never before given much thought to what happens to the items removed from the lands we consider part of the ancient world. I must also say as an aside that I believe these items should be returned to the lands they came from - the Rosetta Stone and various obelisks, especially those which were basically stolen (not those given as gifts).
Anyone who has read my reviews of Ehrman's work (he wrote the introduction for this book) knows how I feel about the guy - he annoys me. Not because I disagree with him on many points (if that were the reason I disliked him, I wouldn't read his books or books like this to begin with), but because of the way he comes across when making the points that he does and the way in which he dumbs the material down so completely, it is condescending and annoying. I skipped the intro of the book altogether to avoid as much Ehrman as possible, but to my displeasure I found he was quoted much throughout the book. Definitely could have done without so much of his nonsense.
I have thought a long time about what Judas means to history and to Christianity; that is one of the reasons it has taken me so long to write this review. I feel conflicted in writing these words even, but I suppose it could not be completely outside the realm of possibility that Jesus gave Judas the job of turning Him over to the authorities. Jesus was sent by His Father to die for our sins. It was pre-ordained that this would happen. So, if you think about it in that light, Jesus had to be turned in and arrested by someone. Couldn't it be possible that Judas was that person, on purpose? There is so much I am still learning, as I rediscover my faith again, that perhaps I am totally off base in thinking this way. But stripping away all the Gnostic nonsense also in the text, just looking at this single act in this way, does it make sense? I have a feeling I will be needing to talk to my pastor about this very soon.
All in all, it is a text about the journey of this so-called 'lost gospel'. It is an interesting one, a sad one, an educational one. It was decent enough to move quickly, and not terribly academic. One thing that I would have liked was an actual translation of the text, as I have seen in other books about this subject.