A continuing series reflecting on the book: “The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A New Look at Betrayer and Betrayed”, By Bart D. Ehrman (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006, pgs.198)
Chapter 11: The Gospel of Judas in Perspective
In the final chapter, Prof. Ehrman tries to assess the overall importance of the Gospel of Judas. He begins by listing what the Gospel is and is not:
1. It was not written by Judas.
2. It was not written by someone who really knew the historical Judas.
3. It was not as ancient as the NT Gospels.
4. It was not historically accurate.
5. It will not provide any information about what happened in Jesus’ lifetime.
6. It doesn’t give us any real historical info. about Judas or Jesus.
According to Dr. Ehrman, the Gospel of Judas is:
1. It is written about Judas.
2. It was written 100-125 years after Judas.
3. It is one of the earliest ‘Gospels’ besides the four in the NT.
4. It is a late 3rd or early 4th century Coptic translation from the original Greek form of the gospel written in the middle 2nd century.
5. It is important because there are few early Christian sources.
6. It is important because few ‘alternate’ texts have survived.
According to Dr. Ehrman, early Christianity was far more diverse and full of differing doctrines than many church historians want to admit. He believes that this is where the importance of the book comes in; it represents a divergent view of Christianity as opposed to the ‘orthodox’ view that ‘won’ out.
This of course is one of the agendas and hobbies of Dr. Ehrman. He likes to point out all the different heretical forms of early Christianity and to write about what a shame it is that those differing ‘Christianities’ didn’t survive. He really doesn’t care for orthodox Christianity and seems to glory in every possible form of heresy.
According to Prof. Ehrman, that is what really is significant about the Gospel of Judas. It presents an important source for an early divergent form and demonstrates that there was considerable variety in early Christianity.