COGaIC and the Gospel of Judas

In an article in its Vision magazine, COGaIC’s Peter Nathan wrote:

Judas: It’s Still About Money

The re-release this year of several books in paperback reflects continuing popular interest in obscure nonbiblical works regarding the life of Jesus and the early church.Last year it was the newly translated so-called Gospel of Judas, the latest pseudo-Christian text to grab attention. It’s release was conveniently timed to generate sales during the Easter season. A companion book, The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, told the story of the purchase and translation of the ancient Gnostic work. Both titles were published by the National Geographic Society and launched together with a prime-time documentary.It was a great multimedia success, with top-echelon book sales. But while National Geographic’s Terry Garcia has pointed out that the society spent a significant sum on the manuscript’s restoration and that the project was “not a commercial enterprise,” the sentiment would carry more weight if claims made about the text were not so hyperbolic. For example, it is highly questionable that this is “the most significant archaeological discovery in 60 years,” as National Geographic News subjectively reported, or that “this lost gospel . . . bears witness to something completely different from what was said [about Judas] in the Bible”…If you thought that the newly discovered gospel would give any extra insight into the mind of Judas—as to why he betrayed Jesus and then committed suicide or was assassinated (depending on which account you accept)—then you were bound to be disappointed…

Unlike the New Testament Gospels, this Gnostic version offers little or no detail of Jesus’ life. Presented largely as a discourse between Jesus and the disciples and then Jesus and Judas, it is similar to the Gnostic gospels of Mary and Thomas.Why, then, was the Gospel of Judas published with such flourish and fanfare?


A number of factors have converged to make this manuscript so intriguing. First, its ownership is at issue. It came to light in the 1970s, although some speculate that it may have been part of the original Nag Hammadi discovery. As an archaeological treasure, it is strictly the property of the nation of Egypt. But it was illegally exported and was on the antiquities gray market for more than two decades, rapidly deteriorating because of neglect and abusive handling. During this time the codex was offered to several prestigious universities, all of which declined because of the excessive price demanded…The manuscript was subsequently held in Europe by a private collector who finally undertook the long-overdue preservation and translation of the document.


The second reason for publishing the Gospel of Judas is that the time was right to capitalize on such a document. Much publicity has been given to the Gnostics and their writings by the runaway success of The Da Vinci Code. The reading public appears to have an appetite for such material, suggesting that the holder of the Judas manuscript and the National Geographic Society hoped to gain some financial benefit out of the gospel before it returned to its rightful home in Egypt.

Partially because of reading The Da Vinci Code, I decided to read the extant fragments of the Gnostic “Gospels” of Philip and Mary Magdalene.  Suffice it to say that not only do they not read like anything in the New Testament, they also do not prove the point that the proponents of them state.

However, the truth about early Christianity is very interesting and is basically unknown as “tradition” and misinformation are more likely the basis for most people’s understandings of it. 

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible?
The Da Vinci Code: Some Good, Most Bad Does The Da Vinci Code properly discuss Christianity? What does it have right and what does it have wrong about early Christianity and other gospel accounts?

You can also click on the following link for information on Church of God, an International Community (COG aic).

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