gospel of Judas, as it exists now, stems from a single Coptic manuscript
written between the third and fourth centuries.
Unlike the canonical gospels, it does not cast Judas’ act of delivering
Christ over to the authorities as one of betrayal. Rather, according to the account, Judas is
acting in obedience and is used as an instrument in freeing Jesus from the body
which holds him. It evinces Gnostic
theology, and is therefore likely to have originated no earlier than the
mid-second century. Despite its name,
the text does not claim to have been written by Judas. Whomever its author, the evidence available
to us suggests that the Christians of the time were aware of the text and
rejected it. Because the much earlier
canonical strongly emphasize the human nature of Christ, the gospel of Judas
cannot be looked upon as a source of much historical value.
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