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The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot

The recent National Geographic special on the Gospel of Judas was a major media event, introducing to tens of millions of viewers one of the most important biblical discoveries of modern times. Now, a leading historian of the early church, Bart Ehrman, offers the first comprehensive account of the newly discovered Gospel of Judas, revealing what this legendary lost gospel contains and why it is so important for our understanding of Christianity. Ehrman, a featured commentator in the National Geographic special, describes how he first saw the Gospel of Judas - surprisingly, in a small room above a pizza parlor in a Swiss town near Lake Geneva - and he recounts the fascinating story of where and how this ancient papyrus document was discovered, how it moved around among antiquities dealers in Egypt, the United States, and Switzerland, and how it came to be restored and translated. More important, Ehrman gives the reader a complete and clear account of what the book teaches and he shows how it relates to other Gospel texts - both those inside the New Testament and those outside of it, most notably, the Gnostic texts of early Christianity. Finally, he describes what we now can say about the historical Judas himself as well as his relationship with Jesus, suggesting that one needs to read between the lines of the early Gospels to see exactly what Judas did and why he did it. The Gospel of Judas presents an entirely new view of Jesus, his disciples, and the man who allegedly betrayed him. It raises many questions and Bart Ehrman provides illuminating and authoritative answers, in a book that will interest anyone curious about the New Testament, the life of Jesus, and the history of Christianity after his death.
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Table of Contents

Preface ; Chapter One: My Introduction to the Gospel of Judas ; Chapter Two: Judas in Our Earliest Gospels ; Chapter Three: Judas in Later Gospel Traditions ; Chapter Four: Before the Discovery: Our Previous Knowledge of a Gospel of Judas ; Chapter Five: The Discovery of the Gospel of Judas ; Chapter Six: The Gospel of Judas: An Overview ; Chapter Seven: The Gospel of Judas and Early Christian Gnosticism ; Chapter Eight: Jesus, Judas, and the Twelve in the Gospel of Judas ; Chapter Nine: Who Was Judas Iscariot ; Chapter Ten: What Did Judas Betray and Why Did He Betray It? ; Chapter Eleven: The Gospel of Judas in Perspective ; Endnotes

About the Author

Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the major public experts on early Christianity, Jesus, and the New Testament, he is very well known in his field and to a general audience through his books, including the New York Times bestseller Misquoting Jesus, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene, Lost Christianities, Lost Scriptures, and Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. He has appeared on NBC's Dateline, A&E, the History Channel, CNN, and a number of nationally syndicated NPR programs, and has taped several highly popular lecture series for "The Teaching Company."


Well judged and informative. Church Times Bart Ehrman offers a sane and sensible introduction to a text that has been the subject of wild claims in the media...A clear account. Rev David Blatherwick, Methodist Recorder Rigorous and informed. Edward Norman, Literary Review Bart D Ehrman explains the status of this manuscript with cool-headed clarity. Boyd Tonkin, The Independent [A] splendid book. Church of England Newspaper

The recent discovery of the Gospel of Judas has rattled the rafters of Christendom. This Gnostic text along with others of its ilk has become increasingly important in understanding Christianity's genesis. Simply put, it challenges the authority of the canonical Gospels. Prolific scholar and historian Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Misquoting Jesus) illuminates this important third- or fourth-century manuscript. Not only does he provide an overview of Judas in the traditional New Testament, but he also surveys the Gospel of Judas, from its discovery to its content. "Throughout the Christian tradition," writes Ehrman, "Judas has been portrayed as the rotten apple in the apostolic barrel." Yet the Gospel of Judas reveals a radical new understanding of Christ's mission and Judas's role in it. Judas, in fact, is the lone member of Christ's inner circle who understood Jesus's message. Furthermore, Judas did not really betray Christ. According to Ehrman, his action was a "kind deed performed for the sake of his Lord." Recommended for both public and academic libraries. C. Brian Smith, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

In typically brilliant fashion, Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus) tells the lively tale of the modern discovery of the Gospel of Judas and its significance for us today. In order to differentiate the Judas of the newly discovered text from the character in the canonical gospels, he examines the portrayal of Judas in Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, as well as in other early Christian gospels such as the Gospel of Nicodemus. He chronicles the events surrounding the discovery of the text and its transmission since its discovery (which involves rumors of black market trading in looted documents). Ehrman also provides a helpful overview of the content of this once lost gospel, which depicts Jesus teaching Judas about a divine realm that no one has ever seen and to which Jesus must return. Ehrman concludes that the discovery of the Gospel of Judas is significant not only because it adds to our knowledge of the diversity of early Christianity but also because it portrays a Judas who is not a traitor to the cause but one who is instrumental in fulfilling Jesus' divine mission. Ehrman's fast-paced study introduces us engagingly to the Gospel of Judas. (Oct. 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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