The Bible dates back to about 1400 B.C., and its stories have not changed much since then. One of the stories tells the tale of Judas, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples. In short, Judas betrayed Jesus by kissing him in order to to identify him to soldiers, which led to Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion. Feeling guilty, Judas then hung himself, but it was too late: he had already been connected to Satan and Hell. From this story, Judas became known as an evil sinner, a sturdy reputation that lasted until recently.
For 2,000 years, stories of the missing book, “The Gospel of Judas,” have been told. It was not until 1978, however, that the book was found and specialists began translating it. Contrary to common belief, this book tells that Judas was actually called upon by Jesus to betray him. Jesus told Judas that his destiny was to turn him in so that Jesus could be sacrificed. In turn, “The Gospel of Judas” suggests that the so-called sinner was actually adhering to Christianity in an extremely heroic manner.
On Sunday, CNN’s TV show “Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery” aired an episode regarding this previously missing book and its effects on the Christian belief. The program uses technology and research to retrace and rediscover the history of Jesus. In this episode, specialists attempt to restore “The Gospel of Judas” and to make meaning of it. As shown in the episode, the missing gospel was found in 1978 in a stone box in Egypt and was subsequently bounced around from the black market to private collectors for nearly 30 years before its translation and restoration processes began.
The specialists on the show explain how “The Gospel of Judas” says that Jesus knew he needed to fulfill God’s orders by dying for mankind’s sins, but he needed someone to help him complete this mission. He chose Judas to do the deed because he was, in fact, his closest friend, and the one whom Jesus could trust most. Some specialists still question this message, though. Therefore, the episode concluded that Judas may be shown empathy, rather than contempt, for his actions.
Judas, an iconic symbol of treachery, serves as a prime example of sinners against Christ. Similarly, Judas has encouraged anti-Semitism because he is sometimes tied to Jews, who do not believe in Christ as a divine figure. With the previous assumptions of Judas, the revelation in “The Gospel of Judas” raises different perspectives on not only Christianity, but on humanity itself.
If, as “The Gospel of Judas” might suggest, Judas is in fact a hero, there is quite a twist on reality. Here, a question arises: what happens when evil becomes good? This new light on Judas alters the outlook on sinners and, perhaps, encourages forgiveness. Maybe people tied to Judas, such as the Jews, will become more accepted. This new angle on Judas challenges not only Judas’s origin, but the origin and purpose of sinners, as well. In turn, does a name that was forbidden in Christianity become a compliment? I would bet that the release of this story just may change the perspective on Christianity as a whole. Because Christianity is the world’s most popular religion, this will thus have effects globally.