About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Your first visit?
Contact us
External links
Good books
Visitor essays
Our forum
New essays
Other site features
Buy a CD
Vital notes

World religions
Who is a Christian?
Shared beliefs
Handle change
Bible topics
Bible inerrancy
Bible harmony
Interpret Bible
Beliefs, creeds
Da Vinci code
Revelation, 666
Other religions
Other spirituality
Cults and NRMs
Comparing religions

About all religions
Important topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handle change
Confusing terms
World's end
One true religion?
Seasonal topics
Science v. Religion
More info.

Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten commandm'ts
Assisted suicide
Death penalty
Equal rights - gays & bi's
Gay marriage
Origins of the species
Sex & gender
Spanking kids
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news


!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

The role of Judas and
The Gospel of Judas

Was Judas a traitor or facilitator? All sides to the controversy

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule


bullet [The finding] ...is transforming our understanding of early Christianity. These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse and fascinating the early Christian movement really was. Elaine Pagels, a major religious author and professor of religion at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ.

horizontal rule


The Gospel of Judas was revered by some ancient Gnostic Christian groups. Gnostics were one of the three main movements within early Christianity. Gnostics believe that they have secret knowledge about God, humanity and the rest of the universe of which the general population is unaware. Like the other two branches of the early Christian movement -- Jewish Christianity and Pauline Christianity -- they believed that they alone truly understood Christ's message, and that other streams of thought within Christianity had misinterpreted Jesus' mission and sayings. Gnostics were almost wiped out before the end of the 5th century CE by  mainline Christianity heresy hunters and the Roman Empire. They have survived to the present day and are now experiencing a period of rapid growth in the west

An anonymous follower of one of the Gnostic faith groups wrote the Gospel of Judas circa 150 CE. Its existence was mentioned in the writings of proto-orthodox Christian authors where it was condemned as heretical.  However, a manus cript, translated from the original Greek into Coptic,  was only discovered in recent years. It was found in the Egyptian desert near El Minya.

The manuscript is now called the Codex Tchacos. It is 66 pages in length and contains:

bulletThe Gospel of Judas,
bulletA text titled "James" also known as the "First Apocalypse of James,"
bulletA Letter of Peter to Philip, and
bulletA fragment of a fourth text provisionally called the "Book of Allogenes."

The Gospel of Judas is by far the most important component of the Codex. It contains an alternate explanation of the role that Judas played among Jesus' disciples. New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, said that the Gospel teaches that Judas is: "...the good guy. He's the only apostle who understands Jesus. In this gospel it turns out that Judas does turn Jesus over to the authorities, but according to this gospel, this is what Jesus wanted." Some of the early Gnostic faith groups taught that Judas was the most enlightened of all of Jesus' followers. This is in stark contrast to the message of the four Gospels that made it into the official canon of the New Testament. They assert that Judas was a traitor, he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, and that his mind was possessed and controlled by Satan.

In a massive coordinated advertising campaign, news of the Gospel of Judas became widespread among the public in early 2006-April. At least three books on the Gospel were officially released on APR-06 or 07. A National Geographic Channel TV special was aired on APR-09 and APR-27.

Evangelical Christians, and others who believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible  will probably have little interest in this gospel. They may be aware that there were many dozens of gospels circulating within the early Christian movement of which only four were found to be legitimate, inspired by God and inerrant. These are the canonical gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. However, they might be faced with comments about this gospel when evangelizing. It might help them to be acquainted with its text.

Liberal Christians will probably have a great deal of interest in the gospel. It demonstrates the wide diversity of beliefs held by the various groups within the very diverse early Christian movement.

horizontal rule

Topics covered in this section:

bulletWhat the four canonic gospels say about Judas
bulletSpecific passages concerning Judas
bulletAbout Judas: his name; was he a traitor?
bulletThe Gospel of Judas: origin, content, positive and negative reactions

horizontal rule

Books about the Gospel of Judas:

We recommend three books:

bullet Radolphe Kasser, et al., "The Gospel of Judas," National Geographic Soc., (2006) Read reviews or order this book
bullet Herbert Krosney, The Lost Gospel : The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot," National Geographic Soc., (2006) Read reviews or order this book
bullet James Robinson, "The Secrets of Judas : The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel," HarperSanFrancisco (2006). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.

A search of the Amazon.com data base returns links for these three books and others. If you see a generic Amazon ad here, please click on your browser's refresh icon.

Note: Simon Mawer's book "The Gospel of Judas" is a novel and is not directly related to the actual Gospel of Judas

horizontal rule

Site navigation:

 Home > Christianity > Bible > Christian scriptures > here

 Home > Christianity > History, beliefs, etc. > History > here

 Home > Christianity > Personalities > here

horizontal rule

Copyright 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First published: 2006-APR-07
Most recent update: 2006-APR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the Christian Scriptures menu, or to the Christian history menu, or Christian personalities menu, or choose:

Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.