Text might be hidden 'Gospel of Judas'
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CNN/Associated Press
Posted: November 11th, 2006
For 2,000 years Judas has been reviled for betraying Jesus. Now a newly translated ancient document seeks to tell his side of the story. The "Gospel of Judas"...portrays Judas as a favored disciple who was given special knowledge by Jesus -- and who turned him in at Jesus' request. The text, one of several ancient documents found in the Egyptian desert in 1970, was preserved and translated by a team of scholars. It was made public in an English translation by the National Geographic Society. A "Gospel of Judas" was first mentioned around 180 A.D. by Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon, in what is now France. The bishop denounced the manuscript as heresy because it differed from mainstream Christianity. The actual text had been thought lost until this discovery. Christianity in the ancient world was much more diverse than it is now, with a number of gospels circulating in addition to the four that were finally collected into the New Testament, noted Bart Ehrman, chairman of religious studies at the University of North Carolina. Eventually, one point of view prevailed and the others were declared heresy, he said, including the Gnostics who believed that salvation depended on secret knowledge that Jesus imparted. The newly translated document's text begins: "The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot."