Yesterday’s New York Times had an article about a newly rediscovered gospel – the Gospel of Judas.
What I find most interesting about this discovery is not that it has spent years sitting lost in a safety deposit box in (no joke) Hicksville, NY. Nor am I particularly interested in the debate over its authenticity (scientists assert that it’s authentic, or at least that it’s authentically old). No, what I find interesting about all of this is the picture this Gospel paints of Christianity’s very own Brutus. According to this Gospel, Judas’s was not the faithless follower we all accepted him to be—the veritable villain of the New Testament—but rather the most loyal of all the disciples. So loyal, in fact, that the Lord himself entrusted Judas with the excruciating responsibility of turning him over to the Romans to be crucified. In short, what the Gospel of Judas asserts is that because Christ’s death was essential to God’s plan, so, too, was Judas’s betrayal.
So here’s the question: do you think it’s possible that Judas has just gotten a bad rap all these years? Our faith is surely one of the few with the flexibility to accept something like this. Unlike most Christian sects, we see Eve’s decision as a necessary choice, one essential to God’s plan. It was not a sin, but a transgression. Could Judas’s role in the atonement be similar to that of Eve’s role in the Fall?
I have to admit, I’m thrilled by the idea.