Latest Issue of Science News


Ancient text gives Judas heroic glow

A 1,700-year-old manuscript that has been conserved, authenticated, and translated by an international team of scholars describes Judas Iscariot, portrayed in the New Testament as a traitor, instead as a hero who handed Jesus over to authorities for crucifixion because Jesus asked him to do so.

The 26-page Gospel of Judas, a translation from Greek into the Coptic language of ancient Egypt, represents the thinking of early gnostic Christians, researchers announced April 6 at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. A bishop in Roman Gaul made the first known reference to the Gospel of Judas in an A.D. 180 treatise attacking its idiosyncratic take on Christianity.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.