The Gospels the Church Burned And Banned--And Why Author • Wm. Fred Lamar, Ph. D. D. Min. Course Outline • 1 Gnosticism – What is Gnosticism – History of Gnosticism – Gnostic Practices – Gnosticism in our world today Course Outline • 2 Gnostic Infancy Gospels – James – Pseudo-Matthew – Thomas – Latin Infancy Gospel – Arabic Infancy Gospel Course Outline • 3 Gospels of –Mary Magdalene –Peter • 4 Gospels of –Thomas –Judas Iscariot Session I Outline • What is Gnosticism? • What is the history of Gnosticism? • How did/does Gnosticism carry out its teachings? • Is there Gnosticism in our world today? Gnosticism Compared To Orthodox Christianity • Gnosticism • Orthodoxy – The Logos of God – Jesus is fully God and temporarily inhabited the Fully Man man Jesus – Born of a Virgin – The Virgin Birth, – Resurrected from the Resurrection and Trinity dead are not significant – An important part of the doctrines Trinity – What is important is the – What is important is the believer’s immediate believer’s obedience to access to God the Church Gnosticism Compared To Orthodox Christianity • Since Each believer has • Pure Doctrine is secured access to God, each by the power of the believer may work out Church his/her own doctrine. – Which mediates our • Men and women are contact with God through a male priesthood and equal partners in the hierarchy search for truth. – Provides us with the • Both genders may be Sacraments bishops, priests, and hold – Assures us of a other church offices. standardized set of beliefs, of behaviors and a Holy Book. Basic Thesis--1 • Early Christianity (the first two or three centuries of the movement) had no organized canon (list of scripture), creed, or church hierarchy. • Each Church was an independent entity. – Often with its own list of sacred books – Its own liturgy – Its own understanding of Jesus‘ life teachings and their meaning for the congregation. Basic Thesis--2 • Gnosticism, as a religious movement, never died out. • The principles of Gnosticism still exist in most Christian denominations and in other faith groups. • Gnosticism is not necessarily a bad or heretical doctrine. • Gnosticism was and is a threat to the authority structures of all religious movements. The Big Struggle • In the first few Christian Centuries, the major struggle in the Christian movement was how to define this person, Jesus. • Was he a man—or more than a man? • Was he God, or a god —and not a man or an apparition in the form of a man? • Was he the Creator God come to earth in human form? The Big Struggle • Was Jesus a separate entity from the creator God? • Was Jesus separate from the Hebrew Creator God? • Was the Creator God an evil force in the world? The Big Struggle • These questions may seem trivial to us but they: – Caused great quantities of blood to be shed between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. – Led to Church Councils at Nicea and Chalcedon. – Led to the formation of Creeds recited in many Christian Churches today. – Were a factor in the later persecution of the Jews. Caused great quantities of blood to be shed between Christians, Jews, and Muslims. • And if you desire to know what was done with the enemy who were found there, know that in Solomon's Porch and in his temple our men rode in the blood of the Saracens up to the knees of their horses.—Letter of Godfrey, Raymond and Daimbert to Pope Urban II (Laodicea, September 1099) Gustave Dorre Led to great Church Councils at Nicea and Chalcedon. Fresco, Sistine Chapel Led to the formation of Creeds recited in many Christian Churches today. • We believe in one God, • On the third day He rose again the Father, the Almighty, in accordance with the Scriptures; maker of heaven and earth, He ascended into heaven of all that is, seen and unseen. and is seated at the right hand of the • We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, Father. the only Son of God, He will come again in glory to judge the eternally begotten of the Father, living and the dead, God from God, Light from Light, and His kingdom will have no end. true God from true God, • We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, begotten, not made, the giver of life, of one Being with the Father. who proceeds from the Father.* Through Him all things were made. With the Father and the Son He is For us and for our salvation worshiped and glorified. He came down from heaven: He has spoken through the Prophets. by the power of the Holy Spirit We believe in one holy catholic and He became incarnate from the Virgin apostolic Church. Mary, We acknowledge one baptism for the and was made man. forgiveness of sins. For our sake He was crucified under We look for the resurrection of the dead, Pontius Pilate; and the life of the world to come. He suffered death and was buried. AMEN. Question • The words printed in red on the previous slide are evidences of the clarity, precision, and presuppositions of Greek philosophy. • They have determined much of our thinking about Christ and the Holy Spirit to this day. • What do these words mean to you? The Words in These Creeds Were a factor in the Later Persecution of the Jews. • Russian Persecution of the Jews—woodcut from Russian newspaper in 1885. These Early Christian Movements Were Called • Apollinarianism Jesus is fully God and only partially human. • Arianism Jesus is less than God and more than human. • Docetism Jesus had no human body and only appeared to die on the cross. • Ebionitism Jesus is a prophet, not the Son of God. • Nestorianism Jesus was fully God and fully man, one person with two separate natures. • And many, many more, almost all of them struggling with the nature of Jesus, God the creator, and the Trinity. Summary • Early Christianity had a flowering of many different understandings of the message of Jesus. • One of them was selected by the Emperor Constantine to be the the unifying force in his empire. Summary • The rest were condemned as heresies. – Their priests and bishops were condemned and exiled. – Their books were burned or hidden for centuries. – Only now are we rediscovering the variety of early Christianity. Gnostic Wisdom Wisdom Beyond the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars of night. Gnosticism Recommended Reading What is Gnosticism A marriage of Greek Philosophy + Persian Mysticism Pagan Christian Non-Gnostic Gnosticism Gnosticism dualism The Persian Roots of Gnosticism • There are two powerful gods in our universe. Angra Mainyu: the god of darkness, the eternal destroyer of good, personification and creator of evil, bringer of death and disease. • Ahura Mazda: the benevolent Creator of the good and of light, who is all-powerful, but who will not control evil (or anti-creation) in this world. Zoroastrian Judgment Day • On the day of judgment we will stand in the middle of a balance. • Our good deeds will be placed on one scale, our evil acts on the other. • The scale will tip toward the heavier side and we will slide either into the fiery pit or into heaven. Zoroastrianism Was: • The religion of ancient • II Kings 25:11 Persia. Nebuzaradan the • The religion of Nebuchad- captain of the guard nezzar who captured carried into exile the Jerusalem and took the rest of the people who Jews into captivity into were left in the city and Babylon. the deserters who had • The religion of Cyrus the defected to the king of great who freed the Jews Babylon—all the rest of and permitted them to the population. return to Jerusalem. When the Jews Returned from Babylon • The idea of a final • Ecclesiastes 12:13 The judgment of good and end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, evil first appears in and keep his their scriptures. commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. Introduction to Plato • A brief introduction to a brilliant and complex philosopher. This Is A Table These Are Tables What do the objects in the last slide have in common? What Is “Tableness?” • A pure concept that describes all tables • A Concept so pure that it exists only in Shaker Table the mind of God. (Often Called The Purest American Furniture Design) Two Strands Meet to Form Gnosticism • Zoroastrianism: • Platonism • Two divine forces of • A supreme being who almost equal power. is the ultimate good. • A god of evil who has • Who does not create this evil world. great influence in this world. • A series of lower gods who create the chaos • A god of good who and sin and suffering will eventually win in which we live. out. What is Gnosticism (Now, Do We Understand This Slide?) A marriage of Greek Philosophy + Persian Mysticism Pagan Christian Non-Gnostic Gnosticism Gnosticism dualism Gnostic Theology Gnostic Mother Goddess Obviously • We are not pure. • We are not capable of pure thoughts. • We are both of the spirit and of the earth. Our Human Limitations, A Gnostic Solution • The spirit of God is pure and good. • The spirit in us is pure and good. • The earth is of evil, greed, and sin. • The best of us is greedy, slothful, lustful, envious and guilty of all manner of sins. • We are split personalities, with good (spirit) and evil (earth) living within us. Question • If God Is Good, How Did We Become Both Evil And Good? Cain killing Abel—17th Century Italian We Are Lost In A Limbo Neither of the Earth nor of Heaven • How can we be saved from this fate where we know the good, but can not do it? • Romans 7: For I do not do the good I 19 want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no 20 longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. Gnostic Questions About Sin • Could a good God create a world so bad that God would have to demand the blood sacrifice (and painful death) of God‘s Son to cover for our sins? • Could a good God create an evil world, or was this world the creation of a different and evil God? Gnostic Questions About Creation • Then, is not the created world the making of the Evil God (Yadalabaoth or Demiurge) of the Hebrew Scriptures? • Is not the Logos coming down from heaven to call us to a new knowledge (gnosis) of a new and perfect world? Gnostic Questions About The Betrayal of Jesus • If God required the sacrifice of his Son for the salvation of the World, • If God needed someone to betray Jesus to the Jewish leaders, • Then Judas played a necessary and God- ordained role in the crucifixion of Jesus. Question • How could God (or we) blame Judas for doing what was necessary for our salvation? Judas kisses Jesus– Giotto 1266-1337 Gnostic Theological Statement • This Logos, being perfect and from a perfect God, could not have been human (earthy and sinful). At best he could have inhabited sinful flesh for a brief time to bring God‘s new knowledge (gnosis) to us. Jesus as Spirit Celtic Christianity Questions Orthodox Christianity • Traditional Christianity says that babies are born in sin and must be baptized to free them from the bonds of original sin. • But these babies are still trapped in a sinful world and must constantly go to confession, mass, and do rites of penance because of their continuing sin. • Therefore we always need saving from the fires of hell. Celtic Christianity Contends • That babies are most pure at birth, because at that moment they are closest to God. • That God is in and around us (Panentheism), not separate from us. • Therefore this world and all that is in it is inherently good and of God. • Our work is to know God, praise God, do God‘s work in this world. Recommended Reading • Matthew Fox - Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth Summary of Gnostic Teachings How Was The Earth Created? • The purity of God—a Platonic Idea • The evil nature of this earth • The nine levels of deities emerging from God—each less perfect than the last • The ninth deity is the fallen demiurge – Who made the earth – Who made our human bodies – Which are united with our God-given souls The Evil God (Platonic) • The ninth level is the Demiurge (Greek craftsman or one who actually works with the things of this earth.) • The Demiurge has a shadow of the pure godhead within it, but does not recognize it. It erroneously creates the world, evil, suffering, ignorance, and all that is of this world. Who Is This Evil God? • For some Gnostics, this evil God is the Creator God described in the Hebrew Scriptures. • Therefore (for this group of Gnostics) the Hebrew Scriptures are evil. • These Gnostics read only those portions of the Christian Testament that appeared to support their position on the separation of body and soul, good and evil. Gnosticism, A Summary • Some of us have special wisdom • This wisdom is (in part) that the soul is separate from the body. • The body is of earth and essentially evil. • The soul is of God and is intended to be pure and good. Gnosticism, A Summary • Some Gnostics believe this separation is so complete that it does not matter what the body does as long as the soul is pure. • Others believed that the spirit was so powerful that it could overcome the earthly desire to sin that is within us. What is Gnosticism (Now, Do We Understand This Slide?) A marriage of Greek Philosophy + Persian Mysticism Pagan Christian Non-Gnostic Gnosticism Gnosticism dualism Question •Was Paul a Gnostic? Paul’s Gnostic Writings? •. II Corinthians 12:2 I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven —whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3 And I know that such a person— whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. Paul’s Gnostic Writings? • I Corinthians 2: 6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. Paul’s Gnostic Writings? • I Corinthians 2:9 • “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, – nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”— • 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. Paul’s Gnostic Writings? • I Corinthians 2:14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God‘s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. The Gnostic And The Anti-Gnostic Paul • Remember Paul always keeps one foot solidly in the Jewish and in the Greek Worldviews. • The Jewish Worldview is this-worldly. • The Greek Worldview focuses on the perfect image (essence) in the mind of God. • The Greek Worldview is open to Gnostic interpretations. Gnostic References • Very Comprehensive Website http://www.gnosis.org/ • Richard Valantasis, The Beliefnet Guide to Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities. • Tobias Cherton, The Gnostics • James M. Robinson, Ed. The Nag Hammadi Library • Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters. • Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities Gnostic Scriptures • Infancy Gospels • Narrative Gospels • Teachings Gospels • Apocalypses • Letters • Other Writings Page from Nag Hammadi Codex The History of Gnosticism • ~1200 b.c.e. Zoroaster • 417-347 b.c.e. Plato • ~4 b.c.e. 30 c.e. Jesus • ~ 65-125 c.e. writing of Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn Zoroaster The History of Gnosticism • ~ 70-100 c.e. Gospel of Thomas (contains some Gnostic sayings) • ~ 144 c.e. Marcion (Gnostic) publishes first Christian canon of Scripture The History of Gnosticism • 320 Founding of • Gnostic writings Coptic (Gnostic) hidden at Nag monasteries in upper Hammadi? Egypt • 367 Gnostic writings condemned to be destroyed by •A Treasury of Gnostic writings, hidden by Coptic monks ~367, Athanasius, Bishop of was found at Nag Hammadi in Alexandria 1945. Gnosticism Never Died Out • 650-872 Paulicians flourish in Anatolia • 872 Paulicians defeated in battle • ~ 950 Bogomils (Beloved of God) appear in Balkans Bogomil Gravestone Gnosticism Never Died Out • ~1012 Cathars (Pure Ones) appear in Europe • 1090 Pope Alexander pronounces Cathars to be anathema • 1209 Crusade against Cathars (now Albigensians) in southern France Pedro Berruguete. Saint Dominic presiding over an Auto-da-fe against Albigensians (1475). Gnosticism Never Died Out • 1614 Rosicrucian writings appear in Europe • 1793 Blake issues The Book of Urizen • 1804 Blake issues his epic poem, Jerusalem • 1875 Theosophical Society founded • 1945 Nag Hammadi codices discovered • 1960-70 Jimmy Hendrix flourishes • 1986 John Lennon‘s Skywriting by Word of Mouth published Gnosticism in Modern Times • Movements that emphasize a special or secret knowledge of God – Some Roman Catholic Mystics – Masonic Orders – Rosicrucians – Poetry of William Blake – Theosophy – Jungian Psychology – Music and writing of John Lennon – Music of Jimmy Hendrix – Rediscovery of Gnostic Writings at Nag Hammadi Gnosticism in Modern Times • Quakers? • Pentecostals? • New Age Religious Movements • Any religious movement that emphasizes the immediate relationship of the believer to god over the primacy of priest, institution, or holy book. Have Roman Catholic Mystics Come Close to Gnosticism? Ecstasy of St Teresa of Avila Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila - -Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598- 1680) Vision of St. Teresa of Avila • ―I saw an angel close by me, on my left side in bodily form. This I am not accustomed to see unless very rarely. Though I have visions of angels frequently, yet I see them only by an intellectual vision, such as I have spoken of before. Vision of St. Teresa of Avila • ―It was our Lord's will that in this vision I should see the angel in this wise. He was not large, but small of stature, and most beautiful - his face burning, as if he were one of the highest angels, who seem to be all of fire: they must be those whom we call Cherubim… Vision of St. Teresa of Avila • “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila • “The pain was so great that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain that I could not wish to be rid of it.” • Some scholars ask, ―What kind of ecstasy is she talking about?‖ Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1647-52 Church of S. Maria della Vittoria, Rome Julian of Norwich 1343-1423 Julian of Norwich • "It is a lofty understanding inwardly to see and to know that God, who is our maker, dwells in our soul, and it is a still loftier and greater understanding inwardly to see and to know that our soul, which is created, dwells in God's substance. From this substance we are what we are, by God. Julian of Norwich • “I saw no difference between God and our substance, but saw it as if it were all God. And yet my understanding accepted the fact that our substance is in God; that is to say that God is God and our substance is a creature in God. Julian of Norwich • “For the Almighty Truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us and preserves us in himself; the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our mother, in whom we are enclosed; the lofty goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us.” Hildegard of Bingen Web music Hildegard of Bingen • And it came to pass ... when I was 42 years and 7 months old, that the heavens were opened and a blinding light of exceptional brilliance flowed through my entire brain. And so it kindled my whole heart and breast like a flame, not burning but warming... and suddenly I understood of the meaning of expositions of the books... (Hildegard‘s vision—1141) Gnosticism Inside the Church? • Catholic Contemplative orders • Greek Orthodox hermit monks. • Mysticism in any faith – Kabala – Sufi – Protestant Christian Mystics – New Age Mystics • Wicca, Gaia, – Leaders of the Celtic Revival in Christianity Conclusions • Gnosticism never died out. • Because one can never control the fresh spirit of God in any institution • Because the theology of sin and judgment, retribution and redemption is not the only way to understand the message of Christ The Spirit of Gnosticism Offers • Openness to the creative new in God‘s Spirit. (―Never put a period where God put a comma‖ --Gracie Allen) • A belief that every individual soul has access to the divine without the intervention of priest, scholar or church • A faith in humanity as created to be essentially good. United Church of Christ Poster 2006 Assignment for Next Week • Read the four infancy gospels: James, pseudo Matthew, Thomas, The Arabic Infancy Gospel • How do we feel about the free copying of material from one book into another? • How do we feel about the picture of Jesus we gain from these Gospels? Session II The Infancy Gospels • James (the birth of Mary) • Pseudo Matthew‘s Infancy Gospel • Thomas‘ Infancy Gospel • The Arabic Infancy Gospel • And others we will not study Review--Basic Thesis--1 • Early Christianity (the first two or three centuries of the movement) had no organized canon (list of scripture), creed, or church hierarchy. • Each Church was an independent entity. – Often with its own list of sacred books – Its own liturgy – Its own understanding of Jesus‘ life teachings and their meaning for the congregation. Review--Basic Thesis--2 • Gnosticism, as a religious movement, never died out. • The principles of Gnosticism still exist in most Christian denominations and in other faith groups. • Gnosticism is not necessarily a bad or heretical doctrine. • Gnosticism was and is a threat to the authority structures of all religious institutions and hierarchies. Review--Basic Thesis--3 • Gnosticism’s greatest threat to the organized church is its affirmation of the essential goodness of God and all of God’s creation— including humanity. Review--Basic Thesis--3 • If we believe this doctrine then we have no need for a blood atonement, or a worship service centered around the re-sacrificing of the body of the Son of God for our sins. Catholic altar with tabernacle for the host (the body of Christ) Review--Basic Thesis--3 • If we cast this belief aside, we have no reason to fear God, and the institutional church may lose its hold on us. Protestant evangelist threatening a sinner with everlasting judgment and the fires of hell. Review • The great struggle within Christianity in the first few centuries was the nature of Jesus: – Was Jesus a Jewish prophet, a man with a message from God? – Was Jesus a god or a part of The Godhead (or Holy Trinity) and one who could give us divine salvation from our sins? – Was Christianity to be an Institution granting salvation to its adherents or a Way opening the door to God for those who sought God? – Do you have an opinion on these issues? Preliminary Questions • Are there any questions or comments on the reading? • How do we feel about the picture of Jesus we gain from the Infancy Gospels? Why Have Infancy Gospels? • We have little knowledge of Jesus‘ birth and early years from the four traditional Gospels. • Mark begins when Jesus is thirty years old and is baptized by John in the wilderness. • John begins with a philosophical treatise on the pre-existent Logos (Word) of God. Matthew Tells Of • The appearance of an angel to Joseph • The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem • No shepherds, no angels, no manger • The appearance of the wise men to Jesus in a house, not a stable • The star in the East • The flight into Egypt • The massacre of the innocents • The family resettles in Nazareth Luke Gives Us • The proclamation to Mary • The trip to and birth in Bethlehem in a stable • The angels‘ appearance to the shepherds (but no wise men and no flight into Egypt) • The circumcision and presentation of Jesus in the Temple • Jesus‘ appearance in the temple at the age of twelve There is little information about Jesus between the time of His birth and the beginning of His ministry at the age of thirty. His followers did and still do create stories that “fill in the blanks” about Jesus’ early life. Painting of Jesus Working in Josephs’ Carpentry Shop Current Scholarship Tells Us • Joseph was a techton (τέκτων), a day-laborer with a box of primitive tools. • Joseph probably never owned a shop. Perhaps, he did not own his home. • His family lived from day to day on whatever Joseph and his sons were able to earn. Day Laborers waiting for work. Jesus’ Occupation • Jesus is never given an occupation in the Gospels, other than that of wandering preacher and healer. Painting from Roman Catacombs Questions: • What did Jesus do during his early years? • How long did the family stay in Egypt? • How was Jesus accepted by his peers in Nazareth? • Did he show any signs of his divine powers as a child or youth. • ―Enquiring Minds Want to Know‖ “Childhood Gospels” • Fill in the blanks in Jesus‘ life • Satisfy the needs of followers of Jesus for a more complete story about his earthly life • Present a theological position through the telling of a particular story of the young Jesus. The Gospel of James (Sometimes Called the Gospel of Mary) The Infancy Gospel of James • 1-4 Anna and Joachim, childless and old are blessed with a child, Mary (reminiscent of Elizabeth and Zechariah [Luke 1:8-20] and Elkanah and Hannah [I Sam 1:1-28]) • 5-6 Mary walks at six months, her bedroom becomes a sanctuary, which she seldom leaves. • 7-8 Mary is dedicated at the Temple and remains there, fed by an angel • 9 A dove lights on Joseph‘s staff, indicating that he should be Mary‘s husband. The Infancy Gospel of James • 11 Mary is told by an angel that she will conceive a child. • 13-14 Joseph discovers Mary is pregnant and ponders what he should do. • 15 An Angel tells Joseph the child is from the Holy Spirit. • Here we follow the combined accounts of Matthew and Luke. El Greco, The Annunciation, Museo Del Prado, Madrid The Infancy Gospel of James • 16 When she becomes pregnant, Mary proves to the High Priest that she is not an adulteress. • 17 Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem to be enrolled in a census. • 18 Mary prepares to give birth in a cave. • 19 A midwife comes down from a mountain to aid in the birth. • The midwife attests that a virgin has given birth, ―although her body does not allow it.‖ (19:18) The Infancy Gospel of James • 21 The Wise men appear before Herod. – The wise men visit Jesus. – They depart by another way. – Have we heard this before? • 22 Herod plans to destroy the children – Mary hides Jesus in a cattle stall (22:3) – Elizabeth hides John in the mountains. A mountain splits open to receive her. (22:5-9) – Have we heard this before? The Infancy Gospel of James • 23 Herod continues to hunt for the baby, John the Baptist. • His father, Zechariah, will not reveal his hiding place • 24 Zechariah is murdered at the high altar. Zechariah, Michelangelo Sistine Chapel Questions on James • What parallels do we find with the birth of Mary by the childless Anna? – I Samuel 1:5-20 Hannah and Samuel – Luke 1:8-20 • James‘ Infancy Gospel tells us of a miraculous and virginal life of Mary in Ch 5-8. – Why this emphasis on the virginity of Mary? – Why this emphasis on the miraculous nature of her life? – What is the Gospel trying to tell us about the genealogy of Jesus? Questions on James • Do we find parallels in the traditional Gospels with Ch 11-15? – 11 Mary is told by an angel that she conceive a child. (Lk 1:26-36) – 13-14 Joseph discovers Mary is pregnant and wonders what he should do. (MT 1:19-20) – 15 An Angel tells Joseph the child is from the Holy Spirit (MT 1:20-23) Questions on James • What parallels and what differences with the traditional gospels do we find in Ch 17- 22? • If Mary gives birth without breaking her hymen, then does Jesus have brothers and sisters? (See Mk 6:3) Questions on James • The purpose of this gospel seems to be to prove the absolute purity of Mary. • Why would such a Gospel be written? • To what ends might these stories be used by the Orthodox Church or by the Gnostics? The Quran • Mohammed apparently knew the infancy stories of Mary, including suggestions of her virgin birth by St. Ann and her pure life. • Read the Holy Quran – 3:35-37 – 19:16-21 – 19:22-29 Pseudo Matthew’s Infancy Gospel Raphael, 1518-19 Pseudo Matthew’s Infancy Gospel • An edited version of the infancy gospel of James • Followed by an account of the flight into Egypt (basis of this portion unknown) • With and added and edited version of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas Pseudo Matthew’s Infancy Gospel • Shows the ability of early writers to edit and merge earlier documents into one story. • Offers first mention of an ox and ass being present at the birth of Jesus • Had strong influence on medieval thought, especially the very popular Golden Legend series of medieval tales Pseudo Matthew’s Infancy Gospel • Became the basis for • Jesus our brother, kind and good the Arabic Infancy Was born to us in a stable rude Each friendly beast beside him Gospel stood • Was the inspiration Jesus our brother, kind and good for the Friendly I, said the ass with the homely Beasts Carol in the face Twelfth Century I brought his parents to this place I bore the load, I kept the pace I, said the ass with the homely face I, said the ox who went unfed I gave my manger for his bed I gave my hay to rest his head I, said the ox who went unfed Conclusions • We believe the Pseudo-Matthew Infancy Gospel – Was widely known in the middle ages – Influenced our thinking about the nativity of Jesus – Influenced our Christmas Carols Questions • To what extent is our traditional (non- commercial non-Santa Claus) celebration of Christmas based on the Bible and on tradition? – Red and green vegetation? – Presence of animals at the crèche? – Presence of three wise men? – Celebration on December 25th? The Wild and Wonderful Infancy Gospel of Thomas Jesus gives life to birds. Church of St. Martin, Switzerland c. 1120. Thomas’ Infancy Gospel • 1-3 Jesus makes a pool of clear water. He makes clay sparrows in the pool. When he is caught he playing on the Sabbath he orders them to fly away. Jesus also ―withers‖ the son of a scholar who drains his pool of water. Thomas’ Infancy Gospel • 4 Jesus causes the death of a boy who bumps into him. • 5 The people become afraid of Jesus, because every word he says becomes true. Thomas’ Infancy Gospel • 6-7 Jesus amazes the scholar Zacchaeus with his wisdom. • 9 Jesus resurrects a child who died while falling off a roof. • 10 Jesus heals the foot of a young man who cuts it off with an ax. • 11 Jesus breaks a pitcher and brings water home in his cloak. Thomas’ Infancy Gospel • 13 Jesus shortens and stretches boards to make them fit for his carpenter father. • 14 Jesus annoys his teacher with his brilliance. Jesus strikes the teacher dead. • 16 Jesus kills a viper that bit his brother, James and cures James on the spot. • 17-18 Jesus heals a baby and a construction worker. Thomas’ Infancy Gospel • 19 At the age of twelve Jesus goes with his parents to the Temple in Jerusalem for Passover. In a lengthy story he amazes the Temple elders with his wisdom. The scholars congratulate Mary on being the mother of such a brilliant child. Conclusions • The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is summed up in the Arabic Infancy Gospel which follows. Questions will follow the summary of the Arabic Infancy Gospel. The Arabic Infancy Gospel • The Miracles of the young Jesus and his mother, Mary. Arabic Infancy Gospel • 3 The baby Jesus cures an old woman of palsy. • 5 The baby Jesus is circumcised. His foreskin is placed in a jar of nard, which is later used to bathe his feet to prepare him for burial. • 4, 7, & 8 Both wise men and shepherds visit the babe in this gospel. • 10 Joseph and family flee to Egypt. An Egyptian idol falls to the ground when Jesus arrives. Arabic Infancy Gospel • 11 The son of an Egyptian priest is healed and the Priest believes in the baby Jesus. • 12-26 Jesus and ―Lady Mary‖ do many healings in Egypt. • 27 Jesus returns with his family to Nazareth. • 28-34 Young Jesus continues his miraculous healings. Arabic Infancy Gospel • 35 A woman, afflicted by a demon named Judas, is healed by Jesus. • 36 The child Jesus makes clay birds, asses, oxen, other animals and gives them life. • 37 The child Jesus throws all of a dye maker's cloth into a pot of indigo dye and pulls them out in the colors the customers wanted. Arabic Infancy Gospel • 38 Jesus stretches and shortens boards and doors for Joseph to make them fit. • 40 Jesus turns boys who taunt him into goats. • 42-44 Jesus heals boys bitten by snakes and a boy who falls off a roof. • 46 Jesus makes clay pigeons on the Sabbath Day. When he is caught, he makes them fly away. Arabic Infancy Gospel • 50 Jesus amazes the Temple leaders with his wisdom when he goes to the temple in his twelfth year. • 54 Jesus determines to hide his wisdom and magical powers until he begins his ministry at the age of thirty. • The Gospel ends. Questions about The Arabic Infancy Gospel • Do we like the Jesus we see in this Gospel? – Is he petty, self-centered and childish—or just a normal boy? – Did he really do this many healings as a child? – How could he perform so many healings and still be hidden and unnoticed in Nazareth? Questions About All Infancy Gospels • What do we learn from the Infancy Gospels? • Would you call these gospels fanciful, or factual? Questions About All Infancy Gospels • How do they help us comprehend the first and second century world of the Christian movement? • How? • Should any of them be included in the present Christian Testament? Questions About All Infancy Gospels • Are they helpful to us in understanding the life of Jesus? • Do these gospels help build a case for Gnosticism or the search for direct wisdom from God? The “Other” Gospels • Peter • Mary Magdalene • Thomas • Judas • And many others that we will not study • Also – Many Acts of Apostles – Many Letters from Apostles – Many Apocalypses • See http://earlychristianwritings.com/ Assignment for Next Week • Read the Gospels of Peter and Mary Magdalene. Session III Peter and Mary Magdalene Peter shown holding the keys to the Kingdom, painting from St. Catherine's Titian, Mary Magdalene 1530-35 monastery at Mt. Sinai, Egypt. Preliminary Discussion • Do you have any comments or questions about the Gospel of Peter? • Do you have any comments or questions about the Gospel of Mary Magdalene? Preliminary Discussion Questions • Was Mary Magdalene a saint or a whore?1 • Was Peter the greatest of the apostles, or a figure put forward to protect a patriarchal church? • What would it mean if we concluded that Mary, not Peter, was the founder of the Christian Church? • What would it mean if we concluded that Peter was the first written record of the death and resurrection of Jesus? Sources for Non Canonical Gospel Texts and Commentaries • Thomas: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thomas.html • Mary Magdalene http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospelmary.html • Peter http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospelpeter.html • Judas • http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/document .html The Gospel of Peter Recommended Reading Nag Hammadi Text Recommended translation The Gospel of Peter • Perhaps very early (ca 50 a.c.) • Possibly an independent and early account of the passion narrative • May be the earliest account of the resurrection • Completely exonerates Pilate and lays the blame for the crucifixion on the Jews. • May have Docetic tendencies Gospel of Peter Is Early • ―Analysis reveals that the passion narrative of the Gospel of Peter has been composed on the basis of references to the Jewish scriptures. The Gospel of Peter thus stands squarely in the tradition of exegetical interpretation of the Bible. • –Ron Cameron, The Other Gospels, (Philadelphia, Westminster, 1982) pp. 77-8 Gospel of Peter is Early • ―Its source of the passion narrative is oral tradition, understood in the light of scripture, interpreted within the wisdom movement. This accords with what we know of the confessions of the earliest believers in Jesus: • –Ron Cameron, The Other Gospels, (Philadelphia, Westminster, 1982) pp. 77-8 Gospel of Peter is Early • ―in the beginning, belief in the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was simply the conviction that all this took place ‗according to the scriptures‘ • (I Cor 15:3-5). –Ron Cameron, The Other Gospels, (Philadelphia, Westminster, 1982) pp. 77-8 The Gospel of Peter Is An Independent Account • ―All of this suggests that the Gospel of Peter is an independent witness of gospel traditions. Its earliest possible date of composition would be in the middle of the first century, when passion narratives first began to be compiled. . . • –Ron Cameron, op. cit. The Gospel of Peter Is An Independent Account • It is possible that the Gospel of Peter used a source similar to that preserved independently in Mark and John. The basic stories underlying the accounts of the epiphany and the empty tomb are from critically discrete and probably very old sources‖ • –Ron Cameron, op. cit. Peter’s Resurrection Account • 9:1 Early in the morning, as the Sabbath dawned, there came a large crowd from Jerusalem and the surrounding areas to see the sealed tomb. 2 But during the night before the Lord's day dawned, as the soldiers were keeping guard two by two in every watch, there came a great sound in the sky, Peter’s Resurrection Account • 9:3 and they saw the heavens opened and two men descend shining with a great light, and they drew near to the tomb. 4 The stone which had been set on the door rolled away by itself and moved to one side, and the tomb was opened and both of the young men went in. • Does this account differ from the Orthodox Gospels? Peter’s Resurrection Account • 10 Now when these soldiers saw that, they woke up the centurion and the elders (for they also were there keeping watch). 2 While they were yet telling them the things which they had seen, they saw three men come out of the tomb, two of them sustaining the other one, and a cross following after them. Peter’s Resurrection Account • 10:3 The heads of the two they saw had heads that reached up to heaven, but the head of him that was led by them went beyond heaven. 4 And they heard a voice out of the heavens saying, "Have you preached unto them that sleep?" 5 The answer that was heard from the cross was, "Yes!" G Peter Exonerates Pilate And Blames the Jews For the Crucifixion • 1 ...but of the Jews no one washed his hands, neither did Herod nor any one of his judges. Since they were [un]willing to wash, Pilate stood up. 2 Then Herod the king orders the Lord to be taken away, saying to them "Do what I commanded you to do to him." G Peter Exonerates Pilate • 11:2 And while they (the Jewish leaders) were thinking, the heavens were opened again and a man descended and entered the tomb. 3 When those who were with the centurion saw that, they hurried to go by night to Pilate and left the tomb that they were watching. They told all what they had seen and were in great despair saying, "He was certainly the son of God!" G Peter Exonerates Pilate • 11: 4 Pilate answered them, saying, I do not have the blood of the son of God on my hands. This was all your doing." 5 Then all they came and begged and pleaded with him to order the centurion and the soldiers to tell nothing of what they had seen. G Peter Exonerates Pilate • 11: 6 "For," they said, "it is better for us to be guilty of the greatest sin before God, than to fall into the hands of the Jews and to be stoned." • (The leaders of the Jews are cowards and more afraid of their people than they are of the God whom they supposedly represent.) G Peter Blames the Jews • 11:7 Then the Jews and the elders and the priests, when they perceived how great evil they had done themselves, began to lament and to say, "Woe unto our sins! The judgment and the end of Jerusalem is near!― • Perhaps, an early explanation of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. G Peter Blames the Jews • 2 But I (Peter) began weeping with my friends, and out of fear we would have hid ourselves for we were sought after by them as criminals, and as thinking to set the temple on fire. 3 And beside all these things we were fasting, and we sat mourning and weeping night and day until the Sabbath. • (This section may be a first person account.) G Peter Blames the Jews • 8:1 But the scribes and Pharisees and elders gathered together, for they had heard that all the people were murmuring and beating their breasts, saying, "If these very great signs have come to pass at his death, he must have been innocent!" G Peter Blames the Jews • 8:2 And the elders were afraid and came unto Pilate, begging him and saying, 3 "Give us soldiers that we may guard his tomb for three days, lest his disciples come and steal him away and the people suppose that he is risen from the dead, and do us harm." Similarities Between G Peter and the Traditional Gospels • Mary Magdalene and the other women are the first to go to the tomb. (Peter 12) • The stone is rolled away from the face of the tomb (Peter 9:3) • They find the tomb open and a young man sitting in the tomb. (Peter 13) • The Disciples go home. Peter and Andrew go fishing. (Peter 14) G Peter and Docetism • Docetism: (from Greek dokein, ―to seem‖), A Christian heresy and one of the earliest Christian sectarian doctrines, affirming that Christ did not have a real or natural body during his life on earth but only an apparent or phantom one. –Encyclpaedia Britannica G Peter and Docetism • 4 And they brought two criminals and crucified the Lord between them. But he (Jesus) kept silence, as one feeling no pain. • Question: This verse may be Docetic. Is it sufficient evidence to label the book Docetic? • Is there other evidence of Docetism in Peter? What About • 10:3 The heads of the two they saw had heads that reached up to heaven, but the head of him that was led by them went beyond heaven. • Are these verses “fantastic” or Docetic? Questions About G Peter • If G Peter is a separate, early, and independent account of the resurrection1, what does this imply about the possibility of other information about the life of Jesus found in the Gospel? • What do we think of the description of the resurrection in G Peter (including the cross and men whose heads reach to the sky, and the cross who speaks)? Questions About Peter • What reasons can we find for G Peter‘s – Exoneration of Pilate – Blame for the Jewish leaders – Picture of the Jewish leaders as fearing their followers more than God? (Peter 9:6) • Is G Peter Anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish leadership? • Could G Peter be a source for later anti- Semitism? Jesus lives, teaches, dies and is resurrected 4 bce-28-32 ace Disciples and original followers tell the story 30-60 ace Hearers of the word share the story 35-100 ace Diatesserons are gathered into Proto-Gospels and Many Diatesserons created 50-100 ace Written down 60-100 ace Mark Writes a ―Gospel based on the sayings of Peter and Peter and Paul Die in Rome ca 65 ace other sources 66-70 ace Gospel of Thomas written ca 65 ace Q is written ca 70 ace L is Written ca 70 ace Matthew written ca 80-85 ace, following Mark, L, and possibly Thomas Time Passes 65-80 ace Luke written ca 85 ace, following Mark, L, Q, and possibly Thomas The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene (GMM) Shreds of the Gospel—a difficult translation Recommended text GMM • Recommended Translation: Karen King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, • Three fragmentary copies were discovered and published between 1938 and 1983 • Probably written in Greek in the second century as a part of the debate between the Gnostics and the proto-orthodox church. King’s Evaluation of GMM • The confrontation of Mary with Peter . . . reflects some of the tensions in second- century Christianity. Peter and Andrew represent orthodox positions that deny the validity of esoteric revelation and reject the authority of women to teach. King’s Evaluation of GMM • The Gospel of Mary attacks both of these positions head-on through its portrayal of Mary Magdalene. She is the Savior's beloved, possessed of knowledge and teaching superior to that of the public apostolic tradition. King’s Evaluation of GMM • Her superiority is based on vision and private revelation and is demonstrated in her capacity to strengthen the wavering disciples and turn them toward the Good. Mary Magdalene • Mary Magdalene was identified as a prostitute by Pope Gregory I (the Great) in a sermon preached in 591: "She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark." Gregory the Great Carlo Saraceni c 1610 Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Roma But, Mary Magdalene May Have Been the Leader of the Apostles • The Disciples were in sorrow, shedding many tears, and saying: ―How are we to go among unbelievers and announce the Kingdom of the Son of Man? They did not spare his life, so why should they spare ours?‖ Gospel of Mary Magdalene (GMM) 9:6-11 Mary May Have Been the Leader of the Apostles • Then Mary arose, embraced them all, and began to speak to her brothers: “Do not remain in sorrow and doubt, for his Grace will guide you and comfort you. Instead let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us for this. (GMM 9:6-11) Peter Acknowledges Jesus’ Love for Mary • Peter said to Mary: ―Sister, we know that the Teacher Loved you differently from other women. Tell us whatever you remember of any words he told you which we have not heard. GMM 10:1-6 • What does “differently” mean? The Gospel of Phillip May Say • And the companion of the [Savior], Mary Magdalene. [Jesus] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. –Gospel of Phillip, The Nag Hamadi Library. Who was Mary Magdalene? Giotto Di Bodone‘s wife of Jesus fleeing Titian‘s Harlot 1553 to Marseilles with baby Sarah (1320) Saint, wife of Jesus, mother of His child Sinner and Harlot Sinner • "She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark," • ---Pope Gregory the Great in in a sermon delivered in Rome in 591. Or Saint • In 1969, the church declared that, for the first time since Gregory's day, Mary should not be thought of as the sinful woman of Luke. In 1988, Pope John Paul II called Mary Magdalene "apostle to the apostles" in an official church document and noted that in Christians' "most arduous test of faith and fidelity," the Crucifixion, "the women proved stronger than the Apostles." Wife of Jesus? • And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him Why do you love her more than all of us? --Gospel of Phillip Mother of Jesus’ Child(ren) • . . . Jesus wife and offspring . . . after fleeing the Holy Land, found refuge in the south of France, and in a Jewish community there preserved their lineage. During the fifth century this lineage appears to have intermarried with the royal line of Franks, thus engendering the Merovingian dynasty. Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, p.399. Mother of Jesus’ Child(ren) • In A. D. 496 the (Catholic) Church made a pact with this dynasty, pledging itself in perpetuity to the Merovingian bloodline— presumably in the full knowledge of that bloodline‘s true identity. This would explain why Clovis was offered the status of Holy Roman Emperor, of “new Constantine,” and why he was not created king but recognized as such. Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, p.399. Questions About GMM • Why was the Gospel of Mary banned for reading and from the canon of holy scripture? – Because it was untrue? – Because it gave women a prominent role in the emerging church? – (For additional reasons see the next slide) Questions About GMM – Because it threatened the primacy of Peter, the Pope and the Roman hierarchy? – Because it questioned the celibacy of Jesus and, thus, the doctrine of celibacy for the clergy? – Because it created a royal family that would cause eventual political complications for the medieval Church? Questions about GMM • Is Mary Magdalene a role model for women in the modern Church? Questions about GMM • How have the Gospels of Mary Magdalene and Phillip been used to question the role of celibacy for the priesthood? • Would Mary‘s ―special knowledge lead us to call this a Gnostic writing? • Would such a designation make it less sacred or worthy of reading? Assignment for Next Week • Read the Gospels of Thomas and Judas Iscariot • View the National Geographic Society Video—The Gospel of Judas Questions for Next Week • Questions – Are there parts of Thomas which remind you of portions of the Four Orthodox Gospels? – How should we feel about Judas? – Was he a true disciple of Jesus, doing God‘s will? Session IV Thomas and Judas Preliminary Discussion Questions • Questions – Are there comments or questions about the video? – Are there parts of Thomas which remind you of portions of the Four Orthodox Gospels? – How should we feel about Judas, was he a true disciple doing God‘s will? Thomas Recommended Reading Jesus lives, teaches, dies and is resurrected 4 bce-28-32 ace Disciples and original followers tell the story 30-60 ace Hearers of the word share the story 35-100 ace Many Diatesserons and Peter Diatesserons are gathered into Proto-Gospels and created 50-100 ace Written down 60-100 ace Mark Writes a ―Gospel based on the sayings of Peter and Peter and Paul Die in Rome ca 65 ace other sources 66-70 ace Gospel of Thomas written ca 65 ace Q is written ca 70 ace L is Written ca 70 ace Matthew written ca 80-85 ace, following Mark, L, and possibly Thomas Time Passes 65-80 ace Luke written ca 85 ace, following Mark, L, Q, and possibly Thomas A Gospel Source? • Thomas may be a long-lost source for some of the material in Luke and Matthew Gospel of Thomas • An early gospel (ca 40-80 c.e.) • A ―Sayings‖ or Teachings Gospel • May be a source for the ―teachings sections of Luke and (perhaps) Matthew. • Has some sayings that are orthodox • Has some sayings that are open to Gnostic interpretation Some Sayings Appear to Be Similar to Those in the Gospels • Jesus said, "Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn't take root in the soil and didn't produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure." Thomas 9/Lk 8:4-8 Some Sayings Appear to Be Similar to Those in the Gospels • The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what Heaven's kingdom is like." • He said to them, "It's like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky." Thomas 20/Mt 13:31-32 Some May Be the Precursors of Parables that Appear in the Orthodox Gospels • Jesus said, "The (Father's) kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And [when] he died he left it to his [son]. The son [did] not know about it either. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, [discovered] the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished." Thomas 109/Mt 13:44-45 Some Seem Unfamiliar • His disciples said to him, "Is circumcision useful or not?" • He said to them, "If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect." Thomas 53 Question • Has circumcision become “spiritual” in Thomas? • Does this saying differ from Paul who wrote: • ―For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. Gal 5:6 Some of Thomas “Sayings” Are Potentially Gnostic • Jesus said, "The heavens and the earth will be rolled up in your presence. And the one who lives from the living one will not see death." Does not Jesus say, "Whoever finds himself is superior to the world?" Thomas 111 • Can this also be a saying for orthodox Christians? Does this Imply • That finding the ―superior‖ knowledge in yourself, means that you shall not die? • Does this mean that you have eternal life here and now when you learn that you can be free of this earth and its desires? • Have I made a big stretch between my knowledge of Gnostic doctrine and what the text actually says? Questions About Thomas • Here we have another potential early Gospel—as in the case of Peter. • What does it mean for our “official Holy Scripture” that we may be discovering earlier documents than the “Orthodox Gospels?” Questions About Thomas • Thomas is a different type of gospel. It has no narrative, but it does provide us with 114 ―sayings‖, many of which do appear in the Orthodox Gospels. • Would this imply that all the sayings of Jesus found in Thomas should be accepted as the Word of Jesus? The Gospel of Judas Iscariot Recommended Reading Critique of the NGS Special on The Gospel of Judas Iscariot • James M. Robinson is the former director of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity and Professor Emeritus at The Claremont Graduate School. Who Was Judas? • Judas—Greek form of Judah (Heb ,)יהודה meaning praised. A common name found many times in the Bible and in first century Palestine. • Iscariot – Usually considered to mean ―Man from Karioth‖, a town mentioned in Joshua 15:25 – May also be a Latin form of sicarius, or ―Dagger man‖. Who Were the Sicarii? • The term could be a Christian appellation to the one who would cause the death of Jesus. • Some scholars attribute the word to a particularly radical group of assassins, the Sicarii, who were committed to drive the Romans out of Judea. • Some argue that if Judas was a Sicarii, he might have betrayed Jesus to force His hand, and to cause him to bring in the new Kingdom of God. Judas’ Traditional Role in the Gospels • Treasurer and thief (John 12:6) ―He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) • Betrayer of Jesus (Mt 26:15-16) [Judas] said, ―What will you give me if I betray him to you?‖ They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. Judas’ Traditional Role in the Gospels • Died a horrible death Mt 27:3-10 and Acts 1:15-20 • Other than these verses, there is little mention of Judas Iscariot in the Gospels. He does not play a major role among the twelve apostles. The Story Behind the Gospel of Judas (G Judas) • ~ 150 a.c. G Judas written • ~ 1970 discovered near El Minya, Egypt • ~ 1978 sold to a Cairo Antiquities dealer named Hanna • 1980 stolen from Hanna, partially destroyed. • 198? Hanna recovered texts from an antiquities dealer in Geneva. The Story Behind G Judas • 1983 Text first examined by scholars who realize its value. • Hanna demands $3,000,000 for texts. • 1984 Hanna takes texts to New York, repeats his demand, finds no takers and stores the texts in a damp vault in a bank in Hicksville, NY. The Story Behind G Judas • 2000 Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos takes documents to the Yale University Library. • Yale refuses to make purchase because of their price and because of the reputation of the documents as stolen from Egypt. • Documents frozen (a process that squeezes out the water and tends to destroy ancient papyrus). The Story Behind G Judas • Documents turned over to Maecenas Foundation, a foundation created by Tchachos‘ lawyer in Switzerland. Tchacos received $1,500,000 plus ½ of proceeds from profits generated by Gospel. • Documents purchased by National Geographic Society, translated and published in 2006. Question • Did the National Geographic Society do a good or a bad act in: – paying a doubtful foundation for a stolen book – rewarding a thief for her betrayal of others and for her thievery – paying many experts to restore, verify, and translate the document – trying to recoup its investment by withholding the document from the scholarly community – And, thus saving an historical document that would have otherwise been lost? The Gospel of Judas Iscariot A National Geographic Spectacular The Outline of G Judas • The Disciples are celebrating the Eucharist • Jesus laughs at them and condemns them for celebrating a meal in honor of the god of this world, thinking that Jesus is the son of this (evil) God. (Yadalabaoth or Demiurge) • Only Judas understands, and Jesus speaks to Judas about the mysteries of the kingdom (the world of the spirit). The Outline of G Judas • Jesus reappears to his disciples and explains to them that he has gone to ―another holy generation that is superior to this world where the 11 disciples dwell.‖ • Jesus explains the vision of the temple and explains that its fleshly sacrifices please only the evil god of this world. The Outline of G Judas • Jesus explains to Judas the cosmology of the superior world, including the generation of deities that led to the creation of a lower deity (Yadalbaoth) who is ignorant and creates the evil world we now dwell in. • Jesus explains to Judas his role in the Divine Drama • Judas turns Jesus over to the authorities in a guest room of the high priests. Thesis of G Judas • In a time when most Christians glorified martyrdom, Judas speaks out against deliberately suffering for Christ; arguing that Christ came to give us life, not call us to our certain deaths. Argument of G Judas • The Logos temporarily occupied the body of Jesus • The Logos laughed at the disciples (symbolizing the Church hierarchy), who could not understand that the gospel was not of this earth. • The Logos laughed at the cannibalistic symbolism of the Last Supper (Mass). Argument of G Judas • Judas was the only one to understand the special nature of the Logos. • Judas star was superior to the stars of the other disciples. Faulkes Telescope Educational Guide Argument of G Judas • Since Judas (and Judas only) understood the real nature of the Logos in [the human] Jesus, the Logos asked Judas to do the necessary act--to turn him over to the Temple leaders so that the body could be killed, and the Logos freed from his body could return to God. Argument of G Judas • Judas is assured by the Logos that he will never be understood by the world for his deed. • But this is not important, since the world is fleshly (evil) and will be eventually destroyed. Only the spirit will remain. Argument of G Judas • Judas faithfully carries out the task assigned to him by the Logos of God. • The Gospel Ends. The betrayal by Judas, Fra Giovanni Angelico, 1387-1455 (CTS Images) Why Would Judas Betray Jesus? • For money? • To force Jesus to take a stand—to make him call down an Messianic Army and bring in the new age? • To make possible the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Salvation of the world? Questions Raised By G Judas About the Atonement • G Judas is an argument against the blood atonement theory of Salvation. • Salvation is not the salvation of our souls from sin. Nor does it involve the resurrection of our physical bodies into a spiritual kingdom. Questions Raised By G Judas About the Atonement • Our salvation comes when we realize that we are already the children of Seth, the child of Adam and Eve born after the sin of Cain— a new beginning for humankind. • Our salvation comes in this life when we realize that it is the physical ―things‖ we cherish in this life that prevent us from knowing a spiritual God. Questions Raised By G Judas About the Atonement • And we rid ourselves of these THINGS, to find freedom for our souls. • Mt: 6 28 “And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” Questions Raised By G Judas About the Eucharist • The Eucharist for Gnostic Christians – Is a thanksgiving for new life. – New life that comes from knowing the true wisdom that God has come to free us from our imprisonment to pride, possessions, and the limitations of this world. Questions Raised By G Judas About the Eucharist • G Judas is an argument against the Eucharist as a sacrificial meal. • The Eucharist is not the perpetual re-sacrificing of the body of Christ for our sins. – Does that sound cannibalistic? – What kind of evil God would demand the constant suffering of his son? – Only the evil God of this world—Yadalbaoth or the Demiurge—Surely, not the good God that we know through Jesus. (The Gnostic argument) Questions Raised By G Judas • G Judas challenges many of our traditional Christian beliefs. • Does G Judas offer us a new way to understand the words of Jesus today? • Does G Judas offer us the “best” track for understanding the words of Jesus today? Questions Raised By G Judas • Is the ―real‖ gospel about Jesus death and resurrection to save us from our sins? • Or is the gospel about Jesus, the teacher from God, who calls us to a new and better life? Fred’s Conclusions • That the first Christian centuries produced a wide range of understandings of the teachings, life, and significance of Jesus. • That we have studied only two of many forms of Christianity in this course— Gnosticism as compared to traditional Christianity. • That, at least five or six other major understandings of Jesus existed. Fred’s Conclusions • That the present orthodox position is not necessarily the right or only position. It is the view of the winners of the controversies of the third and fourth centuries. Fred’s Conclusions • That Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, a great prophet of social justice, a rebel against the Roman and Jewish authorities, a healer, an advocate of the intrinsic value of women, and that he was killed for the public expression of his beliefs. Fred’s Conclusions • That Mary Magdalene was a central figure in early Christianity, and that her role was blotted out by the emerging power of a patriarchal leadership. • That the Gospels of Judas and Thomas teach us that the message of Jesus may have been one of simplicity, moral living, love, social justice, and spiritual discipline. Fred’s Conclusions • That the entire sin-salvation paradigm that is central to the Orthodox, Roman and Anglican Mass and to most Protestant preaching is only one way (and possibly not the best way) of understanding the message of Jesus. Program Evaluation • Have I offered too much material too fast • Has the program been boring and repetitive – especially on the Infancy Gospels? – In the question and discussion sessions? • Have I raised more questions than I should have? • Has the program been to faith-shattering and radical? Thank You •For hanging in until the end of this class. Additional slides that may be used to enhance the course. New Information on The Gospel of Judas • Dr. April DeConick, Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University has challenged the early conclusions on the Gospel of Judas. • She argues in that the Greek word diamon was misinterpreted by the early commentators on Judas. The first comentators quoted in this program interpreted the word to mean ―good spirit‖. DeConick sees the word as demon or evil spirit.