Gospels_Banned by pengxuebo


									The Gospels the Church Burned
    And Banned--And Why

• 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
• 4 Gospels of
  –Judas Iscariot
                Session I
• What is Gnosticism?
• What is the history of Gnosticism?
• How did/does Gnosticism carry out its
• 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
           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
• The principles of Gnosticism still exist in most
  Christian denominations and in other faith
• Gnosticism is not necessarily a bad or heretical
• 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
          The Big Struggle
• These questions may seem trivial to us but
  – Caused great quantities of blood to be shed
    between Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
  – Led to Church Councils at Nicea and
  – Led to the formation of Creeds recited in
    many Christian Churches today.
  – Were a factor in the later persecution of the
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.
• The words printed in red on the previous
  slide are evidences of the clarity,
  precision, and presuppositions of Greek
• 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
• 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
• Early Christianity had a flowering of many
  different understandings of the message of
• One of them was selected by the Emperor
  Constantine to be the the unifying force in
  his empire.
• The rest were condemned as heresies.
  – Their priests and bishops were condemned
    and exiled.
  – Their books were burned or hidden for
  – Only now are we rediscovering the variety of
    early Christianity.
         Gnostic Wisdom
Wisdom Beyond the Sun, the Moon, and the
             Stars of night.
Recommended Reading
What is Gnosticism

               A marriage of
             Greek Philosophy +
             Persian Mysticism

                 Christian        Non-Gnostic
                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
• 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
• 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
        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
• 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.
      What is Gnosticism
(Now, Do We Understand This Slide?)

                     A marriage of
                   Greek Philosophy +
                   Persian Mysticism

                       Christian        Non-Gnostic
                      Gnosticism          dualism
Gnostic Theology

    Gnostic Mother Goddess
• We are not pure.
• We are not capable of pure
• 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.
• If God Is Good, How
  Did We Become
  Both Evil And

  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

  want, but the evil I do not want is what I
  do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no

  longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within
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
• How could
  God (or we)
  blame Judas
  for doing
  what was
  necessary for
  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
                                 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
            • 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
      Who Is This Evil God?
• For some Gnostics, this evil God is the
  Creator God described in the Hebrew
• 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

                       Christian        Non-Gnostic
                      Gnosticism          dualism

•Was Paul a
    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
         The Gnostic And
       The Anti-Gnostic Paul
• Remember Paul always keeps one foot
  solidly in the Jewish and in the Greek
• The Jewish Worldview is this-worldly.
• The Greek Worldview focuses on the
  perfect image (essence) in the mind of
• The Greek Worldview is open to Gnostic
        Gnostic References
• Very Comprehensive Website
• Richard Valantasis, The Beliefnet Guide to
  Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities.
• Tobias Cherton, The Gnostics
• James M. Robinson, Ed. The Nag Hammadi
• 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.
• 417-347 b.c.e. Plato
• ~4 b.c.e. 30 c.e.
• ~ 65-125 c.e. writing
  of Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn

The History of Gnosticism
             • ~ 70-100 c.e. Gospel
               of Thomas (contains
               some Gnostic
             • ~ 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?
• 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
• 1209 Crusade against
  Cathars (now
  Albigensians) in southern
                              Pedro Berruguete. Saint Dominic presiding
                              over an Auto-da-fe against Albigensians
    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 -
                      Bernini (1598-
 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
         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
 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
• 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

                                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
• The principles of Gnosticism still exist in most
  Christian denominations and in other faith
• Gnosticism is not necessarily a bad or heretical
• 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.
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• What did Jesus do during his early years?
• How long did the family stay in Egypt?
• How was Jesus accepted by his peers in
• 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
• Present a theological position through the
  telling of a particular story of the young
     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
• 15 An Angel tells Joseph
  the child is from the Holy
• 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

                           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-
• 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
               The Quran
• Mohammed apparently knew the infancy
  stories of Mary, including suggestions of
  her virgin birth by St. Ann and her pure
• 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
• 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
• 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
  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
  for the Friendly
                             I, said the ass with the homely
  Beasts Carol in the        face
  Twelfth Century            I brought his parents to this
                             I bore the load, I kept the pace
                             I, said the ass with the homely
                             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
• We believe the Pseudo-Matthew Infancy
  – Was widely known in the middle ages
  – Influenced our thinking about the nativity of
  – Influenced our Christmas Carols
• To what extent is our traditional (non-
  commercial non-Santa Claus) celebration
  of Christmas based on the Bible and on
  – 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
  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.
• 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,
      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
• 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
• 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
     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
• 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
  – Is he petty, self-centered and childish—or just
    a normal boy?
  – Did he really do this many healings as a
  – 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
• Would you call these gospels fanciful, or
          Questions About
         All Infancy Gospels
• How do they help us comprehend the first
  and second century world of the Christian
• 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
             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
       Preliminary Discussion
• 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
• 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:
• Mary Magdalene
• Peter
• Judas
• http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/document
 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
• 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
• –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
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
   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
• 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
• Question: This verse may be Docetic.
  Is it sufficient evidence to label the
  book Docetic?
• Is there other evidence of Docetism in
           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
    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
• Could G Peter be a source for later anti-
                                              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
• 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
   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)
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
• "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
  – 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
– 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
• 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
   Session IV
Thomas and Judas
      Preliminary Discussion
• Questions
  – Are there comments or questions about the
  – 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?
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
  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
• Has circumcision become “spiritual” in
• Does this saying differ from Paul who
• ―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
          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
   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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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.
• 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
• 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
• 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
       Argument of G Judas
• Judas is assured by the Logos that he will
  never be understood by the world for his
• 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
  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
• 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
        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
  – 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
         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.

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