The Gospel According to Judas

What follows are the only remaining fragments of the Gospel of Judas, which tells the Christ story from the point of view from that most misunderstood of apostles, Judas. I wrote them for English class. They are presented in the format of the Oxford Annotated Bible and annotated by yours truly, with notes and references to the other four gospels included.

Page 1, followed by its transcript:

Chapter 7

“For I tell you that anyone who enters a house by any but the front door is a thief.a 2The one who enters by the front door is the guest of the master and must respect his house. 3Without the master, all those within the house would be thieves and so they look to the master for direction. 4For they know that to follow another into the master’s house would be thieving and so they remain by the master’s side.”

So Jesus spoke to his disciples, but they did not understand what it was that he meant.

And Jesus explained to them: “I am the master of the house; it is through me that you may enter. 7Those who do not enter through me are thieves whose only intent is to destroy; 8they will be thrown out into the darkness, denied sanctuary. 9Whoever enters the house through me, will be saved 10and I will watch after him just as the master of the house watches after his guests.”

The disciples listened to Jesus and they understood what he had said. 12But Judas Iscariot, who did not understand, went to Jesus and said 13“Rabbi,b is it not enough to believe in God?” 14And Jesus replied, “No, you must believe in me also.” 15And Judas was disturbed.

Then an argument broke out among the disciples for each believed that he was the best and worthiest. 39Jesus was dismayed and spoke to them, saying, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 40Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 41“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me also.”

Then Judas, who had not joined in the argument, took Jesus aside and asked him 43“Teacher, how is it that you can expect your disciples to understand when you say, ‘whoever wants to be first must be last of all’ if you do not first do the same? 44You perform signs to the people and ask them to follow you; is not this because you believe that you are first in the eyes of God?” 45And Jesus replied, “There was a teacher who went down to Judea and began to teach the people. 46He said many things and the people listened. Some who listened did not understand and turned away. Some who listened did not believe and turned away. And some who listened understood the teacher and lived by his message. 47Now this teacher was a man who had been cast out of his own city because he was adulterous. 48But in speaking to the people, he preached against adultery and called it sin. 49And so they learnt from him and became better than he for they did not commit adultery.” 50And then Jesus said to Judas, “I am the teacher who will make my followers better than myself.”

And Judas nodded and turned away for Jesus did not understand his own message.

Chapter 9

the sister of the sick man sent a message to Jesus saying, 3“Lazarus who loves you is ill.”c And when Jesus heard it he did not go immediately, but lingered, saying 4“This illness does not lead to death; 5rather it is for God’s glory, so that I, the Son of Man, may be glorified through

a Other ancient authorities read murder, not thief   b Or Teacher   c Other ancient authorities read dying, not ill

NOTES:

  7.1-15: Parable of the Master’s House Unique to Judas, though the message is similar to that of Jn 10. 1-6. The parable illustrates why Jesus is necessary in order for a believer to enter Heaven and believe in God. 1-4: In order to enter the house of the master (Heaven), one must have the master’s (Jesus’s) consent. 5: The disciples are confused (just as in Jn 10.6 and Mk 4.13). 6: Jesus explains the parable to his disciples and spells out the consequences for those who try to enter the ministry of God through a route other than Jesus, while ensuring that those who believe in him will gain salvation. 12-14: Judas does not understand why belief in Jesus matters as long as one is loyal to God and asks Jesus as much. Jesus replies that he is an essential part of belief, an answer which disturbs Judas with its paradoxical egocentricity. 7.16-37: Lost or illegible. If events mirror those presented in Mark just prior to the argument among the disciples, which also appears in Judas 7.38-41, these verses presumably describe one of Jesus’s miracle healings and a prediction of Jesus’s faith. Though, there is nothing whatever to support this. 7.38-41: The Disciples’ Argument (Mk 9.33-37) The disciples fail to understand Jesus’s teachings and quibble over which of them is best, unsettling Jesus. 39-41: “Whoever… me also” Mk 9.35-37. 40: A child being the person of the lowest status in the family. 7.45-51: The Parable of the Adulterous Teacher Unique to Judas. Jesus tells Judas the parable of a wandering teacher who had been a sinner, but abandoned his old life and proceeded to teach people about sin, effectively making them better than their teacher. He tell it in order to explain to Judas why it is alright for Jesus to reprimand the disciples when he is not necessarily perfect himself. It is interesting that Jesus does not deny Judas’s allegations. 51: In telling the parable, Jesus has confirmed Judas’s suspicion that Jesus does not truly understand God’s word. Chapter 8 is missing. 9.1-37: The Resurrection of Laza

Page 2, followed by its transcript:

it. ” 6And he delayed for two days before saying to the disciples “Let us go to Judea again to visit our friend Lazarus.” 7But the disciples said to him “Why do you go to Judea? Is not Lazarus surely dead these two days?” 8And Judas said to his Lord “Why is it you waited? Now Lazarus is surely dead and buried, but yesterday you might have saved him.” 9But Jesus said only to them, “He is in a sleep from which only I can raise him.” 10And the disciples spoke among themselves for they did not know that by sleep Jesus was referring to death. Then Jesus spoke plainly so that none would think less of his deed and not believe. 11“Lazarus is dead and I am glad for you shall bear witness to his resurrection and all of you shall believe.” 12And he spoke not only to the disciples but also to those who followed his word so that when he went to Judea there were many that followed so as to see the glorification of Jesus.

Lazarus’s sister, who was called Martha, met Jesus when he arrived in Judea and said to him that Lazarus had been dead seven days. 14And Martha spoke to Jesus saying “Why did you not come sooner, Lord? 15Had you been here, my brother would not have died.” 16And Jesus said to her “I am the resurrection and the life.”a And she believed. 17Then Jesus turned to the disciples and the many Jews who had come to mourn Lazarus and said 18“Lazarus is dead and Lazarus will rise again. I am the resurrection and the life. 19Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” 20And Jesus began to weep because he had loved Lazarus. 21And the people talked among themselves asking “Could not this man who healed the blind spare this man whom he loved from death? 22Why did he wait?”

Then Mary came and led them all to the tomb (which was a cave) where Lazarus lay. 24There was a great stone at the entrance and Jesus said “Let the stone be moved.” But Mary said to him 25“Lord, already my brother has lain here four and more days, he has begun to fester.” 26But Jesus asked her if she believed in him and she answered “Yes.” 27“Then you will see our Glory.” 28And the stone was rolled away. Then Jesus looked upwards towards the heavens and said 29“Father, for the sake of these people here I thank you for hearing my request so that they might believe in me and see our Glory!” 30Having said this, in a loud voice Jesus cried, “Lazarus, come out!” 31And Lazarus stepped out of the cave before Jesus and the people marveled for they had smelled the stench of death at the cave’s opening.

Those who had not before, now believed in him and gave their glory to Jesus and not directly to the Lord. 33But others who were less loved went to the Pharisees and told what they had seen. 34And the Pharisees were afraid for they saw that this man was performing many signs and that the people believed him. 35And they asked “What will we do? 36If we do not stop him all the people will believe in him and we will be displaced.” 37So they began to plan his death.

Chapter 10

Jesus could no longer walk freely over the land for the High Priests were planning against him 2and so he went to Ephraim and hida there with his disciples until the Passover.

Other ancient authorities read remained, not hid

NOTES:

rus (Jn. 11.1-57) Crowning sign which demonstrates Jesus’s power with the intention of self-glorification. 1-2: Missing and partially illegible. Presumably an introduction to Lazarus’s illness. 4: Jn 11.3 Note addition of “I” in Judas’s account where there was only “the Son of Man” in John’s. 6: “Let us… again” Jn 11.7 8: Judas is singled out as having questioned Jesus’s decision both to delay and eventually to go. Note accusatory tone of “you might have.” 9: (Ref. Jn 11.11) Sleep referenced. In Judas, Jesus specifies that only he can waken Lazarus. 10-11: (Ref. Jn 11.14-15) Jesus clarifies himself to ensure that the scale of his sign is understood. Sign will inspire faith. 12: Public event; much more so than John. 13: Establishes finality of Lazarus’s death. (Ref. Jn 11.17 “in his tomb four days.”) 14-15: Accusatory. 16: “I am… life” Jn 11.25 18-19: “I am… never die” Jn 11.43 Emphasis on Jesus, not on God, as in John. The passages are identical; presumably John lifted it from Judas while writing his later account as it fit the context of belief in God through Jesus. 20-22: (Ref. Jn 11.35-37) 25: (Ref. Jn 11.39) Re-emphasizes the fact that Lazarus is very dead to set up sign. 27: (Ref. Jn 11.40) In Judas, the statement is more certain than in John. “Will” verses “would” see “our glory.” Jesus’s addition of himself is remarkable and emphasizes the trend that Judas is beginning to note. 29: “Our Glory” Jesus places himself on a level with God. Very notably absent from John’s account. 31-32: (see v. 5) Sign has desired effect and the people believe strongly in Jesus, not in God, but in Jesus. 10.5-14: The Anointing at Bethany (Mt 26.6-13; Mk 14.3-9; Lk 7.36-50; Jn 12.1-8) As a prophet

Page 3, followed by its transcript:

3At Passover the High Priests and Pharisees said “We cannot arrest this man during festival for there will be a riot among the people” and 4so it was safe for Jesus to return to Bethany to the House of Simon the Leper. 5As he sat at the table in the house of Simon, a woman entered the room bearing an alabaster jar filled with costly ointment of nard 6and, breaking the jar, she poured the ointment over Jesus’s head. 7Those who stood by became angry at the waste and asked one another “Why did this woman waste the costly ointment in such a way?” 8One of these, Judas Iscariot, stepped forward saying “This ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii. Why has this woman wasted it?” 9(He said this because he cared about the poor and wished to give to them the money). 10And he scolded the woman for the waste. 11But Jesus said, “Do not be harsh to her, Judas. Leave her be; she has done me a service. 12For you will always have the poor with you, and you can show them kindness whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 13She has anointed my body in preparation for its burial.” 14And Judas said nothing more and turned his back on Jesus for he was greatly disturbed by what he had seen.

He went to the chief of priests and said, “I have come to put the King of the Jews into your hands for he has betrayed his message and his God” and the chief of priests was greatly pleased. 16He offered Judas thirty pieces of silver, but Judas refused them for he would not receive payment for services to his Lord.

On the day that the Passover Lamb is sacrificed, the disciples said to Jesus, “Where do you want us to go to make preparations for you to eat the Passover supper?” 18And Jesus answered, “Go into the town and there you will meet a certain man. 19Say to him ‘Our teacher has sent us to say to you that his time is near; he will take Passover in your house.” 21So the disciples went and did as Jesus had told them.

When night came, Jesus went secretly into the city and took his place at table with his disciples and they began to eat. 23As they were eating, Jesus spoke to his disciples saying, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 24Immediately, his disciples became distressed and one after the other asked “Surely, not I?” 25And Jesus replied “It is one of my twelve who shall betray me, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. 26For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And Judas spoke: “Surely, not I, Rabbi?” 28He said this because he knew that he was not the betrayer. And Jesus replied, 29“You have said rightly.” For Judas was not the betrayer.

Then Jesus took up a loaf of bread from the table and blessed it. 31Then, breaking it, he gave it to his disciples, and said: “Take, eat; this is the bread of my body.” 32Then he raised a cup and, giving thanks, passed it to them and they all drank. He said to them 33“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for you.”

Jesus and his disciples went out to the Kid-ron valley where there was a garden. 50This place was known to Judas, for he had been there before with Jesus. So Judas led a crowd from the chief priests there and they were carrying clubs and swords and stones. 51Judas had told the chief priest a sign that he would perform, saying

NOTES:

poured oil on the head of David (signifying his messianic status), so a woman… pours ointment on Jesus’ head in order to prepare him for burial. 3: (Ref. Mk 14.2) 4: House of Simon the Leper, ref. Mk; Jn. 5: (Ref. Mk 14.3) Nard was a plant imported from the Himalayas whose oil was used as a perfume, sedative, and medicine. 8: “this ointment… denarii” Mk 14.5 9: Compare with Jn 12.6 in which John claims the exact opposite: that Judas “said this not because he cared about the poor; but because he was a thief.” 12-13: (ref. Mt 26.11; Mk14.7) “For you… burial” Mk 14.7. 14: Judas views this as the final straw: Jesus clearly cares for himself above all else, specifically stating that he matters more than the poor. 15-16: Judas Reveals Jesus as a Betrayer of his God In Judas it is not Judas who is the betrayer, but Jesus. Judas sees Jesus as having betrayed God and the message he was sent to deliver and sees it as his responsibility to hand Jesus over in order to prevent him from distracting from God and tainting the message. 17-33: Passover Supper (Mt 26.17-35; Mk 14.12-25; Lk 22.7-23) 17-21: (ref. Mk 14.12-16) 23: “truly I… with me” Mk 14.18 25-26: “It is… betrayed!” Mk 14.20-21 27: “Surely… Rabbi?” Mt 26.25 29: Translated in Matthew as “You have said so.” The use of the word “right” does not leave it a statement up for debate: Judas is simply “right.” It is clear to Judas who the real betrayer is. 30-33: The Eucharist Mt 26.26-28; Mk 14.22-24; Lk 22.19-20. 34-48: A section is missing which presumably describes Jesus’s prayers prior to his arrest. 49-56: Jesus’s Arrest Judas completes his task in the service of his

Page 4, followed by its transcript:

52“The man whom I kiss calls himself the King of the Jews; arrest him for he has betrayed his message and his God.” 53So when he arrived, Judas went up to Jesus and kissed him on the cheek according to the sign for he knew that he must do this thing, though it saddened him. 54And immediately the crowd laid hands on Jesus who said, 55“Do you come to arrest me with swords and clubs as though I were a common bandit? All of the days I was in the temple with you, teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But let the scriptures be fulfilled.”

NOTES:

God and the Word and effectively eliminates the betrayer, Jesus.  55-56: “Do you… fulfilled” Mk 14 48-49 though in Judas the word “common” is added showing Jesus’s disgust with being associated with such rabble and further proving Judas’s point.

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