For those of us interested in ancient Christianity, the National Geographic Society has announced a new manuscript find. Those don’t happen everyday (or even every decade) so it’s pretty exciting news. The text is of the gospel genre, written in Coptic around 300 CE like those found at Nag Hammadi, and is entitled Gospel of Judas. The codex is said to be a copy of an older work written in Greek around 200 CE. At this time in Christianity’s development, there was already a thriving oral tradition in which communities swapped, told, and retold stories about Jesus. These pericopes took the particular shape with which we’re familiar during this period. Eventually Christians wrote these stories down. This effort, beginning with Mark at around 75 CE (or the theoretical Q gospel even earlier), sought to codify the stories swirling around among the various communities into a more solid form. The noncanonical Gospel of Judas contains a different spin on Judas’ role in the days leading up to the Passion. In this version of the tale, Jesus approaches Judas and asks that he turn him into the authorities. By doing so, Judas is fulfilling his role in the master plan. Check it out here.