ROME, APRIL 5, 2006 – The National Geographic Society has announced its intentions to publish an English translation of an ancient text called “The Gospel of Judas” later this month.
Q: What is the “Gospel of Judas”?
Father Williams: Though the manuscript still must be authenticated, it likely represents a fourth- or fifth-century text, and is a copy of an earlier document produced by a Gnostic sect called the Cainites.
The document paints Judas Iscariot in a positive light, and describes him as obeying a divine ordinance in handing over Jesus to the authorities for the salvation of the world.
It may well be a copy of the “Gospel of Judas” referred to by St. Irenaeus of Lyons in his work “Against the Heresies,” written around A.D. 180.
Q: If authentic, what challenge would this document pose to traditional Christian belief? Will it “shake Christianity to its foundations” as some press releases have suggested?