Thursday, April 20, 2006

Scot McKnight on the so called "Judas Gospel"

I know it is going to be a topic of conversation around Starbucks and Carribu so here's some help from a scholar who is generally level headed and trustworthy.
Now, I’d like to make a suggestion: apologetically speaking, we can only do two things — compare these texts to the canonical Gospels and say “they are really different” (no one denies this). And in saying that some will be done because “really different” means “really wrong.” If you’re honest, this proves nothing: we might be dead wrong in believing those canonical Gospels as the ones that tell the truth. So, second, what do we do? I suggest this: the only substantial argument against the alternative Gospels is a confidence that God’s Spirit directed the Church (inspired the texts and preserved the texts and led the Church to recognize the texts) to the canonical Gospels.

But, along with this we can say this: the text is late, the orthodox Christians said The Gospel of Judas was nonsense, and the theology (which is clearly gnostic) is not 1st Century Jewish/Galilean. No one can dispute any of these three points.
(Scot McKnight)
This is a good start. But it is not fully developed. I will try to find some of McKnight's follow up but here's a few other ideas.
  1. The gospel of Judas is one copy. It is hard to let one copy overturn the wealth of manuscripts on the New Testament (complete, partial, and fragmentary, over 24,000 of them and many of which are much older than the Judas Gospel) that represent the consensus of what the early church believed about Jesus and Judas.
  2. The story of the manuscript, if believed, requires us to believe that Judas alone of all the disciples understood Jesus best and was the only one in the inner circle, on the basis of its pronouncement ALONE over against the mountain of material in the NT manuscripts from multiple sources that Judas was a traitor and a thief.

No comments: