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For 1,600 years its message lay hidden. When the bound papyrus pages of this lost gospel finally reached scholars who could unlock its meaning, they were astounded. Here was a gospel that had not been seen since the early days of Christianity, and which few experts had even thought existed-a gospel told from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, history's ultimate traitor. And far from being a villain, the Judas that emerges in its pages is a hero.
In this radical reinterpretation, Jesus asks Judas to betray him. In contrast to the New Testament Gospels, Judas Iscariot is presented as a role model for all those who wish to be disciples of Jesus. He is the one apostle who truly understands Jesus.
This volume is the first publication of the remarkable gospel since it was condemned as heresy by early Church leaders, most notably by St. Irenaeus, in 180. Hidden away in a cavern in Middle Egypt, the codex (or book) containing the gospel was discovered by farmers in the 1970s. In the intervening years the papyrus codex was bought and sold by antiquities traders, hidden away, and carried across three continents, all the while suffering damage that reduced much of it to fragments. In 2001, it finally found its way into the hands of a team of experts who would painstakingly reassemble and restore it.
The Gospel of Judas has been translated from its original Coptic in clear prose, and is accompanied by commentary that explains its fascinating history in the context of the early Church, offering a whole new way of understanding the message of Jesus Christ.