When the Gospel of Judas was published by the National Geographic Society in April 2006, it received extraordinary media attention and was immediately heralded as a major biblical discovery that rocked the world of scholars and laypeople alike. Elaine Pagels and Karen King are the first to reflect on this newfound text and its ramifications for telling the story of early Christianity. In Reading Judas, the two celebrated scholars illustrate how the newly discovered text provides a window onto understanding how Jesus followers understood his death, why Judas betrayed Jesus, and why God allowed it.
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Condemned as heresy by church leaders in 160 AD, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot apparently lay hidden for 1,600 years before being found in a cavern by farmers in the 1970s. The gospel gives the perspective of Judas, history's ultimate traitor, who emerges, not as a villain, but as a hero, having been asked by Jesus to betray him to the authorities in order to complete the prophesies.
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