Sydney priest "chuckles" at Judas reports

The director of Sydney's Archdiocesan Catholic Adult Education Centre said on ABC Radio that he was amused by claims in the news last week that the man who kissed Jesus to identify him to his Roman tormentors was not betraying him, but was acting on Jesus' own orders.

Fr John Flader told The World Today on Friday: "My first reaction was every year at Easter time we come up with some new book, some new allegation some new article that shows that Jesus didn't exist or he didn't die on the cross or he didn't rise from the dead."

A gnostic writing long thought to have been lost, the Gospel of Judas, was put on display on Thursday at the National Geographic Society in Washington. The document, a third-century Coptic translation of what had originally been written in Greek before 180 AD, paints Judas in a more sympathetic light than his well-known role as Jesus' betrayer in the canonical Gospels.

Fr Flader said that he looks upon the tract "with great scepticism".

"Not the authenticity of the document at all," he said. "We have now a new historical finding, an ancient document and these are always to be welcomed that we discover what the Gnostics were writing. This was a Gnostic sect that produced this document, the Gospel of Judas.

"It's always of interest to find out what they were writing and so for that, in that sense, we welcome it, but as far as the story and Judas' role we don't think this is going to change anything in the Church's views."

"Many of the gospels contain the facts of Jesus' birth, of his life, his teachings, his death, his crucifixion, his resurrection," he said. "All of that is important, but we must remember that in the early church, as Malcolm was saying, there were many different documents.

"Even in what are called gospels, there are four that are regarded as canonical, that is inspired by God and accepted by the Church. There are perhaps dozens of other ones, some of them Gnostic or of other origins that the Church never accepted and they will contain allegations of facts and those are to be sifted, of course, in the light of tradition especially, teachings of the church, the authenticity of the documents themselves."

Judas gospel sparks interest among Christian scholars (ABC Radio The World Today 7/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Adult Education Centre

Judas text sheds new light on gospels (ABC Radio The World Today 7/4/06)
Found 'Gospel of Judas' paints alternate portrait of Jesus' betrayer (Catholic News Service 7/4/06)
Jesuit scholar says Gospel of Judas does not merit name 'Gospel' (Catholic News Service 7/4/06)
Experts skeptical of new 'Gospel of Judas' (Catholic News Agency 7/4/06)
Found 'Gospel of Judas' paints alternate portrait of Jesus' betrayer (NZ Catholic/Catholic News Service 10/4/06)
Judas did not betray Jesus, lost gospel claims (London Times 6/4/06)
Did Jesus walk on water - or ice? (BBC 5/4/06)
New testament: Judas redeemed (Sydney Morning Herald 7/4/06)

10 Apr 2006