Gospel of Judas

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The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel whose authorship is falsely attributed to Judas Iscariot, the Apostle which betrayed Jesus. It was discovered in an antiquities market and published in October 2006 by the National Geographic Society, and is not a part of any canonical scripture and was written well into the third century AD well after the New Testament Gospels.[1]

Similar to the other Gnostic works, the Gospel of Judas claims to be a "secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot." The book is structurally different than the narrative accounts in the other gospels, as it is a series of dialogues or sayings of people. Thematically, the Gospel of Judas has Jesus proclaim Judas to be first among his disciples, and has Jesus instruct Judas to "betray" Jesus to the Romans in order for Jesus to fulfill his destiny of being crucified.[1]

In 180 A.D., early church father Irenaeus of Lyons denounced the Gospel of Judas as a fictitious work.[1]

Most Gnostic teaching involved special "Gnosis" or a deep special knowledge that is not apparent to the unenlightened. This is contrary to the core and very simple message of Jesus preached in the other gospels and New Testament that people need a faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Purported discovery and subsequent publicizing

In the 1970s, a supposed Coptic translation of the Gospel of Judas was found in Egypt. In '78, an antiquities dealer acquired the codex (including the gospel), which was placed in a safe-deposit box in New York due to failed attempts of selling it until 2000, when the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art purchased the document.[1]

Different text from Irenaeus's denounced gospel?

Some observers have argued that the copy of the Gospel of Judas discovered in Egypt during the 1970s is different from the descriptions put forth by Irenaeus, leading to the belief that the modern-day copy is different from the one Irenaeus denounced.[Citation Needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Gospel of Judas. Britannica. Retrieved January 4, 2023.