SNTS in Lund, Sweden and the Gospel of Judas- a Third Take Aug 2

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Just finished the SNTS meetings in Lund, Sweden, a beautiful city in Southern Sweden, near Malmö, the country's third largest city. The university has been here since 1666. The meetings were a great time to catch up on all things New Testament. I sat in yesterday on a presentation by Gesine Robinson of Clairemont Graduate University on the Gospel of Judas. We have blogged about this text at two different key times, (1) the original release and (2) about April DeConick's critique of that reading, along with my review of the issues. Gesine had the most sane take on the book I have heard. She disagrees that Judas is a hero in the book, as those tied to the original release claimed. She also thinks April DeConick went too far in claiming that the 13th realm and other translation issues makes a demonic like figure out of Judas (so neither is he an anti-hero). Nor should we tie Judas to Wisdom as Marvin Meyer does. Rather, Judas simply carried out the will of God and followed the "star" that guided him. But there was no real harm done to Jesus because Jesus' spirit left his body before the suffering on the cross (in good Gnostic fashion), so that only the material and corrupted shell of the body that Jesus' spirit occupied went to the cross (This means as in all such Gnostic texts there is no salvation through Jesus' death). She sees the text playing with Judas some and being full of irony.This reading makes Judas neither a hero nor an anti-hero in this work, which is a polemic against those who follow the apostolic teaching. Judas is in the thirteenth realm above the rest of the Twelve, but he is short of being saved. The one problem negative readings of Judas can have is that Judas as the one who receives the revelation from Jesus is placed in a role that usually places the recipient in a beneficial position. What in fact we appear to have in this gospel is that Judas is in a slightly better position than the others, but still falls short. Key to this is understanding the thirteenth realm as associated with this corrupt world but not seen as fully negative. As I said, this appears to be the most balanced of the readings advanced so far on this gospel. Nothing about this changes the assessment that Judas tells us nothing directly about the first century ministry of Jesus.Lund University, Sweden

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