Friday, January 20, 2006

Judas Rehabilitation? No

Only in the fevered "minds" of the London Times do we find the speculation that the Vatican 'is going to "rehabilitate" Judas.' The article, published about a week ago, caught a lot of people by surprise, including the alleged "leader" of the effort.

On Jan. 12 an article in the Times newspaper of London claimed that Monsignor Brandmüller is leading a campaign from the Vatican to convince believers of Judas' goodness.The Times also stated that some biblical scholars believe that the negative view of Judas has been influenced by anti-Semitic texts.

But in statements to ZENIT, Monsignor Brandmüller clarified that "this news has no foundation."

"Reading the Times I discovered that a campaign exists to rehabilitate Judas and that I am the leader," the Vatican official said. "I have not talked with the Times. I can't imagine where this idea came from."

In regard to the manuscript, it must be emphasized that the apocryphal gospels belong in the main to a special literary genre, a sort of religious novel that cannot be considered as a documentary source for the historical figure of Judas."

Monsignor Brandmüller continued: "We await the critical edition, which will certainly be interesting from the point of view of the history of ancient literature, but it is impossible to express judgments in advance."

He added: "Around 180 A.D., Irenaeus of Lyon, [in] 'Against the Heretics,' I,31,1, spoke of an alleged apocryphal gospel of Judas. Later, Epiphanius and a pseudo-Tertullian spoke of it. According to these sources, the apocryphal gospel of Judas was a Greek text of Gnostic origin, written by the Cainites' sect, in the middle of the second century."

The Gnostic sect of the Cainites attributed a positive value to all the negative figures of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, such as the tempter serpent, Cain -- hence their name -- Esau and Judas. In any case, the discovery of this manuscript is very interesting, from the point of view of knowledge of paleo-Christian literature."

Zenit, 1/19/06

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