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« Thomas More Law Center sues the San Francisco Board of Supervisors | Main | Some recent posts over at the Da Vinci Hoax blog »

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Yes, I really am shaking in my slippers because of "The Gospel of Judas":

» "Gospel of Judas" Roundup from How Now Brownpau
To summarize, an old Coptic manuscript of the Gnostic Gospel of Judas was discovered in the 1970s and found its way to National Geographic. It's a remarkable archaeological artifact, with great value for historical study of the literature and beliefs... [Read More]

» More on Judas from Ernesto Burden
An interesting section from National Geographic on the Gospel of Judas find. While a good read, its central feature comes off as a bit an apologetics work for the d [Read More]

Comments

Michael Barber

For more analysis:
http://singinginthereign.blogspot.com/2006/03/gospel-of-judas-iscariot.html

clive

Errr! What's up, Doc? Ot even:

Yawn!

Sandra Miesel

Ah, but stupid people will believe this over the canonical Gospels. You know they will.

I recall first yearing about the Gospel of Thomas in the Sunday supplement magazine (probably AMERICAN WEEKLY) in the 1950s. And I still remember a quote from it.

Mark Brumley

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: I heard about the newly discovered Gospel of Judas. Do you suppose it will change our way of thinking about Judas?

Christian: Not at all. There is absolutely no reason to think this "gospel" has any historical reliability, apart from where it agrees with the canonical gospels. And coming as it does from the mid-second century at the earliest (although the copy we have is apparently from much later), there are plenty of reasons to think it unreliable.

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: Still, don't you think it casts a different light on Judas?

Christian: How could it do that, if it doesn't tell us anything about the real Judas?

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: How do we know that it doesn't?

Christian: I've already explained why we have reason not to trust it.

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: Yes, but perhaps the early Christians suppressed the truth about Judas and this document provides it.

Christian: And suppose Judas was a space alien.

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: Do we know for a fact that he wasn't?

Christian: Uh.

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: Gotcha there, eh?

Christian: Uh.

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: I really think you shouldn't let your dogma rule your brain. You should be open to alternative ideas. You shouldn't be blinded by mindless faith. You should exercise reason in assessing the authenticity of the Gospel of Judas.

Christian: I see.

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: I have only one question, though.

Christian: Only one? Okay, what is it?

Non-Christian Judas Enthusiast: Do you think Judas wrote his Gospel before or after he killed himself?

++++

Project9

Nice sales pitch, you could be a little less obvious about it.

Carl Olson

Nice sales pitch, you could be a little less obvious about it.

Immature and snarky comment. You could be a less obvious about it. Or, better yet, you could get your own blog. After all, this is the blog for the publisher that publishes my book. Duh.

Chris

Thanks so much, I highly commend your for such an intelligent post. Your post key-pointed everything i've been "trying" to explain to my athiest friends... Great post. God bless, Chris

Steve Kellmeyer

You know, everyone is on about how the Da Vinci Code is Gnostic. The whole argument is crap.

Point One:
Gnostics said sex was evil and marriage was sinful.
DVC says sex is holy and marriage is Heiros Gamos - an encounter with the divine.

Point Two:
Gnostics said women can only be saved if they become like men.
DVC says women are goddesses already.

Point Three:
Gnostics say you come to salvation by overcoming the demiurge through specialized knowledge.
DVC doesn't talk about a demiurge at all. The closest you get is the name Sophia, and that's not exactly close.

Point Four:
The Gnostics said Jesus was not a real man, his body was fake, an illusion (the main point of the Gospel of Judas, btw).
DVC says Jesus was JUST a real man, whose body was fine and real enough to have sex with.

Conclusion:
Just because you guys keep saying it is Gnostic doesn't make it so. DVC isn't Gnostic. It takes the Gnostic gospels as much out of context as it does the real Gospels. The whole Gnostic line is just a throw-away argument Brown uses to open a discussion on the idea that Jesus was really just a man. He mentions the Gnostic thing for about three pages, then never returns to it.

In fact, the whole DVC plot-line is built around a paganized version of the Theology of the Body.

You know - sex is holy, marriage is holy, women should be treated like goddesses (i.e., in the image and likeness of God). That's Catholic doctrine.

[shameless plug]If you had read my Fact and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code, you would know this...
[/shameless plug] :)

Mark Brumley

Steve makes (otherwise) interesting points that are, at the same time, largely irrelevant to the DVH's criticism of the DVC.

The fact is, the DVC tries to use Gnosticism to bolster its perspective on early Christianity. Is that silly, given what Gnosticism was really about? Yes. Does that misrepresent the main thrust of the Gnostic perspective? Yes. Does that mean that critics of the DVC are wrong to point to Brown's inconsistent and incoherent use of Gnosticism? Not at all. Just the opposite.

Surely it is evident to the careful reader of the DVH that its authors point to features of Gnosticism that undermine Brown's use of it. The DVH's argument can, it seems to me, be summarized on the point re: Gnosticism as follows: Brown claims X, but he gets this from Gnostic sources, which are (a) historically unreliable and (b) which also claim a lot of things that contradict other things Brown affirms but which he conveniently ignores.

Why, then, criticize the DVH as if it doesn't know the difference between Brown's use of Gnosticism and Gnosticism?

jih

Why does the author sound so narrow-minded? So one-sided? He can't even entertain the PROBABILITY that the Gospel of Judas might indeed be more reliable than the canonical gospels?

For one, who's to know what exactly happened? I'm not a fan of the Gospel of Judas thing, but I accept that it is possible for it to be actually "truer" than the Gospels we have long been reading.

I expected more unbiased remarks. Disappointing blog.

Steve Kellmeyer

Mark, if DVC is Gnostic, surely you wouldn't have any trouble pointing out a few elements of DVC that actually corresponded to Gnostic philosophy or theology?

I've pointed out four major ways in which there is either no correspondance or an actual antithesis between the two sets of ideas.

The only thing you can bring forward is that he quotes Gnostic gospels. Big deal. The devil quotes Scripture, but that doesn't make him a Jew or a Christian. I can quote Marx without being a Marxist.

Not everything Marx said related to economics, nor does everything the Gnostic gospels say relate to Gnosticism. A careful DVC reader who is knowledgeable about Gnosticism will recognize that Brown uses the Gnostic Gospels twice(once from the Gospel of Philip to "prove" that Jesus was married - no Gnostic would do that) and then he never uses them again.

But Catholic apologists were so bent on finding a heresy in DVC that they immediately fixated on the word "Gnostic" in the book, even though that was essentially the only heresy Brown DIDN'T espouse (pardon the pun).

The whole thing is laughable.

The Gospel of Judas is in the news precisely because Catholic apologists have been advertising a heresy that didn't exist.

Mark Brumley

Steve, I guess I am floored by your comment:

"Mark, if DVC is Gnostic, surely you wouldn't have any trouble pointing out a few elements of DVC that actually corresponded to Gnostic philosophy or theology?"

Steve, if you actually read what I wrote, surely you wouldn't have any trouble pointing out a few elements of what I wrote that actually correspond to the question you pose?

I wrote:

"The fact is, the DVC tries to use Gnosticism to bolster its perspective on early Christianity. Is that silly, given what Gnosticism was really about? Yes. Does that misrepresent the main thrust of the Gnostic perspective? Yes. Does that mean that critics of the DVC are wrong to point to Brown's inconsistent and incoherent use of Gnosticism? Not at all. Just the opposite.

"Surely it is evident to the careful reader of the DVH that its authors point to features of Gnosticism that undermine Brown's use of it. The DVH's argument can, it seems to me, be summarized on the point re: Gnosticism as follows: Brown claims X, but he gets this from Gnostic sources, which are (a) historically unreliable and (b) which also claim a lot of things that contradict other things Brown affirms but which he conveniently ignores.

"Why, then, criticize the DVH as if it doesn't know the difference between Brown's use of Gnosticism and Gnosticism?

So Steve, given that I think, following the DVH, that the DVC doesn't accurately portray Gnostic beliefs, I am at a complete loss to understand how you can now ask me to show how the DVC accurately presents Gnostic beliefs. Did you even bother to read what I wrote before you commented? It sure seems otherwise.

You write:

"The Gospel of Judas is in the news precisely because Catholic apologists have been advertising a heresy that didn't exist."

Would that "Catholic apologists" were so influential that "precisely because" they attack something it gets "in the news".


Steve Kellmeyer

Mark, you are trying to simultaneously embrace contradictory positions, so no matter how I answer, you can pull this reply on me.

"It's Gnostic, except it isn't Gnostic at all."

Let's just try to focus, shall we?

You said "DVC tries to use Gnosticism."

Substantiate that statement.

I don't believe the novel even uses the word "Gnostic." It certainly doesn't use a single Gnostic idea.

It quotes from ancient documents that have Gnostic elements, but it doesn't use the Gnostic elements and it doesn't use the quotes to support Gnostic ideas.

The only reason it quotes from those documents is that they are ANCIENT and they aren't Christian. That lends a veneer of respectibility to the entirely modern argument that is brought forward - the modern infatuation with goddess worship.

So, Mark, how can you "try to use" a philosophy when you don't actually use or even hint at any of the ideas from that philosophy?

More to the point, how can you "try to use" a philosophy when you are actually espousing ideas antithetical to that philosophy?

If you insist that DVC is Gnostic, then you must also insist that DVC is Catholic: the reasoning you use to support DVC's alleged Gnosticism works equally well to support the idea that DVC is an essentially Catholic Christian novel.

In both cases it refers to sources in ways that have nothing to do with the teachings of the organizations that created the sources.

And don't hand me that bit about Catholics having no influence on the media. There have been a lot of Catholic apologists on a lot of MSM outlets and all of them having been pushing this Gnostic line. If you all are so inconsequential, then why did you print all those books and DVDs? Who did you sell them to?

Give me a break.


Mark Brumley

Apparently, you are continuing to debate this point without carefully reading what I wrote. If you think you have read it carefully, then I can't help you. Sorry.

Steve Kellmeyer

Translation:

"Steve, I can't supply any evidence that DVC attempts to use Gnosticism, but Ignatius has a lot of money and some reputation invested in our "debunking," so I'm not going to make the failures in our fact-checking process any more agonizingly obvious than they already are. Sorry."

Alright, Mark - I can accept that.

Mark Brumley

Steve: If this is how you're going to discuss things, then I have to ask you to stop posting at this blog. Whatever your personal issues are on this subject, they're not going to be displayed here. If you can't accept this, then you'll be prevented from blogging here.

Carl Olson

Why does the author sound so narrow-minded? So one-sided? He can't even entertain the PROBABILITY that the Gospel of Judas might indeed be more reliable than the canonical gospels?

Uh, probably for the same reason that scientists don't entertain the PROBABILITY that the earth is flat, or that historians don't entertain the PROBABILITY that the Holocaust never happened.

The "Gospel of Judas" was written, at earliest, in the mid- to late-second century (A.D. 150-200). It contains NO historical information at all about Jesus or Judas, but is a series of typical second-century gnostic conversations between the gnostic Jesus and the gnostic Judas. No historical context is given. No political, social, cultural, or sociological info is given.

Meanwhile, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John provide a wealth of historical, cultural, social, and religious info that is rooted in an authentic first century account. Those works were written between A.D. 50-100, and are either based on first-hand accounts, or were written by those who actually witnessed the events described.

For one, who's to know what exactly happened?

For one, people who actually read and study the texts in question. Have you read the gnostic texts and the Gospels of MML&J?

I'm not a fan of the Gospel of Judas thing, but I accept that it is possible for it to be actually "truer" than the Gospels we have long been reading.

On what basis? Because National Geographic suggests so? I would simply ask for one "true" statement about the historical Jesus and the historical Judas found in the "Gospel of Judas".

Put another way, the "Gospel of Judas" is like a Scientologist taking the names "Abraham Lincoln" and "John Wilkes Booth" and using them in a document purporting to describe a real conversation between the two in which Lincoln tells Booth to assassinate him -- and that Booth will eventually be recognized as a great man for doing so. In addition, the document doesn't refer to anything that suggests any authentic knowledge of the two men, or of the 1860s. Finally, it will be written in 1984. Would such a document be possibly "true"? Sure--possibily. Would any sane scholar (or even lay person) accept it as probably true? Of course not. It really is that crazy.

I expected more unbiased remarks. Disappointing blog.

No, you didn't expect unbiased remarks. You resent, for whatever reason, that people who know something about the topic in question don't buy into the media spin surrounding the "Gospel of Judas." Such gullibility, I think, is truly disappointing.

David Ancell

I've been reading the line of discussion between Mark Brumley and Steve Kellmeyer (which Kellmeyer elaborates about on his own blog), and I must admit that I'm having trouble understanding. Can one of you please clarify for me?

The first chapter of Da Vinci Hoax is entitled as reads above, and it does seem to suggest that Gnosticism is the religion being advocated by the DVC. However, I'm wondering if what was really meant was that what Dan Brown is portraying as the Catholic faith is actually Gnosticism. Is this correct?

It seems that all that Steve Kellmeyer wanted was to know which elements of Gnosticism were being portrayed by Dan Brown. I'd be interested in knowing myself, even if they are twisted. I've bought a few books (including DVH and Kellmeyer's book) and a cheap copy of the Da Vinci Code to see what I can learn (and learn to debunk DVC), but I'm not that well-versed in Gnoticism, and I'd like to know what I'm reading when I get into the book.

Mark Brumley

See comments on the Kellmeyer issue elsewhere on the blog:

http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2006/04/ignatius_press_.html#comments


BTW, it wasn't as if Steve simply posed a question or two. Steve came with an axe to grind and in attack mode. I think the record of his exchange here and at the Da Vinci Hoax blog makes that clear. He was blocked from further participation at this site because of his accusatory comments attacking the integrity of Ignatius Press and its authors, not because he happens to disagree with Carl and Sandra on the subject of Gnosticism and THE DA VINCI CODE.

People should be able to disagree with fellow Catholics without being disagreeable.

Carl will, after the Triduum, respond in more detail.

Kyro Lantsberger

wow.....I read this blog often, but have never scrolled down into the comments. I believe that the whole Gospel of Judas-DVC-Gnostic-suppressed truth crowd borrow their steam from a couple points...1)We live in a nominally Christian culture, and most people are "brought up" as such --and the knowledge of both Christian history and doctrine held by most people never evolved past the grade school nursery rhyme level. Thus, when anybody presenting anything that appears to be "scholarship", the default is to accept it, since what is being presented is more sophisticated than the Jesus-loves-me-this-I-know that constitutes their faith formation.
2) We live in a "Fundamentalist Culture"--albeit an APOSTATE fundamentalist culture. When a Catholic hears of "New Gospels", he or she rolls his/her eyes. We have such solid knowledge of Ignatius/Polycarp/Ireneaus/Milito of Sardis/Ante-Nicean Fathers that so-called surprise discoveries regarding early church history just are not surprising. To the mainstream, coming from this apostate-fundamentalism worldview, gospel=Gospel, as though all of Christianity existed in a mist between some equally mysterious event of the Bible being put together and today. I think it is fairly accurate to say that a parody of Sola Scriptura is the hueristic(?) of the conspiracy gospel crowd. I think that somebody should bring up the Protoevangelium of James, , whose symbols have crept into art throughout the ages, and was suppressed by the Church as not beign authentic....a document that is "More Catholic than the Church" in its treatment of the Virgin Mary
Didnt mean to write this much, but these topics are becoming irritating to me.

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