Let's begin with a multiple-choice question: Which of the passages below is from the Gospel of Judas?

"No blame will be attached to elderly women who do not desire sex, if they take off their outer garments without flaunting their charms, but it is preferable for them not to do this: God is all hearing, all seeing."

"Jesus said, 'Truly I say to you, for all of them the stars bring matters to completion. When Saklas completes the span of time assigned for him, their first star will appear with the generations, and they will finish what they said they would do. Then they will fornicate in my name and slay their children [55] and they will [ … ] and [—about six and a half lines missing—] my name, and he will [ … ] your star over the [thir]teenth aeon.'"

Thomas said to them: "If I tell you one of the sayings he said to me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me, and fire will come out of the stones and burn you up."

If you guessed #2, you were right. (#1 is from the Qur'an; #3 is from the Gospel of Thomas.) And you are right, too, if you have inferred that this newly recovered gospel is a bit difficult to follow at times.

The story of the Gospel of Judas has two components. This Gnostic text is one of many apocryphal gospels that circulated in the centuries after Christ's death and resurrection. The eminent scholar James Robinson suggests that it was written sometime between AD 130 and 170 (Irenaeus mentions it around 180 in a work against the heresies of the day). By the fourth century, it had been lost. In our time a fragmentary codex was rediscovered and—by a circuitous route—found its way to publication by the National Geographic Society.

This part of the story is the subject of Krosney's book ...

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