Text of the Self-Described “Gospel of Judas” (May-Jun 2006)

By Matt Dabbs

English Translation

This is the text placed online at the New York Times site.  It was originally referred
to as an extract.  The Coptic text and English translation in PDF form are here.

THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS

 

Translated by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst,
in collaboration with François Gaudard

 

INTRODUCTION: INCIPIT

The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in
conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he celebrated
Passover.

THE EARTHLY MINISTRY OF JESUS

When Jesus appeared on earth, he performed miracles and great
wonders for the salvation of humanity. And since some [walked] in the way of
righteousness while others walked in their transgressions, the twelve
disciples were called.

He began to speak with them about the mysteries beyond the
world and what would take place at the end. Often he did not appear to his
disciples as himself, but he was found among them as a child.

SCENE 1: Jesus dialogues with his disciples: The prayer of
thanksgiving or the eucharist

 

One day he was with his disciples in Judea, and he found them
gathered together and seated in pious observance. When he [approached] his
disciples, [34] gathered together and seated and offering a prayer of
thanksgiving over the bread, [he] laughed.

The disciples said to [him], “Master, why are you laughing
at [our] prayer of thanksgiving? We have done what is right.”

He answered and said to them, “I am not laughing at you.
<You> are not doing this because of your own will but because it is
through this that your god [will be] praised.”

They said, “Master, you are […] the son of our god.”

Jesus said to them, “How do you know me? Truly [I] say to
you, no generation of the people that are among you will know me.”

THE DISCIPLES BECOME ANGRY

When his disciples heard this, they started getting angry and
infuriated and began blaspheming against him in their hearts.

When Jesus observed their lack of [understanding, he said] to
them, “Why has this agitation led you to anger? Your god who is within you
and […] [35] have provoked you to anger [within] your souls. [Let] any one
of you who is [strong enough] among human beings bring out the perfect human
and stand before my face.”

They all said, “We have the strength.”

But their spirits did not dare to stand before [him], except
for Judas Iscariot. He was able to stand before him, but he could not look him
in the eyes, and he turned his face away.

Judas [said] to him, “I know who you are and where you have
come from. You are from the immortal realm of Barbelo. And I am not worthy to
utter the name of the one who has sent you.”

JESUS SPEAKS TO JUDAS PRIVATELY

Knowing that Judas was reflecting upon something that was
exalted, Jesus said to him, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you
the mysteries of the kingdom. It is possible for you to reach it, but you will
grieve a great deal. [36] For someone else will replace you, in order that the
twelve [disciples] may again come to completion with their god.”

Judas said to him, “When will you tell me these things, and
[when] will the great day of light dawn for the generation?”

But when he said this, Jesus left him.

SCENE 2: Jesus appears to the disciples again

 

The next morning, after this happened, Jesus [appeared] to his
disciples again.

They said to him, “Master, where did you go and what did you
do when you left us?”

Jesus said to them, “I went to another great and holy
generation.”

His disciples said to him, “Lord, what is the great
generation that is superior to us and holier than us, that is not now in these
realms?”

When Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to them, “Why are
you thinking in your hearts about the strong and holy generation? [37] Truly
[I] say to you, no one born [of] this aeon will see that [generation], and no
host of angels of the stars will rule over that generation, and no person of
mortal birth can associate with it, because that generation does not come from
[…] which has become […]. The generation of people among [you] is from the
generation of humanity […] power, which [… the] other powers […] by
[which] you rule.”

When [his] disciples heard this, they each were troubled in
spirit. They could not say a word.

Another day Jesus came up to [them]. They said to [him], “Master,
we have seen you in a [vision], for we have had great [dreams …] night […].”

[He said], “Why have [you … when] <you> have gone
into hiding?” [38]

THE DISCIPLES SEE THE TEMPLE AND DISCUSS IT

They [said, “We have seen] a great [house with a large]
altar [in it, and] twelve men—-they are the priests, we would say—-and a
name; and a crowd of people is waiting at that altar, [until] the priests […
and receive] the offerings. [But] we kept waiting.”

[Jesus said], “What are [the priests] like?”

They [said, “Some …] two weeks; [some] sacrifice their own
children, others their wives, in praise [and] humility with each other; some
sleep with men; some are involved in [slaughter]; some commit a multitude of
sins and deeds of lawlessness. And the men who stand [before] the altar invoke
your [name], [39] and in all the deeds of their deficiency, the sacrifices are
brought to completion […].”

After they said this, they were quiet, for they were troubled.

JESUS OFFERS AN ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION OF
THE TEMPLE

Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? Truly I say to
you, all the priests who stand before that altar invoke my name. Again I say
to you, my name has been written on this […] of the generations of the stars
through the human generations. [And they] have planted trees without fruit, in
my name, in a shameful manner.”

Jesus said to them, “Those you have seen receiving the
offerings at the altar—-that is who you are. That is the god you serve, and
you are those twelve men you have seen. The cattle you have seen brought for
sacrifice are the many people you lead astray [40] before that altar. […]
will stand and make use of my name in this way, and generations of the pious
will remain loyal to him. After hi another man will stand there from [the
fornicators], and another [will] stand there from the slayers of children, and
another from those who sleep with men, and those who abstain, and the rest of
the people of pollution and lawlessness and error, and those who say, ‘We
are like angels’; they are the stars that bring everything to its
conclusion. For to the human generations it has been said, ‘Look, God has
received your sacrifice from the hands of a priest’—-that is, a minister of
error.

But it is the Lord, the Lord of the universe, who commands,
‘On the last day they will be put to shame.’” [41]

Jesus said [to them], “Stop sac[rificing …] which you have
[…] over the altar, since they are over your stars and your angels and have
already come to their conclusion there. So let them be [ensnared] before you,
and let them go [—-about 15 lines missing—-] generations […]. A baker
cannot feed all creation [42] under [heaven]. And […] to them […] and […]
to us and […].

Jesus said to them, “Stop struggling with me. Each of you
has his own star, and every[body—-about 17 lines missing—-] [43] in […]
who has come [… spring] for the tree […] of this aeon […] for a time […]
but he has come to water God’s paradise, and the [generation] that will
last, because [he] will not defile the [walk of life of] that generation, but
[…] for all eternity.”

JUDAS ASKS JESUS ABOUT THAT GENERATION AND HUMAN GENERATIONS

Judas said to [him, “Rabb]i, what kind of fruit does this
generation produce?”

Jesus said, “The souls of every human generation will die.
When these people, however, have completed the time of the kingdom and the
spirit leaves them, their bodies will die but their souls will be alive, and
they will be taken up.”

Judas said, “And what will the rest of the human generations
do?”

Jesus said, “It is impossible [44] to sow seed on [rock] and
harvest its fruit. [This] is also the way […] the [defiled] generation […]
and corruptible Sophia […] the hand that has created mortal people, so that
their souls go up to the eternal realms above. [Truly] I say to you, […]
angel […] power will be able to see that […] these to whom […] holy
generations […].”

After Jesus said this, he departed.

SCENE 3: Judas recounts a vision and Jesus responds

 

Judas said, “Master, as you have listened to all of them,
now also listen to me. For I have seen a great vision.”

When Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to him, “You
thirteenth spirit, why do you try so hard? But speak up, and I shall bear with
you.”

Judas said to him, “In the vision I saw myself as the twelve
disciples were stoning me and [45] persecuting [me severely]. And I also came
to the place where […] after you. I saw [a house …], and my eyes could not
[comprehend] its size. Great people were surrounding it, and that house
<had> a roof of greenery, and in the middle of the house was [a crowd—-two
lines missing—-], saying, ‘Master, take me in along with these people.’”

[Jesus] answered and said, “Judas, your star has led you
astray.” He continued, “No person of mortal birth is worthy to enter the
house you have seen, for that place is reserved for the holy. Neither the sun
nor the moon will rule there, nor the day, but the holy will abide there
always, in the eternal realm with the holy angels. Look, I have explained to
you the mysteries of the kingdom [46] and I have taught you about the error of
the stars; and […] send it […] on the twelve aeons.”

JUDAS ASKS ABOUT HIS OWN FATE

Judas said, “Master, could it be that my seed is under the
control of the rulers?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Come, that I [—-two lines
missing—-], but that you will grieve much when you see the kingdom and all
its generation.”

When he heard this, Judas said to him, “What good is it that
I have received it? For you have set me apart for that generation.”

Jesus answered and said, “You will become the thirteenth,
and you will be cursed by the other generations—-and you will come to rule
over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent [47] to the holy
[generation].”

JESUS TEACHES JUDAS ABOUT COSMOLOGY: THE SPIRIT AND THE
SELF-GENERATED

Jesus said, “[Come], that I may teach you about [secrets] no
person [has] ever seen. For there exists a great and boundless realm, whose
extent no generation of angels has seen, [in which] there is [a] great
invisible [Spirit], which no eye of an angel has ever seen, no thought of
the heart has ever comprehended, and it was never called by any name.

 

“And a luminous cloud appeared there. He said, ‘Let an
angel come into being as my attendant.’

“A great angel, the enlightened divine Self-Generated,
emerged from the cloud. Because of him, four other angels came into being from
another cloud, and they became attendants for the angelic Self-Generated. The
Self-Generated said, [48] ‘Let […] come into being […],’ and it came
into being […]. And he [created] the first luminary to reign over him. He
said, ‘Let angels come into being to serve [him],’ and myriads without
number came into being. He said, ‘[Let] an enlightened aeon come into being,’
and he came into being. He created the second luminary [to] reign over him,
together with myriads of angels without number, to offer service. That is how
he created the rest of the enlightened aeons. He made them reign over them,
and he created for them myriads of angels without number, to assist them.

ADAMAS AND THE LUMINARIES

“Adamas was in the first luminous cloud that no angel has
ever seen among all those called ‘God.’ He [49] […] that […] the image
[…] and after the likeness of [this] angel. He made the incorruptible
[generation] of Seth appear […] the twelve […] the twentyfour […]. He
made seventy-two luminaries appear in the incorruptible generation, in
accordance with the will of the Spirit. The seventy-two luminaries themselves
made three hundred sixty luminaries appear in the incorruptible generation, in
accordance with the will of the Spirit, that their number should be five for
each.

“The twelve aeons of the twelve luminaries constitute their
father, with six heavens for each aeon, so that there are seventy-two heavens
for the seventy-two luminaries, and for each [50] [of them five] firmaments,
[for a total of] three hundred sixty [firmaments …]. They were given
authority and a [great] host of angels [without number], for glory and
adoration, [and after that also] virgin spirits, for glory and [adoration] of
all the aeons and the heavens and their firmaments.

THE COSMOS, CHAOS, AND THE UNDERWORLD

“The multitude of those immortals is called the cosmos—-
that is, perdition—-by the Father and the seventy-two luminaries who are with
the Self-Generated and his seventytwo aeons. In him the first human appeared
with his incorruptible powers. And the aeon that appeared with his generation,
the aeon in whom are the cloud of knowledge and the angel, is called [51] El.
[…] aeon […] after that […] said, ‘Let twelve angels come into being
[to] rule over chaos and the [underworld].’ And look, from the cloud there
appeared an [angel] whose face flashed with fire and whose appearance was
defiled with blood. His name was Nebro, which means ‘rebel’; others call
him Yaldabaoth. Another angel, Saklas, also came from the cloud. So Nebro
created six angels—-as well as Saklas—-to be assistants, and these produced
twelve angels in the heavens, with each one receiving a portion in the
heavens.

THE RULERS AND ANGELS

“The twelve rulers spoke with the twelve angels: ‘Let each
of you [52] […] and let them […] generation [—-one line lost—-] angels’:
The first is [S]eth, who is called Christ.

The [second] is Harmathoth, who is […].

The [third] is Galila.

The fourth is Yobel.

The fifth [is] Adonaios.

These are the five who ruled over the underworld, and first of
all over chaos.

THE CREATION OF HUMANITY

“Then Saklas said to his angels, ‘Let us create a human
being after the likeness and after the image.’ They fashioned Adam and his
wife Eve, who is called, in the cloud, Zoe. For by this name all the
generations seek the man, and each of them calls the woman by these names.
Now, Sakla did not [53] com[mand …] except […] the gene[rations …] this
[…]. And the [ruler] said to Adam, ‘You shall live long, with your
children.’”

JUDAS ASKS ABOUT THE DESTINY OF ADAM AND HUMANITY

Judas said to Jesus, “[What] is the long duration of time
that the human being will live?”

Jesus said, “Why are you wondering about this, that Adam,
with his generation, has lived his span of life in the place where he has
received his kingdom, with longevity with his ruler?”

Judas said to Jesus, “Does the human spirit die?”

Jesus said, “This is why God ordered Michael to give the
spirits of people to them as a loan, so that they might offer service, but the
Great One ordered Gabriel to grant spirits to the great generation with no
ruler over it—-that is, the spirit and the soul. Therefore, the [rest] of the
souls [54] [—-one line missing—-].

JESUS DISCUSSES THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED WITH JUDAS AND
OTHERS

“[…] light [—-nearly two lines missing—-] around […]
let […] spirit [that is] within you dwell in this [flesh] among the
generations of angels. But God caused knowledge to be [given] to Adam and
those with him, so that the kings of chaos and the underworld might not lord
it over them.”

Judas said to Jesus, “So what will those generations do?”

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.”

After that Jesus [laughed].

[Judas said], “Master, [why are you laughing at us]?”

[Jesus] answered [and said], “I am not laughing [at you] but
at the error of the stars, because these six stars wander about with these
five combatants, and they all will be destroyed along with their creatures.”

JESUS SPEAKS OF THOSE WHO ARE BAPTIZED, AND JUDAS’S BETRAYAL

Judas said to Jesus, “Look, what will those who have been
baptized in your name do?”

Jesus said, “Truly I say [to you], this baptism [56] […]
my name [—-about nine lines missing—-] to me. Truly [I] say to you, Judas,
[those who] offer sacrifices to Saklas […] God [—-three lines missing—-]
everything that is evil.

“But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the
man that clothes me. Already your horn has been raised, your wrath has been
kindled, your star has shown brightly, and your heart has […]. [57]

 

“Truly […] your last […] become [—-about two and a half
lines missing—-], grieve [—-about two lines missing—-] the ruler, since he
will be destroyed. And then the image of the great generation of Adam will be
exalted, for prior to heaven, earth, and the angels, that generation, which is
from the eternal realms, exists. Look, you have been told everything. Lift up
your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars
surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star.”

Judas lifted up his eyes and saw the luminous cloud, and he
entered it. Those standing on the ground heard a voice coming from the cloud,
saying, [58] […] great generation […] … image […] [—-about five lines
missing—-].

CONCLUSION: JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS

[…] Their high priests murmured because [he] had gone into
the guest room for his prayer. But some scribes were there watching carefully
in order to arrest him during the prayer, for they were afraid of the people,
since he was regarded by all as a prophet. They approached Judas and said to
him, “What are you doing here? You are Jesus’ disciple.”

Judas answered them as they wished. And he received some money
and handed him over to them.

THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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