Saturday, December 01, 2007

In comic book news,

the New York Times claims that Judas Iscariot was not a hero for murdering Jesus, aka Son of God.

It was a great story. Unfortunately, after re-translating the society’s transcription of the Coptic text, I have found that the actual meaning is vastly different. While National Geographic’s translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon.

Yes, a demon, with horns and everything.

The back story is that the National Geographic Society translated the Gospel of Judas, an apocryphal Gnostic gospel from the 3rd century and found that Judas didn't betray Jesus and that he didn't go to hell.

The Times argues that National Geographic made key, and obvious, errors in the translation and implies they had nefarious reasons for doing so. Goddamned liberal media, always attacking God's Holy Word!!! And for what? Shock value? An entertaining lede? To deliver the world into the hands of Satan? It's all a bit unclear why they would do such a thing.

Nevertheless, I find these early Christian writings interesting because they illuminate just how wacky people were back then and how wacky so many people still are today. The content of the writings have little, if any, more connection to reality than the origin of Professor X. Yet people argue about them as if they a) are factual and b) matter outside of the arcane, intellectual realm of New Testament studies.

But what's funny about this little controversy is that while Christians are all upset that the Gnostic gospels might possibly portray Judas as a hero, it doesn't seem to bother them at all that the very same writings portray their Christian God as evil.
So what does the Gospel of Judas really say? It says that Judas is a specific demon called the “Thirteenth.” In certain Gnostic traditions, this is the given name of the king of demons — an entity known as Ialdabaoth who lives in the 13th realm above the earth. Judas is his human alter ego, his undercover agent in the world. These Gnostics equated Ialdabaoth with the Hebrew Yahweh, whom they saw as a jealous and wrathful deity and an opponent of the supreme God whom Jesus came to earth to reveal.

I find it amazing that we're in the 21st century and people argue about demons and their place in this demon haunted world. In the first century, they had an excuse. Today, not so much.