Item description for The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel by James M. Robinson...
Overview In this fully revised and updated edition, an expert historian of early Christianity tells of the discovery of a lost gospel attributed to Judas, and Judas's newfound meaning for history and the Christian faith.
The discovery of a previously lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot has electrified the Christian community. What Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell us about Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is inconsistent and biased. Therefore, the revelation of an ancient gospel that portrays this despised man as someone who saw his role in the Passion of Christ as integral to a larger plan--a divine plan--brings new clarity to the old story. If Judas had not betrayed Jesus, Jesus would not have been handed over to the authorities, crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. Could it be that without Judas, the Easter miracle would never have happened?
In The Secrets of Judas, James M. Robinson, an expert historian of early Christianity, examines the Bible and other ancient texts and reveals what we can and cannot know about the life of the historical Judas, his role in Jesus's crucifixion, and whether the Christian church should reevaluate his intentions and possible innocence. Robinson tells the sensational story of the discovery of a gospel attributed to Judas, and shows how this affects Judas's newfound meaning for history and for the Christian faith.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.44 lbs.
Release Date Nov 14, 2014
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 006117064X ISBN13 9780061170645
Reviews - What do customers think about The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel?
Yes, Virginia, the Church will survive the Gospel of Judas Feb 11, 2007
James Robinson is not the run of the mill sensationalist you would expect to write a book with "The Gospel of" or "The Secerts of" in the title. Bulletin! Yet another breathless volume that "threatens to rock Christinaity to its foundations." (Aren't we sick of these yet?) As a scholar and member of The Jesus Seminar -- which may strike some as a contradiction in terms -- he has been prominent in the study of the Nag Hammadi documents and the elusive gospel source, Q. In "The Secrets of Judas," he introduced us to the takes on the latest entry into the trove of ancient codices -- a presumably gnostic text that claims to have been written by the betayer of Jesus Christ.
Robinson takes us on an all-you-can-learn tour of the gospel charcater we Christians have come to hate. He raises provactive questions, Jesus Seminar style, about the propriety of seeing Judas as a bad character. If, as the gospels indicated, Jesus was destined to die for our sins, and if it was prohesied that be be handed over by one of his own, how would this happenn without a Judas? Robinson goes onto somewhwat shaky ground with his analysis of the context of the writing of the canonical gospels. He (not inapporopriately) sees a growing gulf between the first witnesses to Jesus (the mostly-Jewish Jerusalem Church) and the growing body of gentile Christians. Interestingly, he sees Luke and Matthew as writing contemporaenous gospels to each of these communities -- Matthew's from the Jewish Christian perspective and Luke's from the gentile perspective. This is new to me, though (except for the deliberate nature of the co-release that Robinson posits) not impossible. Robinson's point is to show that each gospel showed Judas in a slightly different light, from which he makes rather large conclusions.
Robinson then turns his attention to the text itself. He shoots down claims that the GoJ is part of the Nag Hammadi cache. He describes his efforts to secure the text from its Egyptian owner and details the comical James Bond stories that grew up around the discovery and sale of the documents. It's fun to see so many people -- smugglers, writers, acamedics, wealthy collectors and universities -- each with their own agenda, all trying to get their hands on the same document. Robinson then describes the process of conserving the text and its eventual exploitation by the National Geographic Society. He is expecially peeved by the fact that NatGeo set an Easter Week deadline for the release of a partial translation of the document (lacking the original Coptic. as scholars would desire) and a TV show about the codex. The maneuverings and compromises made by all involved are lovingly (if not altogether engagingly) tracked and catalogued, just as Robison the scholar would treat fragment of an ancient codex.
What you won't get from "The Secrets of Judas" is a look at the gospel itself -- a major disappointment. Robinson's book was published prior to the Easter 2006 NatGeo treatment and seems aimed mainly at demystifying the gospel, knocking the wind out the the sails of those trying to profit from it and get even with people whose values he despises. He is very clear that the text of the GoJ, though it may shed light on the makeup of the Christian communities flourishing in the 2nd century, will not shake up modern Christianity or bring down the Vatican. Yet as a behind-the-scenes look at the way various groups bring antiquities to light, his book is often fascinating. And as a way to observe the workings and the values of an eminent biblical scholar, it is wonderful.
I was quite impressed, by the way at the skill of audio book reader Conger Eric -- especially his ability to read names in French, Swiss, German and Dutch with appropriate accents.
Not a great book Feb 2, 2007
I agree with the other 1 star reviewers. There are much better books out there on the story of Judas. This is more a story on how hard it is to acquire an antiquity.
Hype an a No Show Jan 26, 2007
Although the audio book is nice to listen to the male voice the digital version tracks are 60 minutes long a apiece, instead of broken up into little 10 minute tracks. Don't buy the digital version of it. Limited cut and paste rights in digital book sucks. The first chapter is definitely worth reading and can be found at: [...] whereas it talks about the gospels. THE JEWISH CHURCH'S ECUMENICAL GOSPEL OF MATTHEW and THE GENTILE CHURCH'S ECUMENICAL GOSPEL OF LUKE. The rest of the book is just the story of why book's text is not available. Only sole text is on page 130;
They made sure that they seized him during the prayer. For they were afraid of the people, because he was in all their hands as a prophet. And they approached Judas. They said to him: What are you doing in the Place? Aren't you disciple of Jesus? But he answered them according to their wishes, But Judas took some money. He delivered him over to them.
Quirky Dec 1, 2006
The first part about the character of Judas is very good. Robinson's knowledge of languages and Biblical scholarship shines. He shows us how the gospels differ in their text on Judas and how they created his infamy.
After this, we get some high level education on scrolls, codices, papyrus and conservation. It's quirky because it's told with exclamation points on almost every page. Robinson is clearly enthusiastic about this material.
There is also a tale on par with the best spy vs. spy of how this material has been shopped around and the damage that has resulted from poor caretaking and perhaps thievery. The first irregularity of this project was "Hannah" of Egypt's desire to get the material out of the country before s/he was overwhelmed with demands for bakseesh (my term not Robinson's, who does allude to the uncertain environment for getting things out of the country). From this point on, more people, (from Robinson's point of view) of equally secretive modus operandi got involved. This has the exclamation point quirkiness, plus Robinson's (also quirky) penchant for analysing the linguistic derivation of names (i.e. Iscariot, Hannah, Thomas, Mia, Freida, Tchacos...).
Robinson cannot accept the capitalistic aspects of the antiquities market. Perhaps, his attitude towards antiquities investors is why he was not tapped for the project. It is clear he has the experience and expertise to do the work and probably should have been hired. He speculates about the processes being used and wonders if the researchers have the keys to work in the lab late at night. This part is almost like a personal journal (complete with exclamation points).
The book needs an index.
Someone else said 3 1/2 stars and gave it 3. Since I agree I'll give it 4 and the average will right the situation for us both.
All about Judas Sep 19, 2006
The first half of this book does a great job examining Judas Iscariot from 3 different angles the Judas of the New Testament Gospels and Acts, what the historical Judas was probably like, and then the way Judas is portrayed as a Gnostic in the newly published Gospel of Judas. This part of the book I found enlightening and an enjoyable read. The last half fully examines every aspect of how the Gospel of Judas came to light through its discovery in Egypt its theft, and the way the dealer tried to get $3 million for it and it ended up in a citibank safe deposit box in New York. The history of the manuscript is a very interesting story in itself. The final summary of the book is that the Gospel of Judas teaches us nothing about the historical Jesus or Judas, it only shows the opinions and imagination of 2nd century Gnostics.