Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
With miles to go
Miles to go ............ வரும் அடுத்த தலைமுறையை இந்த நீண்ட நெடிய தூரத்திற்குத் தயாரான மன நிலையில் நான் பார்க்கவில்லை. இது ஒரு கிழவனின் வெற்றுப் புலம்பலாக இருந்தால் நலமே ........
Monday, December 14, 2020
Tuesday, December 08, 2020
Saturday, December 05, 2020
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Even in those early days when I was holding my Christian faith strongly, I started getting many doubts in it. The doubts appeared to be very genuine. But the answers I got for those doubts, I felt, were pushing me off from my faith, nurtured from childhood. That was making me feel very guilty. How can a half-wit in theology like me can have such doubts in religion while many great theologians hold on to the religion with so much faith? Even to enter into priesthood, a novitiate has to learn nearly 10 years and they study so much in theology. For years all clergy who study the religion so deeply, keep their faith intact. So I thought I was making mistakes. I am not getting the right answers for my questions. This was satisfying me for some years to keep me within the faithful lot. Then the load of questions outgrew these excuses and very hesitantly I moved out of my faith. However, it took me a long period, nearly 8 - 10 years to call myself an atheist.
For anybody who had been travelling like me in a road of doubts, questions and tribulations might also be shocked if they come to know none other than Mother Teresa had lost her faith. For me it was a very big shock. I read one or two of her quotes and found them so unbelievable. Then I came to know the book where all her letters to her spiritual advisers had been collected and published. The title of the book is "Come Be My Light", The Private Writings of the "Saint of Calcutta" edited and commented by Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., 2007. Mother personally wanted her letters to be burnt and request her spiritual guides to do so. However, I really wonder how and why the Church compiled all of them and had brought them in a book. In the book, we can find how Mother had her own questions and also greater pain over her own loss of faith. It was an excruciating pain for her. She was in great love with Jesus; but at the same time lost her faith.
For an ordinary person like me religion could be, I used to compare it, just a shirt; but for an established Christian like Mother or a priest, religion would be no more than a shirt; it would be like a close skin or the deep heart. For me throwing a shirt would be so simple. But for a great religious personality it would not be possible. Especially for people who are identified in the society with their religion, it should be a big hurdle. It may stand between them and the society. They may not be able even to show their shaken faith openly. They are pathetically in a strait jacket confining them within their own shell.
Mother had been writing letters to her spiritual guides for 66 long years. Of these two persons are very important. They are Ferdinand Perier and another Jesuit priest Celeste van Exem. Though Mother had requested to burn all her letters since the content were mostly about her and much less about Jesus. However all these letters were compiled, edited and commented by Father Brian Klolodiejchuk. He was in communiation with Mother from 1977 and he was heading the ministry started by Mother. He was the one who took great efforts for the sainthood of Mother. He had said that there were three things in the life of Mother that captivated him .
Firstly, the very deep love she had for Jesus and the deep concern she showed to the poorest of the poor people. Secondly, the bleakness enshrouded her spirit, made her life dark and bitter. Thirdly, even though her heart was so bitter with her feelings, she bore them heroically and continued her service to people whole-heartedly.
ABOUT THE BOOK…
It was very shocking to know that a great darkness was there in the mind of an ever-smiling mother. One other surprising thing was the Catholic Church was ready to publish all these letters even against the request of Mother. Those letters reveal the inner world of Mother and how she had this suffering for a very long period. The astonishing thing was her patience and perseverance to carry on her noble work for the helpless inspite of the heavy cross on her shoulders. She managed to keep afresh the care and love for the poor and at the same time carry the heavy spiritual agony. This makes her to stand out as a very rare and exceptional human being.
I had a very serious introspection before adding this book in this chapter. I was worried whether the verses in the book would pull down the stature of Mother from the minds of the readers. However, I strongly felt this would only raise her stature. She is and had been respected by everyone not because she is a Christian; but the love showered on her was for her service to the poor and helpless. She assured a peaceful end to many sick and suffering people. Hence she would become more respectable even after knowing her spiritual dilemma. She kept those inner turmoil within her and continued her services so devotedly.
In Hinduism the Jeevathma (the spirit) keeps trying to reach the Brahmathma (the divine spirit). The former goes through many obstacles before attaining "Mukti". Andal and Meera are two such Jeevathmas trying to merge with their gods through their piety. Like these Hindu stories, Mother had so much love for her Jesus. Irrespective of her spiritual doubts she keeps the love for Jesus and pleads Him to salvage her from the abysmal darkness. Loss of faith did not make her leave Jesus. Anyway people like me do not have any such barrier she had. My religious faith is just a like a shirt which they can easily throw off; but it is "all" for her. She had to live with that.
In the following pages I have given some selected excerpts from the book.
“If I ever become a Saint…. I will surely be one of “darkness”. I will continually be
absent from Heaven -- to light the light of those in darkness on earth”.
Mother Teresa. (230 & Back cover)
“Darkness” … her companion
This letter to her confessor back in Skopje is the first instance in a correspondence where Sister Teresa refers to the “darkness”. …. In future this term would come to signify profound interior suffering, lack of sensible consolation, spiritual dryness, an apparent absence of God from her life, and, at the same time, a painful longing for Him.(22)
The Thirst of Jesus crucified
A terrible darkness within
…. For there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. (149)
After two years of suffering in silence and with only occasional and the vague differences to her interior state, Mother Teresa at last revealed to Archbishop Perier the great pain that had been tormenting her soul from the beginning of her mission with the poor. (150)
Mother Teresa again reported that my own soul remains in deep darkness and desolation. (154)
“ A deep lonliness in my heart”
In January 1955, a little less than a year since had last mentioned the darkness to Archbishop Perier, noted a new element in her experience: deep loneliness. (157)
Despite her prayers still her heart had sunk into darkness. She was not able to divulge this openly to anybody. Nevertheless she opened to her spiritual guides. She asked them to pray for her since everything had gone meaningless to her. She had only blind faith; and that alone led her life from her enshrouded darkness. Still she felt that she was in utter darkness.
Only that blind faith that carries me through.
pray for me… for within me everything is Icy cold… It is only that blind faith that carries me through for in reality to me all is darkness.(163)
letter to Father Picachy on July 3, 59
You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved. I call, I cling, I want - and there is No One to answer - No One on whom I can cling - no, No One. Alone. the darkness is so dark - and I am alone. and unwanted, and forsaken. The loneliness of the heart that wants love is unbearable. where is my faith? - even deep down, right in, there is nothing but emptiness and darkness - I have no faith - so many unanswered questions live within me - I am afraid to uncover them, because of blasphemy. If there be God - please forgive me- I am told god loves me - and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. (187)
Part of my confession today
In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss - of God not wanting me - of God not being God - of God not really existing (Jesus, please forgive my blasphemies - I have been told to write everything)
if there be no god - that can be no soul. - if there is no soul then Jesus - you are also not true. - heaven, what emptiness - not a single thought of Heaven enters my mind - but there is no hope.
I don't pray any longer - I utter words of community prayers - … but my prayer of union is not there any longer. - I no longer pray. - my soul is not one with You.(193)
Now father - since 49 or 50 This terrible sense of loss - this Untold Darkness - this loneliness -discontinue longing for God - which gives me that pain deep down in my heart. … the place of God In my soul is blank -. there is no God in me. … heaven - souls - why these are just words - which mean nothing to me. - my very life seems so contradictory. I helped Souls - to go where? - why all this? Where is the soul in my very being?(210)
How cold - how empty - how painful is my heart.- Holy Communion - Holy Mass all the holy things of spiritual life - of the Life of Christ in me - are also empty - so cold - so unwanted. (232)
People say they are drawn closer to God - seeing my strong faith. - Is this not deceiving people? Every time I have wanted to tell the truth - “ that I have no faith” - the words just do not come - my mouth remains closed. - and yet I still keep on smiling at God and all. (238)
Pray for me, that I may not turn a Judas to Jesus in this painful darkness. (144)
After 15 years of Darkness, she presented Father Neuner with this description….
If there is hell - this must be one. How terrible is to be without God - no prayer - no faith - no love.. - The only thing that still remains - is the conviction that the work is His - that the Sisters & the brothers are His. - And I cling to this as the person having nothing clings to the straw - before drowning. - And yet Father - in spite of all these - I want to be faithful to Him - to spend myself for Him, to love Him not for what He gives but for what He takes - to be at His disposal. (250)
Even when she felt as though she had lost her faith in God, she could not question the authenticity of that experience. (259)
Mother Teresa's uncompromising fidelity to prayer was one virtue that her sister had observed back when she in Loreto. … "People were fascinated just watching Mother pray. They would sit there and watching her be really drawn into this mystery", one of the followers observed. … little did they know that she had not enjoyed the fruits of that intimacy for decades. ..
I don't pray any longer. - I utter words of community prayers - and try my utmost to get out of every word the sweetness it has to give. - But my prayer of union is not there any longer - I no longer pray.- My soul is not one with You. (270)
Mother Teresa had reached the point in her life when she no longer ventured to penetrate or question the mystery of her unremitting darkness.(172)
Seeing people suffer horribly daily,Mother Teresa pondered, "how the people can suffer so much and never break?".
The same question could be put to her: How could she suffer so much and not break?(289)
"Father, I do realize that when I open my mouth to speak to the sisters and to people about God and God's work, it brings them light, joy and courage. But I get nothing of it. Inside it all dark and feeling that I am totally cut off from God". This sounded to me like pure John of the Cross.(306)
Normally people think that saints might not have got any doubts in their faith. It may be true in St. Francis de Sales, since he wrote in his autograph that he had never lived more than 15 minutes without thinking of God. But many saints had experienced the same desperate feelings of Mother. St. John of the Cross, a priest of Carmelite society wrote a poem titled Dark Night of the Soul. This poem was about the tough path one had to pass through to reach Almighty. During this it might have to experience so many hardships. There could be series of question, doubts and so on. Likewise, St. Therese of Lisieuss had written about how she had sunk into darkness. Mother had lived in this confused mind from 1959 to 1997. This would be a shocking thing to almost anybody. More than this it was brought to light by the catholic church. No religion is ready to take any leeway. It never encourages people to question on their own faith. Contrary to thi, church has very openly come out with Mother's spiritual darkness. It is highly appreciable.
Sunday, November 08, 2020
ஜின்னாவின் வாழ்க்கை பற்றிய நூலொன்றை மொழிபெயர்த்துள்ளேன். விரைவில் வெளிவர இருக்கிறது. ஏற்கெனவே "அம்பேத்கரின் உலகம்" என்ற நூலை மொழிபெயர்த்து, விற்பனைக்கு வந்து இப்போது இரண்டாம் பதிவாக வர இருக்கிறது.
இந்த இரு நூல்களிலும் இவ்விரண்டு வரலாற்றுப் பெரியவர்கள் இருவருமே காந்தியை ஏறத்தாழ ஒரே மாதிரி கணித்து வைத்திருப்பதாகப் பார்க்கிறேன். அரசியல் போட்டி … அதனால் எப்படி இருக்கலாம் … என்றும் சிலர் சொல்கிறார்கள். அது உண்மையாகவும் இருக்கலாம்.
இந்து மதம் என்ற பெயர் ஆங்கிலேயர்கள் காலத்தில் மக்கள் கணக்கெடுக்கின் போது இஸ்லாம், கிறித்துவம், சீக்கியம், புத்தம், ஜைனம் … போன்ற சிறுபான்மை மக்களைத் தவிர பிற அனைத்து மக்களையும் ஒரே கூட்டாகப் போட்டு பெரும்பான்மை மக்களை இந்து மதத்திற்குள் “அடைத்து” விட்டார்கள். இன்றும் நம் கிராமத்து மக்களுக்கு பிராமணிய இந்து மதத்தையும் விட குல தெய்வ வழிபாடு - அதாவது, முன்னோர்களை வழிபடுதல் - மட்டுமே முக்கிய பழக்கமாக உள்ளது.
இஸ்லாம், கிறித்துவ மதங்களின் வேத நூல்களை வைத்தும், அவர்களது நம்பிக்கைகளையும் வைத்து எனது கருத்துகளை என் நூலான ‘மதங்களும், சில விவாதங்களும்…’ என்ற நூலில் எழுதியுள்ளேன். ஆனால் இந்து மதம் பற்றிப் பேசும்போது முக்கியமாக நான் எடுத்துக் கொண்ட விஷயம் - சனாதன தர்மம் என்ற தலைப்பில் சாதிய வேறுபாடுகளைக் கட்டிக் காத்து வருவது பற்றியே. எத்தனை பெரிய மனிதர்கள் வந்தாலும், சமூகச் சீர்திருத்தவாதிகள் வந்தாலும் நமது நாட்டில் சாதி வேறுபாடுகள் அழியாது. ஏனெனில் அவை மதங்களோடு இணைக்கப்பட்டு நம்பிக்கைகளோடு பிணைக்கப்பட்டதால் அவைகளை மக்களிடமிருந்து பிரிப்பது கடினம் … கடினம் என்பதை விட முடியாத ஒன்று என்று சொல்வதே சரி.
இப்படிப்பட்ட சாதி வேற்றுமைகளை காந்தி கட்டிக் காக்க வேண்டும் என்று சொல்லியுள்ளார் என்பதை (ப்ளாக் உலகத்திற்குள் வந்த பிறகு) அறிந்த போது அவர் மேலிருந்த மரியாதை பெருமளவு குறைந்து விட்டது. தீண்டாமை வேண்டாம் என்கிறார் … ஆனால் சாதியக் கட்டுகள் இருக்க வேண்டும்; அதுவே இந்து மதத்தைக் கட்டிக் காக்கும் என்கிறார். தொட்டிலை ஆட்டிக் கொண்டு … அந்தக் கதை தான் நினைவுக்கு வருகிறது. எது வேஷம் … எது உண்மை? தெரியவில்லை.
ஜின்னா மதத்தை அரசியலில் கலக்கக் கூடாது என்ற எண்ணத்தில் இருந்தவர் பின்னாளில் அரசியல் சதுராட்டங்களால் மதத்தின் பக்கம் சாய்ந்தார். அவர் காந்தியிடம் அரசியல் தோல்வி கண்ட பிறகே இந்த மாற்றம் நடந்தது என்றறிகிறேன். ஏனெனில் காந்தி இந்து மதத்தை மக்களுக்கு பிடித்த வகையில் கையாண்டுள்ளார். அவரது அரசியல் வெற்றிக்கு இதுவும் ஒரு காரணமாகி விட்டது.
அம்பேத்கர் ”இந்து மதத்தில் பிறந்தேன்; ஆனால் இந்துவாக சாக மாட்டேன்” என்றார். காரணம் தாழ்ந்த சாதியினராகப் பிறந்து, அவமானத்தில் உழன்றதால் ஏற்பட்ட கசப்பு அது. இந்து மதம் சாதி வேற்றுமைகளை எப்போதும் நீட்டித்துக் காத்திருக்கும். அம்மதமே பிறப்பால் மக்களைப் பிரித்து அவர்களைப் பல படிநிலைகளில் வைத்திருக்கும் என்பதாலேயே வேறு மதத்திற்கு மாற முடிவெடுத்தது மட்டுமின்றி அனைத்து தாழ்த்தப்பட்ட மக்களும் அதையே பின்பற்ற வழிகாட்டினார்.
இதில் காந்தியின் நிலைப்பாடு எனக்கும் ஒரு கேள்விக்குரியதாகி விடுகிறது.
Friday, November 06, 2020
Saturday, October 31, 2020
It normally said that whenever anyone gets some theological doubts he should read the religious scripts which would, they say, enlighten them; give them the clarity and all that. But in my case things had so far gone the other way round. I had little doubts. Tried to get answers. People said read the bible. I obliged a little. But I also started not only reading but also analyzing. I went one other "wrong step" too! I started reading the history of religion(s) also. That almost put an end to all my questions. Got the enlightenment. Got my eyes fully opened. Finally, I came back to my earlier conclusion - religion(s) cannot stand against rationality.
Moreover, when we start knowing the religions and their origin and history (especially the Abrahamic religions) they simply lose their grounds to sensible questions.
In Christianity this comes very much true. Its earlier period it was so competitive with so many different groups and Paul had been on the steering wheel in his hand and he manipulated the religion to his direction so well. What we have now as an institutional religion, we come to know, has come through so many trials and changes. Whether it was converting Jesus a god to the whole humankind or fixing the date for Christmas … all these were made by a group of men.
The following essay is one such thing. Judas, always considered as an obnoxious villain changes to a different person who was so close with Jesus. This essay also mentions about the various groups in Christianity and how a stronger team writes the history of the religion. We are taught from childhood that the gospels are words of god. But in reality it is not so. Not even the names of the authors are true! They were written far later than the lifetime and death of Jesus. And they were written by somebody and named after some disciple later. It makes the statement - SUCCESSFUL MEN WRITE THE HISTORY - completely TRUE!
In the earliest period of Christianity, many gospels were written and there were many competing groups among them. The group headed by Irenaeus became the largest. In this group during the second and third centuries. There were martyrs like Justin Martyr, and Tertullian in this group. This group was known as Orthodox. When this group became dominant, a new Christian history was written. (History, as we know, is written always by the winners.) Only the gospels they selected became the approved canonical gospels. Old books when unearthed now show a different story proving that there were many groups in early period. Gospel of Judas is one such book that gives a very different content and it can even change it very much.
GOSPEL OF JUDAS
Judas is one of the most reviled men in history. But was Judas only obeying his master's wishes when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss?
That's what a newly revealed ancient Christian text says.
After being lost for nearly 1,700 years, the Gospel of Judas was restored, authenticated, and translated. A leather-bound Coptic language papyrus document that surfaced during the 1970s, near Beni Masar, Egypt, was named the Codex Tchacos and was first translated in the early 2000. The only copy of it known to exist is a Coptic language text that has been carbon dated to 280 AD, plus or minus 60 years. This research work on it was done by Barabe and his colleagues for the National Geographic Society. Given that it includes late 2nd century theology, it is thought to have been composed in the 2nd century by Gnostic Christians. It asserts that the other disciples had not learned the true Gospel, which Jesus taught only to Judas Iscariot, the sole follower belonging to the "holy generation" among the disciples. The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel. The content consists of conversations between Jesus and Judas Iscariot.
Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst,
in collaboration with François Gaudard
The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during three days before he celebrated Passover.
SCENE 1: Jesus dialogues with his disciples: The prayer of thanksgiving or the eucharist:
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.(35)
But their (disciples) 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)
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? 
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] have gone into hiding?” 
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 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.”(45)
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  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  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 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.’”
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  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],
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. (51)
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. (53)
JUDAS ASKS ABOUT THE DESTINY OF ADAM AND HUMANITY
Judas said to Jesus, “Does the human spirit die?”
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  [—one line missing—].
CONCLUSION: JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS
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.
There were some comments from the translators. Some excerpts from their essays are given:
1. THE STORY OF CODEX TCHACOS AND
THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS
EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAY OF RUDOLPHE KASSER
What I could see from this initial perusal of the text showed it was written in a Sahidic supralocal dilect of the Coptic language.(64)
The papyrus had become so weakened that it didn't tolerate the last touching, nearly all contact, as light as it was, threatened to leave it in dust. (65)
All the folios of the manuscript had, alas, been broken brutally at (about) two-thirds of their height by the deep fold previously mentioned. This rupture had divided every page into two parts of unequal area.(68)
In a satisfying manner, the "packet" of about thirty folios appeared to conclude with the final title - titles then normally appearing at the end - "GOSPEL OF JUDAS". (70)
…a priceless document that was nearly lost to us has at last been saved.(75)
CHRISTIANITY TURNED ON ITS HEAD
THE ALTERNATIVE VISIONOF THE
GOSPEL OF JUDAS
EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAY OF BART D. EHRMAN
The Dead Scrolls discovered in 1947 play a role in our collective popular imagination still today.
The scrolls do not contain any gospels about Jesus or indeed any reference at all to early Christianity.(77)
Writings of Nag Hammadi allegedly record teachings of Jesus himself, in words quite different from those of the New Testament.(78)
The Gospel of Judas is centered on a figure who is widely known, much maligned, and broadly speculated about.(79)
Judas is not the devil, corrupt, devil-inspired follower of Jesus; but instead he is Jesus' closest intimate and friend, who understood Jesus better than anyone else, who turned Jesus over to the authorities because Jesus wanted him to do so.
This gospel has a completely different understanding of God, the world, Christ, salvation and human existence.(80)
Most of the these alternate gospels were eventually destroyed as heretical - that is, for reaching the "wrong ideas" - or were lost in antiquity. Finding them and learning what they have to say has become the obsession of numerous scholars. (81)
This surviving copy was targeted by one of the great authors of the early Christian Church - Bishop Irenaeus, of modern France. In his work he named a number of heretical groups and attacked them. One of the false writings he names was Gospel of Judas. (82)
THE GNOSTIC RELIGIONS
Irenaeus was one of our chief sources of information about the various Gnostic groups of the second century.(83)
For Gnostics, a person is saved not by having faith in Christ or by doing good works. Rather, a person is saved by knowing the truth- the truth about the world we live in, about who the true God is, and especially about who are ourselves are. (84)
Traditional Christianity has taught, of course, that our world is the good creation of the one true God. But that is not the view of Gnostics. How can anyone look at this world and call it good?(85)
.. the ultimate divine being is completely removed from the world. This divine being generated lots of offspring known as aeons who like him were spiritual entities.(85)
Irenaeus' five-volume refutation of Gnostics maligned their beliefs for being hopelessly contradictory, ridiculously detailed and contrary to the teachings of Jesus' own apostles.(88)
JUDAS IN THE GOSPELS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Mark and John don't say anything about Judas' demise, nor does the Gospel of Luke. But in the book of Acts - written by the author of Luke, as a kind of sequel to his gospel - we learn another version of Judas' death. Judas bursts forth in the midst and he spills his intestines on the ground, creating a bloody mess.(96)
JUDAS IN THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS
Jesus reveals the secret to Judas Iscariot alone, his most intimate companion and the only one in this gospel who understands the real truth of Jesus.(97)
Jesus takes him aside, away from the ignorant others, to teach him "the mysteries of the kingdom". Judas alone will receive the secret knowledge necessary for salvation.(98)
Jesus says, "You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me".(101)
UNUSUAL THEOLOGICAL VIEWS OF THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS
The creator of the world is not the one true God; this world is an evil place to be escaped; Christ is not the son of the creator; salvation comes not through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but through the revelation of secret knowledge that he provides. (102)
There was theological wars of the second and third centuries, when different Christian groups maintained different systems of belief and doctrine. (103)
THE VIEW OF GOD IN THE GOSPEL
God of Jesus is not the creator god of the Jews. After their meals the disciples start thanks giving ; but Jesus begins to laugh. The disciples don’t see what is so funny. For this Jesus replies that they don’t know what they are really doing. By giving thanks for their food, they are praising their god - that is, not the God of Jesus. Now the disciples are befuddled: "Master, you are … the son of our god". Jesus responds that no one of their "generation" will know who he really is.(104)
Jesus proceeds to upbraid them and speaks again about "your god who is within you". (Is it the concept of " AHAM BRAHMASMI"!!??)
Judas, the only one who truly understands, declares that Jesus has come from "the immortal realm of Barbelo," that is, from the realm of the true immortal living beings, not from the lower realm of the creator god of the Jews. (105) A number of Christian writings outside the new testament portray Jesus as “docetic” being - that is, as one who looked human only because it was an appearance.(107)
The souls of every human generation will die. When these people 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. (111)
What happened to all the other books, the ones that told a different version of the story and so had been left out of the proto-orthodox canon? Some of them were destroyed but most were simply last or crumbled with age.
IRENAEUS OF LYON AND THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS
EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAY OF GREGOR WURST
IRENAEUS AND PSEUDO-TERTULLIAN
The existence of a gospel of Judas is first attested by the second century Bishop
Irenaeus of Lyon.(122)
According to Irenaeus this group of gnostics argues for reevaluation of the Jewish and orthodox Christian ideas of divine salvation.(123)
From the beginning of the third century on, this group of gnostics was called ‘Cainites’ (followers of Cain) by Christian writers such as Clement of Alexandria.(124)
In the newly discovered text there is no mention of Cain or the other antiheroes from the Jewish scriptures mentioned by Irenaeus. As a result we would have to assume the existence of more than one Gospel of Judas circulating within gnostic communities in antiquity.(127)
COMPARISON OF THE COPTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS WITH IRENAEUS ACCOUNT
Judas Iscariot is portrayed as having a special knowledge about Jesus’ true identity. He appears for the first time on page 35, where he is presented as the only disciple who is able to allow his inner spiritual personality to come to expression before Jesus.(128)
To Judas alone Jesus discloses that knowledge of the ‘great and boundless realm, whose extent no generation of Angels has seen.
At the end, Judas is a perfect gnostic, worthy to be in a sense ‘transfigured’ by ascending into the luminous cloud where he will receive his vision of the divine.(129)
Judas’ task is to sacrifice the body of Jesus.(130)
Gospel of Judas is referred in the book of Acts from the New Testament. On page 36, Jesus says to Judas: “For someone else will replace you in order that the 12 disciples may again come to completion with their God” - a clear allusion to the selection of Matthias to replace Judas in the circle of the twelve disciples. (Acts 1:15-26)
JUDAS AND THE GNOSTIC CONNECTION
EXCERPTS FROM THE ESSAY OF MARVIN MEYER
There is no historical evidence that any group of people within the early Christianity call themselves Cainites; that name seems to be a nickname invented by heresy hunters.(137)
Irenaeus says that in fact certain religious groups refer to themselves as “gnostics”. The knowledge claimed by these people is not worldly knowledge but mystical knowledge, knowledge of God and self and the relationship between God and self. In the Gospel of Judas the word ‘gnosis’ is used twice.(50,54)
As Bart Ehrman also points out in his essay, the Gospel of Judas and Jesus himself in this Gospel thus proclaim salvation through knowledge, the self-knowledge of the divine light within.(139)
The phrase ‘the Immortal realm (or aeon) of Barbelo” is a familiar phrase in Sethian texts.
The origin of Barbelo and her name remains obscure, but it may come from the ineffable four letter name of god, YHWH or YAHWEH - JEHOVAH - used in Jewish scriptures and within Judaism. The Hebrew word for “four”, - arba - may designate the holy name and the name of Barbelo may derive from Hebrew for an expression like “God”.(140)
THE GREAT ONE, BARBELO AND
AUTOGENES THE SELF-GENERATED
The transcendence of the Great One is emphasized in the Gospel of Judas.(144)
Autogenes, the self generated, is discussed in Gospel of Judas 47-50 when Jesus reveals the glorious manner in which the divine extends itself and comes to full expression.
Autogenes is a term commonly used in Sethian texts to characterize the offspring of Barbelo.(146)
Sethian texts speak of divine wisdom personified as Sophia, whose shares traits with Eve and falls into an error that would have grave consequences.
There is only a single reference to Sophia in a fragmentary part of the text where with little explanation she is called “corruptible Sophia”.(150)
SETH AND THE CREATION OF ADAM AND EVE
The figure of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, is a significant figure in the Gospel of Judas. The Gospel of Judas lists Seth (also called Christ) as an angelic ruler of the world.(157)
THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS AS A CHRISTIAN SETHIAN TEXT
In this essay, the Gospel of Judas appears to be an early Christian Sethian Gospel with teachings of Jesus presented to Judas Iscariot to announce a way of Salvation and Enlightenment based upon knowledge of self and the divine.(166)
Jesus says to Judas in Gospel of Judas 57, “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. (169)