Monday, April 10, 2006

witherington on judas, part 2

I was on the phone yesterday with my close friend Dr. A.J. Levine who teaches at Vanderbilt Div. School. She was called in late in the game to give a bit more balance to the group of scholars unveiling the Gospel of Judas. I asked her point blank: " Well A.J. is this document of any importance at all in helping us understand the historical Jesus or the historical Judas and their relationship?" She said unequivocally--- "none whatsoever". In other words, we need to all have our baloney detection meters set to 'heightened alert' as we watch the special on the Gospel of Judas tonight. While this document will tell us more about the split off movement called Gnosticism, and so is of considerable interest as we learn more about church history in the period from the late 2nd century through the fourth century, it tells us nothing about the origins of Christianity or the beginnings of the Jesus movement.


As she reminded me, the way Irenaeus describes the content of the Gospel of Judas that he knows, it has very different content from this Coptic Gospel of Judas which we are now being regaled with.


I would just add that it is perfectly possible that the document Irenaeus knows became a source for this later Coptic document, which again does not date, by carbon dating to before the beginning of the 4th century A.D. This places the Coptic Gospel of Judas at even a further remove from the first century A.D. and its documents. It is entirely possible that the Gospel of Judas we now have is not the original document created by the Cainite Gnostics that Irenaeus knows and speaks of.

his entire comment

- part 1


Anonymous said...

Doing research on this subject and ran across your blog...interesting.

As I respond, I feel anger. How much more "evidential information" do we need today...or even a hundred years ago? Is there really anything new here? The fact is our culture (I feel this is simply part of man's sinfulness) does what it can to get a new cookie rather than eat the balanced meal.

* If only we found the Ark...then
* If only I knew for sure that God said...then


In an age that questions whether "truth" is knowable, is there little wonder something like this would even raise an eyebrow?

I feel God is sad about all of this...deeply sad. He must keep wondering why, with all that He has revealed in His Word, has mankind not learned a thing about being stubborn, autonomous, and naive...always looking, like a little child, to put off and avoid facing himself.

I am coming to terms in my life...that one of the most noble things I can do as a Christian is honoring God's Word and protecting it against those who have no desire to honor, respect, and understand.

Just my rant for today...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you ought to try to come to terms that the most noble thing you can do as a Christian is to follow Jesus and stop attempting to protect God. God has already demonstrated that God can't be killed. Stop defending God and start defending what Jesus has called you to defend: the poor, widows, and orphans of this world.

If anything makes God sad is the reality that you ignore his basic commands to love justice and mercy and would rather argue over what you think the Word of God says.

Truth is knowable... it is known by the way you love one another. Now hop you butt out there and do something for Jesus. He didn't need to be defended 2,000 years ago and he doesn't need to be defended today.

That's my rant about your rant.

Anonymous said...

"If anything makes God sad is the reality that you ignore his basic commands to love justice and mercy and would rather argue over what you think the Word of God says."

--Well, that 's certainly throwing the baby out with the bathwater! You pretty much summed up the classic, "either/or" argument of the Emerging Church Movement…which is very immature.

Honoring truth, as it is clearly revealed, certainly DOES mean following Jesus, and defending the poor, widows, and orphans of this world. The statement; “Truth is knowable... it is known by the way you love one another” is sexy today, but it is radically incomplete. It sounds like something Bono would say.

To say I am going to honor God by loving others asks, “How do you define love?” My neighbor’s definition of love is walking his dog and keeping to himself. The lady I work with loves by working real hard. How does one understand Jesus’ love…if they so care to ponder this? This is where truth comes in…honoring God’s Word. That does not mean (as you seem to have suggested) that we live in an academic, stale world. Truth, when known always has its end in action…motion. The core issue here is alignment of heart. That’s always the issue…motive. Was Paul a slagger? He was one of the most intense and passionate men who ever lived out his faith in Christ.

It’s not an either/or…it’s a both/and. There's nothing wrong with the Bible...just those who chose to ignor it over self serving purposes...and I mean in church movements who claim to be honoring Christ.

Let the rant continue! :)

Anonymous said...

Howdy. Please go back and read my comments again. It was simply a rant for all those who would rather rant about the word of God rather than follow the Living Word into the world. Jesus did not need apologists, he needed followers.

As far as neighbor is concerned, stop there... and then consider who Jesus said your neighbor is... then you will find what love according to Jesus means.

Truth is not something we know or possess, it is something we live.

We hold to Jesus' teachings and are therefore disciples, not by what we know but how we follow Jesus. That is where truth is discovered by following Jesus-- holding to his teachings and that is how we'll be set free.


JSV said...

I've read both comments and feel the limiatation of the posted comments go.

I like what Stephen says..."transpropositions are not antithetical to propositions. Propositions point to transpropositions. "