Exciting “New” Gospels? W hat Catholics need to know about the Gospel of Judas and other apocryphal writings. Religious Education Congress Sunday, March 2, 2008 Felix Just, S.J. http://catholic-resources.org. Introduction: Apocryphal Books.
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Religious Education Congress
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Felix Just, S.J.
1st Cent. – individual writings composed
2nd Cent. – writings collected (4 Gospels; Paul’s Letters)
4th Cent. – early canon lists
16th Cent. – Council of Trent
1) Apostolic Origin –
2) Universal Acceptance –
3) Liturgical Use –
4) Consistent Message –
(See the bibliography, on back of the handout.)
(mid-2nd Cent.; Engl. trans. Andrew Bernhard)
Chap. 1: In the histories of the twelve tribes of Israel, Joachim was an extremely rich man . . . As the great day of the Lord was drawing near and the children of Israel were bringing their offerings, however, Reubel stood in his way, saying, "You cannot offer your gifts first because you have not conceived a child in Israel." . . .
Then, Joachim was extremely frustrated and did not appear to his wife, but gave himself to the desert and pitched his tent there. He fasted forty days and forty nights. All the while, Joachim was saying to himself, "I will not go down for food or drink until the Lord my God visits me; prayer will be my food and drink."
Ch. 2: Then, his wife Anna mourned and lamented greatly for two reasons, saying, "I lament that I am a widow and I lament that I am childless."…she petitioned the Lord, saying, "God of my ancestors, bless me and hear my prayer, just as you blessed our mother Sarah and gave her son Isaac to her."
Ch. 4: Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood in front of her, saying, "Anna, Anna, the Lord God has heard your prayer. You will conceive and give birth and your child will be spoken of everywhere people live." And Anna said, "As the Lord God lives, whether I give birth to either a male or a female child, I will bring it as an offering to the Lord my God and it will be a servant to him all the days of its life."
Next, two angels came, saying to her, "Look your husband Joachim is coming with his flocks." For an angel of the Lord had gone down to Joachim, saying, "Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down from here. Look, your wife Anna has conceived in her womb."
Ch. 5: …After nine months, Anna gave birth and she said to the midwife, "What is it?" The midwife said, "A girl." Anna said, "My soul exalts this day." And she put her baby to bed. After her days were completed, Anna cleansed herself and gave her breast to the child and gave her the name Mary.
Ch. 6 – At 6 months, Mary walks. At one year, she is blessed by the high priests.
Ch. 7 – At age 3, Mary is taken to live in the temple.
Ch. 8-9 – At age 12, Mary is given to Joseph, a widower.
Ch. 11-12 – At age 16, Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel; then she visits her cousin Elizabeth.
Ch. 13-14 – Joseph discovers her pregnant; Joseph's dream
Ch. 15-16 – Mary & Joseph are questioned before the court.
Ch. 17-18 – They go to Bethlehem, and Jesus is born.
Ch. 19-20 – A midwife attests that Mary is still a virgin.
Ch. 21-22 – Magi come visit; Herod kills all the infant boys near Bethlehem; Mary hides Jesus; Elizabeth hides John
Ch. 23-24 – Still seeking John, Herod murders Zechariah(see Matt 23:35 & Luke 11:51 – "…the blood of Zechariah son of Zarachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
Ch. 25 – "I, James, wrote this history when there was unrest in Jerusalem, at the time Herod died. I took myself into the desert until the unrest in Jerusalem ceased. All the while, I was glorifying God who gave me the wisdom to write this history. And grace will be with all who fear the Lord. Amen.“
Birth of Mary / Revelation of James
Peace to the writer and the reader
(Mid-2nd Cent.; Engl. trans. Andrew Bernhard)
(1) I, Thomas the Israelite, am reporting to you, all my brothers from the nations, to reveal the childhood and the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ, what he did in my country after he was born. This is the beginning of it.
(2) When the boy Jesus was five years old, he was playing in a narrow part of a rushing stream. He was gathering the flowing waters into ponds, and immediately they were made clean, and he ordered these things with a single word.
(2 cont.) And after he made clay, he molded twelve sparrows from it. And it was the Sabbath when he did these things. . .
Then, a certain Jew saw what Jesus was doing while playing on the Sabbath. Immediately, he departed and reported to Jesus' father, Joseph, "Look, your child is in the stream and he took clay and formed twelve birds and profaned the Sabbath?"
And Joseph went to the area and when he saw him, he shouted, "Why are you doing these things that are not permitted on the Sabbath?" Jesus, however, clapped his hands and shouted to the sparrows, "Depart, fly, and remember me now that you are alive."
And the sparrows departed shrieking.
When the Jews saw this, they were amazed. . .
(3) The son of Annas the scribe was standing there with Jesus. Taking a branch from a willow tree, he dispersed the waters which Jesus had gathered.
When Jesus saw what had happened, he became angry and said to him, "You godless, brainless moron, what did the ponds and waters do to you? Watch this now: you are going to dry up like a tree and you will never produce leaves or roots or fruit."
And immediately, this child withered up completely.
Then, Jesus departed and returned to Joseph's house. The parents of the one who had been withered up, however, wailed for their young child as they took his remains away.
Then, they went to Joseph and accused him, "You are responsible for the child who did this."
(4) Next, he was going through the village again and a running child bumped his shoulder. Becoming bitter, Jesus said to him, "You will not complete your journey." Immediately, he fell down and died.
Then, some of the people who had seen what had happened said, "Where has this child come from so that his every word is a completed deed?"
And going to Joseph, the parents of the one who had died found fault with him. They said, "Because you have such a child, you are not allowed to live with us in the village, or at least teach him to bless and not curse. For our children are dead!"
(5-8) Jesus, at age 5, is already wiser than teachers.
(9) And after a few days passed, Jesus was up on a roof of a house. And one of the children playing with him died after falling off the roof. . . When the parents of the one who had died came, they accused Jesus, "Troublemaker, you threw him down."
But Jesus replied, "I did not throw him down, rather he threw himself down. When he was not acting carefully, he leaped off the roof and died." Jesus leaped off the roof and stood by the corpse of the boy and cried out with a loud voice and said, "Zeno," - for that was his name - "rise up, talk to me: did I throw you down?"
And rising up immediately, he said, "No, Lord, you did not throw me down, but you did raise me up."
And when they saw this, they were overwhelmed. The parents of the child glorified God on account of the sign which had happened and they worshipped Jesus.
(10) – another miracle, after which the witnesses worship him
(11)When Jesus was six years old, his mother sent him to draw water to carry into the house. But he accidentally let the water go in the crowd, and crashing, the water jar broke. But unfolding the cloak which was thrown around him, he filled it with water and carried it to his mother.
When his mother saw the sign he had done, she kissed him and treasured in her heart the mysterious things she had seen him do.
(12)Then again, in the season of sowing, the child went with his father to sow grain in their field. And as his father was sowing, the child Jesus also sowed one measure of grain.
And after he harvested and threshed it, it produced one hundred measures. And calling all the poor of the village to the threshing floor, he gave them grain freely.
And Joseph carried the remaining grain away.
Jesus was eight years old when he did this sign.
(13) – another miracle, after which Joseph is grateful
(14-15) – more stories of Jesus being wiser than teachers
(16) Then, Joseph sent his son James to tie up wood and bring it into his house, but the child Jesus also followed him.
And while James was collecting the bushes, a viper bit his hand. And as he lay on the ground dying, Jesus approached and blew on the bite. And immediately, his anguish ceased and the animal broke apart and at once James was healthy.
(17-18) – more miracles, after which everyone is amazed
(19) – Jesus, at age 12, goes to Jerusalem with his parents(see Luke 2:41-52)
Conclusion: "And Jesus continued to grow in wisdom and age and grace. To him be the glory forever and ever, amen."
(late 2nd Cent. text; discovered 1886; fragmentary begin & end)
0) These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.
1) And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death."
2) Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"
3) Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."
4) Jesus said, "The person old in days won't hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live. For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one."
6) His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?" Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed."
7) Jesus said, "Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human."
8) And he said, The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!
9) Jesus said, Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn't take root in the soil and didn't produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure.
48)Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move."
56)Jesus said, "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy."
77)Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."
Last saying (possibly added late):
114) Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life."
Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males.
For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."
“Others again declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves. On this account, they add, they have been assailed by the Creator, yet no one of them has suffered injury. For Sophia was in the habit of carrying off that which belonged to her from them to herself. They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas.”
(Against Heresies, I.30: “Doctrines of the Cainites”)
1) Letter of Peter to Philip; 2) James (First Apocalypse of)
3)Gospel of Judas;4) Book of Allogenes (frag.)
Excerpts from The Gospel of Judas, edited by R. Kasser, M. Meyer, and G. Wurst. National Geographic Society, 2006.
The Gospel of Judas
1) Criteria for Canonicity:
2) Existence of MANY OTHER ancient religious books, not included in either the OT or NT:
3) Differences between Christianity & Gnosticism:
1) "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary." (59.6b-11a; J. Robinson, NHL, p. 145)
2) As for the Wisdom who is called "the barren," she is the mother [of the] angels.And the companion of the [. . .] Mary Magdalene. [. . . loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [. . .]. The rest of [the disciples . . . // . . .].They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness." (63.30b-64.9; J. Robinson, NHL, p. 145)
Ch. 5:But they were grieved. They wept greatly, saying, “How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare Him, how will they spare us?”
Ch. 9: When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.
The Gospel according to Mary