I watched the National Geographic two-hour "Gospel of Judas" docu-drama last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it! I tried to tape it, but my tuner was not working.
Here's some notes anyway:
My favorite part was the Judas research of Klassen (U. of Waterloo, Canada). I think we have discussed other Judas research here in the forum, especially the following article:
"The Judas Goat"
Klassen mentioned the multiple Gospel accounts of Judas' death, that is, hanging himself and falling off a cliff. Hanging/ dismemberment/ beheading is an aspect of the death of Osiris. Falling/ being pushed off a cliff is associated with the scapegoat ritual and the god Re. Judas was apparently cast as a substitute for Jesus in both of these roles, and so that Jesus himself would not have to die in order to "fulfill" those roles. The idea of substitution for a king fated to die is perhaps as old as kingship itself. We also have the tradition in myth that a person, even a king, could not ascend from the underworld (figurative of death) without someone being sent from the upperworld to take his place.
In Mesopotamian lore, Osiris/Dumuzi was betrayed by his sister-wife Isis/Ninanna/Geshtinanna. Perhaps this is why Judas must betray Jesus with a kiss. In my book it is shown that Elisha, a leading "type of Christ" in the Old Testament, was betrayed by Ahab (future pharaoh Aye) and by Jeroboam (future High Priest Panehesy), who both coveted kingship and the wealth that went with it. Both of these figures were also considered members of the 18th Dynasty "House of Judah" (although Aye more so than Panehesy). It was perhaps Aye who kissed the young Tut (goodbye) before leading him into the ambush that led to his death.
At the beginning of the show it was suggested that the Gospel of Judas claims Jesus arranged his own execution. The topic was never revisited. I also found myself waiting for a better look at the ring hanging from Marvin Meyer's left ear. But each time he appeared to comment the camera was, tantalizing, angled slightly from his right. This subtle bit of production was almost as suspenseful as the documentary itself!
Another interesting element was the emphasis on Judas Iscariot as a symbol in Christianity for Jews in general and hatred of Jews in particular. The point taken was that it is now politically correct to rehabilitate the memory of Judas, because we are also trying to heal relations between Christians and Jews. I suppose a bandaid is better than nothing, but we know the cure.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.