Crucifixion demonstrates "What dies is only the mortal body, not the living spirit."
"The central idea is that "those who imagine human sacrifice pleases God have no understanding of the Father..." And even more, "By teaching that Jesus died in agony for the sins of the world and encouraging his followers to die as he did, certain leaders send them on a path toward destruction - while encouraging them with the false promise that they will be resurrected from death to eternal life in the flesh." The Gospel of Judas teaches that at the moment of death the human body dies and there is no resurrection of the flesh. Eternal life has to do with understanding our spiritual, non-physical connection to God. Judas says that the crucifixion of Jesus demonstrates that the death of the body is not an end of our "real" life. "What dies is only the mortal body, not the living spirit." "
The Spiritual Reviewer Rates this book 8.2 April 2, 2007
By The Spiritual Reviewer (Center Harbor, NH United States)
This book presents us with a content analysis and the actual translated text of the Gospel of Judas, which was accidentally discovered by peasants in a burial cave in the 1970's in Middle Egypt near al Minya. The archaeological find was finally made public by the National Geographic Society in April 2006. Award-winning authors, Pagels and King, who study, translate and specialize in early Christian writings, estimate that the Gospel "was written sometime around 150 C.E., about a century after Judas would have lived, it is impossible that he wrote it; the real author remains anonymous."
In addition to its outside-the-box spiritual teaching, this Gospel is valued because it clearly shows that the early Christian movement was not characterized by the unified, simplistic and fixed message that we hear today. Rather, it's yet another piece of evidence that demonstrates there were many different and controversial messages, each competing for a position of supremacy, each claiming to be the divine truth, each messenger asserting to be the most special and favored one. While many people are comforted by the idea that the 12 apostles worked together and that they unanimously embraced and delivered the same doctrines, this homogenized and white-washed picture is a distortion of the historical facts, rivalries and power struggles that are now being revealed.
MESSAGE OF LOVE: Score 10
If God is Love and only Love, He cannot be violence. The Gospel of Judas renounces violence, sacrifice, martyrdom and even the cannibalistic practice of symbolically eating the body and blood of Christ as God's Will. This is in direct contrast to one of the central messages of Christianity, where sacrifice and suffering is used as a bargaining tool with God: "With the suffering of just one hour, you can purchase for yourself eternal life!"
The central idea is that "those who imagine human sacrifice pleases God have no understanding of the Father..." And even more, "By teaching that Jesus died in agony for the sins of the world and encouraging his followers to die as he did, certain leaders send them on a path toward destruction - while encouraging them with the false promise that they will be resurrected from death to eternal life in the flesh." The Gospel of Judas teaches that at the moment of death the human body dies and there is no resurrection of the flesh. Eternal life has to do with understanding our spiritual, non-physical connection to God. Judas says that the crucifixion of Jesus demonstrates that the death of the body is not an end of our "real" life. "What dies is only the mortal body, not the living spirit."
INSPIRATION: Score 10
Inspiration from this work does not come in the conventional manner, as an emotional surge. Rather, it comes as a subtle opportunity to forgive Judas and to release him from the judgments we hold against him (and thus, against ourselves)
The reader is invited to perceive Judas Iscariot in a new, uplifting and more loving way. Instead of meeting him as the predictable and villainous betrayer, we are re-introduced to him as the only one who really understands and gets the message that Jesus was trying to deliver: that suffering is not necessary; that suffering has no value; that suffering can be transcended. Judas is characterized as the only disciple who is ready and able to hear the mysteries of the kingdom: "...that there is another glorious divine realm above the material world, and an immortal holy race exists above the perishable human race."
PRACTICALITY OR RELEVANCE: Score 10
Anything that forces us to open the mind and look more closely at fundamental religious beliefs to see if they still make sense is highly relevant. This is because our beliefs guide our actions and our actions determine our life experience. The authors tell us that over the past 40 years "we have gained access to over forty gospels, letters, and other early Christian works." The Gospel of Judas is as important today as it was when it was written.
READABILITY: Score 4
Reading Judas is scholarly, well-written and well-researched. But that said, the actual reading experience is more like forcing yourself to take medicine or to do a homework assignment. You know it's good for you, but you don't really enjoy it. Because of that, this book would best be suited for those who are more intellectually inclined than those who are looking for a quick and easy read.
TOTAL SCORE: 34
AVERAGE SCORE: 8.2
Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity
The resurrection of Jesus is not the central datum of Christianity
Deepak Chopra: "Jesus belongs to the world. The promise ..."
Crucifixion demonstrates "what dies is mortal body, not living spirit"
Entrance into Kingdom of God which Jesus speaks
The granting of the spirit of holiness is viewed as yet to take place ...
The Second Birth of Man—In Spirit
Eschatological aspect of the kingdom possesses for Jesus ...
Resurrection is accomplished by the wind of heaven
The Resurrection of Christ Within You
Jesus rebukes those who seek access to God elsewhere
Jesus proclaimed "salvation through knowledge ... of the divine light"
Jesus presented "salvation .. based upon knowledge of self"
THE APOCALYPSE OF THE SPIRIT-PARACLETE
Fulfillment of the promised divine eschatological instruction
"It's better to tell you after Realization that I am the Holy Ghost – no doubt. I am the one about which Christ has talked."
The Paraclete Shri Mataji
"Jesus therefore predicts that God will later send a human being to Earth to take up the role defined by John .i.e. to be a prophet who hears God’s words and repeats his message to man."
M. Bucaille, The Bible, the Qur'an, and Science
"And when Jesus foreannounced another Comforter, He must have intended a Person as distinct and helpful as He had been."
F. B. Meyer, Love to the Utmost
"The Paraclete has a twofold function: to communicate Christ to believers and, to put the world on trial"
Robert Kysar, John The Meverick Gospel
"But She—the Spirit, the Paraclete...—will teach you everything."
Danny Mahar, Aramaic Made EZ)
"Grammatical nonsense but evidence of the theological desire to defeminize the Divine."
Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything
"The functions of the Paraclete spelled out in verses 13-15... are all acts of open and bold speaking in the highest degree."
David Fleer, Preaching John's Gospel: The World It Imagines
"The reaction of the world to the Paraclete will be much the same as the world’s reaction was to Jesus."
Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology
Bultmann calls the "coming of the Redeemer an 'eschatological event,' 'the turning-point of the ages."
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament
"The Paraclete equated with the Holy Spirit, is the only mediator of the word of the exalted Christ."
(M.E. Boring) Benny Thettayil, In Spirit and Truth
"The divine Paraclete, and no lessor agency, must show the world how wrong it was about him who was in the right."
Daniel B. Stevick , Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17
Stephen Smalley asserts that "the Spirit-Paraclete ... in John’s Gospel is understood as personal, indeed, as a person."
Marianne Meye Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John
"The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious)"
Eric Eve, The Jewish context of Jesus' Miracles
"The remembrance is to relive and re-enact the Christ event, to bring about new eschatological decision in time and space."
Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God
"The Spirit acts in such an international situation as the revealer of 'judgment' on the powers that rule the world."
Michael Welker, God the Spirit
The Paraclete's "appearance means that sin, righteousness, and judgment will be revealed."
Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament
"While the Spirit-Paraclete is the true broker, the brokers they rely on are impostors."
T. G. Brown, Spirit in the writings of John
"The pneumatological activity ... of the Paraclete ... may most helpfully be considered in terms of the salvific working of the hidden Spirit."
Michael Welker, The work of the Spirit
"The pneuma is the peculiar power by which the word becomes the words of eternal life."
Robert Kysar, Voyages with John: Charting the Fourth Gospel
"The gift of peace, therefore, is intimately associated with the gift of the Spirit-Paraclete"
Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John
"This utopian hope, even when modestly expressed, links Jesus and the prophets to a much wider history of human longing."
Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith
"Because of the presence of the Paraclete in the life of the believer, the blessings of the end-times—the eschaton—are already present"
Robert Kysar, John
"They are going, by the Holy Spirit’s power, to be part of the greatest miracle of all, bringing men to salvation."
Robert E. Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary
"The Kingdom of God stands as a comprehensive term for all that the messianic salvation included... is something to be sought here and now (Mt. 6:33) and to be received as children receive a gift (Mk. 10:15 = Lk. 18:16-17)."
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament
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