The mortal race and the immortal race



"This language of"race"Appears frequently in the 'Gospel of Judas'. Although the author often uses the plural"human races," in essence only two races exist: the mortal race (those who worship the false Gods of the lower world and are destined to be destroyed at the end of the age) and the immortal race (those who recognize their own spiritual nature and turn to the true God above)... Death, it would seem, is not inevitable, but a result of not learning how to distinguish between the mortal world where people live now and the eternal world above. Since humanity is created in the image of the divine Adamas above - in that sense, people come from the imperishable - they are capable of becoming imperishable."

"[he] laughed.

The discipl[e]s said to him," Teacher, why do you laugh at [our] offering thanks? Or what did we do? [This] is what is right."

He replied, telling them," It is not you I am laughing at - you are not even doing this by [yo]ur own will - but (I'm laughing because) in this (offering of thanks), your 'God' will receive praise."

"Teacher, 'you' are [.....] the Son of our God," they said.


Comments:

Whenever Jesus laughs in the 'Gospel of Judas', he is about to correct errors in someone's thinking. In this instance, Jesus's laughter is a kind of ridicule or mockery intended to shock the disciples out of their complacency and false pride. Their deepest problem is that they don't know they have a problem; they wrongly think they are already righteous, with their prayers and practices of piety. Jesus tries to teach them that they are not worshipping the true God. At first they are astonished, not understanding, and they insist (wrongly) that Jesus is the Son of"our"God. The very fact that they are celebrating the eucharist shows that they are wrong in their understanding that God demands Jesus's death as a sacrifice. The author of the 'Gospel of Judas' is reading the situation of his own day back into the gospel story, since Christians did not celebrate the eucharist as a sacrificial meal until after Jesus's death. But the author's point here is that Jesus himself opposed this (later) practice, because it misconstrued the true meaning of his death, as the author sees it.


"Truly I say to you, no race from the people among you will ever know me."

Comments:

When Jesus declares that none of his disciples ("no race from the people among you") will ever know him, he is saying that people who consider themselves to be"children"of the false"God"Will never be able to perceive who Jesus is - that he is the Son of the true God above.

The term the author uses here is 'genos', which could be translated"kind," "people," or"race."Contrary to the notion that Christians broke down barriers of race, class, and gender (as in 'Galatians' 3:28," There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus"), they continued to use the language of ethnic and racial identity to understand Christians as a people, often calling themselves"A third race."This language of"race" appears frequently in the 'Gospel of Judas'. Although the author often uses the plural"human races," in essence only two races exist: the mortal race (those who worship the false Gods of the lower world and are destined to be destroyed at the end of the age) and the immortal race (those who recognize their own spiritual nature and turn to the true God above).

A similar idea is stated clearly in another book from Nag Hammadi, the 'Sophia of Jesus Christ', in which Jesus teaches that" (e)verything that came from the perishable will perish, since it came from the perishable. But whatever came from the imperishable does not perish but becomes imperishable. So, many people went astray because they had not known this difference and they died" (III.98:1-9). Death, it would seem, is not inevitable, but a result of not learning how to distinguish between the mortal world where people live now and the eternal world above. Since humanity is created in the image of the divine Adamas above - in that sense, people come from the imperishable - they are capable of becoming imperishable.


"Judas said to him," I know who you are and which place you came from - you came from the realm of the immortal Barbelo - [24] but I am not worthy to proclaim the name of the one who sent you."

Comments:

(P.132) Here we get the first indication of why Jesus promotes Judas over the others. He alone recognizes who Jesus really is: "I know who you are and which place you came from."In the New Testament gospels as well, the disciples struggle and often fail to understand Jesus's true identity. For example, in the 'Gospel of Mark',[4] only Peter understands that Jesus is the Christ; but even he rejects Jesus's crucifixion, and Jesus turns on him, calling him Satan and charging," You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things" ('Mark' 8:27-33). [5] (P.133) Jesus's disciples in the 'Gospel of John' also fail to recognize Jesus; even though they claim they have understood, at the end, they all desert him - and Peter actually denies him three times ('John' 14:1-11; 16:28-32; 18:15-27). [6] Like the disciples in the 'Gospel of John', who flee at Jesus's arrest, the disciples in the 'Gospel of Judas' are afraid: proof that they do not really believe, because they do not really understand who Jesus is and where he comes from.

The term translated"realm"here is 'eon', which means"A period of time"," an age"," a lifetime." In adverbial form, 'aionios', it means"eternity." The term appears frequently in the 'Gospel of Judas' to refer both to the immortal, eternal realm above and to the mortal, limited realm below. It thus has a very strong spatial as well as temporal connotation. In other Christian texts, the term is also sometimes personified, so that it refers to a kind of eternal being - like angels or archangels - but here the main sense is a realm that exists with regard to a period of time (whether limited or eternal).

The name Barbelo will be unfamiliar to most readers, and indeed she appears only once in the 'Gospel of Judas', but this figure is familiar from other ancient texts discovered in Egypt over the last century. Many of these belong to a type of Christianity scholars call Sethianism (or Sethian Gnosticism), because these works claim that the spiritual race of humanity is descended from Adam's third son, Seth (or Eve's daughter, Norea). In these works, Barbelo appears as the divine Mother, the second figure of the Divine triad: Father (the Invisible Spirit), Mother (Barbelo), Son (Autogenes, the Self- generated One, Christ). In many such works, the"realm of Barbelo" encompasses the whole divine sphere above, so it is a kind of shorthand reference to the divine realm."

Reading Judas - The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity,
'Comments on the Translation', Pg. 127-132
Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King
Penguin Group - London, England
ISBN 978-0-713-99984-6


If people turn inward and come to know their inner spirit ... their souls live on with the immortal spirit given by God.

"[11]-[17] of Chapter 13

Judas said to Jesus," Does the human spirit die?"

Jesus said," This is the way it is: God commanded Michael to loan the spirits of human beings to them so they might worship (him). Then the Great One commanded Gabriel to give the spirit with the soul to the spirits of the great undominated race. (P.120) Because of this, the re[mai]ning souls will... ['bout one and a half lines are untranslatable']
... light ... ['bout one and a half lines are untranslatable'] ... to seek [after the] spirit within you (pl.) [which y]ou make to dwell in this [fle]sh among the races of the an[gel]s. Then God required knowledge [to be given] to Adam and those with him in order that the rulers of chaos and oblivion should not lord it over them."

Comments:

Judas's next question," Does the human spirit die?," shows that he is beginning to understand. The body will die and the world will perish, but the spirit does not belong to this perishable realm but to the world above. What will happen to it at the end of time? The divine spirit cannot perish, but the 'Gospel of Judas' assumes the death of the physical body and its finality. Moreover, it teaches that even souls are mortal unless they are joined with immortal spirits. Jesus has already told Judas that the souls of everyone who belongs solely to the human race will die (8:2). But here Judas asks about the spirit, not the body or the soul. Jesus's answer to his question is complex. He says that God commanded the angel Michael only to loan spirits to human beings, so that they might worship God for the time allotted to their kingdom (with its ruler). But when that time is over, their worship comes to an end and they die (body and soul). But, Jesus says, others receive a spirit from another angel, Gabriel, so that when their bodies die, their souls remain alive and are lifted up to the heavenly realm. These received the spirits of the great undominated race: that is to say, spirits from the kingdom above, where the rulers of chaos cannot lord over them. Those with immortal spirits will dwell above forever in the holy place reserved for them (8:3-4; 13:12-13). Thus, in the end, the souls of those who worship the angelic rulers of the lower world perish along with them, while the souls of those who turn toward the world above remain united with the spirit and are lifted up to join the holy race on high.

Although throughout the gospel Jesus speaks about atwo' races - the mortal and immortal - making it sound like people are predestined for either death or eternal life, that is not an accurate reading of the 'Gospel of Judas'. Rather, what we see are two perspectives intertwined. From the viewpoint of the final judgment at the end of time, people can be divided into these two groups. As Jesus explains it, all people have received spirits from God, but some people only have them on"loan," while others possess spirits of the"great undominated race."Although this sounds deterministic, he goes on to call upon souls to seek the spirit within. People, Jesus teaches, are the ones who cause the spirit to dwell in the flesh, for God gave humanity (Adam and those with him) the knowledge they need to escape the domination of the world rulers. Thus Jesus makes it clear that everyone is created in the image of the divine Adamas, and everyone has a spirit from God. Whether they lose their divine spirits when they die or whether they ascend to the eternal realm above depends on what they do in this life. If people turn inward and come to know their inner spirit, they surpass the rule of the lower angels, and when their bodies perish, their souls live on with the immortal spirit given by God. If, however, they refuse to follow Jesus's teaching and persist in their false piety, following the violent path of the world rulers, at death they perish entirely, bodies and souls, for their spirits leave them as they ascend back to God. So from the perspective of the present time, salvation is a possibility for everyone. (P.161) The true nature of individuals - whether they belong to the mortal human race or the great undominated race - will only become clear at the end."

Reading Judas - The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity,
'Comments on the Translation' Pg. 119; 159
Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King
Penguin Group - London, England


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