- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I’m loath even to touch on a subject about which, I suspect, many readers are far savvier than I. But in the debate over the “Gospel of Judas,” does it strike anyone else as self-defeating for boosters like Elaine Pagels to cherry-pick a literal assertion — that Judas was just following orders — from this discovery, only to cast doubt generally on the literal truth of the four canonical gospels? Isn’t this a case of having cake and eating it, too?

The so-called Gnostic texts are famous for their impenetrable mysticism; as Pagels writes, they were written as “advanced-level teaching for those who had already received Jesus’ basic message.” Perhaps. But doesn’t that disqualify them from even being considered definitive sources of historical Jesus scholarship?

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