Reading Challenge VII

While sitting in a coffee shop this afternoon, I finished Elaine Pagels and Karen King's recent collaboration Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. I loved it even though it didn't dig into the text as much as I would have liked. I learned something about myself and my approach to the character of Judas (whom I have always valued).

Both in college and seminary, I loved working with non-canonical texts. I loved the insights that they provided me in reading the Gospels within the canon. Even now, when I read the Easter story in John, I can't escape what it means for John to be reacting to the various authors of the Gospel of Mary and the Gospel of Peter. That race means so much more to me because of the study that I did in seminary. Now, I feel like I have that for Judas. It's no longer a hunch that there is something more to say. There is a story that hasn't been told and needs to be shared. I'm grateful for the energy that Pagels and King offered in this work. Although, I admit I want more.

I believe that this will be my text for Second Easter. I refuse to preach on Doubting Thomas again. This is a story I can talk about.


Cecilia said...

I want to ask you a question. Have you done any study on the question of whether Judas is a composite name, a way of blaming the Jews for Jesus' crucifixion? This is a hunch I have had for a long time... I really wonder about it.

Just a question inspired by your musings on non-canonical texts.

Pax, C.

Pastor Peters said...

it's not mentioned anywhere that i have read. you should read this. it's really interesting to hear the "voice of judas" from the text. he is not the betrayer. well, he is not only the betrayer.

but there is no blame. this is what i really like. it was just something that had to be. and as much as i struggle with jesus' death, if jesus was who i believe him to be (you know, release to the captives and good news to the poor and all), he had to die. not because he was atoning for sin. but because this was far too radical for the powers that be. he was too great of a threat. judas' gospel offers greater insight to this.