Journal Article

MODERN GOSPELS OF JUDAS: CANON AND BETRAYAL

Hugh S. Pyper

in Literature and Theology

Volume 15, issue 2, pages 111-122
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/15.2.111
MODERN GOSPELS OF JUDAS: CANON AND BETRAYAL

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Contemporary versions of the Gospel purporting to be written by Judas Iscariot are surprisingly common. This paper reviews some examples of this genre and argues that they are symptoms of a wider reversal which sees the canonical gospel writers as the real betrayers of Jesus and Judas as the representative of the modern reader as the one excluded from the text. This is examined in the light of wider arguments over the effect of any recognition of a canon. The recovery of gnostic texts has fuelled such arguments. In this regard Harold Bloom's championship of the Western canon from an avowedly gnostic position is intriguing The argument presented here is that the reaction against the canon which champions Judas is a symptom of a reaction against the Christian notion of election Though this reaction uses a rhetoric of equality, its effect can be to defend elitism. The paper ends by positing a link here with the modern repudiation of resurrection in favour of survival as the ground of hope

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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