Friday, August 07, 2015


The most rejuvenating approach of this old story: Jesus, Judas, James + John, Joseph and a few others


An essential gospel, even if we must be very cautious because of the great lacunae. Judas can finally be rehabilitated, at least in his intentions. But beyond Judas it is providing a completely new way of looking at Jesus. First of all he laughs, which is not one distinctive trait of his in the standard gospels. But the analysis and notes accompanying the text are far under, beneath, underneath what we should expect.

I will just give some examples. Hundreds of pages could and should be written about the unacceptable presentations of Ehrman and Meyer. They start from the very beginning by considering this text can be classified as "Sethian Gnosticism" and then they only compare what they can read of the text with other Gnostic documents of the period and of the same trend. From time to time they show some parallel elements in the official gospels.

They obviously stand for the standard approach of Jesus and do not even use the word "traitor" and its derived brothers and sisters in quotes. Judas is once and forever a traitor and his act is once and forever treachery, betrayal, etc. That is anti-historical. A historian is supposed to remain neutral and a history book, even on the worst tyrant, Hitler for example, would not call him systematically and without a distance-building stance a butcher or whatever.

But there is a lot worse. They have decided that this gospel was written in 130-150 CE and originally in Greek. They forget that Christ preached to a lot of people who memorized his preaching with their photographic ears and then went around repeating what they had heard. The disciples were the perambulating loudspeakers of what Jesus had said and around them many others had a perfect memory of just that, what Jesus had said. The oral tradition of an oral society in which only a very small minority of people can write and read.

A continent like Africa entirely lived on that tradition till the Europeans pounced upon them with writing, reading and schooling. Jesus preached in Palestine and Jerusalem (the Temple essentially). He was a rabbi. So he preached in the local language, Aramaic, though he probably understood and spoke some Greek and Latin, and he was able to read Hebrew, and probably write it too. His preaching was only later translated into other languages, Greek first of all, when the preaching went out of the Jewish community, essentially due to Paul (who is in no way one of the twelve apostles and had little commerce with Jesus when alive) and then the apostles sent by James at the beginning to Egypt and other non-Jewish places. To pretend the original language was Greek is absurd.

Maybe the original written version was in Greek, and hence had been translated from Aramaic. But not the original preaching of Jesus or Judas or any other apostle, including as for that the Jewish legion officer Saul, later to become Paul, the self appointed apostle of the Gentiles. This of course leads to mistakes. Both clerical and university research scholars are working in France on the parallel verses of the synoptic gospels and they have found that the first verse has a Hebrew or Semitic basis whereas the second verse has a Greek basis, which means the original preaching and probably writing was in Hebrew (or Aramaic as for that) and that a second Greek re-writing was added to the original text when it was translated into Greek.

If we take into account the fact this society was an oral society, then the oral tradition has to go back to Jesus himself, and there is no other way to look at things that could be reasonable. Comparing is not proving, but the teachings of Buddha were also kept three full centuries orally before they were transcribed in an artificial language created for that purpose. In other words our commentators are thinking within a western and modern frame of mind.

They miss the real point, that Jesus was bringing together behind him several trends of people: the zealot radicals (of the Dead Sea among other places) represented by his own brother James, the "Gnostic" radicals inheriting all kinds of traditions from elsewhere and when (pagan, Semitic, Asian, Indian, etc) centering their vision on a ternary mental architecture, also many simple people in Palestine (Jewish or not) who just wanted the world to change, more freedom to come, more equality to be made possible, and we could even add to these the revolutionary radicals of the Barabbas type.

Jesus thus had to bring together various approaches and the best example is the trinity of his God (is it Jesus' invention or a later improvement?), the role of the mother, his mother (that reminds us of Barbelo) and Jesus' virginal birth (that reminds us of the Autogenes the Self Generated) as opposed to the dual Jewish God of Genesis (God and his Spirit, the two Luminaries, the binary dividing moments of the creation) and the total rejection of Eve and most women in the Old Testament's first five books. The last point is "thirteen".

To ignore that "thirteen" is a structural positive number in that region at that time is plain incompetence. There were (and still are for the Jews) thirteen months in the Jewish, Sumerian, Mesopotamian calendars and there were (though that has been westernized) thirteen zodiac signs, the thirteen having to do with the Serpent Holder from old Egyptian as well as Greek traditions, thus Semitic and Indo-European. That changes everything. The thirteen month sets the lunar year back into a solar frame and the thirteenth zodiac sign is the healer of the body and the mind. The reversal of the standard evangelical vision is a lot more pregnant in this context. Note the restoring authorities have just reinstated nearly in its original place the thirteenth zodiac sign that used to be on the outside wall of the abbey church of Saint Austremoine’s Benedictine abbey in Issoire, France, along with the twelve others up to the end of the Middle Ages. It used to be at the joining point between the church itself and the Scriptorium and Library on the south side of the choir, showing thus it was the door, the link to knowledge and intelligence.

Jesus says to Judas: "You thirteenth spirit... You will become the thirteenth... Your star over the thirteenth aeon... The star that leads the way is your star..." This implies that the note 151 that speculates on the titular subscript used as the title of the book which reads “the gospel OF Judas” and not “the gospel ACCORDING TO Judas” might be right but then it implies it was not written by Judas at all but it was told first orally and then eventually written by someone else. The question is then: what were the motivations of this particular person: to report one side of the story that had been neglected or to promote a new vision of this apostle that had been accused of the worst crime, treason? It then reflects a debate in the nascent Christian community that must itself reflect a debate at the time of Jesus: the various and varied motivations of the followers, the motivations of Jesus himself in choosing his apostles, hence his direct representatives, the divisions and even tensions in the Jewish community in Jerusalem and around, not to speak of the tension with the Dead Sea community led by James, Jesus’ brother. And we are not considering those called the Arabs around the Jewish community who were servants and field workers, some of them serfs and probably slaves. The Romans stand apart of course since they are not originally from the Levant

That leads me to the idea that the Christian community that was supposed to become the Catholic Church was not in the second century AD united and homogeneous and the role of Paul and his supporters after him should be studied in that perspective: an outsider proclaiming himself the Apostle of the gentiles, hence of the non-Jews though he was a Jew, a Roman citizen and an officer in the Roman Legion. His conflict with James is also to be revaluated seriously to show the defeat of what James represented. I also think it would be good to study this Gospel of Judas along with the Gospel according to Mary Magdalene, the other close associate of Jesus who is most of the time neglected or side-tracked since she is a woman with the fake debate about her possible marital relation with Jesus. The invention of the second James that is sent to Spain to die there is also another distortion that should be studied seriously since it side-tracks James himself with a doppelganger that moved away. It sounds like the clearing of Jesus heritage of three people who could represent something else, hence a challenge to the winning camp.


Two comments are missing, probably erased by their authors. There should be seven 

tepi 5 years ago

Have you ever heard of 'paragraphing'?

Jacques COULARDEAU 5 years ago

The dead Sea Scrolls have no verses and no chapters. It is the result of our western mind: we added the punctuation that made the verses and we more or less considered the chapters were the particular scrolls.
Paragraphs are a convention that appeared in our minds with writing and then printing more than anything else. When I think there is a constant flow of thinking and not anything cut up in paragraphs because I think in mental language. When I speak there are no paragraphs either because I speak in oral language. Paragraphs only come in written language and I am against it because it superimposes an ideological meaning on my mental thinking. Have you heard of the stream of consciousness of James Joyce and of his one paragraph, one sentence Ulysses? How many pages in the Penguin Edition?
Thanks for the deep intellectual and spiritual (ah ah ah) remark. Inspiringly thrilling.

tepi 5 years ago

Dear Jacques:

It's difficult to believe that a person who claims to be a "Dr." and has a Sorbonne address doesn't understand the purpose of paragraphing. Let me explain.

If you don't break up your "prose" into manageable chunks it makes it difficult to read, especially on a computer screen, and because of that difficulty many people who might otherwise have read your post won't bother to read it. But that's fine by me, as you don't seem be worth reading anyway.

Perhaps one day you'll understand that the purpose of writing is not to write like Joyce or an ancient scribe but to be read.

Have a nice day!

Jacques COULARDEAU 5 years ago

No reply. No retort, No rebuttal. Just registered that some people are paragraph-trained and some are not. I guess my mother forgot to train me in that kind of cleanliness. Or maybe there is no paragraph potties for that. Yet she knew how to write. I guess it is the same syndrome as the one of the people who cannot read novels and can only read short stories, and even very short stories please. I am used to starting a text with the first word and finishing it with the last word. In between it is the text and I try to understand it, not to pause every ten steps to look at the landscape and listen to the birds. This morning before daybreak Place de la Nation in Paris was invaded by sea gulls. I did not stop to look at them. I went on walking but I listened to them all the same. I can still walk and listen at the same time. My first name is not Gerald. And I am not afraid of crossing any river provided there is a ford somewhere, or maybe a bridge.

That's what that obsession for paragraphs makes me not think of but feel for sure, like an elephant in some glass menagerie.


judaswasjames 1 year ago

Hi. Jacques. I get that, too. I think like you do. The train of thought is interrupted by paragraphs. I really struggled to paragraph my book that you reviewed. I'm here trolling for true believers on Judas. ha ha ha!

See ya

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?