The Christian Science Monitor today has an interesting article on the Gospel of Judas. The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic work that was taken illicitly from Egypt and sold to a private collector.
The article deal with the problem of whether scholars should publish stolen documents. A translation of the text will be published by The National Geographic this Spring. James Robinson is also publishing a book about the Gospel of Judas, The Secret of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel.
Below is an excerpt of MacDonald’s article:
A Gospel’s Rocky Path from Egypt’s Desert to Print
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
When the Gospel of Judas first surfaced in Geneva in 1983, scholars wondered if the mysterious text could trigger a reappraisal of history’s most infamous traitor.
They never found out, however, because they couldn’t afford the $3 million price tag on this second-century gnostic tale. Instead, the fragile pages vanished into private hands and set off on a 23-year, intercontinental journey through fist-pounding negotiations and even periods, reportedly, stuffed inside a Greek beauty’s purse.
Now, at long last, the world is about to see the contents. The National Geographic Society last week reported it will publish a translation this spring, when “The Da Vinci Code” film is sure to rekindle interest in gnostic artifacts.
But the saga may be just beginning. That’s because thieves apparently lifted the manuscript from the Egyptian desert, kicking off decades of illicit trafficking – and an ethical dilemma: Is it right to pay for and publish stolen documents for the purpose of spreading knowledge?
“The present owners can’t sell it because they don’t have, in international law, a legal title to something that was stolen,” says James Robinson, one of the world’s foremost experts on gnostic texts and author of a forthcoming book about the gospel, “The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel.” “They’re trying to sell the sensationalism of the Gospel of Judas to get as much back as they can from whatever they paid for it.”
If you want to read the rest of the article by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, click here.