Roman Influence on the Birth of Christianity

The Gospel of Judas

  • Scholars recently translated the ancient text of the Judas Gospel.
  • Early Christian Writings quotes Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina: protrays Judas quite differently from anything we previously knew. Here, he is not the evil, corrupt, devil-inspired follower of Jesus who betrayed his master; he is instead Jesus' closest intimate - a friend, the one who understood Jesus better than anyone else, who turned Jesus over to the authorities because Jesus asked him to do so.
  • This ancient manuscript suggests the arrest of Jesus in Jerusalem was of human design and not the traditional form of supernatural destiny.
  • Ryan Fleming also speculates in "Hail Judeas Caesar" that the arrest sequence was of human design - pre-arranged between Jesus and Judas. Jesus' statement "one of you will betray me"[1] was either supernatural pre-cognition or human direction. The Gospel's documentation of Judas leading an arresting party to an obscure location (Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives) in the middle of the night was either supernatural cognizance on the part of Judas or pre-knowledge of where Jesus would be. If Judas left during the last supper (as the story goes), how did he know Jesus would be at a specific location in the wilderness at 2 in the morning? The Judas Gospel provides written documentation from that time period that directly supports the obvious conclusion of pre-arrangement.
  • Of course, there are any number of reasons the arrest would have been pre-arranged. Fleming wrote "Hail Judeas Caesar" in 1999 (date of first copyright) before the translation of the Judas Gospel was available, and speculated a planned arrest that eventually placed Jesus in the protective custody of Roman authority and away from the increasing threats against his life from Jewish authority.
  • Why else would Jesus arrange his own arrest? If the Jewish court wanted his death, Roman authority had ultimate legal authority, especially if they had a vested interest. Did Pilate and Jesus want to take advantage of the traditional prisoner release during Passover in order to circumvent justice from the Jewish court? According to documentation, Pilate pushed for Jesus' release, perhaps relying on Jesus' overwhelming popularity only a few days before,[2] never expecting the crowd would call, instead, for Barabbas.
  • It makes sense that the Judas Gospel would have been the only Gospel to document a secret instruction from Jesus.
  • The wildly different written accounts of Judas' "suicide" in the traditional Gospels would make modern day detectives very sceptical, bringing strong suspicion of homicide. But for some reason, modern-day readers accept the odd and different accounts without suspicion. Realistic reasoning would investigate motive of homicide, potentially from misguided vengence of other apostles, the very ones professing suicide from the beginning.
  • In one account from the Judas Gospel, Jesus laughs when entering a pious gathering of the disciples. Why? At first one might think this an odd account, difficult to explain in the traditional Christian paradigm. But, what if Jesus found it humorous they were so fooled by the hidden nature of his teachings, having no suspicion of his worldly support?


[1] Matthew 26:23, Mark 14:18

[2] Matthew 21:8-9, Mark 11:8-10, John 12:12-18


Historical Discussion
In Depth

Historical Context

Dating the Gospels

I Was a Sunday-School Spy

The Crucifixion (animation)

Post Appearance of Jesus

Who Did Jesus Curse-Praise

Taxes to Rome

Submissiveness to Oppression

John the Baptist

Admirable and Amazing Works

The Term Gospel

Jewish Judgment

Pilate's Defense (animation)

Roman Soldiers at the Tomb

Migration of Christianity to Rome

Irony of Faith

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