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Busted Halo
feature: religion & spirituality
May 9th, 2006

The Gospel of Judas

In the spirit of Judas, National Geographic announces plans for a two-hour special: Even More Gospels!

 
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Through The Gospel of Judas, one of the greatest historical discoveries in the history of humankind, the world’s eyes were opened to a revolutionary view of the disciple traditionally known as Christ’s betrayer. No longer the traitor, Judas is portrayed in the new Gospel as carrying out Jesus’ command to give him up to the authorities: “You will exceed all of them [the twelve apostles]. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me….You will become the thirteenth, and you will be cursed by the other generations—and you will come to rule over them.”

Continuing in the spirit of this monumental discovery, the National Geographic Society has authorized the pre-release of several other newly unearthed manuscripts, or codices, that are certain to upend historical understandings held for centuries.1

In order to authenticate the documents, the National Geographic Society subjected the extant papyrus2 pages to the most rigorous scrutiny possible, including radiocarbon dating, spectral analysis, paleodeontological retroviral imaging, and the smell test. Professor Nailee Gepals, of the Papal States, one of the world’s leading experts in newly discovered manuscripts, or codices, said, “This spectacular discovery of ancient,3 non-biblical texts, augments our knowledge of history and its major actors, and is worthy of study by historians, novelists, bloggers, and Ron Howard.” The new Gospels will be released incrementally over the next year, to culminate with a collected scholarly edition to be published next Easter. Here is a selection of what’s to come.

The Gospel of Barry: “When commissioner Bud observed the players’ lack of understanding [he said to them], ‘What agitates you so? Is it your spirit’s appetite for the long ball? [about two lines missing]. Let he who wields the strength to go yard step before me.’ ‘We have the strength’ the players [all said]. But their bodies did not dare stand before Bud, except for the one known as Bonds who said, “I know who you are and where you come from. I am not worthy to utter the name of the one who has sent you.” Knowing he was reflecting on the deepest secrets of the game, Bud said to him, ‘Step away from the others and meet me in the locker room. I shall tell you the secrets of HGH. It is possible for you to power the [ball out] of the park more than [. . .] your brethren, but you will rage a [great deal]. You must take this [syringe] and [someone] who can[seco] inject [. . .].’”

The Gospel of Scooter: “Then George visited the disciple I. Lewis Libby, and laughed,4 ‘Why are you troubled in spirit, Scoot[er]?’ Scooter replied, ‘Does the human spirit of freedom die?’ George answered, ‘Amen I say to you, this is why God ordered [. . .] to give the spirit of freedom [. . .] to [the Iraqi people], so that they might offer service to the Great One, and his strategic interests in the [region].’ Scooter said, ‘Now I see you are far from the immortal realm of Kennebunkport.’ George laughed,5 ‘To enter my kingdom your spirit must leak the identity of Valerio Flame6 to the daemons of [the press], [—thirty-nine lines blacked out—] tell them I entreated you to it. Thereby will you come to rule over the generations, and sacrifice the presidency that clothes me.7’”

The Gospel of James: “And in the eight days before sweeps, James was summoned to the village of Harpo, on the shores of the Great Lake [Michigan]. The Queen of Harpo said, ‘Your book is to be my spirit’s [next] chosen tome.’ James replied, ‘But I haven’t [. . .] written it.’ To which she countered, ‘You will assemble a memoir of deeds cut from whole cloth which will become a run[away bestseller]. Later, it will be revealed that the life [. . .] put forward was not your own, and you [will be] reviled among all my disciples, persecuted, fried and torn into many, many, many little pieces.’ James said, ‘Are you sure— ’ the Queen [cut him off], ‘And I will be discredited, and you will admit guilt on my therapy hour. But you will come to rule [. . .] my followers in the firmament. And it will make for great TV.’ Then a luminous cloud descended. James fell to his knees, saying, ‘Allow me to join you in the aeon of the Neilsens.’”

National Geographic is sharing this information with the public through a feature story in a two-hour television special on the National Geographic Channel, Even More Gospels!, an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine, a public exhibit at National Geographic Central Command, and an addictive Web game via Orbitz.com.

1 In some cases, decades. In others, years. In others still, months. Yet in others still, weeks.

2 In some cases, 20-lb. multipurpose paper.

3 In some cases, recent.

4 Or, “chuckled awkwardly.”

5 Or, “snickered absently.”

6 Sic: “Valerie Plame.”

7 Or, “clear brush with me.” The translators could not reach consensus.

 
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The Author : Grant Gallicho
Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal.
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