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Gospel of Judas Mistranslated?
Abstract: Judas not a hero after all.
If you've been following the fortunes of the Gospel of Judas, you may be relieved to learn that scholars have begun to question the preliminary translation undertaken by the National Geographic in 2006.
That translation recast Judas' betrayal of Jesus as something done at Jesus' request. In a December 1 op-ed piece in the New York Times, April D. Deconick of Rice University took issue with the initial translation:
"While National Geographic's translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon.
Several of the translation choices made by the society's scholars fall well outside the commonly accepted practices in the field.
...I have wondered why so many scholars and writers have been inspired by the National Geographic version of the Gospel of Judas. I think it may stem from an understandable desire to reform the relationship between Jews and Christians. Judas is a frightening character. For Christians, he is the one who had it all and yet betrayed God to his death for a few coins. For Jews, he is the man whose story was used by Christians to persecute them for centuries. Although we should continue to work toward a reconciliation of this ancient schism, manufacturing a hero Judas is not the answer.