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Gnosticism is weird as there are so many different theories about it - especially in a Jewish context. For instance there's still a debate raging over whether gnosticism influenced Jewish mysticism or vice versa.

"This is an interesting analysis of Gnosticism, although it doesn't account for non-Christian or Sethian Gnosticism very well."

a great point since gospel of judas is generally seen as a sethian text. of course ehrman is no scholar of gnosticism (in the strict sense) like pagels or layton, he's just capitalizing on market trends.

"...that he was to be king..."

interesting. like joseph smith?

gwa3, yeah, secret teaching of political kingship, betrayal be an insider...sounds familiar.

Ehrman ties his account of the content of what Judas betrayed to the Jewish leaders to the "King of the Jews" sign posted on the cross at the Crucifixion. If the claim was the substance of the betrayal, it renders somewhat more comprehensible the sign on the cross.

Interestingly, Ehrman distinguishes between the Son of Man (a title he felt was being used to refer to an apocalyptic figure who would return to overthrow the political powers opposing the rule of the righteous) and the kingly Messiah, who would assume direction over the ensuing righteous kingdom (the role Ehrman saw Jesus as making a private claim to).

"Gospel of Judas is just another gnostic gospel."

AAACK! This makes me so crazy and this is why Erhman should be completely ignored! On March 6, 2007 Elaine Pagels and Karen King will produce an actual commentary on GJudas that doesn't just download what we think we already know about "Gnosticism" onto Judas. Ehrman basically just imports every stereotype about gnosticism onto the text seemingly unaware that these stereotypes have been completely disproven and that Judas doesn't exhibit most of them.

TT, in fairness to Ehrman, the quote is mine, not his. But while he uses the Gospel of Judas creatively and instructively, I don't see anything about the description and summary of it provided by Ehrman that suggests it is anything other than more gnostic ruminations. I'll wait and see what Pagels has to offer in her upcoming book.

I'm much more inclinded to take the Gospel of Thomas seriously as a text with some historical connection to 1st-century Christian communities (Crossan grants it "independent source" status). I also did a post on Pagels' book on the Gospel of Thomas. And another post on the Gospel of Thomas itself.

When I get around to it after the next few weeks, I will post on GJudas, Gnosticism, and maybe even GTh. Thanks for raising these issues!

TrailerTrash, indeed, the NT scholars I ran with in grad school all had Ehrman labeled as a quack (akin to Margaret Barker for the OT crowd). I'm not sure what did it for him (his appeal to the quasi-popular audience? his pseudo-scholarship writing style?), but my suspicion is it was one of his earlier works, possibly The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, which is quite conjectural and unreliable (as tempting as the title sounds, especially for Mormons). I actually read that book cover to cover and found it amusing, but not too convincing. I also read some of his other smaller works. Although Dave's summary of Ehrman (#4 above) is spot-on for the "son of man" title (coming from Daniel, most likely) -- very apocalyptic.

Now Pagels is pretty good with this stuff, although I have yet to finish one of her books, as I mostly just used bits and pieces of her stuff for papers.

But David J., aren't you at a conservative seminary? That might explain their reaction to Ehrman's attack on the reliability of biblical scribes and text.

SBL in San Antonio, several years ago, had Ehrman giving a presentation (perhaps not at a regular session), that was standing-room-only, in an extra large area. Probably 350+ people in there. For being a quack, the professionals sure seemed to at least want to know what he was saying.

i'm curious to know whether anyone besides sola scriptura types really compares ehrman and barker, and if so how? the only connection i see is their willingness to question tradition. beyond that, they're quite different: she's very open to the supernatural (to a fault, some would say), while he's completely skeptical. although i stand by my comment that ehrman is no scholar of gnostcism, he is highly respected in his field: nt (textual criticism). and even in his more popular publications (i.e. lost christianities), he is far from a quack nor does his writting ever approach the pseudo-scholarly in my opinion (rhetorically heavy-handed yes). i think that's just a knee-jerk reaction among religious conservatives who feel threatened by him. as far as orthodox corruption of scripture, from the reviews i've read and the fact that oup keeps publishing his regurgitations of it, i don't think most nt textual critics would label it "quite conjectural and unreliable." quite the opposite. it seems to be considered a groundbreaking study in its placement of nt textual criticism in early christian history rather than a vaccum. although i think he often overtates his his case, often he has very solid evidence (e.g. when he can cite a corruption in ireneaus' polemic against this or that christological heresy).

"I'll have to read the The Da Vinci Code first"

Or you can watch the movie. ;)

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