Sunday, April 09, 2006
Cuttin’d’News - Judas: God’s Man in Judea?; Missing Link Makes Page1; Windows Inside Apple
“The Lord is subtle, but malicious he is not.” This inscription is ascribed to Einstein, said to bedeck a portal in his Princeton offices. It seems like a play on the quandary koan of whether or not God plays dice with the universe. Looking at this week’s news I would say, yes, the Creator has ceded to us a subtly mixed-up crazy world. But not a bad place. It was however a bad week for U. of Mich style Intelligent Design. On the other hand, Mr. Bad of All Time, Judas, is making a comeback.
Page One, New York Times, Friday April 7. The existence of a Gospel of Judas was known. I found reference to it in Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels’ learned and popular book of 2003. Discovered near El Minya in Egypt, it is here now on Page One after a 30 or 40 year journey [including 16 years in a Long Island safe deposit box]. In Pagel’s book, the reference to Judas Gospel is per Irraneus, the Father of the Church who cut off the Catholic gospel project at Four. He referred to this gospel to indicate how wacky heretics [Gnostics] can be. My interest in Pagels stemmed from interest in the Gospel of Thomas, which I first heard about from Dennis Hopper via a Q&A he did on Easy Rider back in my Film Art days. Gordon also told me he heard of Gospel of Thomas through Hopper, on a drugged out edition of the Johnny Carson ["I did not know that! Wierd Wild stuff!"] Tonight show circa the time that The Last Movie was made.
[Unbeknownst to me, apparently, this whole Gnostic network has gained wide circulation of late via a popular book known as “The Da Vinci Code.” What era am I in, man?]
[Were those Gnostic caves or Manichean caves at the beginning of The Exorcist? – maybe the important thing is that they were in Iraq.]
Well. Clearly Judas had a lot of levels. And I do believe the Last Temptation of Christ and other tomes have picked up on this. The questions the Gnostics asked, and answered for themselves in this scroll, Was Judas as part of God’s plan not heroic? Christ had to leave his body behind, and Judas helped him, and even in the Cannon gospels, Christ is heard saying that Judas ‘will exceed all of [the apostles].”
Gnostics were not unlike kids in my 4th grade Religion class. We would pepper Fr. Sukup with questions: If Judas was just fulfilling a prophesy, why did he have to go to hell? This is all dim in memory, though I would venture to recall that our priests - in the Catholic Chruch, Bohemian extension – said Judas was the only person you could say for sure would go to h*ll. [Not even Hilter? Those were the types of questions that got us through the otherwise dreadfully boring hour.] On top of that, Judas, the assertion was, invented suicide, and took down the poor suiciders of all time with him.
Please those who read this understand, I know it aint for me to say who goes to hell. I try not to talk religion either, I’m kind of like Jerry Lee that way ... you have to be so pure ... but when news and poetics cross, I must blog. And these mystic Gnostic musings are poetic.
The Judas Bible is getting its time in the sun – it shouldn’t be overlooked that it is not entirely just poetry, but it is also putting out a point of view. It actually does seem a bit of a condensation of some key and not so nice aspects of the Gnostics – that is that there is a secret knowledge. That Christ gave this secret to Judas, and not you and me. Gnostics might a been a good lodge brotherhood of semi-madmonks at one point .. they did as a group get saddled with this secret sect typing before it was all over. Hope I know more when I finish The Gnostic Gospels, Pagel’s book now out as a book on CD. Recently started .. this the season.
For now, basically, I think it is for the good for Mystic Christianity to get ink. Jesus Christ was real historical person. Reality is always a mix, especially the more people involved, and in the case of Christ, it is all on an entirely other level. Let’s call the Gnostic cave network mystical diversity at work. Hopefully, we all finally drink the same bubble up. As Dylan famously wrote: “I cannot think for you, you will have to decide, if Judas Iscariot had God on his side.”
As for Irraneus, Its nice to have it laid out in a text. And you cant accept every possible point of view. And when things are bad and you’re deep in doo-doo, get the dust of that bible!
Still, the lord is subtle. We catch a bit on the wind, or find a monk’s cave scribbles. Catepillars and honey. Cabbagecakes and coffee. I arise today through the grace of God.
If you read the Judas bible you find a bunch of angels, clouds visions, cryptic sayings, confusion of names [Seth is Christ], missing lines...nothing remotely exonerating Judas – nothing to hang him with either.
Afterword: Let’s face it...there is something of the modern news cycle at work here. Every Easter-Passover the National Geographic seems to find something biblical that the wider popular media can briefly note. Kudos to USA today for the spot-on front-page pic of Judas Iscariot. Who knew he looked like Ming the Merciless in a wig?
Finally, let’s pull some straightforward bit from The Dead Sea Scriptures .. something that isn’t literally in the Bible on my bureau, but which is on my dashboard. It’s the melody, not the words.
I give thanks unto Thee, Oh my God
I extol Thee, Oh my Rock
And because though has wrought wonders with me.
National Geographic Lost Gospel pages - http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/
New York Times report on Judas Bible - http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/07/science/07judas.html?ex=1302062400&en=9c49625da593cf18&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
My Radio Weblog writeup on St Thomas Gospel -
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