The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot Review
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Bart D. Ehrman has been a busy boy of late. First he hit the best-seller list with Misquoting Jesus, and now the self-described agnostic and professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has got another biblical history on bookstore shelves. His newest book, The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot, is a better book for lay readers to sink their teeth into.

In the biblical story of Jesus, there were twelve men that he selected to be his disciples. As the story goes, Jesus traveled around Galilee for a little over three years, preaching his message of salvation and performing miracles. For the most part, his disciples were faithful to him, but at the end one of them, Judas Iscariot, turned Jesus over to his enemies for thirty pieces of silver. At least thatís how the Bible we have today tells the story. The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot comes at the story from a different angle. This time, Judas was doing a good thing by selling out Jesus. It claims that Jesus had a master plan for how he was getting back to Heaven, and that required one of the disciples to free him by causing his death. Judas was the only one of the twelve smart enough to put the pieces together.

Ehrman does a good job of dissecting the remains of this gospel and contrasting it to the canonical gospels and other early Christian texts. He keeps the book simple enough that the average person can understand what he or she is reading, but he never glosses over the details. He lays the foundation for the bookís discussion by explaining who the Gnostics were and explaining their beliefs. Thatís an issue too complicated for this review, but itís essential to understanding the book. He also fills in the details of where this lost gospel has been for the past couple of centuries.

Never once does the writer try to change the readerís beliefs. That comes as a huge relief, since so much of the publicity generated by the National Geographic Society about the Gospel of Judas claimed that reading it would do just that. Instead of preaching to the reader, Ehrman simply explains the document and always offers more than one reason for why it may have been written and what it might really mean. I doubt that anyone is going to walk away from this book having a faith-changing experience.

For students of the Bible, this is an interesting book. But for the people who donít really care one way or the other, there isnít any real reason to pick it up.

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