Fresno, CA: Following fast on the heels of the commercial success of the Da Vinci Code and forty three books about Mary Magdalene, news of the finished translation of a gospel attributed to Judas Iscariot, known to history as the betrayer of Jesus, received mixed reactions in the scholarly and religious communities last week.
Vatican spokesman Archbishop Heiko Vitali wasted no time in dismissing the discovery as yet another example of how scholars are willing to believe "proven heresies."
"What do we know about Judas? That he was a liar. So even if this gospel came from his hand--as I'm sure it did not--it would be just another big lie," said Vitali.
His sentiments were echoed by the head of the Evangelical Christian Alliance Dr. Luke Hazard, who said, "If there is a gospel of Judas it must have been written by a Jew. What does that tell you?"
The international team of scholars working on the translation were quick to point out that this may not be the same "gospel" of Judas mentioned in the second century by St Irenaeus.
Dr. Walter Johns, head of the team has released a sample of the committee's translation with the caution that "The translation may not be perfect, and the whole [thing] raises as many questions as it answers."
The following is reprinted from the Committee's Interim Translation Report, released on April 3.
Translated from the Coptic by Professor Melvin Snarkelsdrochk
The Secret Gospel of Judas Barabbas Miriam Jacob Thomas, also called James, son of Joseph, Lover of the Lord.
He who reads these words is not far from the kingdom. On the other hand, he'll need photo ID and two other forms of identification to pass through security.
And Judas spoke and said
Lord when will you show us the Kingdom?
And Jesus spoke and said.
If I showed you, you would not believe, and if you believed I would not show you.
And Judas and Peter wondered in their hearts what manner of syntax this might be.
Then spoke Judas, waking, and said unto Peter:
Do you know what the world says about him?
And Peter answered,
Yes, that he is the Mikado.
And Judas was wroth and spoke unto Peter saying,
No, that he is the Messiah.
And said Peter, yawning,
Right, that's Jewish isn't it?
Mary Magdalene said to Judas, who played much with his purse,
Scorn him not, Judas, because in two thousand years, more or less, there will come one like a prince of the apostles who shall show men the Secret Wisdom.
You mean Ratzinger said Judas?
And Mary spoke:
How little men know of the secret path. I mean Dan Brown. My whole future depends on him.
And Judas sighed in his spirit and said,
Cephas says vile things of you and the Lord. He says you have [known] each other.
And Peter said:
Actually, since we're speaking Aramaic, Mikado and Messiah do sound sort of alike.
Jesus came close to Judas and said into his left ear,
Until you make the outside like the inside and the inside like the outside you will never understand the secrets of the kingdom.
Mary, also called Magdalene, not to be confused with Mary the mother of Jesus or the Other Mary or Salome whose middle name was Mary, said,
Lord why do you whisper so. Do you love Judas more than me?
Fish got to swim and birds got to fly. You are not far from the Truth.
And from that day Mary left the company of apostles and became a votary public and delivered a son, also named Jesus, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.
A sower went out to sow a field and some of the seed fell into foxholes. And some of the seed fell into bird's nests. And some of the seed the sower sowed not. And the foxes ate the birds. Let him who has ears to hear, hear!
And Peter said.
We hear you you!
And Judas said.
You are far from the kingdom, because your ears are stopped and yours beards full of crumbs from eating too much the repast of this World.
Peter was troubled and said.
Lord: What sign can you give us that your are the Expected One? I mean something concrete.
Jesus was wroth when he heard Judas's question and did bitch slap Judas and said,
You of little faith, The kingdom is not coming with signs. You can't get there from here, nor from Phoenix. Witchita is closer, but still not it.
Now I get it, thanks!
Thomas and John who did hold hands and smirk effeminately the while Judas said ouch turned to Jesus and said,
Is that bitch Mary gone? What time is it?
And Jesus smiled at the pair and said,
The keys of the kingdom come to him who waits, him who asks, and him who says nasty things about the Woman.
And Thomas said.
What time is it, because I have a manicure at 2.30.
It is late in the day. When the dawn kills the moon the kingdom will come as a thief in the night to destroy the fig tree.
Now that really makes no sense at all.
And Peter, saddened, said.
It does to me. I love figs. I will miss the trees.
I am now going to my father's house where you can not come. Not today, anyway. They will come seeking me like a dog among thieves and I really don't want to be around for that. The spirit is willing but few are chosen.
The boys and I will sort your sayings out later. They need a lot of work.
But I will return. And we'll resume our lessons when the heat is off.
No, no. You just stay right where you are. There are some guys on the Couincil I want to hear you. I'll just go get them, shall I?
But privily to himself Judas said,
Or maybe I'll just go hang myself.