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November 3, 2014

Rodolphe Kasser of Gospel of Judas fame

Filed under: biblical studies — Petros @ 4:24 pm
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Note: I publish this blog post only after the passing of Prof. Rodolphe Kasser, editor of the Coptic Gospel of Judas, which caused quite a controversy a few years ago.

Rodolphe Kasser in an interview of with swissinfo.ch “damns” the church response to the Gospel of Judas.

swissinfo: When you received the manuscript it was in a dreadful state. How difficult was the task you faced?

Rodolphe Kasser: First of all we had to restore it. This was something that no one had done before. With other papyruses I had worked on you could delicately move around fragments using tweezers but as soon as you touched this one it just broke into more pieces.

No one had restored a MS before or no one had restored this MS?  If he was saying that the no one had ever restored this MS, it is like duh?  Or if he was saying no one had ever restored from pieces of papyri, that is just simply not true.  The Acts of Paul was arguably in worst shape than this.

swissinfo: Pope Benedict XVI also insisted last week that Judas was a traitor…

R.K.: It was a rather stupid response to say that this new text confirms the idea that Judas betrayed Jesus through love of power and money. That’s not the case at all.

Or is it more stupid to make a straw man argument?  The article never says that Pope Benedict claimed that the Gospel of Judas said that Judas betrayed Jesus for love of power and money.

swissinfo: Is the Church’s reaction motivated by fear?

R.K.: It is motivated by intellectual laziness. People don’t want to change what they have always believed. I noticed this reaction among people in the town of Yverdon where I live. Someone I know well told me they were against this new discovery because they didn’t like the idea of Jesus and Judas plotting together.

This strikes me as a extremely elitist.  Prof. Kasser would never remember but I once rode the train with him.  He said that that his wife is Italian and that pizza must be thin, and one should never put too much on it.  But it must be crunchy when you eat it.  We also discussed the Pastoral Epistles.  Despite not being a noted Pauline scholar or even a New Testament scholar, Rodolphe Kasser, the world renown Coptologist said that the Pastoral Epistles are categorically not by Paul; not “probably deutero-Pauline”, or “in my opinion, deuero-Pauline”, but there was no room to budge you are a stupid idiot if you believe otherwise, deutero-Pauline.  It was funny how he was equally dogmatic whether the subject was pizza or the authorship of the Pastoral Epistles.

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