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Seminary Professors Respond to Gospel of Judas

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, professors James Voelz and Jeffrey Kloha provided a response to the gospel of Judas for members of the Seminary community in a convocation on Monday, April 10. Voelz and Kloha serve in the Seminary’s department of exegetical theology and specialize in New Testament studies. An audio file of the convocation in mp3 format isavailable free of charge on the Seminary’s Web site at www.csl.edu.

In the convocation, Voelz and Kloha addressed four aspects of the gospel of Judas manuscript:

  1. How the manuscript is portrayed in the media;
  2. Basic features of the manuscript;
  3. Gnosticism as a point of reference for the manuscript; and
  4. The manuscript and canonicity.

“There is nothing of the historical Jesus, the Jesus that walked the earth, in this document,” commented Kloha. “It is important that we know about this document since people are watching and reading media reports about it and being influenced by them.”

The gospel of Judas was featured in a National Geographic Society television documentary and has received a great deal of media attention. It is dramatically different from the four gospels that are contained within the New Testament and purports to provide a secret account of a revelation that Jesus spoke with the disciple Judas Iscariot.

“Jesus is never described as ‘the Christ’ in this manuscript,” said Kloha. “Instead, an individual named Seth is referenced as the Christ.”

In describing the media’s portrayal of the document, Voelz commented, “They are conveniently omitting a lot of information that would put the manuscript in a bad light. It is important for people to know how odd this document is.”

For more information, contact Seminary Relations, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7371; semrelations@csl.edu .