The long-lost apocryphal Gospel of Judas, published with Easter season media fanfare, begins: “The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot.”
Jesus says to this infamous figure, portrayed very differently in New Testament Gospels, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom.” Jesus assures Judas, “You have been told everything.” Moreover, “You will exceed all of them,” Jesus says. “For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me,” a reference to Jesus’ flesh covering his spiritual self. The text ends with Judas turning over Jesus for some money to the authorities.
No one has claimed that the 26-page text reveals the Judas of history. A Vatican official in February called it “a product of religious fantasy,” and Pope Benedict XVI in a recent audience termed Judas the “betrayer apostle.”