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The National Geographic: The Gospel of Judas
The National Geographic The Gospel of Judas
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 27min

What if an ancient gospel was rediscovered that offered a radically different perspective on a man that history has painted as the ultimate villain? What if this account turned Jesus' betrayal on its head, and in it the vi...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Educational, History
Studio: National Geographic Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/06/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Amazing Story of a Lost Gospel
Matthew S. Schweitzer | Columbus, OH United States | 06/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"National Geographic's "The Gospel of Judas" is the documentary companion to the books the Society has recently published concerning this recently rediscovered ancient text that purports to tell the story of Judas Iscariot, traditionally the Great Betrayer of the New Testament, from a decidedly different view. The story of the discovery of the text, its appearance and disappearance on the antiquities market, and its ultimate restoration and translation is itself quite fascinating.

The Gospel of Judas is believed to be a late 3rd century Coptic manuscript copy of an earlier Greek original that probably dates to around the middle of the 2nd century. The documentary chronicles the story of the text from its suppression by orthodox Christians to its rediscovery in the 1970s by grave robbers in southern Egypt. The papyrus manuscript, literally falling to pieces during years of poor handling and lack of preservation, finds its way into the hands of a Swiss antiquities dealer who, after several failed attempts to sell it for big bucks, made a deal with National Geographic to preserve, restore, and translate the codex.

The film also makes extensive and effective use of dramatizations that highlight some of the rather controversial subject matter contained in the Judas Gospel that suggests that Judas, far from being the evil betrayer depicted in the canonical gospels, was actually the greatest of Jesus' disciples. Here, Judas is told by Jesus himself to turn him over to the Romans for execution so as to fulfill his ultimate destiny as Messiah and savior. It is important to keep in mind that the Gospel of Judas was deliberately excluded from the orthodox Bible because of its Gnostic teachings, something that connects it to the Nag Hammadi texts discovered in Egypt in 1945. Many of these texts, like the Judas Gospel, were hidden away so that they would not be destroyed by fanatical rival Christian factions that sought to obliterate Gnostic texts that they considered heretical. Though most scholars reject the idea that the Judas Gospel contains genuine historical revelations about Jesus or Judas, it does clearly show that there were many competing gospels that were used by different sects and factions of Christians vying for power and influence in the ancient world.

This documentary is a good introduction to this material and would be especially recommended to anyone interested in the history of religion and early Christianity."
Gospel of Judas Proves No Secret Stays Hidden Forever
Sean Pasek | Albuquerque, NM | 08/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a compelling film by National Geographic about the discovery and restoration of one of the lost gnostic gospels, The Gospel of Judas.

Thanks to another smear campaign by the Church, Judas, for centuries has been labeled one of history's most evil and hated men. As we learn from this film, it's actually illegal to name your child "Judas" in Germany. So, imagine the Church's reaction when the Gospel of Judas was "accidentally" found by a poor Egyptian farmer. This codex book then made its way to several book collectors until it sat in a bank safe deposit box for nearly 16 years! None of these book collectors knew what they had until one took the book to Yale University and was told that she possessed the Gospel of Judas.

The film is fascinating as some of the top experts of history and restoration gather together to try and save this book which was in terrible condition.

Once restored and legible to read, the Gospel of Judas offers some extremely compelling information about the relationship between Judas and Jesus. What if for all of these centuries, we've had it wrong? What if Judas wasn't a villain, but actually one of Jesus's greatest and most advanced disciples? What if Jesus actually asked Judas to play a role; to betray him so that his mission could be carried out to completion?

Just as Mary Magdalene has been subjected to stories of her being a sinner and a prostitute, so has Judas been bombarded with accusations of betrayal and his very name synonomous with evil itself. However, Jesus seems to predict this as he tells Judas that his very name shall be cursed through the ages for what Jesus is asking Judas to do. But, he's asking, because he knows that Judas is the only one of the twelve who KNOWS who he is! Perhaps he realizes that Judas is the only one who could carry out this role.

However, even with this knowledge, the grief (and Jesus predicts this as well) is too much for Judas to bare after having "betrayed" his Master, he ultimately commits suicide.

So many questions are coming to light now. So many secrets have obviously been buried by the Church for centuries, and they are now, finally, beginning to come back to light. No secret can stay hidden forever. There are more than 30 Gnostic Gospels which contain much more information about the teachings of Jesus. Were they cast aside because they conflicted with what the Church thought everyone should be learning? Were they cast aside because some felt they were too difficult to understand, given the level of man's understanding at that point in history?

These are interesting questions. Ultimately, each individual person must answer them for his/herself. The Church has used fear as a basis for control over its followers; fear of knowledge is their own fear.

After watching this film and reading the Gospel of Judas, you may find yourself questioning the validity and veracity of all you have ever been told is truth, and finally discovering for your Self, the truth."
What Else Have We Not Been Told!
David W. Bachman | Kansas | 06/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This video was an excellent example of how religion cannot be trusted. What right does the "Church" (early church or modern) have to declare ancient historical texts as heresy or unfit to be studied? This find along with other historical texts goes to prove that the Christian religion holds its own agenda, and that agenda is not to "save our souls". Anyone who is interested in religious studies should see this film."
Great dramatizations
Randy Silva | Whittier, CA | 06/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I don't know where National Geographic gets these actors who do the dramatizations but they are really top notch. It brings a realism to the subject matter that you don't see with other documentaries.

Overall, I thought it was a great video. They focused on the facts, didn't stray too much from the actual research & background of the codex.

Good stuff."