By Sue Corbett NATALIE DANFORD JONATHAN DURBIN
April 24, 2006 12:00 PM

Judas: A Good Guy?

Could history’s most famous betrayer have acted in good faith? An ancient manuscript (newly translated and analyzed in two new books by members of a National Geographic team of scholars) suggests that Jesus wanted to be turned over to the Romans. The scoop:

WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? The Gospel of Judas—from the 3rd or 4th century—was discovered in a cave in Egypt in the 1970s, then passed among antiquities dealers for years before translators found it.

WHY IS IT A BIG DEAL? Unlike the other four Gospels, it portrays Judas as Jesus’ favorite disciple and says Jesus ordered Judas to betray him, thus freeing Jesus’ soul.

IS IT FOR REAL? Scholars agree it’s an authentic Gnostic text. But since it was written hundreds of years after Christ’s death, its historical truth remains up for debate.

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