So why all the fuss over the document?
One: I have my suspicions about a movie that’s coming out this summer. Timing is everything.
Two: What did your mother always tell you? Read the fine print.
Buried deep within the National Geographic’s FAQ section on their website for this “new” Gospel is the answer to a question about how the text came into the hands of those who now possess it. Again, with the way the NYT headlined it (“‘Gospel of Judas’ Surfaces After 1,700 Years”), you’d think that some dude in Egypt stumped his toe on it just last week. So when was it discovered?
“The Gospel of Judas was first discovered more than 30 years ago in Egypt.”
That’s right folks. At least thirty years ago. Not yesterday. Not five years ago. Thirty years ago. The NYT doesn’t report this, of course, until the SECOND page of the article: “Discovered in the 1970’s in a cavern near El Minya, Egypt, the document circulated for years among antiquities dealers in Egypt, then Europe and finally in the United States.”
Just seems like an all-too-well timed publicity stunt to me.
Then today, the most recent installment of Sightings came into my inbox, with the commentary of Margaret M. Mitchell, an erstwhile NT professor of mine at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Mitchell links the recent “fuss” to a need to market some new religious news at Easter. They do this around Christmas too, FWIW. Look for it in your Newsweek, US News, and TIME editions around the first week of December.