Misreading Judas

How Biblical Scholars Missed the Biggest Story of All Time




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Misreading Judas

 

The Gospel of Judas is the most important discovery in history. It  bridges the gap between Eastern mystic teaching, Gnosticism, and the  three Middle Eastern Abrahamic religions, informing all of them.  Unfortunately, the Christianity-biased scholars assigned to its  interpretation and those who have followed them do not understand it --  at all. They miss that Judas is the gnostic sacrifice, and that there is  no traditional orthodox Jesus sacrificed - in the Gospel of Judas or in  the Bible. Therefore, they miss the most important revelation of all  time: that 'Jesus' didn't die to save anyone, and that he was in truth  preceded and succeeded by other Masters of equal stature. Here from  gnostic texts that only just recently arose from the desert sands of  Egypt, phoenix-like, is the detailed story of how the New Testament  canonical 'Betrayal of Jesus' became the inversion of the gnostic  mastership installation story of James the Just, first-century savior.  The true origin of the Christian message and its nullification of mystic  Truth can now, at long last, be fully told. 



Proof from connecting verses in the Gnostic Apocryphon and Apocalypses of James, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Gospel of Judas to the New  Testament narrative showing that Judas was James in the Canonical  Inversions, both sacrifice and Master:



Apocryphon of James


"Woe to those who have seen the Son [of] Man;" (3.;17-18) > "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed ['delivered']" (Mark 14:21) "blessed will they be who have not consorted with the man, and they who have not consorted with him, and they who have not spoken with him" (3.19-22) > "sacrifice the man" (Gospel of Judas 56.21).


"that, when I [Jesus] have come, I might ascend (again)" (14.40) > "and again he came ... Rise, let us be going" (Mark 14:40-42).


"But pay heed to the glory that awaits me" (14.26) > "When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said 'Now is the Son of man glorified'" (13:31).


I [Jesus] shall depart from you ... I shall strip myself" (14.33-35) > "a young man [James] followed him ... and fled naked" (Mark 14:51-52).


"And I [James] pray that the beginning may come from you [his fellow disciples], for thus I shall be capable of salvation, since they [the disciples' disciples] will be enlightened through me" (16.14-15) > "and he touched his ear and healed him" (Luke 22:51.  Also John 18:9-11. Malchus is initiated by "one of those"/"one of them"/"Peter" [James], illustrating in the canon the Apocryphon of James dynamic of mastership succession.  "Touching the right ear" struck by the symbolic sword of the Word is spiritually healing for "him."


Proof from the Gnostic Apocalypses that Judas was James in the Canonical Inversions:


Compare the inversions in the canonical Betrayal of the Apocalypses of James with the inversion of Jamesian purity observances in the Dead Sea Scrolls of Pauline theology (see Dr. Robert Eisenman).  The "betrayal" happens in the Gospels and in Acts 1 just when a successor to Jesus would be expected to be chosen.  The "traitor" Judas in the canonical Gospels is really James the Just, successor Master to Jesus in the Gnostic Apocalypses of James, inverted tendentiously to hide his coming.



 First Apocalypse of James 


"I have given you a sign" (NHC 24.10) "gave them a sign" [the "kiss"]
(Matt. 26:48).
 

"Cup of bitterness to the sons of light" (25.15) "let this cup pass from me"
(Matt. 26:39).
 

"This is the second Master" (30.25) "Those who seek enter through you"
(Second Apoc. 55.1) "I know whom I have chosen." (John 13:1 8).
 

"Then the disciples dispersed, but James remained in prayer" (30.25) "he
withdrew and prayed" (Luke 22:41).
 

"I am he who was within me" (31.15) "I know whom I have chosen" and
"I am he" (John 13:18-19).
 

"You have embraced and kissed me" (32.5) "He said 'Hail Master!' and
kissed him" (Matt. 26:49).
 

"You are aware and stopped this prayer" (32.5) "Sit here while I pray"
(Matt. 26:36).
 

"The flesh is weak" (32.20) "the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41).
 

"It will receive what has been ordained for it" (32.20) "thy will be done"
(Matt. 26:42).
 

"A multitude will arm themselves against you" (33.5) "band of soldiers with
weapons" (John 18:3, Mark 14:43).


"Seize you" (33.5)  "seized him" (Matt. 26:48, 50, John 18:12)


"In particular, three of them will seize you." (33.5)  "A band of soldiers, their captain, and their officers seized Jesus." (John 18:12)    "... chief priests, scribes and elders" (Mark 14:43, Luke 22.52).


"When you come into their power, their guard will call to you."  (33.13-14) "Whom do you seek?" They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." (John 18:4-5)


"You are to say to him, "I AM a son, and I AM from the Father." (33.16-17)  "I am he." (John 18:6)



Second Apocalypse of James


"I am he [twice] who was first summoned by the Great One ...who stripped himself and went about naked"  (2 Apoc. 46.15) "I am he." (John 18:8), "stripped him, put his own clothes on him" (Matt. 27:31)  "As a brother he was sought" (46.20) "Whom do you seek?" (John 18:7). "For just as you are the first, having clothed yourself, you are the first who will strip himself" (2 Apoc. 56.10)



"He is the one who will come ... He was the virgin, stripped and rising naked" (2 Apoc. 58.10-20) "And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body, and they seized him, but he leftthe linen cloth and fled naked" Mark 14:51-2) and "stripped him, and led him away to crucify him" (Matt. 27:31)


"Hail, my brother, hail!" (2 Apoc. 50.10) Hail, Master!" (Matt. 26:49). This is a very important match. It shows that the gnostic version is earlier. Later developed theology of the virgin birth dictated that it must read "Hail, MASTER!" instead of "Hail, Brother!"


"Bring me from a tomb alive" (2 Apoc. 63.5) "He is not here. for he has risen," "risen from the dead," and "tomb" (Matt. 28:6-8).


In most cases in these parallel occurrences, the order is roughly the same:  the sign, the bitter cup, "on a rock," "the flesh is weak,"thy will,"what is ordained," "Hail!" and then the kiss, an "armed multitude" coming (John 18), "naked," and then "fleeing" (up, in spirit).



Apocalypse of Peter


"He [Jesus] was about to reprove you [Peter] three times in this night" (Apoc. Peter 72.3, final line of first paragraph).


This passage is about Peter denied inner vision of the Master in his meditation. It is inverted into a denial of JESUS, BY Peter in all four canonical Gospels. Three elements: the denial, three times, and "in this night" cannot be coincidence. 


"Crowning" of light (71.30) "Soldiers plaited a crown of thorns" (John 19:2).



Gospel  of Judas


Passover setting in both texts. Main character "walking" and "twelve disciples" called.


"Apophasis Logos" is "Word" in John 1. 


"Anami Desh" (Sant Mat's "No name region" - see Sar Bachan) is "region never called by any name" (47.13)


"You will be replaced by someone" (36.1).  Matthais isn't mentioned as he is in Acts 1. This is Judas merging into Jesus. 


"You will not be able to go there but will grieve a great deal" (35.20) :woe to the one who delivers me" (Matt. 26:24).  


"You will be replaced by someone in order that the Twelve [elements] may again come to completion in their god." (36.1-3) "I tell you this now before it takes place; so that when it does take place you will know that I am he." (John 13:19).  


"For your sake they will reign and become Kings" (2 Apoc. 56.5), "generation with no King" (Gospel of Judas 53.24).


"You stirred up wrath against yourself" (1 Apoc. 32.10), "Your wrath has been kindled" (56.23 -- shows Judas was James).


"You will exceed them all, you will sacrifice the man who bears me" (56.20), "Woe to that man who delivers me" (Matt. 26:24). This is Judas sacrificing himself; the "woe to that man" is his sacrifice!












Reviews for Misreading Judas


Misreading Judas: How Biblical Scholars Missed the Biggest Story of All Time
        by Robert Wahler
        AuthorHouse 


U. S. Review of Books      
reviewed by Donna Ford

"Please, everyone, read the Gospel of Judas as the Gnostic text that it is. Stop importing a New Testament bias into it." 


Lost for 1,700 years, the Gospel of  Judas has an approximate origin in the 2nd century and was found  preserved in an Egyptian cave. The Coptic language text was written by  Gnostic Christians and elevates Judas from traitor to teacher of sacred  mysteries. While this find has been touted as a great revelation, early  Christians labeled it heresy.
Wahler defines self-sacrifice as  the goal of Gnosticism. According to the book, when Jesus and Judas  spoke together before the handover to Jewish leaders, their conversation  concerned the personal sacrifice of Judas to become one with the  Master. This would occur through the mystic practice of the Name (Logos,  the presence of the divine). There is no mention of betrayal in this  history. The author goes on to explain that a Gnostic Master is  succeeded by the installation of another. Using New Testament text, he  establishes the claim that the Apostle James became the Master following  Jesus’ death.
With the popularity of Dan Brown’s pulse-racing books, including The Da Vinci Code,  some who question the Christian interpretation of the New Testament  gospels are now accepting the Gnostic viewpoint. Even the Jewish scholar  Hyam Maccoby concurs in rejecting the idea of Judas as a traitor with  Jewish involvement. This 103-page book is the author’s call to fellow  researchers of Biblical texts to join him in validating the Gospel of  Judas’ place in history. His own thorough research results are  meticulously presented, comparing Nag Hammadi Library codes in Gnostic  text to chapter and verse of Christian works to prove controversial  points. Also included is a substantial bibliography. 


Kirkus Reviews 


A revelatory interpretation of the Gospel of Judas.

In this book,  Wahler (The Bible Says "Saviors," 2009) surveys the existing literature  on an early gnostic Gospel that features Judas Iscariot as its main  character, and he finds it lacking. He maintains that the Gospel's  underlying narrative has been misread by biblical scholars, and he  ascribes their errors to two main factors: a nearly unthinking deference  to the orthodox New Testament texts (great chunks of which he dismisses  as "Pauline propaganda"), and a scholarly ignorance of mystic gnostic  traditions and their relationship to the canonical Gospels: "Is there no  awareness in the ivy-covered academic halls of the long and storied  tradition of the Eastern mystics?" he asks. Wahler provides an  invaluable verse-by-verse close-reading of the Gospel of Judas and then  widens his view to include other key works from the Nag Hammadi library  of gnostic texts and, eventually, the canonical Gospels themselves.  Along the way, he asks key questions, such as "who is this character,  Judas? Is he the man that Paul never mentioned, the one he never knew,  just like the Jesus he never knew?" Some of his answers to these  questions are revolutionary ; for instance, he contends that the bulk of  the New Testament amounts to a conscious coverup of the incendiary  contents of the Judas Gospel, in which, he says, Judas essentially  spiritually transforms from man to Messiah, supplanting Jesus. This is a  comparatively short but densely packed exposition of a breadth of  material that the Christian church has deemed apocryphal. Wahler offers  readers very little in the way of introductory context, and many readers  may wish that he'd slowed down at times to provide more explanatory  information. However, his fellow experts will find thrilling, deep  thought in these pages.

A tightly argued presentation of an explosive, Judas-centered counter-narrative.



Blueink Review


Is it possible that orthodox Christianity is based on a lie? For  Robert Wahler, the answer is an unequivocal yes, an argument he pursues  in his new book.

The evidence for this radical idea, the  author notes, can be found in the Gospel of Judas. This recently  rediscovered manuscript paints Judas, not as a betrayer, but as an  heroic figure.

Wahler believes there's even  more to this story: that this text needs to be read, not in light of  modern Christian scholarship, but through the lens of Gnosticism (in  which it was written) with a focus on Western and Eastern mysticism  traditions. The author argues that the obscure manuscript provides  evidence of bait and switch, namely that Judas was a stand-in, or alias,  for James the Just, whom the author believes is the truesuccessor of  Christ (which undermines St. Paul's role in the development of the  Church). Moreover, the text reveals hidden truths about the metaphysical  nature of sacrifice and inner work that needs to be done to reach  higher levels of consciousness.

This is all heady stuff, and for those not well  versed in Gnostic thought, the author's exegesis of the text can be  challenging. Yet, Wahler makes a valiant attempt to unpack the text,  acting like a semiotics detective, exploring symbolism, and sometimes  offering line-by-line commentary of ancient texts.

In his  exuberance, however, Wahler's prose can turn dense and awkward, making  his meaning hard to discern (e.g. : "The disciples ask that they be  granted not to be tempted at 4:30, the same as Jesus tells them to  'watch and pray that you enter not into temptation.'").

As  Wahler admits here, most scholars will balk at his claims. Still, the  author's ideas are well-argued with citations, and while Misreading  Judas sits outside the mainstream, it does provide an thought-provoking,  if challenging, alternative look at Christianity.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.



Scott Neuffer

Foreword Reviews


This energetic work serves as a beguiling introduction to gnosticism.

If  a Dan Brown novel were turned into a dizzying, real-life unraveling of a  newly revealed gnostic text, it might read something like Robert  Wahler's Misreading Judas, a heady nonfiction tractate that attempts  nothing less than a complete upheaval of traditional Christian exegesis.

Considering  the scope of the work, the book, which is divided into four sections,  is surprisingly short. Wahler, a lay researcher and writer, relishes in  his "outsider" status, taking aim at both Christian orthodoxy and  academic orthodoxy. In his introduction, he outlines his ultimate  mission: proving that the biblical story of Judas was never a literal  betrayal of Jesus but actually a description of the gnostic tradition of  mastership succession and self-sacrifice.

To make this case,  the book examines The Gospel of Judas, which was first translated in  2006 by the National Geographic Society, as well as selections from the  Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of gnostic texts discovered in Egypt  in 1945. The book also examines various passages of the New Testament in  light of these new gnostic readings.

Misreading Judas's energetic, investigative tone is  at first alluring, though it becomes frenetic, puzzling, and hard to  follow. Source excerpts are crammed together in long, uninterrupted  litanies, with only brief, intermittent explications. The book succeeds  where the sourcing is less indulgent, less tangential, and better  layered into clearer, more authoritative conclusions.

The  fervent tone also contributes to moments of presumption. The book's  conclusion dismisses modern-day Christians as misled by corrupt  institutions, and simultaneously elevates its own status to that of a  heroic sage. "It isn't a question of if, but when," the book speculates  on its own importance to religious scholarship. "No further progress in  New Testament study is possible until this report is recognized as true."

Such proclamations  detract from the book's strengths. Misreading Judas serves as a  beguiling introduction to gnosticism. The strongest passages detail the  esoteric history of the spiritual movement, and the personal nature of  mysticism. The book astonishingly connects Judas and Jesus's spiritual  practices to Eastern mysticism in India. In striving to locate Eastern  precedents in Abrahamic religions, the book offers interesting and novel  perspectives on biblical narratives, such as the influence of karmic  cycles in the New Testament.

Misreading Judas may prove too  busily written and thematically arcane for the uninitiated reader. On  the other hand, those interested in history, theology, and philosophy  will find more than enough to keep reading.





   

About the Author

 

The author is a practicing Satsangi with the Radha Soami Satsang Beas,  of Beas, India. He was a devoted Evangelical Christian for two years in  the 1970's in California and Virginia. Widely read in current events in  the Historicism of Jesus debate and gnostic Christianity, he has two  books on the subject. The first, "The Bible says 'Saviors' - Obadiah  1:21" is published by Xlibris (2012). 


__________________________


The main finding of this research is that the climax passage of the Gospel of Judas "you will exceed them all, for you will sacrifice the man who bears me" is Judas sacrificing himself, not Jesus sacrificed, and that he is really a cover for the successor Master as shown in the Apocalypses of James. This pivotal line of the Gospel of Juda is 56,20, in answer to, "What will those who have been baptized in your Name do?" (The 'Name' is Word.)  Next line: "Tomorrow they will torment the one who bears me," followed by "you will exceed them all, for you will sacrifice the man who bears me" -- no change in subject! Jesus is answering the question Judas has asked him by telling him that he will sacrifice himself spiritually, not Jesus sacrificed bodily.


  The gnostic tradition preceded the canon.  There is no Matthais in the Gospel of Judas where he should be in it if the canon preceded the Gospel of Judas (36.1). Instead, "Someone else" will replace Judas. This is the origin of the "Betrayal" myth. Judas is the spiritual sacrifice, and Jesus is never betrayed. Judas 'delivers' himself, he does not 'betray' anyone. "Hail, BROTHER!" in the gnostic First Apocalypse of James in place of the canonical "Hail, Master!" shows that a later virgin-birth theology influenced the canon and primacy for the gnostic version of the story, which was originally one of mastership installation of James the Just, not betrayal of Christ by Judas. The nascent Pauline Church was trying (successfully) to hide that there was a successor. There normally is, even today.


The Acts 1 replacement of Judas has 'Judas' in place of James, falling "headlong" (James falls from the Temple wall in the Pseudoclementine Recognitions 1.70,  thrown by "Saul" or Paul).  The "vision" that Judas experiences in the Gospel of Judas (44.15-45.2) is of himself stoned by "the Twelve" (other disciples). The only character stoned by fellow disciples in the first century that we know of was James the Just. After being thrown from the wall, he is not killed, but is beaten to death by Saul and his followers. See Dr. Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus.  Paul is the Spouter of Lying in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in the Pseudoclementine Recognitions 1.70 he kills James. Not a pretty picture. But this is the right way to read the story. This is what really happened.


Joseph Barsabbas Justus covers James the Just as the 'defeated' candidate in Acts 1:23. 


The election (by 'lots' from Acts 1) is for "episcopate of Jerusalem" (from the Church Fathers); Acts 1:20 says "his office let another take" (Psalm 109:8), but an Apostle is not an "office": episcopate is.


Not only this about Judas covering James, but 'Stephen' -- yet another fictional Gospel character -- covers for James. Dr. Eisenman relates all the amazing details of Paul and his attack on and murder of James in this Acts 7 story of the prototypical 'Christian,' Stephen, in chapter sixteen of his book just mentioned above.


James is given "the bread" by a risen Jesus in the Gospel of the Hebrews, noted by a number of early Church fathers -- not Judas, as in the Betrayal story.


That Judas is fictional and covers James, a known prominent religious  figure of his time-- preeminent actually- casts doubt on the historicity of Jesus as well, since neither one is known to either history (Josephus) or to Paul (both these sources are suspected of later Christian interpolation).  The fact that the central train of events in the Gospel story is set in motion BY A LITERARY INVENTION and that the most prominent citizen of the day is minimized out of existence means that this is an early Church or "proto-orthodox" coverup of monumental proportions. James was A MASTER. HE was the savior of his day, not Jesus. John the Baptist, James the Just, Simeon Cleophus (Simon Peter) were the line, Masters all. 


It is not possible to overstate the impact of these discoveries. Quite simply, this the greatest revelation in all history. In just one cache of documents we can now see that the two greatest religions of history are embellishment of mysticism. This impacts everyone in the world personally, and the world and societies in general, so pervasive are the influences of Islam and Christianity. When you have garbage in you get garbage out. I don't mean to insult anyone, but the teachings of these two religions are simply not true. They are remakes and overlays of the truth of mystic teaching.


By the way, I said that the true origin of the Christian message and its nullification of mystic Truth can now be fully told, not that I had done it. What I have done is point the way. I believe I am correct in all I say about it, but there always seems to be more to learn.  This is a call to scholars and amateurs alike to join me in finishing the story. I don't know Coptic! or even Greek! Help me out. I would love to be part of a translation team to do the Gospel of Judas the justice it deserves. Then we can tackle the rest of the Nag Hammadi collection. And what a treasure trove it is!


_____________________________





SBL Annual Meeting abstract (2/15/18)



 The recovery of the Nag Hammadi/Al Minya gnostic texts is the most important discovery in history.  We now have period documents proving that the gnostic story of  mastership succession and the sacrifice of James --- as 'Judas' -- is  the origin of the canonical 'Betrayal of Christ' narrative.  Comparing  the gnostic Apocalypses of Nag Hammadi to the Four Gospels reveals the  monumental revelation that James the Just was inverted as 'Judas,' the  Pauline proto-orthodoxy contriving the device of "Judas the traitor" as a  way to hide James's personal self-sacrifice and mastership.  In the  Gospel of Judas, Judas has his vision of being stoned by fellow  disciples, an event known to have befallen only James in period sources.   A new page 55 fragment shows, "Israel will come ..." leading believers  out of worldly bondage, in a likely allusion to Jacob, Greek for  "James" -- not the Genesis Patriarch, but a redeemer James who "will  come."  

All of the following gnostic passages about James's mastership  installation have been installed into the canon, usually reversed  tendentiously from their mystic original reading, but roughly in order,  to apply to the Judas betrayal of Christ: "I have given you a sign;"  "walking on a mountain;" "prayer on a rock;" "three times you have told  us to become full;" "I know whom I have chosen;" "he who ate my bread;"  "the flesh is weak;" the kiss (inverted from a kiss of life to a kiss of  death);  "stripped and rising naked;" "a multitude will arm themselves  against you;" "in particular three of them will seize you;" the three  denials of Peter, and more.  Second Apocalypse of James, "Hail my  brother, my brother, hail," became, "Hail, Master!" in Matthew, proving  that the gnostic version came first, since virgin-birth theology came  late in the development of the canon.   

The New Testament canon was a successful attempt by the proto-orthodoxy  to hide that there was a successor Master -- James -- who had come to,  most likely, take on the ministry of John the Baptist.  Judas, and very  possibly Jesus, were fictional inventions by Gospel authors to hide that  there was a succession of saviors coming to offer a living salvation --  like it says in red-letter quotations of John 6:35-40 and 9:1-5 (Codex  Sinaiticus, "sent US") -- not the cult of the dead as taught by Paul in  Romans 10:9-13.  Famous John 3:16 isn't even about Jesus at all, but the  Son as Spirit 'given,' in past tense, to John the Baptist and others.    Mark 10:45 is the granting of 'Life' (Gr.,"psuchen") as a ransom to the  archons, not a human body sacrifice to a vengeful God.  A death ransom  of the Master would have been offered to 'all,' not 'to many' -- whether  accepted or not.   A careful study of modern mystic sources, many  written by recently living Masters, some English speaking, is the  spiritual Rosetta Stone to unlocking the real story of salvation.   
 


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