To the many critics of the Book of Judas , produced by the National Geographic Society (NGS), the NGS seems more interested in subverting Christianity than presenting honest history.
The project’s panel of “experts” suggest the New Testament gospels may have deceived us by vilifying Judas Iscariot. Far from a traitor, they say, Judas may have been a slandered hero who delivered Jesus to the Pharisees at Jesus’ own request.
Who at the NGS has the motives to cast such doubts upon Christianity?
Of the nine influential experts on the NGS’s Codex advisory panel, five are probably Jewish. The Jewish Family Services’ sourcebook for genealogy confirms that Bart Ehrman, Stephen Emmel, Jill Levine, Marvin Meyer, and Elaine Pagels have Jewish names. Jewish names also belong to Frieda Tchacos Nussberger, alleged owner of the Book of Judas; Herb Krosney, the TV producer who brought the Book of Judas to the NGS; and Sarah Laskin, Michael Rosenfeld, and Cheryl Zook, members of the NGS Codex team.
History of Admiration for Judas
The NGS, under probable Jewish influence, is dramatizing an early Gnostic “gospel” to the disadvantage of Christianity. So it seems appropriate to consider another nearly forgotten “gospel.” It wasn't found in an Egyptian cave, but a copy resides in the Judaic section of the Library of Congress. It’s called the Toldoth Jesu: the Gospel of the Jews, the Generations of Jesus.
The Toldoth Jesu was a frontline Jewish retort to the Christian gospel. Its comforting message made this mock gospel extremely popular with Jews for over a millennium. Persecuted by crusaders and the Inquisition, the Toldoth encourages Jews to laugh at Christ. In a fast moving, witty style, it glorifies Judas Iscariot and leads Jews to identify with him as a heroic figure.
In 1823, a Jewish Toldoth editor, Solomon Bennet, boasted that Jews still believed it as literally as Christians believe the New Testament. Even the 1905 Jewish Encyclopedia repeatedly refers to the Toldoth as an accurate representation of how historic Judaism has viewed both Christ and Judas.
The Toldoth and its derisive approach were discarded by Jewish apologists in the 20th century. But its content, as we shall see, is still on their lips.
The Toldoth Speaks
Here is a condensed overview of the Toldoth story.
There sprung up a certain profligate, worthless fellow by the name of Joseph Pandera,” who lusted after Mary, a hairdresser. Though she was engaged to another man, Joseph repeatedly had sex with her. Out of their adulterous relationship, Jesus was born (ch. 1). The boy Jesus turned out to be so insolent that the Jewish elders “blew 300 trumpets and they proclaimed that he was born of an adulteress and not fit to enter into the congregation. And they called his name Jesus as a sign that he was a man whose name and memory ought to perish.” (ch. 2)
Jesus, they said, sneaked into the temple in Jerusalem and, learned the secret use of the Divine Name of God by which heaven and earth can be created. He became a magician, deceiving the people. But for the intervention of Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ deception and influence might never have been contained. Judas resisted Jesus in an aerial battle, the Toldoth says.
And Jesus uttered the Great Name and a wind came and placed him between the heaven and the earth. Then Judas also uttered the same, and a wind came and placed him in like manner between the heaven and the earth: and they were flying about in the regions of the air. And all who saw them were greatly astonished...And when Judas saw that he was not able to put a stop to the exploits of Jesus, he pissed upon Jesus, and they became both unclean and fell to the earth...And they sentenced Jesus with the sentence of death.” (ch.4)
The Toldoth says that even after death by stoning, Jesus had so enchanted all the trees that He couldn’t be hung upon any of them for crucifixion. Again, Judas comes to the rescue of Israel. “And Judas saw that no tree would receive him, and he said to the wise men, See, the heart of this bastard, for he has enchanted all the trees so as not to receive him. And behold, there is in my garden the stalk of a great cabbage. I will go and bring it, perhaps it will receive him. And the wise men said, Go, do as you have spoken: and Judas agreed, and brought the stalk, and Jesus was hanged upon it...And they buried the bastard in the place where they had stoned him. (ch. 6) And it came to pass in the middle of that night that his disciples came and sat upon his sepulcher and lamented with a great lamentation and wept over him.”
At this juncture, Judas again intervenes. He takes the body of Jesus and uses it as a dam for irrigation in his garden. “And Judas saw this thing, and he took the body and buried it in his garden, in the place of a stream of water. For he turned the water one way for a while and after he had buried him, he turned the stream of water over him as it was at the beginning.”
The rabbis of Israel then came to Judas’ garden and, pulling Jesus’ dead body from the mire, “they tied him to the tail of a horse, and they drew him and brought him before the face of the queen and said, Behold, this is the man of whom you said, that he had ascended into the firmament...And as they brought him by dragging him, the hair of his head was torn off; wherefore the Christian priests now shave their hair in the middle of their heads to remember the words of Jesus.” (ch.7)
The Toldoth ends by relating that, despite the deception of Jesus, his wicked disciples “went into twelve kingdoms, and they spread among them the prophecies of falsehood...And the wise men saw this evil word, and it was very evil to them; for an abomination was done in Israel.”
Gnostic “Gospels” were Jewish
The NGS Book of Judas project suggests that this Gnostic “gospel” may well have been one of many sincere efforts by early Gnostic Christians to present the whole truth about Jesus and Judas.
Yet the Jewish Encyclopedia, in its article on “Gnosticism,” informs us that Gnosticism itself was of Jewish origins. Continuing the Jewish anti-Christianity recorded in the book of Acts, Jews in the early centuries attempted to destroy Christianity with heresies. In fact, some early church fathers blamed Jews for inventing all the heresies plaguing the church. “It is a noteworthy fact that heads of Gnostic schools and founders of Gnostic systems are distinguished as Jews by early church fathers. Some derive all heresies, including that of Gnosticism, from Judaism. The principle elements of Gnosticism were derived from Jewish speculation. Since the second century BC, Gnostic thought was bound up with Judaism, which had accepted Babylonian and Syrian doctrines.” (Jewish Encyclopedia, “Gnosticism,” p. 681)
Was the “Book of Judas” one of the Jewish-inspired Gnostic heretical gospels?
St. Irenaeus, in the 2nd century, warned against a false gospel very similar to the Book of Judas , exalting Judas Iscariot. No one knows when the Toldoth Jesu, also exalting Judas, was conceived. But its shared message of Judas glorification, mocking the New Testament testimony against him, suggests a common origin in Judaic unbelief.
Jewish Anti-Christianity Continues
One thing we know for sure: Jewish anti-Christianity, whether in the 1st century or the 21st, is undeniable. It motivates the words and actions of Jewish “civil liberties” groups, top heavy with Jews, which radiate from ADL/B’nai B’rith. These include the Southern Poverty Law Center, People for the American Way, and the ACLU.
Such anti-Christianity erupted in ADL's arrest of 11 Philadelphia Christians in 2004 for the "hate crime" of preaching to homosexuals. (See "Eleven Christians Jailed for Criticizing Homosexualty")
It smolders beneath the Christian-entrapping legalese within ADL's federal "anti-hate" bill, narrowly defeated in Congress last fall. (See My Analysis of the Federal Hate Bill and "New Federal 'Hate' Bill Means Funeral of Free Speech")
Its smell is unmistakable in the arrogance of Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, who helped create US Air Force and Navy guidelines to forbid public prayers in Jesus’ name. Resnicoff was empowered by lay Jewish activist Mikey Weinstein, whose objections to Christian evangelism at the Academy ultimately forced the Academy to restrain Christian free speech.
Jewish activism is also apparent in efforts by Senators Lieberman and Levin, in their recent attempts to stifle grass-roots Christian lobbying through “lobby reform.” (See "'Lobby Reform' Bills Cripple Free Speech") ADL worked overtime last Christmas to strip the holiday season of any public signs of Christianity.
Jewish anti-Christianity is evident also in the work of Jewish writers and producers, like those who made NBC’s Book of Daniel (See " Who's Behind NBC's 'Book of Daniel?' "). Jewish anti-Christianity also emanates from Sony Corporation of America, presided over by Emily Susskind and a host of high-level Jews. Sony is featuring Jewish Akiva Goldsman’s screenplay of the toxic Da Vinci Code, soon appearing in theaters and homes everywhere.
Churchill Warns Us
In 1918 Winston Churchill, in an article detailing how international Jewish bankers and revolutionaries established communism in Russia, wrote: “It may be that this same astounding race, may at the present time be in the actual process of producing another system of morals and philosophy as malevolent as Christianity was benevolent, which, if not arrested, would shatter irretrievably all that Christianity had rendered possible. It would almost seem as if the gospel of Christ and the gospel of anti-Christ were destined to originate among the same people.” (Illustrated Sunday Herald, Feb. 8, 1920)
Reviving the Toldoth Jesu?
During the era of ecumenical “tolerance” over the past century, the Toldoth Jesu has not been a visible part of the arsenal of Jewish anti-Christian polemics. Yet as the attacks of Jewish activism intensify, its testimony against Christ is revived and dignified. In a previous e-alert, I spoke of a CBS 48 Hours program about an “alternative Jewish tradition,” a tradition in which Jesus was the offspring of “Pantera.” In this documentary, Professor Elaine Pagels gives credibility to none other than the Toldoth Jesu, the only source that alleges “Pantera” or “Pandera” as the father of Jesus. (See "More Christian Bashing from Media this Easter") Pagels, who suggests that Jesus is a bastard, also occupies a position as an “expert” on the NGS’s Codex Advisory Panel.
How Do We Resist?
How do we combat such relentless and increasing anti-Christianity from Jewish activists? One of the most fundamental laws of nature is that every living creature must recognize its enemy. If the rabbit doesn’t know that its enemy is the fox, it will soon be eaten.
Evangelical Christians, do you know your enemy? Or are you still paralyzed by the unbiblical superstition that a divine curse will come on those who criticize evil Jewish leaders and activists?
From ADL-inspired hate laws in Congress to the Book of Daniel, the Book of Judas and the upcoming Da Vinci Code film, the message is clear: As Rabbi Daniel Lapin warned the church, liberal Jewish activism is in “relentless attack upon Christianity.” (See "Rabbi Lapin: Christians Under 'Relentless Attack' by 'Secular Judaism'")
How can Christians, at this very late hour, respond?
First, be at least as smart as a rabbit.