Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gospel of Judas; Part 5

According to the Gospel of Judas, “Nebro” or “Yaldabaoth” appears out of a cloud and creates six angels as his assistants. One of these is Saklas,” a reference to the God of the Bible. These six angles produce twelve more angels. Five angels rule over the underworld: Christ, Harmathoth, Galila, Yobel and Adonaios. “Then Saklas said to his angels, ‘Let us create a human being after the likeness and after the image.” They then create Adam and Eve.

Names like Yaldabaoth and Saklas (Aramaic for fool) are well known from other 2nd to 4th century Gnostic literature. For example, in the Apocryphon of John, the divine Sophia, one of the aeons from the great, invisible, virginal Monad, decides to conceive a child without the aid of a consort or, more importantly (gasp!), without the approval of the great virginal Monad. The result was dissimilar to “its” mother. It immediately changed in form to that of a lion-faced serpent, so Sophia put it in a luminous cloud so no one could see it except the mother of the living (Barbelo). She called it Yaldabaoth, also known as Saklas and Samael.

Note that Saklas is the God of the Bible in both the Gospel of Judas and in the Apocryphon of John, but in the Apocryphon of John, Yaldabaoth and Saklas are the same, where as in the Gospel of Judas Saklas is an angel-assistant of Yaldabaoth, but with so many gods to look after, I’m sure it’s hard to keep them straight. For example, Yobel and Adonaios are also found both in the Gospel of Judas and in the Apocryphon of John. In the Gospel of Judas, they are angels who rule over the underworld with Christ. In the Apocryphon of John they are aeons created in arrogance by Yaldabaoth.

Anyway, the Apocryphon of John portrays Yaldabaoth/Saklas as an arrogant, impious, ignorant being who thinks he is the only God. Yaldabaoth/Saklas is supposedly the Jewish God of the Old Testament. The writer of the Gospel of Judas, as well as the writers of other Gnostic writings, present God, the Father of Jesus, the God of the apostles and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an evil fool, and the critics have the audacity to call these Anti-Christian, Anti-Semitic groups “Christian.” Although they sometimes thought of themselves as Christians, they have about as claim to being Christian as Muhammad who also had a lot to say about Christ.

The interesting thing is that the scholars who keep referring to these groups as "Christian" are not stupid—they know full well how anti-Christian and anti-Semitic many of these groups were. Clearly something other than objective scholarship is going on with these attacks.