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'Gospel' Offers Radical New Perspective on Judas

The final words on the last page of the codex, written in the Coptic language, read: Gospel of Judas.
The final words on the last page of the codex, written in the Coptic language, read: Gospel of Judas.

The discovery and translation of a document lost for 1,700 years sheds new light on one of history's most notorious characters -- Judas Iscariot.

National Geographic researchers say the discovery of the leather-bound codex -- a book with 66 pages of papyrus sheets known as the Gospel of Judas -- is an archeological find that ranks with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Even more intriguing is what the Gospel of Judas contains. It tells a story of Judas Iscariot that departs dramatically from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Instead of portraying him as the greatest traitor of all time, this Gospel describes Judas as one of Jesus' closest friends. In it, Jesus charges Judas with a most important and special task: to betray Jesus' identity to help him fulfill his mission to bring salvation to all mankind.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.