The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel whose content consists of conversations between the Disciple Judas Iscariot and Jesus Christ.
It is believed to have been written by Gnostic followers of Jesus, rather than by Judas himself, and probably dates from no earlier than the 2nd century, since it contains late 2nd century theology. In 180 A.D., Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, wrote a document in which he railed against this gospel, indicating the book was already in circulation. The only copy of the Gospel of Judas known to exist is a Coptic language text that has been carbon dated to AD 280, plus or minus 60 years. It has been suggested that the text derives from an earlier Greek version. A translation of the text was first published in early 2006 by the National Geographic Society.
In contrast to the canonical gospels which paint Judas as a betrayer of Christ who delivered him up to the authorities for crucifixion, the Gospel of Judas portrays Judas’s actions as done in obedience to instructions given by Christ. The document also suggests that Christ planned the course of events which led to his death. This portrayal seems to conform to a notion current in some forms of Gnosticism, that the human form is a spiritual prison, that Judas thus served Christ by helping to release Christ’s soul from its physical constraints, and that two kinds of human beings exist: the men furnished with the immortal soul which is „from the eternal realms” and „will abide there always” („the strong and holy generation…with no ruler over it”, to whom Judas belongs), and the other ones, the majority of mankind, who are mortal and therefore unable to reach the salvation. The Gospel of Judas does not claim that the other disciples knew about Jesus’s true teachings. On the contrary, it asserts that they had not learned the true Gospel, which Jesus taught only to Judas Iscariot, the sole follower belonging to the „holy generation” among the disciples.