Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's Crime Day!

I couldn't help noticing as I took a break from editing to read the news, that today's news slate is led off by crimes. Taiwan News has.....

Chen Che-nan held in Taipei after testimony
Former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) was taken into custody yesterday after Taipei District Court prosecutors requested he be detained.They are charging him with corruption and perjury in a financial embezzlement scheme with notorious fugitive businessman Liang Po-hsun (梁柏薰).The prosecution asked that Chen be taken into custody after interrogating him yesterday afternoon about his relationship with Liang.Liang was arrested last Sunday after.... [Full story]

Reports say dead wife of railway worker had poison in blood
The railway saboteur mystery seemed to take another dramatic turn yesterday when a Chinese language media said that traces of a rare poison were found in the body of Chen... [Full story]

I thought it was neat that the front page juxtaposed these two crimes, one a prosaic corruption case, the other a fascinating murder-for-money saga, with a reference to one of history's more well-known crimes, with the world-wide release of a translation of the Gospel of Judas. I also think it is neat when two of my passions, Taiwan and New Testament studies, intersect:

Gospel of Judas unveiled in U.S.
For 2,000 years Judas has been reviled for betraying Jesus. Now a newly translated ancient document seeks to tell his side of the story.The "Gospel of Judas" tells a far different tale from the four gospels in the New Testament. It portrays Judas as a favored disciple who was given special knowledge by Jesus - and who turned him in at Jesus' request."You will be cursed by the other generations [Fullstory]

The Gospel of Judas is a late text of no historical importance for the Jesus story, though it does shed light on second-century Christianity. As far as Judas is concerned, Shelby Spong demonstrated years ago in a presentation to the Jesus Seminar that the writer of Mark had invented Judas, and the position that Judas is an invented character is also held by Ted Weeden, probably the ranking Mark scholar (Go here to chapter 14 of my commentary and scroll down to the comments on verses 14:9-11 for more information on the arguments). Early Christianity was a great diversity that can be broadly split into four major groups -- the proto-Orthodox faction, the Marcionites, the Gnostics, and Adoptionists. The Gospel itself presumes the tale in the canonical gospels, but like many of the Gnostic gospels, goes off in its own direction. The Gnostics and the other branches of Christianity were eventually defeated and suppressed as heretical by the proto-orthodox faction, which evolved into the Christian Church of today.

1 comment:

Taiwanonymous said...

There was a two-hour special yesterday on the National Geographic Channel about the Gospel of Judas. I recorded it and haven't watched most of it yet, but it looked really interesting. If you missed it you might try to catch a rerun.