Yet the Judas Gospel is an eye-opener anyway. First, because it is useful to be reminded, in a time of renewed fundamentalism, that religions actually have no fundament: that the inerrant texts and unchallenged holies of any faith are the work of men and time. Any orthodoxy is the snapshot of a moment. That the Church has long had answers to gnosticism, in all its varieties, does not mean that gnosticism was always doomed to heresy. Bart D. Ehrman has recently written, touchingly and convincingly, of his own migration away from a fundamentalist Christianity on the basis of an increasing understanding of how time-contingent and man-made the foundational Gospels really are. As Borges once suggested, had Alexandria, where gnosticism flourished, triumphed rather than Rome, we would have had a Dante making poetry out of the realm of Barbelo.
I was impressed with Ehrman, author of Misquoting Jesus, when he was on “Fresh Air” a while back.