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BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Authors

Gaye Strathearn

Abstract

This article discusses the Gospel of Judas, an Early Christian text found in Egypt about 1978 and published in 2006 with much media attention. Discussions about the Gospel of Judas raise questions about Gnosticism. Gaye Strathearn explains that Gnosticism is a name scholars, beginning in the eighteenth century, apply to the teachings of groups outside mainstream Christianity. The Gospel of Judas and the Nag Hammadi texts reveal the Gnostics' unorthodox views, including Judas being a hero, the serpent in Eden being good, and an emphasis on the pursuit of knowledge. Some of their beliefs seem to parallel modern Latter-day Saint beliefs, such as the existence of a premortal world and multiple levels of salvation. However, extreme differences also exist, like Gnostics' belief in predetermined salvation for only a few. The Gnostic movement was disenfranchised in AD 381, and their texts were hidden and not widely copied or circulated.

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