tv Finding Jesus Faith Fact Forgery CNN March 27, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> now, new evidence rewrites the story of jesus and judas. a lost book of secret knowledge, condemned as heresy 1800 years ago. >> it's just horrific. a terrifying scene. >> can fresh clues help reveal the true meaning of the gospel of judas? ♪ judas has been one of the greatest villains in human history. >> judas has become the symbol of the ultimate traitor. >> the man who sells out jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
>> judas' crime is so easy to understand and, at the same time, so terrible. he betrayed his friend. >> along comes a bombshell, a newly translated ancient manuscript. >> just 25 tattered sheets of papyrus written in the ancient coptic language, the lost gospel of judas. it challenges our contempt for judas' character, but now will missing fragments of text complete the gospel and force us to reconsider judas' role in the story of jesus? >> the story of jesus, the story of the crucifixion is not so much a whodunit, it's a whydunit. why did judas betray jesus? that's really the biggest
question in the entire gospel. >> in the new testament gospels, jesus starts his mission traveling through galilee and judea, gathering followers. from them, he chooses 12 to be his closest disciples. >> the term "disciple" simply means learner or student. so when jesus is calling disciples, he's simply gathering a group of students around to learn from him. >> the disciples come from a wide range of backgrounds. from fishermen to tax collectors. >> there was recruitment by jesus, deliberate recruitment. and he wanted a diverse group. judas may well have been one of the very first he recruited.
>> jesus was a pretty good judge of character. anyone who jesus had chosen as a disciple must have had something going for him. >> judas was the treasurer of jesus' 12 disciples. he was the one jesus trusted with the money. >> jesus saw in judas the kind of man that he wanted to be his follower. we have to assume that they're friends and that they have this close relationship. >> he's special. he has a key place. and yet something's going to happen in judas that's going to lead him to fall away from jesus and to lose faith in jesus and ultimately to betray jesus.
>> the new testament gospels tell of a critical moment here two miles outside jerusalem. >> the village of bethany is named in the gospels as the place where jesus stayed during the last week of his life. >> the gospel of john places the scene in the house of lazarus, the man jesus raised from the dead. >> just a few days before his crucifixion, a woman came to jesus and anointed his feet with expensive ointments and perfumes. >> mary anoints jesus with essence of nard, the chanel number 5 of antiquity, and she uses a whole pot of it, a whole year's worth of a day laborer's wages. >> people who saw it were scandalized.
they were shocked. >> none more so than the group's treasurer, judas. >> why was the ointment wasted in this way? >> leave her alone! >> jesus has been preaching this message about the poor and ministering to them and giving away your coat. and now all of a sudden he's going to let this woman pour a huge amount of money's worth of perfume on him. >> this ointment could have been sold for more than 300 dinai and given to the poor. >> sort of one set of rules for the disciples and a different set of rules for jesus. we can see why this event would upset judas. >> this was a big turning point for judas because immediately after he sees this anointing, he goes to the authorities and says, i will betray jesus to you. >> but the following day, judas
is back at jesus' side as they make a momentous entry into jerusalem for the passover. >> the passover festival is a week-long festival in which jews recall their exodus from egypt. >> the arrival of jesus swells the excited crowds and spells trouble for the authorities. >> this is a risky time for the romans because there are all of these pilgrims in the city. passover is about liberation from enslavement, and it's a small step from liberation, from slavery in egypt, to liberation from tyranny from the romans. >> jerusalem in the time of jesus is a tinderbox. we have jesus' charismatic messianic figure in town. we have a major jewish festival and the romans, on top of it,
are watching. the romans are worried that it is going to explode at any moment. >> fearing the romans would punish them for any unrest, the jewish high priests decide to take action against jesus. the scene is set for the greatest betrayal in history. 2016 chevy malibu. wow, it's nice. let's check it out. do any of you have kids? i do yes. this car has a feature built in called teen driver technology, which lets parent's see how their teens are driving. oh, that's smart. it even mutes the radio until the seat belt is fastened. will it keep track of how many boys get it in the car? (laughter) cause that could be useful. this is ahead of what my audi has for sure. wish my beamer had that. i didn't even know that technology existed. i'm not in the market for a car but now i may be.
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judas iscariot, the man who betrays jesus. the question is, why? >> does judas know what he's doing? does judas resent jesus, or is he just disillusioned, or is he just confused? >> we don't know what made judas do what he did. i can imagine a lot of different motives. >> in the gospel of matthew, judas betrays jesus for 30 pieces of silver. >> for me, greed doesn't work as a motive because judas spent the last one to three years traipsing around the judean desert and galilee presumably for no money. so why now all of a sudden is this person greedy? >> so why else would cause judas to double cross jesus? >> i am with jesus of nazareth
and can bring him to you. >> some experts think that judas was a zealot. a zealot is a technical term for a group of revolutionaries who are really strongly opposed to roman occupation. if judas was one of these revolutionaries, maybe he got frustrated jesus wasn't taking enough action in public enough, pressing the matter hard enough. >> maybe he handed over jesus in the hopes that creating a confrontation between jesus and the romans would be the spark that would cause jesus to begin the events that would topple the roman empire. >> these political intrigues form the backdrop to one of the most celebrated scenes of jesus' life, the last supper. >> this place is called the cenaculum. it comes from cena, the latin word for dinner.
and this is the traditional site where the last supper took place. when jesus and his disciples meet for the last supper, the tension is really building up. through the week that they've been in jerusalem, there have been increasing conflicts with authorities. something big was about to happen. >> i think there's a real sense of foreboding at the last supper, the way that it's portrayed in the gospels. >> there's that moment in the meal, this intimacy, to eat a meal with somebody is to be
family with them. jesus announces that one of you, one of the 12 will betray me. >> jesus is taking them on a path they did not expect. they all sense the ominous stench of death breathing down on jesus. and they don't know what to do. >> it is the one to whom i give this piece of bread when i have dipped it in the dish. >> it's judas who's identified
as the one who would betray him. >> judas abruptly leaves. where is he going? >> you have the last supper. you have the garden of gethsemane, and it's like an endless night. >> while the disciples sleep, jesus spends the night in prayer. >> he's so anguished, so full of agony, that he's sweating blood. >> the one i kiss will be the man. arrest him and lead him away. rabbi. >> judas walks up to jesus and does the most loving thing on the outside and it was the most
hateful thing on the inside. and kisses him. >> jesus of nazareth! >> judas is responsible for the ultimate act of wickedness, betraying an innocent jesus. >> from that moment, the name judas is synonymous with traitor. but nearly two millennia later, a new version of this shameful story emerges. the lost gospel of judas. it casts a different light on
it contains what appears to be a biblical text written in an ancient language. no one yet knows what it says. >> it's like a cross between the maltese falcon and an "indiana jones" movie. >> this intriguing document enters the shady world of the antiquities black market and surfaces in geneva. >> that's where the banks are. that's where the rich people are. it's the glitziest black market you've ever seen. >> stephen emmel, a specialist in ancient languages, arrives in switzerland to investigate. >> the egyptian government doesn't give permission to remove artifacts unless they've
been part of an archaeological undertaking. so we assume that the manuscripts are legal. the whole feeling of the meeting was a bit clandestine. the egyptian man whom i understood to be the owner of the papyri gave me the impression of being very tense, very wired and keyed up. i had the impression that he might be the kind of person who would carry a gun. >> emmel and his colleagues are being pressured to decide their value even without knowing exactly what these pages are from. >> i began to see the name judas, that it was a work in coptic that i wasn't familiar with. we were interested in buying them. what was the price? and then came a bombshell. the man wanted $3 million. >> this is far more than they can afford. >> the egyptian man signaled to his associate to close up the boxes, and that was the end of the meeting. a year after i saw the coptic codex in geneva, the egyptian
owner took it to new york city and tried to sell it there without any success. >> the owner then deposits the codex in a bank vault. it stays there for nearly two decades until another buyer finally persuades him to sell. >> here i am, opening again that safe. all the pages were glued together. and fragments of the pages were floating around. >> still uncertain what the manuscript is, tchacos takes it to yale. >> i say, do you know what you have here? this is something that's only been hinted at in antiquity. for the first time ever we're laying eyes on the actual gospel of judas. >> but there's bad news. restoration will cost a fortune. tchacos needs someone with very wealthy contacts. enter manuscript dealer bruce ferrini.
>> i was told that bruce ferrini was a very reputable manuscript dealer and that he had bill gates as a client. that sounded good. >> seeing the chance to make a quick profit, ferrini decides to buy the manuscript himself and sell it on. >> ferrini writes two checks totaling $2.5 million for the gospel of judas, and they bounce. >> tchacos needs to reclaim her property. >> ferrini has the documents. he's got the papyrus. and what does he do with it? he puts it in a bag in the freezer. >> this is, in fact, recommended treatment sometimes for books, manuscripts made out of paper. but it's not conservation treatment for papyrus. >> but he did even something worse.
he took pages from under the book, put them on top of it to make it look presentable to a potential client. by shuffling these pages, it made a huge headache. >> to save the gospel of judas, tchacos enlists the help of an expert conservator in switzerland who begins a painstaking reconstruction. >> they've got to restore it, but then they've also got to authenticate it. does anybody know this is real? does anybody know if this is a fraud or a fake? >> the gospel needs to be dated to the early christian era to prove it is not a modern forgery. >> they do carbon 14 testing on the papyrus. it comes back as ancient. they do the testing on the ink. that comes back as ancient as well. the gospel of judas is real. >> along comes a bombshell. a newly translated ancient manuscript. >> it's a major question of
biblical proportion. >> the gospel of judas is the subject of intense debate and interest. >> in 2006, nearly 30 years after its discovery, the gospel of judas is finally revealed to the world. >> this is a new gospel. it tells a new story of the last days of jesus christ. it's a dialogue between jesus and judas. >> it is the only known copy of a text originally written in the second century a.d. the actual author of the gospel of judas remains unknown. >> it's not the gospel according to judas. so all the other gospels that we have are always according to one disciple or the other. but this is not necessarily judas' view. this is a text that's about judas. >> the gospel uses the familiar scene of the last supper to paint a very different picture
of judas and jesus from that in the bible. >> in the gospels of the new testament, jesus is a mentor. he's gentle to his disciples, shall we say. >> the jesus that we meet in the gospel of judas is a little different from the jesus that we know from the pages of the new testament. he's a much more mysterious character who speaks in riddles that are so difficult to understand that a lot of the time we're left scratching our heads when we read it. >> let the strong one among you bring forth the perfect human. >> but the character of judas is also completely different. >> the other disciples fail to understand jesus, and only judas has the courage to stand up and speak to him. >> i know who you are and whence
you have come, and i'm not worthy to utter the name of the one who has sent you. >> judas is singled out as the one disciple with whom jesus feels he can speak openly. judas understands. >> he'll take judas aside and explain to him cosmology, his own fate, and the role that judas is going to play in human history. >> this lost gospel appears to give a new explanation of the betrayal of jesus and exonerate the man reviled throughout history, judas iscariot.
>> the suggestion there is that now you're going to receive divine revelation and that now the heavens will open and reveal something. >> i have explained to you the mysteries of the kingdom. >> and he's illuminated by jesus to understand that what he has to do is a necessary part of god's will. he's not a betrayer. he's not motivated by money or malice or jealousy or anything else except the obligation to obey jesus. judas steps into the cloud of light that is into the place where he will be spiritually enlightened. >> judas! >> judas is transformed by the vision. he now understands that he is part of a sacred mission. >> jesus wanted to be sacrificed. he asks judas to betray him. and judas says, "why me?"
jesus tells him, "because you're the closest to me." "i beg you to do it." >> he understands what's happening. he's helping jesus. he knows that because of what he has to do, he's going to be hated forever. >> judas is doing what jesus wants him to do. look, god sent jesus to die for the sins of mankind. someone has to betray him. someone has to fulfill this mission. jesus is saying, i have to die on the cross in order to do what i was sent here to do. >> judas was not the evil figure, this nasty traitor that we've often depicted him as in
the history of christianity. >> judas, the quintessential traitor is actually the hero? this is hugely shocking. it's stunning. >> the gospel of judas totally changes the relationship between jesus and judas. now judas is not a traitor but a trusted ally chosen by jesus to help him fulfill god's divine plan. then in 2007, another biblical scholar starts to doubt this interpretation.
>> i began to do my own work translating the gospel of judas. and what i began noticing is that there were certain selections of words and translation that didn't reflect the actual coptic language. and so this caused me to really sit down and take a second look at this text and start to ask questions, what do we really have here? >> april deconick has come to geneva, to the foundation now keepers of the gospel of judas, to see the actual papyrus for the very first time. >> oh, my gosh, look at that. >> just as judas is finally being rehabilitated, april deconick takes a look at this papyrus and finds, wait a minute. it's not saying what we think it is saying. >> so there are mistakes in the translation from the very first page. in fact, the very first line. there were certain word choices
that were being made, and there were certain reconstructions of holes in the manuscript that were being made that didn't reflect what i saw there. >> deconick re-examines a key moment in the gospel when judas receives his vision. >> master! >> the biggest problem i think in the original translation was this line here. so in the coptic here, jesus calls judas the 13th dimon. and dimon was translated in the original translation as the word "spirit." >> why do you try so hard? >> but in fact, this word means demon. >> this single word changes the whole interpretation. >> i have seen a great vision. you 13th demon.
>> so the judas that i saw when i did my own reconstructive work, he's not a hero. judas is a fallen angel. he's a demon. >> and behold, from out of the cloud appeared an angel. fire spews forth from his face and his likeness is defiled with blood. >> in april deconick's translation, he's not only evil, he's the most evil. >> but in 2008, previously unseen pieces of the gospel of judas begin to emerge. >> there's always one last twist with the story of judas, and here we have another one.
bruce ferrini, the dealer in ohio, kept back a few of the papyrus fragments of the gospel of judas. >> these pieces are seized along with ferrini's other assets when he goes bankrupt. for the first time, the gospel of judas is complete. and its real message is far more shocking than anyone could have imagined.
the betrayal of jesus is one of the most infamous crimes in history. the discovery of the lost gospel of judas put judas iscariot on trial once again. now new evidence in the form of missing fragments of the text has come to light. >> the most important fragment for scholars is the fragment on the final page which is thought to resolve the question of who enters the cloud at the end of the text. >> before these missing pieces resurfaced, scholars assumed that it is judas who enters the cloud. >> whoever enters the cloud is actually the one who ascends to the highest heaven. this final fragment clarifies that it is, in fact, jesus and not judas who enters the cloud.
>> but judas himself isn't the person that the author in the text is most interested in. >> regardless of whether judas was a good or bad character in this text, what most scholars would agree is that the gospel of judas is not really about the figure of judas. the disciples are the ones being criticized by the author. >> the real shock reveal of the gospel of judas is that none of the disciples are good. that's what really probably should have been the headline. none of the disciples are that great. >> the gospel of judas is a damning portrayal not just of judas but of all the disciples at the last supper. >> what's surprising is that the gospel of judas actually depicts the disciples as misguided idiots, people who don't have
access to the truth. really jesus treats them as a lost cause. >> in the gospel of judas, the other disciples are praying and venerating in ways that make jesus laughs at them. >> why are you laughing at the thanksgiving? >> and they seem to be leading people astray. >> it is what is right. >> i am not laughing at you! >> nor are you doing this by your will but rather it is by this that your god will be praised. >> the gospel of judas pictures the disciples as clueless. >> this image of the disciples and of judas is the key to unlocking the true meaning of the gospel of judas. >> the disciples, they're accused of despicable acts. they are clearly the villains of this text.
>> and the author drives the point home in a lurid dream sequence. >> the disciples' nightmare is absolutely horrific. it's just a terrifying scene. >> they are sacrificing their wives and children. there are men engaged in sexual relations with men. >> we saw a great house with a great altar in it! >> it's sort of a panoply of sin and they're very frightened by this vision that they have. they're not really sure what it means. >> 12 people whom you say are priests. >> jesus responds by saying terrible things are going to be done in my name. and in fact, you're going to be the ones who are doing it. >> you who receive the offerings for the altar that you saw. >> they think that they're following god. they think that they're serving jesus. they've been misled all this time.
>> the message of the gospel of judas is not simply that jesus is betrayed by judas in his lifetime but that his teachings are being betrayed after his death. >> the author of the gospel of judas is angry, but he's not angry at the events that transpired in the first century between jesus and judas. he's angry at church leaders in the second century. >> the gospel of judas is critical of all the disciples of jesus, frankly. and these disciples are standing as kind of ciphers. they're symbols of the orthodox church of the second century. >> it seems that it's written as a criticism of mainstream christians who are engaged in worships that are led by bishops or clerics of one kind or another. and the authors of this text, they don't like that kind of clericalism. they don't like that kind of religious service.
and they are strongly discouraging people from participating in it. >> the gospel of judas is a political smear against the people running the early church. >> the apostolic church was emerging, the institutional church was emerging. what we know is christianity was emerging. the gospel of judas was kind of a narrative against this institutional christianity. >> written decades after the new testament gospels, the gospel of judas is less a story about jesus than a condemnation of the leadership of the early church. >> it gives us an alternate picture of the formation of christianity. it doesn't show christianity as developing necessarily all harmoniously. there were dissenters. there were people who felt that things had gotten off on the wrong track.
>> the gospel of judas suggests that church leadership is mistaken, is more diabolic than divine. >> so controversial is the gospel of judas that in 180 a.d., the bishop of lyon declares it heresy. >> i can easily imagine people throwing this text out as being heretical. if you were a member of the orthodoxy in the second century and you read this text, i can imagine you would be pretty upset. it's a pretty scathing indictment of your beliefs, what you're all about. >> suppressed by the church, the gospel of judas lies buried for nearly two millennia, but history does not forgive judas or forget his fate. we stop arthritis pain,
judas chose judas as the leading figure in the text because judas was a notorious figure. he was an attention-getter in antiquity as he is today. >> anyone who would choose to write a gospel of judas was certainly making a conscious decision to pick a figure whom wasn't accepted by the orthodox church. >> the judas character in the gospel of judas is not a great deal different from judas as we see him on the pages of the new testament. >> judas has always been a complicated character. ambiguity around judas and the fascination has always been there. >> there's no way that the gospel writers would have made up a character in jesus' inner circle who would have betrayed jesus. he's not just kind of a mythical person. judas, obviously, is someone who is going through a lot of conflict.
he's a real person with real emotions. >> he's a person who had great hopes in jesus. those hopes were dashed. he colossally overreacted. and so he leads the jewish authorities to jesus in the garden of gethsemane. but that's not the end of the story. >> we don't really know what happened to judas after he betrays jesus. does he follow jesus through the trial scenes just to see what happens? does he see pilate condemn him to die? does he perhaps watch the flogging? had to feel the reality of what he'd done. >> when it becomes clear that they're not just going to do away with jesus, but they're
going to publicly shame him on a cross, judas apparently had second thoughts. after jesus was condemned, there had to have been a part of him that did feel remorse. >> judas clearly feels guilty after he's done this thing. we see a lot of his conscience. >> i have sinned! >> he takes the money and he throws it back. blood money. and he doesn't want to get his hands dirty with it. >> there's something terrifying about judas that you can be doing so well and then make a mistake from which you can never come back. >> while all four gospels of the new testament name judas as the
betrayer of jesus, only one of them, the gospel of matthew, tells how judas' own story ends. >> for me the story of judas is a tragic story. it's not the story of god giving up on judas but judas giving up on himself. >> he regrets, but he doesn't repent. and he doesn't trust that he can be forgiven, so he despairs and hangs himself. >> if you're a jew and life is the greatest gift of god, you don't go out and kill yourself unless you have been absolutely -- you shamed yourself, you shamed your family. >> judas is probably history's most tragic figure, the person who betrays the sinless son of
god and then commits suicide. i can't think of any more tragic story than that of judas. judas, to people because this is someone who knew jesus and somehow didn't make the right choices. >> i do feel sorry for judas because in many ways he's become such a villain and yet he was a human. if we're humble, if we're honest, we can say i'm like judas sometimes as well. >> whenever we try to paint someone with a singular stroke, we really do an injustice. when we try to paint judas as if he's only evil, we don't see in him what jesus saw in him. >> and if we see him as a monster, i think we lose the sense of humanity. >> maybe we can't rehabilitate
judas, but at least we can have some empathy for him. . hello, everyone, i'm coming to you from brussels. we want to welcome everyone to the unfolding developments in belgium in the aftermath of tuesday's terror attacks faycal cheffou yet, another name is emerging as a key cog in the terror operation that took 28 lives on tuesday. authorities calling him isilfee. they're notescr