Friday, April 07, 2006

Irenaeus and the Cainites

Just one more comment about the Gospel of Judas.

Kudos to those news organizations who have researched the early patristic witness of the Gospel of Judas and the heresy of Gnosticism. One of the best witnesses is 2nd century bishop, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who devoted much of his writing to exposing the early Gnostic sects. In Book I, Chapter 31 of his work Against Heresies, Irenaeus explicitly discusses the Gnostic Cainites and specifically mentions their fictional Gospel of Judas:
1. Others again declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves. On this account, they add, they have been assailed by the Creator, yet no one of them has suffered injury... They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas.
So it's old news. Perhaps it's not for those modern day Gnostics looking for some hidden, secret knowledge to believe in, which might explain the success of The DaVinci Code, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, etc...

For more information on Gnosticism, you could check out the Wikipedia article.

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