The anonymous scribe "Diogenes" over at Catholic World News' Off the Record blog doesn't have much to say that is positive about "The Gospel of Judas" and its pre-Holy Week publicity blast. There is, for example, this link to a dissection of a Dallas Morning News story in the wave of coverage. The key themes, once again, are obvious. The gnostic gospels are not new. The Gospel of Judas is not new. This manuscript does apppear to be an important document, for those interested in gaining insights into the oral traditions linked to the gnostic Christians around A.D. 200 to 300, as opposed, let's say, to the older oral traditions that the early church insisted were rooted in the teachings of the disciples of Jesus.
The Judas campaign is an important event for those who believe that the gnostics were, and are, right and traditional Christianity was, and is, wrong. This includes the usual suspects writing in the usual places.
But all of that is old news.
The Diogenes post is zooming around the Net today because of its snarky little satire of this whole affair -- a mainstream press report about the discovery of "The Gospel of Skip and Muffy." The cultural roots are not hard to spot:
"The Gospel of Skip and Muffy" is an extended dialogue between two young theologians who take a startling new approach to the faith. The document suggests that young Christians of the 1970s generation did not accept Church teachings on some controversial moral issues. B.F.D. Zeitgeist, a Professor of Serious Christianity at Dupont University, said that the Gospel of Skip and Muffy will force Christians to re-examine the nature of Church authority. He pointed to one key passage in the manuscript:
"The Church is -- I mean -- it's just a bunch of, like, rules and stuff," said Muffy.
"Yeah," Skip replied. "I mean, really. Hey, don't let that thing go out."
The Judas affair is one of the most amazing pre-Easter press campaigns I have ever seen. Or maybe this story was timed as a follow-up to the V for Vendetta release. Or, maybe, is there a new DVD edition of Jesus Christ Superstar coming out?