An ancient Coptic manuscript dating from the third or fourth century,
containing the only known surviving copy of the Gospel of Judas, has been
restored and authenticated after being lost for nearly 1,700 years.
n order to be certain of its age and authenticity, the National Geographic Society put the codex through the closest scrutiny possible without doing it harm. This included submitting minute samples of the papyrus to a rigorous radiocarbon-dating process, analyzing the ink, submitting the manuscript to multispectral imaging, and consulting with leading scholars well-versed in the fields of paleography and codicology.
The National Geographic Society collaborated with the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery. Rodolphe Kasser, of Switzerland, one of the world's preeminent Coptic scholars, was recruited to restore the text, transcribe it, and translate the manuscript, which contains not only the Gospel of Judas, but also a text called James, the Letter of Peter to Philip, and a fragment of a text that scholars are provisionally calling Book of Allogenes.
An international team of scientists, scholars, and biblical experts worked for the past few years to conserve, translate, and authenticate the Codex Tchacos. Learn who they are.
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The Gospel of Judas is written in Coptic, an ancient language that uses a modified Greek alphabet to write ancient Egyptian. Download the entire Coptic text.