The Lost Gospel
  • Main
  • About the Project
  • Document
  • Time Line & Map
  • Conservation
  • Authentication
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Back
Next
View the Interactive Version
Introduction & Map

Gospel of Judas Copied

A.D. 220-340

The title of the Gospel of Judas is actually found on the last page of the document and reads,
The title of the Gospel of Judas is actually found on the last page of the document and reads, "Evangelion of Judas" in Coptic script.
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic

The surviving Gospel of Judas was probably copied sometime between A.D. 220 and 340, decades after the original was written. Radiocarbon dating of four samples of the papyrus pages and one sample of the leather binding places the codex in this time period. The Gospel was one of three texts bound together in a codex, or ancient book.

Leading scholars who have examined the fragile document conclude that both the theological concepts outlined in the text and its linguistic structure are very similar to those found in other noncanonical documents of the period from the Nag 'Hammadi library in Egypt.

The handwriting is another important clue to the codex's antiquity. Experts in Coptic script say that the document is the work of a professional scribe of this period. The codex features distinctive hallmarks unlikely to have been duplicated at any other time.

The manuscript's ink has been dated as well. An imaging technique called transmission electron microscopy confirms that the ink contains carbon black and metal-gallic components bound with gum—a formula consistent with third- and fourth-century A.D. inks.