Summary of Hermann Detering's current work "Judas und das Judasevangelium" available on http://www.radikalkritik.de/judev.pdf
1. Recently recovered Gospel according to Jude - is it a Cainite writing?
Several churchfathers mention an early Christian sect called the Cainites. They appear to have had a Gospel according to Jude which did not consider Jude as a traitor, but as an outstanding disciple.
The sect venerated many people denigrated by the Old Testament, such as Cain, of course, but also Esau, the Sodomites, the Corah etc., while condemning the heroes of the Tanakh.
Cainites appear to have glorified Jude as a conscient co-worker of the redemption plot, where it was necessary to deliver Jesus to the Archon of the Lower World in order to defeat the latter. Alternatively, Jude was honoured for preventing jesus from revealing too much of the mysteries.
The content of Jude's Gospel as used by the Cainite sect is close to unknown.
The Cainites were occasionally e.g. by Puech related to Marcion, as some patrist reported that Marcion saw Jesus as descending to hell and freeing Cain and other sinners w.r.t. the Torah, while leaving the righteous people down there. This is understandable from the general denigration of the God of the Tanakh by many heretic sects. The followers of this Demiurge were often deemed as innebbriated and unable to recognise the truth of Jesus. Also the sect of the Peratae mentioned by Hippolytos shows similar protest exegetical traits.
We've already seen in previous summaries that Philo Alexandrinus knew about antinomianist Minim who considered Cain as their ancestor. (De poster. Cain.). Thus Cainites, Sethians, Ophites [Naasseni] may have preceded Christianity.
Recently an ancient script was found in the Egyptian desert titled Gospel according to Jude, and is now piecewise made publically available and translated, especially by R. Kasser. It is wondered what's the relation of the discovered manuscript and the lost ancient writing with the same title.
The rediscovered codex contains two other writings who were also found in Nag Hammadi: NHC V:3 and VIII:2.
A few pages of the manuscript have been translated and published by now, and are the subject of the following considerations.
One passage describes the delivery as in the usual gospels, with a few deviating details, such as the lack of a determination of the amount of money Jude received, and shifting the initiative for the delivery from Jude to the priests and scribes. The priests deem Jude as a veritable disciple of Jesus, but it's not clear whether this agrees with the author's view. More pages will have to be studied.An important term is Allogenes (stranger). There's an NHL writing with this name, NHC IX:2, identifiable as a work of the Sethian sect. The Latin equivalent is peregrinus, and a satiric work by Lucian describes the end of a heretic Christian (probably Marcion), titled Proteus Peregrinus. The term is firmly established in Gnostic thought as describing that the Gnostics are strangers to the world, their home being transcendental and unknowable to the worldly understanding. The Gospel according to Jude explains the term itself: Satan is rebuked because the believer is not of the generation of Satan (i.e. the real world), but from a different race. The scene reminds of the temptation in the desert in the synoptics. Satan is also called Saclas (idiot), a term often found in gnostic literature for the demiurge, the god of the Tanakh : NHC II:1, III:2, XII:3, all deemed generally as Sethian writings. While this hints towards Sethianic authorship, it must be understood that the names of the sects and the distinction from others has usually been mentioned only, and even created by, later polemicists. They were hardly self-denomminations. Further progress in the publication of the manuscript is still to be awaited.
2. Jude in the gospels
Jude is relatively scarcely mentioned in the gospels. Mark's even does not mention Jude by name as the deliverer. Mark's and Luke's leave open what happens to Jude after the delivery. Matthew's reports Jude's suicide in a manner that is not reconcilable with the Apostolic Acts. Attempts of harmonisation proved futile.
John is more talkative about Jude than the Synoptics.
Many exclude Jude from the original Markan tradition. Schmithals and Volkmar found many hints towards interpolation. Besides text critical hints (bracketing out), the passages also causes problems to theological understanding. It's also irrealistic to assume that the Jewish priests needed a traitor for arresting Jesus. Originally the priests just preferred arresting Jesus at night for fear of the public reaction. When arrested, Jesus ignores Jude. Raschke noted earlier that it's stupid to assume that the disciples would not prevent each other from treasonery.
Despite the conflicts he sees, Schmithals continues to consider Jude as a historical figure. The traitor is historical even without the treason. Despite all the differences Schmithals deems the presence of Jude in various gospels and acts as a proof for the historicity. Schmithals thinks that one disciple traited the community after Easter, and Mark's projected it back before Easter. But there are no concrete hints towards something like that in Acts or the Gospels.Patristic literature until Ireneus still ignores Jude the traitor. Ireneus mentions polemically a heretic doctrine according to which Jude is the 12th Aion. Here Ireneus shows familarity with the canonical picture of Jude.
Origines knew of a heretic tradition according to which not Jude in particular, but the greater circle of disciples betrayed Jesus. Origen himself did not deem Jude as a thoroughly corrupt person. This is probably an apology against possible accusations that not even the disciples were loyal and understanding, thus the doctrine of Jesus must have been antiscriptural. Celsus deemed much of the story psychologically absurd, especially because Jesus knew about the treason in advance and told it openly to all disciples.
Thus it's more reasonable to assume that Jude was added late to the gospels, maybe around 160. It is probably a mutilation of a Gnostic tradition that got refuted this way.
The canonical gospels esp. John's still show traces of Jude not being the corrupt person that vulgar Christian opinion makes of him. E.g. Jude is chosen by Jesus although the latter knows in advance that he'll be delivered by him, he's encouraged by Jesus to do so ...While many suppose that the heretics simply reverted the orthodox qualification of Jude along with that with of OT figures, we should also consider that it's the church who reverted the judgement concerning Jude. For the protest-exegetical antinomianism is an attitude independant of the NT. Rather, the church who had to repraise the Old Testament and Judaism was forced to vilify Jude. This crowned their delimitation from the antinomianist heretics.
The inconsistencies concerning the end of Jude show that the picture of Jude developped only step by step. Achitophel of the OT fame served as an example for the vilification.
3. Jude in Nag Hammadi
While Jude Ischarioth is not explicitly mentioned, there is some Jude Thomas in a prominent role in a few NH texts who is not seen in a role of treason or delivery or anything else related to the pre-crucifixion night.
On the other hand, one writing [NHC VI:4] there is an anonymous deliverer who hands the saviour to the rulers. It is likely that the Coptic translator misunderstood the Greek original, amking it very hard to read. The full title reminds of a statement about Simon Magus made by the Apostolic Acts. It's hard to confirm Simonian origin, and dating is tedious, one could possibly think of identifying the Antichrist who introduced circumcision as Bar Kochba. The anonymous deliverer is here in a much more mythical context than in the canonical writings. The works of the Saviour (thaumaturgy, preachings) ashamed the archons and the Lord of darkness. They can't recognise the Saviour, thus need the deliverer. The reward for the delivery are 9 bronze coins, not the biblical 30 silver coins. The saviour being unrecognised by and upsetting the archons is also found in ICorinthians (2:7f) and one of the Ignatians (Eph c. 19), yet these have no deliverer. The Saviour is docetically seen as of a different kind of flesh, alien to the archons.The deliverer is here not deemed evil, even more, he's one truly knowledgeable, a gnostic self-definition. Nor is he greedy, the reward is not for the deliverer, but for those archons who pass him along. Cosmical powers instead of the historical figures of the NT (Pilatus, Caiaphas, Herod).
It's unlikely to see it as derived from the NT passion story. It's easier to imagine the canonical passion story as the result of dressing the redeemer myth into historising cloth [Formula Raschke]. The archons of the myth became the priests and Roman judge of the gospel story. The 30 silver coins were chosen for compliance with Zachariah. Betrayal (prodosis) is close to delivery (paradosis) which helped further. The term mystery of betrayal could possibly allude to a sacramental/cultic element, similar to the mystery of the bridal chamber of Valentinian doctrine.Yet we have to admit that we're on speculative grounds, due to the poorly comprehensible character of the NH text. But the moment shifts towards understanding Jude as a mythical rather than a historical figure.