Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jesus, a shape-shifting married man?

Herschel Shanks explains in Why Did Judas Identify Jesus with a Kiss? Bible History Daily 12/24/2013.

The shape-shifting part comes from a newly-released book by Roelof van den Broek, Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem “On the Life and Passion of Christ”: A Coptic Apocryphon (2013). Shanks explains, with quotes from the 8th-century Coptic Gospel of the title:

This text explains why Judas Iscariot identified Jesus with a kiss so that the Roman soldiers could arrest him, as related in three canonical gospels (Matthew 26:48; Mark 14:44; Luke 22:47). According to this late Gnostic gospel, that was the only way the Roman soldiers could be sure they had the right man. The reason was that Jesus could change his features:

"How shall we arrest him," the Jews ask, "for he does not have a single shape, but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat-colored, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man, sometimes his hair is straight and black, sometimes it is curled, sometimes he is tall, sometimes he is short." They "have never seen him in one and the same appearance." [my emphasis]
What will Megyn Kelly tell the kiddies now? (See Juan Cole, Photo of the Day: Was St. Nicholas “White”? Informed Comment 12/13/2013)

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