On Sunday mornings, I've been teaching an adult bible class at my church on church history and the development of Christian doctrine. We're early in the course and I've been reviewing 2nd and 3rd century challenges to the faith, especially Gnostic tendencies in the opponents of the Apostolic Fathers.
Last week, we had a nice discussion about some of the Gnostic gospels and people were very interested about the types of things that are contained in them. I described a bit of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which they got a big kick out of.
I noticed this morning in my RSS feed, a blog post by John Byron titled "The Kiss of Judas and the Shape Shifting Jesus" that was in the spirit of last Sunday's discussion.
"Ever wonder why Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss? Well you are not alone. In fact, many others through the ages have asked that same question. And one of the answers offered in a Coptic work by an author identified as Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem is that Jesus kept changing shape and color. Here is the story.
"Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him (Jesus), 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 coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man ..." This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him. If Judas had given the arresters a description of Jesus he could have changed shape. By kissing Jesus, Judas tells the people exactly who he is.Check out the rest of John's post. I love it. Judas had to kiss Jesus because he was a shape-shifter and was hard to identify.