Saturday, November 28, 2009

More on the Gospel of Judas and astrology

I just read through my notes on Grant Adamson's presentation on "The Gospel of Judas as Horoscope" (which will be published soon in Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 71). Here are the important points I took away from the presentation:

  • the Tetrabiblos of Ptolemy was the ancient source for prognostic astrology, which among other things involved calculating the length of life, which was determined by the stars at birth
  • the stars are the cause of events
  • in Gospel of Judas – the souls of the holy generation will not be subject to the stars (only their bodies)
  • they are only ruled by fate when it comes to their deaths
  • astral determinism – all is in the power of fate (according to Firmicus Maternas, another astrologer)
  • Judas (therefore) cannot join the holy generation
  • according to others (e.g., magicians), one’s fate could be changed
  • in the Eighth Book of Moses (PGM 13) – the deity would descend and tell the horoscope to the practitioner, who can then get his fate changed if he behaved correctly and had correct knowledge
  • Judas is incompetent, unlike the astrologers in PGM 13, and can’t get his fate changed
  • in Sethian Gnosticism – mockery of Plato’s Timaeus and its Demiurge, as much as of the God of Genesis
  • Ehrman, Pagels, and King have misunderstood this and ignored the astrological context
  • the Savior acts as an astrologer in this text
  • Judas asks for his fate to be changed, but the Savior refuses - hence, he doesn't join the holy generation which is saved from astral determinism

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the plug. It was nice to meet you.