The disciples are furious at Jesus’ condescension, except for Judas, who thinks he knows what the laughter signifies. “I know who you are and where you have come from,” Judas says, standing before him. “You are from the immortal realm of Barbelo.” Apparently startled by his insight, Jesus tells Judas, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the Kingdom.”Which is just so hilarious.
The true mystery, as Jesus unveils it, is that, out beyond the stars, there exists a divine, blessed realm, free of the materiality of this earthly one. This is the realm of Barbelo, a name that gnostics gave the celestial Mother, who lives there with, among others, her progeny, a good God awkwardly called the Self-Generated One. Jesus, it turns out, is not the son of the Old Testament God, whose retinue includes a rebellious creator known as Yaldabaoth, but an avatar of Adam’s third son, Seth. His mission is to show those lucky members of mankind who still have a “Sethian” spark the way back to the blessed realm. Jesus, we learn, was laughing at the disciples’ prayer because it was directed at their God, the Old Testament God, who is really no friend of mankind but, rather, the cause of its suffering.
April 11, 2006
"...and it’s obviously one of those sardonic, significant, how-little-you-know laughs, like the laugh of the ruler of a dubious planet on 'Star Trek.'" Adam Gopnik reads "The Gospel of Judas. (Via A&L Daily.)