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The National Geographic Society has been part of an international effort, in collaboration with the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery, to authenticate, conserve, and translate a 66-page codex, which contains a text called James (also known as First Apocalypse of James), the Letter of Peter to Philip, a fragment of a text that scholars are provisionally calling Book of Allogenes, and the only known surviving copy of the Gospel of Judas.

The Gospel of Judas gives a different view of the relationship between Jesus and Judas, offering new insights into the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Unlike the accounts in the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in which Judas is portrayed as a reviled traitor, this newly discovered Gospel portrays Judas as acting at Jesus' request when he hands Jesus over to the authorities.

About the Project


An international team of scientists and scholars worked for years to authenticate, conserve, and translate the codex. Read more about who they are, review our frequently asked questions, and find out how and why National Geographic became involved in this important project.

Time Line and Map


During the first centuries A.D. Christianity grew from humble origins to become the official religion of the Roman Empire. Through time lines, maps, and photos explore the world of early Christianity. And learn where the Gospel of Judas fit into the divergent philosophies within the new religion.



When the chief translator Rodolphe Kasser first saw the codex containing the Gospel of Judas, he said he had never seen a manuscript in worse shape. But years of restoration and conservation have stabilized the fragile documents.



Some of the world's experts in authenticating ancient documents were enlisted to verify the age and composition of the codex. Learn what they found out.



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