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Laughing At Judas: Conflicting Interpretations Of A New Gnostic Gospel

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Chapter Summary

Among the many ambiguous elements in the text, there is Jesus' laughter. This element has indeed a conspicuous presence in the new gospel, where Jesus laughs four times. Some scholars think that this laughter shows Jesus' benevolence and friendliness towards his disciples, while others hold an opposing view. The discovery of Nag Hammadi Library confirmed the reliability of some heresiological testimonies concerning the presence of a laughing Jesus in so-called Gnostic trends, all the more shocking due to absence of a laughing Jesus in Christian canonical texts. The laughter in both the Apocryphon of John and Gospel of Judas occurs in a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples that takes place independently of the crucifixion, one could be tempted to interpret the laughter similarly. This chapter's aim is to take a closer look at the passages where Jesus laughs, in order to shed some more light on this topic.

Keywords: Apocryphon of John; Christian canonical texts; disciples; Gnostic Gospel; Gospel of Judas; Jesus' laughter



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