I'm not sure how to address all of your post, but I'll take a stab at the first question.
The copy of the "Gospel of Judas Text" being published in cooperation with National Geographic has been floating around the antiquities market since
the late 1970's. Until 2 years ago, no one was really interested in it. NOT because it has forbidden information, but because it isn't actually a
'gospel.' The traditional understanding of a 'gospel' is a text that tells of the earthly teachings and doings of Jesus. This text, like much
later gnostic material, doesn't focus on Jesus as much as it does on the concept of numerous heavens/hells, as well as various hypostasies, or
emanations of the Godhead. Gospels originally were supposed to include Jesus' wonderworkings as well as his death. "Judas" contains neither.
Several authorities, department heads at world-class universities turned down the work; the scuttlebut was that the text doesn't tell us nearly as
much about the "followers of Judas" as the writings of Irenaeus do. His "Against Heresies" is a catalogue of various heterodox belief systems.
Irenaeus actually goes into more details about the "Cainites" than this short 60 page document does.
The scuttlebutt is that several of these authorities weren't willing to make a public statement, but that "Judas" is quite probably stolen. The
brothers who marketed it are actively wanted by the state of Egypt. One recent multimillion dollar sale of theirs to a Texas museum was returned with
a demand for a refund. Talk is that the statue had been stolen from the Cairo museum in Egypt, known for its years of lax security.
The coptic letter-forms of Judas
are said to "strongly" resemble the handwriting of several of the Nag Hammadi scrolls. I have heard some
speculation (always off the record), that Judas
was originally part of the Nag Hammadi scrolls when they were discovered, but was stolen at the
time of their discovery.
No respectable museum or university wants a reputation for dealing is stolen papyrii. Since Egypt is the source of most materials, it doesn't really
pay to hack them off.
While it's is less than a 50/50 chance, there is still a strong possibility that "Judas" is a forgery.
If the letter forms of Judas
DO resemble the Nag Hammadi documents, it may be that a clever forger practiced the handwriting style of those
documents, and copied it in his forgery, without realizing in the 1970's that the letter forms of the N. H. scrolls were unique, and the reflection
of the unique scribes that wrote them, and were never common in Egypt.
And here's the telling one, the instance that is getting more attention as days go by:
The nature of the ink is iron-gall based, rather than carbon based. Carbon inks are largely based on lamp-black, the soot from an oil lamp. You
scrape it up, mix it with egg whites and some gum, and there you have ink. The trouble is it begins to fade rapidly after 2-5 years, and tends to rub
off of the papyrus surface quite easily. This is what the Nag Hammadi scrolls are written with.
But iron gall inks are based on a welt that forms on oak trees when a certain catepillar builds its cocoon under the bark of a tender shoot. A lump
forms, which is rich in tannic acid and ferrous compounds. Iron Gall ink is much blacker, and far more permanent than its predecessor.
is purported by its owners to date from the 300's AD. If true, then this is one of the very earliest uses of iron gall ink in
documented history. What an unbelievable
coincidence, that the same document that is supposed to overturn our knowledge of gnosticism, (but
turns out to restate what Irenaeus said 1800 years ago), is also written in a totally revolutionary type of ink!!!
Even National Geographic's own site notes that iron gall inks didn't really catch on until about 600 AD, 200-300 years after Judas
In other words one document is supposed to revolutionize both the roots of Christianity AND our understanding of when modern inks developed!!!
It sounds too good to be true. . .
which makes some people think it is.
Fraud suspected in "gospels of Judas"
Aboutaam Brothers wanted in connection with frauds by Egypt, others
Iron Gall Inks and Ink Corrosion website
One reason that people are in the mood to suspect a forgery:
The "secret Gospel of Mark" a forgery??
National Geographic's own site
Revealingly, National Geographic's lead article doesn't even address questions of provenance, dating, or authenticity--merely how Judas
expected to revolutionize our understanding of the 'historical' Jesus. Heady stuff indeed.