S. Kent Brown's article "The Manuscript of the Gospel of Judas" was particularly interesting to me because he shared his own experience viewing the Tchacos manuscripts while it was on the market. He provides a witness independent of Stephen Emmel that the Tchacos Codex was found with three other manuscripts.
Brown writes:The big question for me - why were these four books buried together in a fourth- or fifth-century family tomb?
I later traveled to New York City where, in the company of Mr. Bernard Rosenthal, a rare-books dealer from San Francisco, I examined briefly some other texts in a hotel room. The papyrus manuscripts, which included a few damaged leaves from a very early Greek copy of the book of Exodus, two letters of the Apostle Paul in Coptic translation, and a Greek mathematical treatise, were then in very bad shape, having been wrapped in an Arabic newspaper and placed in a small box. When the owner and his agent opened first the box and then the newspaper, Mr. Rosenthal and I gazed upon a mass of documents that were disintegrating before our eyes, with tiny fragments lining the bottom of the newspaper cradle (pp. 19-20).
This volume of articles contains some photographs that I have not seen before, taken by Kenneth Garrett and published with permission by National Geographic.
The articles also give an interesting perspective on the reception history of the Gospel of Judas within the Latter Day Saints tradition, since all the articles address the issue of this text (and other Gnostic texts) from the LDS interpretative trajectory. From this perspective, the Gospel of Judas holds no relevance. In and Q&A section, the editor writes:
A few oft-quoted NT scholars with radical views claim that it overturns the record of Jesus as we know it from the traditional Bible. But for the LD Saints, the Gospel of Judas fails as a "Gospel" because it fails to recognize the Atonement of Jesus Christ as the way to salvation. Early Christian scholars rejected it as apostate in AD 150-200, and LD Saint scholars agree (p. 6).This complete rejection of the Gospel surprised me, given that so many LDS doctrines are similar to Gnostic ones. In one of the articles, Gaye Strathearn actually mentions this:
For LD Saints, a study of Gnosticism can be a valuable pursuit. For example, it is an important resource for understanding the complexity of the growth and development of the early Christian Church. In addition, it is possible that a text from the Nag Hammadi Library, the Gospel of Thomas, could contain some authentic sayings of Jesus that are not recorded in the canonical Gospels, although it would be difficult to identify them with any sense of certainty. For LD Saints in particular, a study of Gnostic groups shows that they accepted some teachings that have certain parallels with LDS doctrines: a belief that we have a premortal existence as spirits, that a number of levels of salvation are possible, that the restoration of lost knowledge is essential for salvation, and that a type of marriage, associated with the Holy of Holies in the temple, is required to return to the highest level of salvation. These types of teachings are not prominent in modern traditional Christian theology. Thus the Gnostic texts indicate that, in antiquity, these were important issues for some Christians. LD Saints, however, must be cautious. They must guard against any endeavor to study Gnostic writings with the purpose of identifying proof-texts for their own doctrine" (pp. 32-33).So there is a certain uneasiness about the Gospel of Judas found throughout these six articles, and an attempt by the LDS scholars to emphasize that this newly discovered text is not "orthodox" for their tradition, to send out cautions to their readers not to identify with it, and to distance themselves from it.