Just two weeks after the Gospel of Judas shocked Christians around the world, more fragments of the weird old document have reportedly turned up in Ohio.
A bankrupt art collector has some Coptic-language papyrus text that seems to match up with the 1,700-year-old papyrus booklet that contains the Judas gospel.
Ohio collector Bruce Ferrini has been involved with some of the most important religious texts ever found, including a traveling exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals in 2004 for interfering with that show and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.
It's more evidence of the shady underworld of ancient treasures.
Ferrini apparently had the Gospel of Judas in his possession at some point, but claims he returned all the fragments to the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art, the Swiss group that sold the rotted Judas text to National Geographic.
R. Scott Haley, Ferrini's court-appointed lawyer, showed the fragments to reporters on Wednesday.
Ferrini's fragments of Egyptian papyrus text have been locked up in a safe deposit box in Akron, Ohio. The bulk of the Judas codex that was restored and translated by National Geographic spent years in a bank vault in Hicksville, New York.
The latest Gospel of Judas fragments -- which have yet to be authenticated -- aren't even the first new bits to turn up this month. Another half page of Coptic papyrus surfaced in New York City just as National Geographic was promoting its restoration.
Much like the famous Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi codices, the Gospel of Judas has suffered intrigue and idiocy since it was rediscovered in an Egyptian cave some 25 years ago.
The leather-bound papyrus book was in fairly good shape when it was found in Egypt, possibly in a sealed tomb. But as it made its long journey from one shady black-market antiquities dealer to another, pieces were lost and the book suffered incredible abuse, such as being stuck in a freezer for years and left to mildew in a bank vault.
As of today, there has been no indication of what the newly revealed fragment says or how it relates to the Judas gospel portions already released by National Geographic -- just as there's still no translation of the half page that "turned up" in New York earlier this month.
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