University of Arizona scientists have verified the antiquity of a document from the earliest days of Christianity - a codex that includes the controversial Gospel of Judas Iscariot.
A.J. Tim Jull and Gregory Hodgins used radiocarbon dating procedures to determine the age of five samples from the leather-bound papyrus document discovered about 30 years ago near Al Minya, Egypt.
Five samples from the 66-page manuscript date the material to between A.D. 220-340, according to Jull, director of the National Science Foundation-Arizona AMS Laboratory, and Hodgins, assistant research scientist.
"All date to the third to fourth century, clearly before the Council of Nicaea, which presumably would have suppressed such a document," said Jull.
That council, the first ecumenical conference of bishops of the Christian Church, was arranged by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in A.D. 325.
The codex, which had deteriorated into about 1,000 fragments, contains the only known surviving Gospel of Judas as well as the Epistle of Peter to Philip, the First Apolcalypse of James and a fragment of a fourth text, yet to be titled.
Good background info at the BBC as well ... I wonder if we'll learn more about the Maecenas Foundation in the National Geographic thing this Sunday; speaking of NG, they have put up an interesting website on the GoJ ... folks will probably want to review the materials at Tertullian.org too ...