Monday, August 20, 2007

Gospel of Judas

Driving home this evening I listened to the BBC Radio 4 discussion of 'The Gospel of Judas' on 'Beyond Belief'.

The 'Gospel' has been brought to us courtesy of National Geographic.

And as I listened to the debate I could not help thinking that this was a 'classic' sequence of looted material with some of the well-known walk-on parts (this sequence is based on National Geographic):

a. Some sources say the Codex 'surfaced' around 1970. Always a good date to cite - 1970 UNESCO Convention.

b. It is reported that it was found at El-Minya in Egypt.

c. In 1978 the Codex was sold to a Cairo dealer.

d. Around 1980 the Codex was stolen and left Egypt. It was recovered with the help of a Swiss dealer. (No account would be complete without Switzerland as a setting.)

e. In 1984 the Codex was deposited in Hicksville, New York.

f. In 2000 the Codex was purchased by the Swiss-based dealer, Frida Nussberger-Tchacos. (She handled some of the material which the Getty is returning to Italy.) See also Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, 'Judas Gospel Figure Has Tainted Past. A dealer credited with 'rescuing' the document allegedly played a major role in the looting of antiquities. She received a suspended sentence', LA Times April 13, 2006.

g. The 'ownership' of the Codex was transferred to the wonderfully-named 'Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art', based in Basel.

And we can look forward to the display of Codex Tchacos in the Cairo Museum. (The ambiguous naming is after Frida's father.)

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