GJudas: The Unsettling Conclusion (The Robinson Contribution)
After corresponding with several people involved, checking their responses against both Robinson's book and all the insider information (the "van Rijn angle") that has been made public, I am convinced of two things: Firstly, everyone who is comfortable with actually talking about the current state of the GJudas "find" as it relates to its troubled history has said all they are going to say at this point (including Roberty, Ferrell, and Ferrini, who hasn't said anything). Secondly, there is a lot more that could be said that hasn't.
As a result of this, we can only conclude that the National Geographic press about GJudas has been hopelessly edited for public consumption and the current codicological and papyrological analysis of the GJudas manuscript is really only an analysis of what is left of the original find. The Mathematical Treatise has been split and sold off to two different collections. It is highly probable that Ferrini sold leaves from some or all of the manuscripts that were in his possession at one point, people to whom these have been purportedly sold have not been forthcoming in responding to this allegation. And of course, the Gospel of Judas has lost a bit of weight over its journey through neglect and other means.
Investigative journalism is not my metier, but it has been revealing (and somewhat more exciting than thesis research) to spend the last week sniffing through all the data relevant to this "find" and substantiating Robinson's original paper on GJudas as well as related hearsay. Now I am extremely curious as to what extent the history of NT fragment discovery is seeded with analogous skullduggery, I have simply glossed over this facet of NT textual-criticism history with the swashbuckling image of Tischendorf wheedling manuscripts out of unsuspecting monks. It also seems that this sanitized image exists as a consensus simply for lack of an alternative. Perhaps there are other major and minor finds with similar grey-market histories, and have finally landed in the hands of scholarship a few leaves or fragments short of their original condition. That sounds like a book I would read, any interested publishers please feel free to contact me for a proposal.
Roberty confirmed via email that a critical edition of the whole codex will be done May 2006, to be released the following September, including unidentifiable fragments. Over the next few weeks, more information is going to surface regarding the "who sold what when" question (see previous posts), and I will fill in the gaps in previous posts accordingly.
(Update 4/20: R. Pearse has posted this interesting piece about Robinson's involvement with the Jung Codex debacle. It makes for interesting background reading to the GJudas issue.)
(Update 4/20: The Plain Dealer is reporting that Ferrini (or at least his reciever) is coughing up a few fragments of GJudas that he had laying about. This confirms our suspicion that he did manage to keep a few fragments and/or leaves from the manuscripts related to Codex Tchacos. Where's the rest?)