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The text was recovered from a cave in Egypt by a thief and thereafter sold on the black market until it was finally discovered by a collector who, with the help of academics from Yale and Princeton, was able to verify its authenticity.

It paints an unusual picture of the relationship between Jesus and Judas, in that it appears to interpret Judas's act not as betrayal, but rather as an act of obedience to the instructions of Jesus.

He performs several miracles as signs, most of them not found in the synoptics.

The Gospel of John ends:() "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

[because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please." For these reasons modern scholars are cautious of relying on the gospels uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus, and critical study can attempt to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors.

The creation of a Christian canon was probably a response to the career of the heretic Marcion (c.

85–160), who established a canon of his own with just one gospel, the gospel of Luke, which he edited to fit his own theology.

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