A Student of History

March 24, 2007

The biggest raw deal in history?

Filed under: New books — John Maass @ 4:21 pm

“Every story needs a villain, and Judas offers an archetype with his traitor’s kiss.”  That’s the assessment of an article in The Independent today about Judas, and his role in the New Testament.  But should he be rehabilitated, the author asks?

“In Christian tradition, Judas was the follower of Jesus who betrayed him to the Jewish authorities. The four gospels leave his motives uncertain, but his name has passed into common usage as a synonym for personal betrayal.”  Kinda like Benedict Arnold in U.S. history…only bigger.

Jeffrey Archer and one of the world’s top biblical scholars, Professor Francis Moloney have just written The Gospel According To Judas, which portrays Judas as traduced by the gospel writers since he was really trying to save Jesus from “an unnecessary death”.  The book is a fictionalized account of the life of Jesus’ betrayer, as told by his son.

The article goes on to state thatthe recently discovered “gospel of Judas” suggests that Judas,

far from being Jesus’s enemy, was his chief Apostle, who was acting at Jesus’s request when he “betrayed” him to the authorities. Without Judas’s help, Jesus would not have been crucified and God’s plan to save mankind from its sins could not have been fulfilled. Someone had to do it, to fulfil Old Testament prophecies, the early Christians believed. Judas was the chosen one.

That was why the early Gnostic sect known as the Cainites venerated Judas. To them he was a kind of saint. It’s a notion which has repeatedly resurfaced through history, most recently, perhaps, in the film The Last Temptation Of Christ. But this is far from the only solution offered to the mystery.

So did Judas just get the biggest raw deal in history?

A related article from the UK is here as well.

1 Comment »

  1. Good God! The so-called ‘Gospel of Judas’ is NOT new! It was investigated by the Church as that Body assembled the books to be included in the Old and New Testaments. This is just another of the recapitulations of countless heresies that were visited upon the Church throughout Her history – Arianism, Nestorianism, Manicheism etc. etc. etc. Anyone who thinks that all of this is some sort of ‘new revelation’ doesn’t know his history. It’s old stuff already examined, debunked and discarded.

    It’s one thing not to believe – that is the right of every man. However, it’s quite another to dig up old heresies and present them to a gullible and ignorant public as something never before seen or considered. That is just plain dishonest.

    Comment by Valerie Protopapas — March 24, 2007 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

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