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This article is about the biblical figure. For information about the band, see Judas Iscariot (band) some role in virtually all literature telling the Passion story, and appears in a number of modern novels and movies.
In the Greek New Testament, Judas Iscariot is called Ιούδας Ισκάριωθ (Ioúdas Iskáriōth) and Ισκαριώτης (Iskariṓtēs). "Judas" (spelled "Ioudas" in ancient Greek and "Iudas" in Latin, pronounced ˈyudas’ in both) is the Greek form of the common name Judah (,הדוהי Yehûdâh, Hebrew for "God is praised"). The same Greek spelling underlies other names in the New Testament that are traditionally rendered differently in English: Judah and Jude. The precise significance of "Iscariot," however, is uncertain. There are two major theories on its etymology: • The most likely explanation derives Iscariot from Hebrew ,תוירק־שיאÎš-Qrîyôth, or "man of Kerioth." The Gospel of John refers to Judas as "son of Simon Iscariot" (John 6:71), implying it was not Judas, but his father, who came from there. Some speculate that Kerioth refers to a region in Judea, but it is also the name of two known Judean towns. • A second theory is "Iscariot" identifies Judas as a member of the sicarii.  These were a cadre of assassins among Jewish rebels intent on driving the Romans out of Judea. However, many historians maintain the sicarii only arose in the 40s or 50s of the 1st Century, in which case Judas could not have been a member.
Judas is depicted on the right Judas Iscariot, Hebrew: תוירק־שיא הדוהי "Yehuda" Yəhûḏāh ʾÎš-qəriyyôṯ was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original Apostles of Jesus. Among the twelve, he was apparently designated to keep account of the "money bag" (Grk.  but he is most traditionally γλωσσόκομον), known for his role in Jesus’ betrayal into the hands of Roman authorities. His name is also associated with a Gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Judas, that exists in an early fourth century Coptic text. Judas has been a figure of great interest to esoteric groups, such as many Gnostic sects, and has also been the subject of many philosophical writings, including The Problem of Natural Evil by Bertrand Russell and "Three Versions of Judas", a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. The term Judas has entered many languages as a synonym for betrayer, and Judas has become the archetype of the betrayer in Western art and literature. Judas is given
Traditional Christian views
Judas is mentioned in the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John and at the beginning of Acts of the Apostles. Mark also states that the chief priests were looking for a "sly" way to arrest Jesus. They determine not to do so during the feast because they were afraid
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headfirst, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This field is called Akeldama or Field Of Blood. Another account was preserved by the early Christian leader, Papias: "Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out." 
"The Judas Kiss" (1866) by Gustave Doré. that the people would riot; instead, they chose the night before the feast to arrest him. Satan enters Judas at this time, as described by the Gospel of Luke. According to the account given in the Gospel of John, Judas carried the disciples’ money bag and betrayed Jesus for a bribe of "thirty pieces of silver" by identifying him with a kiss—"the kiss of Judas"—to arresting soldiers of the High Priest Caiaphas, who then turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate’s soldiers. These "pieces of silver" were most likely intended to be understood as silver Tyrian shekels.
Judas Iscariot 1891 by Nikolai Ge Raymond E. Brown gave the contradictory accounts of the death of Judas as an example of an obvious contradiction in the Bible texts: "Luke’s account of the death of Judas in Acts 1:18 is scarcely reconcilable with Matt 27:3-10." This problem was one of the points that caused C. S. Lewis, for example, to reject the view "that every statement in Scripture must be historical truth". Various attempts at harmonization have been tried since ancient times, such as that Judas hanged himself in the field, and afterwards the rope snapped, and his body burst open on the ground, or that the accounts of Acts and Matthew refer to two different transactions. Modern scholars tend to reject these approaches  stating that the Matthew account is a midrashic exposition that allows the author to present the event as a fulfillment of prophetic passages from the Old Testament. They argue that the author adds imaginative details such as the thirty pieces of silver, and the fact that Judas hangs himself, to an earlier tradition about Judas’s death. Matthew’s reference to the death as fulfilment of a prophecy "spoken through Jeremiah the prophet" has caused some controversy, since it clearly paraphrases a story from the Book of Zechariah (Zechariah
There are two different canonical references to the remainder of Judas’ life: • The Gospel of Matthew says that, after Jesus’ arrest by the Roman authorities (but before his execution), the guilt-ridden Judas returned the bribe to the priests and committed suicide by hanging. The priests, forbidden by Jewish law from returning the money to the treasury, used it to buy the potter’s field  in order to bury strangers. The Gospel account  presents this as a fulfilment of prophecy. • The Acts of the Apostles says that Judas used the bribe to buy a field, but fell down
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11:12-13) which refers to the return of a payment of thirty pieces of silver. Many writers, such as Augustine, Jerome, and John Calvin concluded that this was an obvious error. However, some modern writers have suggested that the Gospel writer may also have had a passage from Jeremiah in mind, such as chapters 18 (Jeremiah 18:1–4) and 19 (Jeremiah 19:1–13), which refers to a potter’s jar and a burial place, and chapter 32 (Jeremiah 32:6-15) which refers to a burial place and an earthenware jar...
English word "Jew" is derived from the Latin Iudaeus, which, like the Greek Ιουδαίος (Ioudaios), could also mean "Judaean". In the Gospel of John, the original writer or a later editor may have tried to draw a parallel between Judas, Judaea, and the Judaeans (or Jews) in verses 6:70-7:1, which run like this in the King James Bible: 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 6:71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. 7:1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. In Greek, the earliest extant language of the Gospels, the words Judas — Jewry — Jews run like this: Ιούδας (Ioudas) — Ιουδαία (Ioudaia) — Ιουδαίοι (Ioudaioi). Whatever the original intentions of the original writers or editors of the Gospel of John, however, some argue that the similarity between the name "Judas" and the words for "Jew" in various European languages has helped facilitate anti-Semitism. He has also been seen as parallel to Judah, son of Jacob, by such writers as Charles Fillmore and John Shelby Spong.
Gospel of Judas
During the 1970s, a Coptic papyrus was discovered near Beni Masah, Egypt. This has been translated and appears to be a text from the 2nd century A.D. describing the story of Jesus’s death from the viewpoint of Judas. The conclusion of the text refers (in Coptic) to the text as "the Gospel of Judas" (Euangelion Ioudas). According to a 2006 translation of the manuscript of the text, it is apparently a Gnostic account of an arrangement between Jesus and Judas, who in this telling are Gnostically enlightened beings, with Jesus asking Judas to turn him in to the Romans to help Jesus finish his appointed task from God. In December 2007, a New York Times oped article by April DeConick asserted that the National Geographic’s translation is badly flawed: ’For example, in one instance the National Geographic transcription refers to Judas as a "daimon," which the society’s experts have translated as "spirit." Actually, the universally accepted word for "spirit" is "pneuma" — in Gnostic literature "daimon" is always taken to mean "demon."’ The National Geographic Society responded that ’Virtually all issues April D. DeConick raises about translation choices are addressed in footnotes in both the popular and critical editions’.
Judas has been a figure of great interest to esoteric groups, such as many Gnostic sects, because of the apparent contradiction in the idea of "the betrayal of God". The main questions seem to be these: • Did Judas exist in his time only to betray Jesus just to fulfill the prophecies?(John 13:18, John 17:12, Matt 26:23-25, Matt 27:9-10, Acts 1:16, Acts 1:20) • Why did Jesus allow Judas to betray him? • Was Jesus unable to prevent the betrayal? *Matt 26:23-25 and Luke 22:21-22
affirm the certainty and necessity of Judas’s betrayal
Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, espousing a purely mythological view of Jesus, suggests that in the New Testament, the name "Judas" was constructed as an attack on the Judaeans or on the Judaean religious establishment held responsible for executing Christ. The
• Did Jesus willingly allow the betrayal to go ahead? *Jesus told Judas "What you are
about to do, do quickly" (John 13:27-28)
• Did Jesus actively try to cause the betrayal to happen? *Jesus had
foreknowledge that Judas was never a believer and that Judas will betray him when he selected
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him to be an apostle. (John 6:64 and John 6:70). This suggests that Jesus intentionally chose Judas for this purpose.
between Judas’ actions and his eternal punishment. • If Jesus foresees Judas’ betrayal, then it may be argued that Judas has no free will, and cannot avoid betraying Jesus. If Judas cannot control the temptation of Satan to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3-4 vs 1 Cor 10:13), then he is not morally responsible for his actions. The question has been approached by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, which differentiates between foreknowledge and predestination, and argues that the omnipotence of the divine is compatible with the existence of free will. • If Judas is sent to Hell for his betrayal, and his betrayal was a necessary step in the humanity-saving death of Jesus Christ, then Judas is punished for saving humanity. This goes hand-in-hand with the "free will" argument, and Aquinas’s Summa deals with the issue of free will in demons and other beings instrumental in the life of Jesus that are nevertheless damned. • If Jesus only suffered while dying on the cross and then ascended into Heaven, while Judas must suffer for eternity in Hell, then does Judas not suffer much more for the sins of humanity than Jesus? Should his role in the Atonement be that much more significant? As Borges puts it in "Three Versions of Judas": "The ascetic, for the greater glory of God, degrades and mortifies the flesh; Judas did the same with the spirit. He renounced honor, good, peace, the Kingdom of Heaven, as others, less heroically, renounced pleasure." • Is Judas actually as important as Jesus? • Does Jesus’ plea, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do," (Luke 23:34) not apply to Judas? Is Jesus atonement insufficient for Judas’ sins? • It has been speculated that Judas’ damnation, which seems to be possible from the Gospels’ text, may not actually stem from his betrayal of Christ, but from the despair which caused him to subsequently commit suicide. This position is not without its problems since Judas was already damned by Jesus even before he committed suicide (see John
• Why is it that the ’villainy’ of Judas becomes greater and more pronounced as one reads from Mark to John? • Was the monetary value of 30 pieces of silver the only motivating force for Judas’ actions (a relatively small sum). Was it coincidence that this was also the price one paid as liability if their ox had killed another person’s slave as required in Old Testament Law (see Exodus 21:28-32)? Irenaeus records the beliefs of one Gnostic sect, the Cainites, who believed that Judas was an instrument of the Sophia, Divine Wisdom, thus earning the hatred of the Demiurge. In the Hebrew bible, the book of Zechariah, the one who casts thirty pieces of silver, as Judas does in the Gospels, is a servant of God. His betrayal of Jesus thus was a victory over the materialist world. The Cainites later split into two groups, disagreeing over the ultimate significance of Jesus in their cosmology. Origen knew of a tradition according to which the greater circle of disciples betrayed Jesus, but does not attribute this to Judas in particular, and Origen did not deem Judas to be thoroughly corrupt (Matt., tract. xxxv). The early anti-Christian writer Celsus deemed literal readings of the story to be philosophically absurd, especially because Jesus knew about the treason in advance, and told of it openly to all the disciples at the Passover meal, as well as singling out who the traitor would be without attempting to stop him. The text of the Gospels suggests that Jesus both foresaw and allowed Judas’ betrayal. In April 2006, a Coptic papyrus manuscript titled the Gospel of Judas (see above section) dating back to 200 AD, was translated into modern language, to add weight to the possibility that according to early Christian writings, Jesus may have asked Judas to betray him.
Judas is also the subject of many philosophical writings, including The Problem of Natural Evil by Bertrand Russell and "Three Versions of Judas", a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. They both allege various problematic ideological contradictions with the discrepancy
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17:12), but it does avoid the paradox of Judas’ predestined act setting in motion both the salvation of all mankind and his own damnation. The damnation of Judas is not a universal conclusion. The Roman Catholic Church only proclaims individuals’ Eternal Salvation through the Canon of Saints. There is no ’Canon of the Damned’, nor any official proclamation of the damnation of Judas.
years of the eighth decade of the Common Era". He points out that some of Gospels, after the Crucifixion, refer to the number of Disciples as "Twelve", as if Judas were still among them. He compares the three conflicting descriptions of Judas’s death - hanging, leaping into a pit, and disemboweling, with three Old Testament betrayals followed by similar suicides. Spong’s conclusion is that early Bible authors, after the First Jewish-Roman War, sought to distance themselves from Rome’s enemies. They augmented the Gospels with a story of a disciple, personified in Judas as the Jewish state, who either betrayed or handedover Jesus to his Roman crucifiers. Spong identifies this augmentation with the origin of modern Anti-Semitism. Theologian Aaron Saari contends in his work The Many Deaths of Judas Iscariot that Judas Iscariot was the literary invention of the Markan community. As Judas does not appear in the Epistles of Paul, nor in the Q Gospel, Saari argues that the language indicates a split between Pauline Christians, who saw no reason for the establishment of an organized Church, and the followers of Peter. Saari contends that the denigration of Judas in Matthew and Luke-Acts has a direct correlation to the elevation of Peter.  Mark 16:14 and Luke 24:33 state that following his resurrection Jesus appeared to "the eleven." Who was missing? After all that had transpired one would just naturally think it was Judas. Apparently not, because in John 20:24 we learn that the one missing was Thomas. Therefore the eleven had to include Judas. To further confuse things, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:5 that following his resurrection Jesus was seen by “the twelve.” This had to include Judas because it wasn’t until after the ascension, some forty days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3), that another person, Matthias, was voted in to replace Judas (Acts 1:26). So, apparently Judas neither committed suicide nor died by accident. In Acts 1:25 we are told that Judas "turned aside to go to his own place." Another clue confirming the absence of the Judas story in the earliest Christian documents occurs in Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:28-30. Here Jesus tells his disciples that they will “sit on the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” No exception is made for Judas even though Jesus was aware of his impending act of betrayal. The answer
The Kiss of Judas, by Giotto di Bondone
Most Christians still consider Judas a traitor. Indeed the term Judas has entered many languages as a synonym for betrayer. However, some scholars have embraced the alternative notion that Judas was merely the negotiator in a prearranged prisoner exchange (following the money-changer riot in the Temple) that gave Jesus to the Roman authorities by mutual agreement, and that Judas’ later portrayal as "traitor" was a historical distortion. In his book The Passover Plot the British theologian Hugh J. Schonfield argued that the crucifixion of Christ was a conscious reenactment of Biblical prophecy and Judas acted with Jesus’ full knowledge and consent in "betraying" his master to the authorities. The book The Sins of the Scripture, by John Shelby Spong, investigates the possibility that early Christians copied the Judas story from three Old Testament Jewish betrayal stories. He writes, "...the act of betrayal by a member of the twelve disciples is not found in the earliest Christian writings. Judas is first placed into the Christian story by Gospel of Mark (3:19), who wrote in the early
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may lie in the fact that the source of these verses is Q document (QS 62). Q predates the gospels and is considered to be one of the earliest Christian documents. It was obviously written before Judas and the betrayal story were invented by the writer of Mark.
God to be sent back to the earth, and so he descended and gathered his mother, disciples, and followers and mentioned to them the truth of what happened, and having said this he ascended back to the heavens, and will come back at the end of times as a just king.
Representations and symbolism
In the Eastern Orthodox hymns of Holy Wednesday (the Wednesday before Pascha), Judas is contrasted with the woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume and washed his feet with her tears. According to the Gospel of John, Judas protested at this apparent extravagance, suggesting that the money spent on it should have been given to the poor. After this, Judas went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus for money. The hymns of Holy Wednesday contrast these two figures, encouraging believers to avoid the example of the fallen disciple and instead to imitate Mary’s example of repentance. Also, Wednesday is observed as a day of fasting from meat, dairy products, and olive oil throughout the year in memory of the betrayal of Judas. The prayers of preparation for receiving the Eucharist also make mention of Judas’ betrayal: "I will not reveal your mysteries to your enemies, neither like Judas will I betray you with a kiss, but like the thief on the cross I will confess you."
Art and literature
Cathédrale Saint-Lazare, Autun. Judas hangs himself Judas has become the archetype of the betrayer in Western culture, with some role in virtually all literature telling the Passion story. In Dante’s Inferno, he is condemned to the lowest circle of Hell, where he is one of three sinners deemed evil enough that they are doomed to be chewed for eternity in the mouths of the triple-headed Satan. (The others are Brutus and Cassius, who conspired against and assassinated Julius Caesar.) • Judas is the subject of one of the oldest surviving English ballads, dating from the 13th century, Judas, in which the blame for the betrayal of Christ is placed on his sister. • Edward Elgar’s oratorio, The Apostles, depicts Judas as wanting to force Jesus to declare his divinity and establish the kingdom on earth. Eventually he succumbs to the sin of despair. • Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Judas is paid by the high priest of Judaea to testify against Jesus, who had been inciting trouble among the people of Jerusalem. After authorizing the crucifixion, Pilate suffers an agony of regret and turns his anger on Judas, ordering him assassinated. The storywithin-a-story appears as a counter-
Gospel of Barnabas
According to medieval copies of the Gospel of Barnabas, it was Judas, not Jesus, who was crucified on the cross. It is mentioned in this work that Judas’ appearance was transformed to that of Jesus’, when the former, out of betrayal, led the Roman soldiers to arrest Jesus who by then was ascended to the heaven. This transformation of appearance was so identical that the masses, followers of Christ, and even the Mother of Jesus, Mary, initially thought that the one arrested and crucified was Jesus himself. The Gospel then mentions that after three days since burial, Judas’ body was stolen from his grave, and then the rumours spread of Jesus being risen from the dead. When Jesus was informed in the third heaven about what happened, he prayed to
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revolutionary novel in the context of Moscow in the 1920s-1930s. • Michael Moorcock’s novel Behold the Man offers an alternative, sympathetic portrayal of Judas. In the book, Karl Glogauer, the time traveler from the 20th Century who takes on the role of Christ, asks a reluctant Judas to betray him in order to fulfill the biblical account of the crucifixion. • In Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, Judas Iscariot’s only motivation in betraying Jesus to the Romans was to help him, as Jesus’ closest friend, through doing what no other disciple could bring himself to do. It shows Judas obeying Jesus’ covert request to help him fulfill his destiny to die on the cross, making Judas the catalyst for the event later interpreted as bringing about humanity’s salvation. This view of Judas Iscariot is reflected in the recently discovered Gospel of Judas.
 "BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Luke 22:3". BibleGateway. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/ ?search=Luke%2022:3&version=31. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.  John 12:6  Matthew 26:14  (Greek, ton agron tou kerameōs, τὸν αγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως)  Matthew 27:9-10  Acts 1:18  (Papias Fragment 3, 1742-1744)  Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament, p.114.  letter to Clyde S. Kilby, 7 May 1959, quoted in Michael J. Christensen, C. S. Lewis on Scripture, Abingdon, 1979, Appendix A  E.g. Alfred Edersheim concluded, "there is no real divergence." Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 5.xiv, 1883.  "Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Judas". christnotes.org. http://www.christnotes.org/ dictionary.php?dict=ebd&q=Judas. Retrieved on 2007-06-26.  "The purchase of "the potter’s field", Appendix 161 of the Companion Bible". http://www.levendwater.org/companion/ append161.html. Retrieved on 2008-02-15.  Charles Talbert, Reading Acts: A Literary and Theological Commentary, Smyth & Helwys (2005) p. 15.  Frederick Dale Bruner, Matthew: A Commentary, Eerdmans (2004), page 703.  Reed, David A. (2005). ""Saving Judas"—A social Scientific Approach to Judas’s Suicide in Matthew 27:3–10" (PDF). Biblical Theology Bulletin. http://academic.shu.edu/btb/vol35/ 06Reed.pdf. Retrieved on 2007-06-26.  Vincent P. Branick, Understanding the New Testament and Its Message, (Paulist Press, 1998), pages 126-128.  Frederick Dale Bruner, Matthew: A Commentary (Eerdmans, 2004), page 710; Augustine, cited in the Catena Aurea: "It might be then, that the name Hieremias occurred to the mind of Matthew as he wrote, instead of the name Zacharias, as so often happens" ; Jerome, Epistolae 57.7: "This passage is not found in Jeremiah at all but in Zechariah, in quite different words
• Burning of Judas • John the Baptist
 John 12:6, John 13:29  Matthew 26:14, Matthew 26:47, Mark 14:10, Mark 14:42, Luke 22:1, Luke 22:47, John 13:18, John 18:1  Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, Eerdmans (2006), page 106.  New English Translation Bible, n. 11 in Matthew 11  Bastiaan van Iersel, Mark: A ReaderResponse Commentary, Continuum International (1998), page 167.  Brown, Raymond E. (1994). The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels v.1 pp. 688-92. New York: Doubleday/The Anchor Bible Reference Library. ISBN 0-385-49448-3; Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (2001). v. 3, p. 210. New York: Doubleday/The Anchor Bible Reference Library. ISBN 0385469934
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and an altogether different order" ; John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, 3:177: "The passage itself plainly shows that the name of Jeremiah has been put down by mistake, instead of Zechariah, for in Jeremiah we find nothing of this sort, nor any thing that even approaches to it."   Donald Senior, The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Liturgical Press, 1985), page 107-108; Anthony Cane, The Place of Judas Iscariot in Christology (Ashgate Publishing, 2005), page 50.  See also Maarten JJ Menken, ’The Old Testament Quotation in Matthew 27,9-10’, Biblica 83 (2002): 9-10.  "Judas ’helped Jesus save mankind’," BBC News Website, published 2006/04/ 07 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/ world/americas/4882420.stm)  April D. Deconick, ’Gospel Truth’, New York Times, 1 December 2007  Statement from National Geographic in Response to April DeConick’s New York Times Op-Ed "Gospel Truth"  Hyam Maccoby, Antisemitism And Modernity, Routledge 2006, p14
 Associated Press, "Ancient Manuscript Suggests Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him," Fox News Website, Thursday, April 06, 2006  Dirk Grützmacher: The "Betrayal" of Judas Iscariot : a study into the origins of Christianity and post- temple Judaism. , Edinburgh 1998 (Thesis (M.Phil) -University of Edinburgh, 1999)  Saari, Aaron Maurice. The Many Deaths of Judas Iscariot: A Meditation on Suicide London: Routledge, 2006.  JUDAS ISCARIOT, BETRAYER or ENABLER, FACT OR FICTION?  Q 22:28,30 By Paul Hoffmann, Stefan H. Brandenburger, Christoph Heil, Ulrike Brauner, International Q Project, Thomas  Jesus, apocalyptic prophet of the new millennium By Bart D. Ehrman
• Judas Iscariot: Catholic Encyclopedia article published 1910 • Jewish Encyclopedia: Judas Iscariot • "Death and Retribution: Medieval Visions of the End of Judas the Traitor" - 1997 lecture by Dr Otfried Lieberknecht • Gospel Truth