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Does Judas get a bad press?

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  • Marca
    Marca
    Eternal Champion
    Marca
    Eternal Champion
    • Aug 2004
    • 2014

    Does Judas get a bad press?

    I've always wondered if Judas was the villain he was made out to be. After all, like Glogauer in Behold The Man assuming the role of Christ, if Judas hadn't betrayed him there would have been no crucifixion. So, in a way, he is more hero than villain (anti-hero?) Is it possible Jesus was complicit with Judas in his act of betrayal? Judas betrays him with a kiss, which is an intimate, tender gesture and it appears from the Gospels that both Jesus and Judas (and in fact the other Apostles) knew what he was going to do. As with a lot of other material in The Bible, I think we need to read between the lines to get at the truth. Or simply take it literally - did Jesus have brothers and sisters or not...?
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)
  • Governor of Rowe Island
    Governor of Rowe Island
    Orgone Accumulator
    Governor of Rowe Island
    Orgone Accumulator
    • Aug 2004
    • 5266

    #2
    Have you heard of the Gospel of Judas, Marca?
    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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    Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

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    "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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    • Marca
      Marca
      Eternal Champion
      Marca
      Eternal Champion
      • Aug 2004
      • 2014

      #3
      Heard of it, but only in passing. Those Gnostics - they knew how to stir things up, eh?
      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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      • Groakes
        Groakes
        badseed
        Groakes
        badseed
        • Jan 2005
        • 2512

        #4
        Hmmm - I wrote a story a couple of years ago (now lost due to a hard disk crash) which sort of went along the lines of:

        Judas and Jesus were close friends - Judas was inarticulate and had a stutter, where as Jesus was charismatic and a born public speaker. Judas develops a radical humanist philosophy based around universal tolerance and love. Jesus, as front man, delivers the speeches and becomes the figurehead of the "movement". Judas happily remains in the background. To the public, Jesus is seen as the leader.

        Things come a cropper when Mary Magdalene and Judas fall in love. Jesus becomes jealous as he desires MM. Jesus does a deal with the Romans and Pharisees that sees Judas arrested. Jesus goes into hiding and the Romans advertise that they are going to try and execute Jesus - as to everyone, Jesus is the leader. Judas is beaten to a pulp by the Romans and becomes pretty much unrecognisable. They crucify him and then his broken body is left in the tomb.

        A pregnant Mary Magdalene comes to visit the tomb and realises that it is Judas lying there. She sees Jesus and realises the truth. Jesus and the apostles (most of whom realise that the real power lies with Jesus) dispose of the body. Rumours start to spread that Jesus has risen from the dead - some peoople actually have seen him, the tomb is empty...

        Jesus, as per his deal with the Romans, disappears off to India where he later dies. Mary Magdalene heads off to France. The surving apostles, realising they need to restructure the story to give the movement a chance to survive, write the Gospels to villify Judas and to turn Jesus in a messiah - after all, everyone had heard of Jesus but nobody really knew who Judas was. Mary Magdalene, of course, became a whore as she was responsible (in their eyes) for the fall of their leader.

        I realised that this was probably highly offensive to Christians. I wrote it to explore a couple of themes - Judas is the biggest "loser" in history. If winners write history, what would Judas have to have done to end up villified in such a manner?

        and Why is the belief in Jesus so critical to Christian thought? Surely the belief in universal tolerance and love should be seperate to the person of Jesus.
        Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
        Bakunin

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        • Pietro_Mercurios
          Pietro_Mercurios
          Only Slightly Unbalanced
          Pietro_Mercurios
          Only Slightly Unbalanced
          • Oct 2004
          • 5823

          #5
          Isn't Judas really just a plot device, inserted into the narrative to add an extra level of complexity and a little dramatic tension?

          There's some heavy moralising and no doubt, the necessary fulfilment of some foreshadowing prophecy, or other.

          How many angels can dance on the head of a pin, anyway? And, would they be dancing a pavane?

          Comment

          • David Mosley
            David Mosley
            Eternal Administrator
            David Mosley
            Eternal Administrator
            • Jul 2004
            • 11823

            #6
            Originally posted by Marca View Post
            I've always wondered if Judas was the villain he was made out to be.
            Wikipedia's article on Judas pretty much sums up the various interpretations of Judas as well or better than I could, so I'll simply refer you to that rather than trying to summarise it here. As you say, without the betrayal (which Jesus appears in the Gospels to have foreknowledge of and indeed instructs Judas to 'do what you must do quickly') there would (might?) not have been a crucifixion and thus no Salvation for Humanity, so Judas' betrayal is pretty much the lynchpin in Easter.

            I tend to have a fairly forgiving attitude towards Judas (which is where I differ from the Wiki article, which asserts that "Most modern Christians, whether laity, clergy, or theologians, consider Judas a traitor.") but ultimately it's not my call, as a Christian, to make, so I don't presume to know what his fate is.

            Originally posted by Marca View Post
            did Jesus have brothers and sisters or not...?
            Personally I think he did.* Of course, they were all younger than him.

            The Gospel of Judas doesn't figure greatly in my understanding of the Bible any more than the Koran does.

            *But then, I'm not a Catholic, so I don't have some perverse need for Mary to have remained a virgin after Jesus' birth.
            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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            • SERPNTA1267
              SERPNTA1267
              Dreamer of the Multiverse
              SERPNTA1267
              Dreamer of the Multiverse
              • Dec 2007
              • 834

              #7
              I feel that Judas got a bum rap. He did what Jesus told him to do even though he didn't want to do it. He was not the betrayer, Peter was and Jesus even told him so. Peter betrayed Jesus 3 times before the cock crowed just as Jesus said he would. Judas was the stronger of the two and has been damned through out history for helping Jesus achieve his ultimate goal, while Peter has been given one of the highest positions in Christendom after betraying his teacher and running away like a coward.
              In Peter's defense, he did repent after he realized what he had done. What I wonder, is what really happened to Judas because, from what I remember, there are two different accounts of his death in the Bible.

              As for Jesus having siblings, I have hear that Joseph may have had children from a previous marriage as well as other children with Mary after Jesus was born.
              "The world is such-and-such or so-and-so only because we tell ourselves that that is the way it is. If we stop telling ourselves that the world is so-and-so, the world will stop being so-and-so." - don Juan

              Comment

              • Heiron
                Heiron
                Pawn of multiverse
                Heiron
                Pawn of multiverse
                • Jun 2006
                • 374

                #8
                As for Jesus having siblings, I have hear that Joseph may have had children from a previous marriage as well as other children with Mary after Jesus was born.
                That's what I've heard too.But I also think that the Church wanted to promote Mary as an Eternal Virgin like the Virgin goddesses of ancient religions.

                On topic now.
                Orthodox church hates Judas as much as the rest christians,or even more.But personally I agree with you lads.Not only does Jesus "order" him to go on with his "betrayal" but...
                1.The money he gets is too little,rather symbolic I'd say.
                2.The information he gives is where Jesus would be one specific night and who exactly is Jesus.There were many people that knew the face of Jesus and anyone could follow him wherever he went at any given night.
                3.Everything seems to follow a plan.The last dinner was a jewish celebration which later transformed into a christian tradition.Also we now celebrate Easter on Sunday which is convenient.Of course it would take the magical number of 3 days for Him to resurrect.So,the betrayal couldn't happen on Monday,right?
                4.Judas was one of the apostles,and a trusted one(he keeps the money,arranges the supplies,where the group will stay etc) but he gets all the blame.Isn't it obvious that Peter,as the winner of the conflicts within the first christians,would blame his opponents-Judas and Mary?

                PS:Groakes I liked your story.

                Comment

                • Talisant
                  Talisant
                  Champion of the Balance
                  Talisant
                  Champion of the Balance
                  • Dec 2003
                  • 1299

                  #9
                  It's like both booking agents I know named Bunky always say, "Kid, there ain't no such thing as bad publicity." We're still talking about him right?
                  "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

                  Comment

                  • J-Sun
                    J-Sun
                    Priest of Nadsokor
                    J-Sun
                    Priest of Nadsokor
                    • Dec 2007
                    • 2173

                    #10
                    I have the gospel of Judas... in the original language... which I am blessed in that I am pretty fluent in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic. Its an extremely late manuscript (from hundreds of years after the time of Chirst) and about as gnostic as you can get. But, in it Jesus does in fact tell Judas that its his job to betray Him, but that he'll be forgiven in the end.

                    Speaking as someone who spent two seminary degrees studying some of this...
                    If you take out the gospel of John, and base your decision only on the Synoptic gospels, then yes, Judas <might> be seen to get a bum rap. Admittedly, I will still maintain that he had free will the whole time, but that can open a bigger can of worms I'm not sure is worth opening. John, though, points out that Judas was a thief and couldn't care less for the needy, so it's hard to feel sympathy for the guy when he was stealing from Jesus and the rest of the Apostles.

                    About 5 years ago or so a station in the US did a straight-to-TV movie on Judas, coinciding with the release of the Gospel of Judas to public purchase and the Passion of the Christ. It took the idea that Judas was a misunderstood zealot. Maybe. But he was still a thief and cared far more about himself than the suffering poor, so I find trouble painting him as even an anti-hero, unless we like swindlers as heroes.

                    Gospel of Judas - He is the hero (late gnostic text)
                    Gospel of John - He is the villain (ancient greek text)
                    The gospel of John is the most easily verified of the NT books as to its age, going back to before the first century AD based upon MSS evidence. Gospel of Judas was fictional for many reasons which I could go long into since the gnostic gospels is a bit of a specialty of mine.
                    "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                    --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

                    Comment

                    • Groakes
                      Groakes
                      badseed
                      Groakes
                      badseed
                      • Jan 2005
                      • 2512

                      #11
                      Originally posted by J-Sun View Post
                      I have the gospel of Judas... in the original language... which I am blessed in that I am pretty fluent in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic. Its an extremely late manuscript (from hundreds of years after the time of Chirst) and about as gnostic as you can get. But, in it Jesus does in fact tell Judas that its his job to betray Him, but that he'll be forgiven in the end.

                      Speaking as someone who spent two seminary degrees studying some of this...
                      If you take out the gospel of John, and base your decision only on the Synoptic gospels, then yes, Judas <might> be seen to get a bum rap. Admittedly, I will still maintain that he had free will the whole time, but that can open a bigger can of worms I'm not sure is worth opening. John, though, points out that Judas was a thief and couldn't care less for the needy, so it's hard to feel sympathy for the guy when he was stealing from Jesus and the rest of the Apostles.
                      Hey J-Sun, I may be an atheist but I - for one - would be very interested in you sharing the benefit of your studies....

                      ...and cans of worms are always fun to open up....
                      Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                      Bakunin

                      Comment

                      • J-Sun
                        J-Sun
                        Priest of Nadsokor
                        J-Sun
                        Priest of Nadsokor
                        • Dec 2007
                        • 2173

                        #12
                        The ever raging debate of predestination vs. free-will is a long one that has been in the church for a solid 500 years or more and will not only NOT be solved on this site, but there are some of us that hold radically different views on this site. That will not be a road I will go down. In a nutshell, however, there are 4 major views that exist: Calvinism (full predestination), Arminianism (rejects most of predestination, but also rejects man's ability to come to God by his own choice), Pelagianism (believes man's efforts bring him to God), and Semi-Pelagianism (also called Semi-Augustinian, declaring a partnership between Man and God concerning his ability to come before God, and espoused by authors such as John Cassian.) It is this last view that I hold, which is closest to the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

                        And that's all I'll say on that. Internet search those four terms and you can probably get a good bead on the debate. Wikipedia lays out the arguments for and against some of the above positions reasonably well.

                        Tell you what. I did a lecture some years ago on the Gospel of Judas in an academic setting. Let me try to find that on the other computer and either print it here in its entirety or adapt it to answer some questions about the Gospel of Judas. I can also post the Gospel as well, I imagine, since I have it somewhere on a disk or harddrive. I'll get back to that in a day or so.
                        "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                        --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

                        Comment

                        • Groakes
                          Groakes
                          badseed
                          Groakes
                          badseed
                          • Jan 2005
                          • 2512

                          #13
                          Originally posted by J-Sun View Post
                          The ever raging debate of predestination vs. free-will is a long one that has been in the church for a solid 500 years or more and will not only NOT be solved on this site, but there are some of us that hold radically different views on this site. That will not be a road I will go down.
                          I understand completely. No one's Beliefs (capital B) have ever been changed in a internet forum.

                          Originally posted by J-Sun View Post
                          Tell you what. I did a lecture some years ago on the Gospel of Judas in an academic setting. Let me try to find that on the other computer and either print it here in its entirety or adapt it to answer some questions about the Gospel of Judas. I can also post the Gospel as well, I imagine, since I have it somewhere on a disk or harddrive. I'll get back to that in a day or so.
                          Sounds Grand
                          Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                          Bakunin

                          Comment

                          • Groakes
                            Groakes
                            badseed
                            Groakes
                            badseed
                            • Jan 2005
                            • 2512

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Heiron View Post
                            As for Jesus having siblings, I have hear that Joseph may have had children from a previous marriage as well as other children with Mary after Jesus was born.
                            That's what I've heard too.But I also think that the Church wanted to promote Mary as an Eternal Virgin like the Virgin goddesses of ancient religions.

                            On topic now.
                            Orthodox church hates Judas as much as the rest christians,or even more.But personally I agree with you lads.Not only does Jesus "order" him to go on with his "betrayal" but...
                            1.The money he gets is too little,rather symbolic I'd say.
                            2.The information he gives is where Jesus would be one specific night and who exactly is Jesus.There were many people that knew the face of Jesus and anyone could follow him wherever he went at any given night.
                            3.Everything seems to follow a plan.The last dinner was a jewish celebration which later transformed into a christian tradition.Also we now celebrate Easter on Sunday which is convenient.Of course it would take the magical number of 3 days for Him to resurrect.So,the betrayal couldn't happen on Monday,right?
                            4.Judas was one of the apostles,and a trusted one(he keeps the money,arranges the supplies,where the group will stay etc) but he gets all the blame.Isn't it obvious that Peter,as the winner of the conflicts within the first christians,would blame his opponents-Judas and Mary?

                            PS:Groakes I liked your story.
                            Thanks Heiron. I still refuse to believe it was any divine retribution that the hard drive crashed. The hardest part was trying to work out how to tell the story, which was something I never resolved to my satisfaction - one reason it was never published....

                            point 4 was a significant part of the story - basically stemmed from the question of who were the "Winners" and "Losers" (for lack of better terms) in the gospels and then reinventing the story to provide "mundane" explanations for why these characters ended up in these roles and to demythologise the gospels at the same time. I also wanted to see if the basic Christian beliefs (universal love and tolerance) could exist without a Jesus "hero" figure.

                            It was one of those things that popped into my head one day. Once I had the idea I had to do Something with it, but like I said, I couldn't find a way to tell the story in a satisfactory way....
                            Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                            Bakunin

                            Comment

                            • J-Sun
                              J-Sun
                              Priest of Nadsokor
                              J-Sun
                              Priest of Nadsokor
                              • Dec 2007
                              • 2173

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Heiron View Post
                              As for Jesus having siblings, I have hear that Joseph may have had children from a previous marriage as well as other children with Mary after Jesus was born.
                              That's what I've heard too.But I also think that the Church wanted to promote Mary as an Eternal Virgin like the Virgin goddesses of ancient religions.

                              On topic now.
                              Orthodox church hates Judas as much as the rest christians,or even more.But personally I agree with you lads.Not only does Jesus "order" him to go on with his "betrayal" but...
                              1.The money he gets is too little,rather symbolic I'd say.
                              2.The information he gives is where Jesus would be one specific night and who exactly is Jesus.There were many people that knew the face of Jesus and anyone could follow him wherever he went at any given night.
                              3.Everything seems to follow a plan.The last dinner was a jewish celebration which later transformed into a christian tradition.Also we now celebrate Easter on Sunday which is convenient.Of course it would take the magical number of 3 days for Him to resurrect.So,the betrayal couldn't happen on Monday,right?
                              4.Judas was one of the apostles,and a trusted one(he keeps the money,arranges the supplies,where the group will stay etc) but he gets all the blame.Isn't it obvious that Peter,as the winner of the conflicts within the first christians,would blame his opponents-Judas and Mary?
                              1. Agreed. Very symbolic. 30 pieces of silver is the cost of a slave. Cf. Exodus 21:32, and the delightfully sarcastic Zechariah 11:12-13
                              2. True. And to me thats the point. Anyone could have betrayed him. Judas wanted to be the one to do it.
                              3. The plan is also part of the Christian tradition, and part of the point again. Yes, God foreknew what Judas would do. That God knew it still does not take away that Judas chose to do it.
                              4. Judas stole from the money, and I am not sure I would call Peter the early winner, since even Paul puts him in his place when he is wrong (Galatians 2:11). There really was not a lot of conflict among the apostles, so saying that Peter painted Judas in a bad light... Judas betrayed Jesus. End of story. Judas says "I have betrayed innocent blood", gives the money back, and hangs himself. Hardly the actions of someone who was in the right, nor someone who was doing the job his hero Jesus gave him.

                              Again, the romantic version of the tale, that Judas was the hero, has been around for a long time, but the problem is that it requires us to toss out the existing gospels. When we start doing that, we have a revisionist standpoint, where we claim to know more about the events in question than those who lived during those days, and while I won't say that this may not be true, it's not a statement I want to make.
                              "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                              --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

                              Comment

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