Judas Iscariot

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For the American black metal band, see Judas Iscariot (band).

Judas Iscariot (died April AD 2933, Hebrew: יהודה איש־קריות Yəhûḏāh ʾΚ-qəriyyôṯ) was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original apostles of Jesus, and the one who betrayed him.

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[edit] Etymology of "Judas Iscariot"

In the Greek of the New Testament, Judas Iscariot is called Ιούδας Ισκάριωθ (Ioúdas Iskáriōth) and Ισκαριώτης (Iskariṓtēs).

"Judas" is the Greek form of the common name Judah (יהודה, Yehûdâh, Hebrew for "praised"). In English translations of the Bible is also found the name Jude, however there is no such distinction in the original Greek or in the Latin Vulgate translation. King David united the Kingdom of Israel and King Solomon built the First Temple, however the kingdom split into two in 928 BC, namely the northern kingdom Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. In 722 BC, the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V conquered Israel and renamed it Samerina (Samaria). In 586 BC, the Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar II conquered Judah, destroyed the First Temple, and exiled the "Judeans" to Babylon. Cyrus II of Persia conquered Babylon in 539 BC and granted the Judeans the right to return and to rebuild their Temple (Second Temple). For this reason Isaiah 44:25-45:4 proclaimed Cyrus to be anointed. Hence, to make a long story short, Judah, Judean, and Jew are almost synonymous. Technically, for the context of the New Testament, Judean is correct, as the Roman Emperor Augustus created Iudaea Province (6-64 , 73-132 AD) in Latin which is generally translated into English as Judea, hence its people were called Judeans.

What Iscariot signifies is unclear, other than its Greek suffix -otes, like English "-ite" or "-ian". No territory "Iscaria" has ever existed. A birthplace is sometimes offered at the Karioth that is mentioned only once, in a long list of cities in the time of Joshua (Joshua 15:25), concerning which The Classical Gazeteer tactfully remarked "of uncertain position" [1]. Karioth is not mentioned in any text of the centuries before or after Judas Iscariot. (Compare Cana and Arimathea.)

There are two major theories on the meaning of this name, each of which must satisfy certain expectations in order to be credible:

  • The first of the two main etymologies, which is the one accepted by the majority, and credited to Jerome, derives Iscariot from Hebrew איש־קריות, Κ-Qrîyôth,1 that is "man of Kerioth", the Judean town (or, more probably, collection of small towns) of Kerioth, not otherwise related to any person or event in the New Testament, nor mentioned in any document of the period, but referred to in the book of Jeremiah. In a similar vein, קריות may be simply the plural of קריה "small city," in which case we have something like "of the suburbs", i.e. it may be the case that Judas Iscariot is nothing more specific than the Jew from the suburbs. As Aramaic was the main language of the time, and all other New Testament characters have Aramaic surnames and nicknames, this Hebrew Judaean name could have marked out Judas as different from the Galilean disciples.
  • In the second main etymology, "Iscariot" is considered to be a transformation by metathesis of the Latin sicarius, or "dagger-man". The Sicarii were a cadre of assassins among Jewish rebels intent on driving the Romans out of Judea. It is possible then, that this Latin name might have been transformed by Aramaic into a form more closely resembling "Iscariot". But many historians maintain that the sicarii only arose in the 40's or 50's of the 1st century, so Judas could not have been a member. 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 0-385-46993-4. While Judas may or may not have actually been a sicariote, the term may have been used for him pejoratively. Therefore, if Judas is largely synonymous with Judean and if Iscariot means Sicarius, then Judas Iscariot would mean Judean Assassin.

In more fringe etymologies theory suggests that "Iscariot" could also be derived from the Aramaic sheqarya' or shiqrai, indicating a person who is a fraud; "the false one" would usually be written as ishqaraya. It could also have been derived from the Hebrew sachar. It also has been theorised that Iscariot could mean deliverer, derived from the Hebrew sakar (Hebraist Joel M. Hoffman's table of Hebrew and Greek names is helpful for understanding this sort of etymology). One factor arguing against "Iscariot" deriving from Judas' betrayal of Jesus is the reference in John 6:71 to Judas as son of Simon the Iscariot. In light of this, Iscariot appears to be a family name, or at least something that could be applied also to his father, which would make these fringe theories unlikely.

Because of Judas' role in betraying Jesus Christ, the name Judas — which was common during the time of Jesus - has almost entirely fallen out of use as a name among Christians, though its Hebrew equivalent Yehuda remains common among Jews, and the etymologically equivalent name Jude is not unknown among Christians.

Image:Judas.jpg
Judas returns the silver coins to the priests.

[edit] Traditional Christian views

[edit] Biblical narrative

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 that the people would riot. It is after the feast that they do end up arresting him.

According to the account given in the gospels, he carried the disciples' money box 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 Caiphas, 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' desire to betray Jesus was put into his heart by the devil.

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 himself. The priests could not return the money to the treasury so they used it to buy a plot of ground in order to bury strangers. [2]
  • The Acts of the Apostles (1:18) says that Judas used the bribe (or Judas' returned bribe was used) to buy a field, but fell down, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This field is called Akeldama or Field Of Blood. Acts 1 goes on to describe how his place among the apostles was subsequently filled by Matthias.

[edit] Explaining the apparent contradiction

Skeptics have concluded that one or the other account of Judas's demise is simply wrong. Historically, however, those who hold the Bible to be God's word have attempted to reconcile the discrepancy between the two accounts. Some artistic depictions, for example, portray Judas hanging himself, but with his stomach exploding as he does so.

Some interpreters[citation needed] have taken the Greek text of the book of Acts, and feel that it([3]) gives credit to another interpretation. According to The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament the literal translation of the second half of Acts 1:18 reads "He burst open in the middle [of the field] and all the inward parts poured out of him." (Douglas 1990.411) The word used for "inward parts" is σπλαγχνα, a word that appears elsewhere in the new testament in reference to deep emotion. This is similar to the word "Gut" in the English idioms, "Spilled his guts" or "I felt it in my gut". Given other accounts of Judas being guilt-ridden, this passage could be interpreted as an account of confession. Also because the word refers to non-specific internal organs, the translation "He poured his heart out" is just as valid as "his bowels gushed out".

One explanation could be found in another form of "hanging." This consisted of a person falling upon a spear or blade that had been wedged into the ground. Judas could have very well "hung" himself by jumping off a cliff at Akeldama onto the sharp rocks below, causing his innards to be ejected as he was impaled upon the rocks. [citation needed] Perhaps the most intriguing possibility is that Matthew uses the expression "and hanged himself" as a deliberate reference to 2 Samuel 17:23 - in this case, rather than giving a literal account of what actually happened to Judas, Matthew is "alluding to the traitor Ahithophel in this passage, and is therefore NOT telling us that Judas indeed hung himself, but that Judas fulfilled the "type" of Ahithophel by being a traitor who responded with grief and then died"[4]

[edit] Judas, Jude Thomas, and Saint Jude

Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, should not be confused with Jude Thomas (more commonly known as Saint Thomas the Apostle), or with Saint Jude who was also one of the twelve Apostles and a brother of James the Less.

[edit] Identity

Judas Iscariot is mentioned only a few times in the canonical gospels. The apostle whose name is generally rendered in English as Saint Jude was actually named Judas son of James, and outside the New Testament the apostle Saint Thomas is sometimes called Judas Thomas Didymus. Some persons have speculated that Judas Iscariot is the same as one or both of these persons, and have advanced as support for their theory the fact that some manuscripts refer to Judas son of James as Judas the Zealot, which they link with the theory that the name Iscariot refers to the Sicarii. However, the list of the Twelve in Luke 6:15,16 clearly treats Thomas, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot as three separate persons and the list in Acts 1 treats Thomas and Judas son of James as still alive at a time when Judas Iscariot is dead.

John 14:22 indicates that Jesus had a disciple called "Judas (not the Iscariot)," probably Judas son of James or possibly Thomas. The latter identification is less likely, since Thomas is not called Judas anywhere else in the New Testament, but it is supported by the authors of the New American Bible footnotes.

Another New Testament Judas, Jesus' brother Judas, is referred to in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. He may be the same person as Judas son of James (his different father would be explained by the Roman Catholic theory that Jesus' so-called "brothers" were really his cousins), or, in view of the statement in John 7:5 that "even his brothers did not believe" in Jesus, he may be someone else. Judas was a common name in New Testament times, and any attempt to identify the various Judases with each other should be approached with caution.

[edit] Recent discoveries: Gospel of Judas

Main article: Gospel of Judas

During the 1970s, a Coptic papyrus [5] 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.

[edit] Questions and interpretation

[edit] Theological questions

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 two main questions seem to be these:

  • Why did Jesus allow Judas to betray him?
    • Did Jesus fail to foresee the betrayal?
    • Was Jesus unable to prevent the betrayal?
    • Did Jesus willingly allow the betrayal to go ahead?
    • Did Jesus actively try to cause the betrayal to happen?
  • Why is it that the 'villainy' of Judas becomes greater and more pronounced as one reads from Mark to John?<ref>This is a common occurrence; in general as one progresses from Mark to John, there is often a sense of moving from a simple recountal to theology. One hypothesis put forward by textual analysts is that Christianity itself was developing in that time (in terms of both audience and theology).</ref>

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. His betrayal of Jesus thus was a victory over the carnal world. The Cainites later split into two groups, disagreeing over the ultimate significance of Jesus in their cosmology.

Origen knew of 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 as a thoroughly corrupt person (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 [6]. While this seems quite at odds with the Gospel of John, where Judas is portrayed as an arch villain, the Gospel of Mark is much more ambiguous and could be considered to be fairly consistent with the stance of the Gospel of Judas On this question.

[edit] Philosophical questions

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 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 his betrayal of Jesus, then he is not morally responsible for his actions. The question has been approached by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae, which differentiates between foreknowledge and predestination, and argues that the omnipotence of the divine is not sufficient grounds for eliminating 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 being 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. This becomes a moot point in some denominations that denote Hell, not as a place of everlasting torture, but as non-existent state of the dead and the common grave of mankind.
  • If Jesus only suffered while dying on the cross, and then ascended into Heaven, while Judas must suffer for eternity in Hell, then Judas has suffered much more for the sins of humanity than Jesus, and his role in the Atonement is that much more significant.
  • Does Jesus' plea, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do," (Luke 23:34) not apply to Judas? Is his 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, but it does avoid the paradox of Judas' predestined act setting in motion both the salvation of all mankind and his own damnation.
  • What if Jesus knew he was going to die? Presumably he did. Was his purpose for coming not to cleanse the world of its sins? Perhaps Judas was all part of His master plan. Was Satan working through Judas? Since Satan failed in his temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, this may have been his second act of betrayal to God.

[edit] Motivation of Judas

Was the monetary value of 30 pieces of silver the only motivating force for Judas' actions considering that 30 pieces of silver was also the price one paid for a slave that had been gored by an ox in Old Testament Law? After seeing Jesus' popularity declining, was Judas' motivation for handing Jesus over an attempt to force the hand of God into action? Jesus often spoke of creating a kingdom and saving his people. This was a reference to a spiritual kingdom not known to any of Jesus' followers until after the day of Pentecost. Furthermore, the Bible notes that Satan entered into Judas, so to speak, shortly before the events leading to Jesus' crucifixion, so it is possible Judas may not have been acting entirely according to his own will at the time. Many times Judas saw Jesus escape capture and stonings. Judas might have been trying to spur Jesus into a war with the Romans by telling them where he was.

The last reading may be plausible if the etymology of "Iscariot" (see below) is in fact related to Sicarii, a sect of the Zealots committed to the violent overthrow of Rome. If Judas was a Sicarius (which may or may not be historically possible), then it's possible that he saw Jesus as the Messiah in the fashion expected by the Zealots: a military leader who would defeat and cast out the Romans. If this scenario was the case, then Judas may well have been trying to force Jesus into a position where he had to reveal himself as the divinely appointed warrior-king who would destroy his enemies.

[edit] Modern interpretations

Most modern Christians, whether laity, clergy, or theologians, still consider Judas a traitor. Indeed the term Judas has entered many languages as a synonym for betrayer.

However, some scholars<ref> 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)</ref> 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 re-enactment of Biblical prophecy and Judas acted with Jesus' full knowledge and consent in "betraying" his master to the authorities. Schonfield's hypothesis recognizes the fulfillment of prophecy in Judas' recorded actions without acknowledging that the prophecies were really fulfilled in history.

A similar interpretation became well known to the general population through Martin Scorsese's controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ, based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. Kazantzakis' original conception was that 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. This portrayal shows Judas obeying Jesus' covert request to help him fulfill his destiny to die on the cross, thus making Judas the catalyst for the event later interpreted as bringing about humanity's salvation. This view of Judas Iscariot is curiously reflected in the recently discovered and translated third or fourth-century text, the Gospel of Judas.

The Roman Catholic Church has never officially stated that it believes Judas is in Hell. According to one Catholic writer, if he had not committed suicide but repented of his actions it would still have been possible for him to become a great saint, just like Saint Peter who denied Christ three times.

Garry Wills, New Testament scholar, believes that Jesus rescued Judas from Hell, as part of the Harrowing of Hell. See What Jesus Meant.

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 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 means of Judas's suicide, hanging, leaping into a pit, and disembowling, with three Old Testament betrayals followed by similar suicides.

John Shelby Spong's conclusion is 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 handed-over Jesus to his Roman crucifiers. Spong identfies this augmentation with the origin of modern Anti-Semitism.

[edit] Representations and symbolism of Judas

[edit] Judas in hymnography

In the Eastern Orthodox hymns of Holy Wednesday (the Wednesday before Pascha), Judas is contrasted with the prostitute who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume and washed his feet with her tears. (Tradition identifies the prositute with Mary, sister of Lazarus, although some identify her as a separate person.) In fact, the bible never explicitly says that she's a prostitute. According to the Gospels, 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 the prostitute'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."

[edit] Judas in the 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 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.

[edit] Judas and anti-Semitism

Some scholars of the New Testament suggest that the name "Judas" was intended as an attack on the Judaeans or on the Judaean religious establishment held responsible for executing Christ. The English word "Jew" is derived from the Latin Judaeus, 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 JudasJewryJews run like this: Ιούδας (Ioudas) — Ιουδαία (Ioudaia) — Ιουδαίοι (Ioudaioi). In Latin, the language of the Vulgate Bible, they run JudasJudaeaJudaei. Whatever the original intentions of the original writers or editors of the Gospel of John, however, there is little doubt that the similarity between the name "Judas" and the words for "Jew" in various European languages has contributed powerfully to anti-Semitism. In German the same words run JudasJudäaJuden; in Spanish JudasJudeajudíos; and in French JudasJudéejuifs.

Over time Judas came to be seen as the archetypal Jew. He was said to have red hair, which was proverbially called "Judas-colored", and the ancient stereotype of Jews was that they had red hair too: in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice the Jewish money-lender Shylock is said to have been portrayed with red hair on the Elizabethan stage. Judas' betrayal of Christ for money was also seen as a typical piece of Jewish venality and avarice.

A few modern critics of European culture assert that in paintings and art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, while the other apostles are portrayed as powerfully built Northern Europeans, Judas was given stereotypically Jewish characteristics. Specific examples of such portrayals in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, however, are hard to come by.

A more modern example, however, can be found in John Fiester's monument clock, the Apostolic Clock. Judas is half the height of the other eleven apostles, hunched over, and possesses an exaggerated nose. The notes provided at the Hershey Museum, where it is on display, claims the artist made Judas shorter because he considered him to be less of a man than the other apostles, not because of anti-Semitism.

[edit] Judas in art and literature

Image:Autun cathédrale chapiteau pendaison de Judas.jpg
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.
  • Armando Cosani's The Flight of the Feathered Serpent (ISBN 0-9740560-2-2), suggests an untold story of Judas as a Spiritual Master.
  • Jorge Luis Borges' short story "Three Versions of Judas" gives several interpretations of Judas' story, one of which concludes that Judas is the true savior of humanity.
  • 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.
  • In Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, the entire story of Christ is portrayed differently. In the case of Judas, Bulgakov presents a parody of the betrayal of Christ, as though first-century Jerusalem were Moscow in the 1920s-1930s. Pilate is talking to his head of the secret service, and mentions that he "heard a rumor" stating that Judas of Kerioth was slated for an early grave, so "I expect you to do your best to help him". After Judas' death ("A shame, I understand you did your best..."), Pilate ponders rhetorically, asking whether "he might have killed himself?", thereby starting the biblical account of Judas' suicide.
  • In Paul Féval's novel, Vampire City two prominent but unseen rulers of the vampires are Baron Iscariot (implicitly Judas) and Baroness Phryne.
  • In George R.R. Martin's short story "The Way of Cross and Dragon", a sect called the Order of Saint Judas Iscariot promotes a gospel of "Saint Judas" which is quite different than what is in the New Testament.

[edit] Judas in contemporary popular culture

Judas often appears as a metaphor for the archetypal, profit-driven betrayer in much late 20th and early 21st century culture, although some portrayals have been more complex and sympathetic. Some examples:

  • In the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas is shown as a man who loves Jesus and believes his teachings, but fears that the emergence of a new religion will spark a political uprising which the Romans will brutally suppress. Torn between his love of Christ and his fear that the Romans "will crush us if we go too far", he regretfully betrays Jesus. Inspired by the Bob Dylan lyric "You'll have to decide/Whether Judas Iscariot/Had God on his side", the play casts Judas in a sympathetic light. Later in the lyric, in a reflection of Judas' achieving pariah status, he sings that he will be "Damned for all time!"
    • Many modern productions take a cue from the first Broadway production of the play by casting Judas as a Black man. Although Ben Vereen was first in the role, Carl Anderson would be most well-connected to the role, as he replaced Vereen in the Broadway show and also played Judas in the movie version.
  • "Until the End of the World" is a song by U2, written as an allegorical confession by Judas to Jesus.
  • "Stand Up For Judas" by Leon Rosselson uses the "sicarii" interpretation of Judas' name to propose that Judas was a down-to-earth revolutionary and accuses Jesus, by contrast, as a promoter of accommodation with the Romans, of pie-in-the-sky miracles, and of himself, and concludes that Judas is the real hero in the story. Leon Rosselson Records
  • Rapper Tragedy Khadafi recorded a song titled "The Judas Theory", aimed at someone who turned in fellow rapper Capone (of Capone-N-Noreaga fame), much like Judas betrayed Jesus.
  • In Robert Graves's King Jesus, it's posited that Judas knowingly plays his part in engineering Jesus' death—but for humanity's salvation, not for his own profit. The Residents' song "Judas Saves" from the album Wormwood: Curious Stories from the Bible has the same thesis, probably lifted from Graves's novel.
  • In the film Dracula 2000, it is said that Dracula is one of the many names of Judas. This also gives an explanation of why Dracula hates all things Christian, and why certain items harm him, i.e. the cross Jesus died on, the stakes driven through his hands, and silver because that's what Judas was paid in. Dracula can not die because he will not ask God for forgiveness and so therefore God will not accept him.
  • In the manga and anime Hellsing appears an organization known as the Vatican Section XIII, or the Iscariot Organization, a military division of the Vatican, dedicated to fighting unholy monsters and heretics alike. In the manga particularly they give a speech describing their goals:
" We are disciples yet not disciples. We are traitors yet not traitors. We are death. The minions of death. We humbly bow down and ask for forgiveness from our Lord... Submitting ourselves in reverence of God, we shall vanquish all of His foes. We are those who swing our daggers on a moonless night; we are the ones who lace your dinners with poison. We are assassins. The ones who have embraced the ways of Judas Iscariot! ...We cohorts of the cloth, in ranks of five, are now forming an Agmen Quadratum, desiring to do battle with the 7,405,926 demons of Hell."
  • An American Black metal band called Judas Iscariot.
  • "Judas the Gentile" (1999), a novel by D. S. Lliteras, is a somewhat sympathetic depiction of Judas. An Italian version of "Judas" was published in 2001 by San Paolo Publishing of Milano.
  • In the manga "Na mo Naki Tori no Tobu Yoake" (or "Innocent Bird") Judas Iscariot is portrayed as a beautiful, immortal, young man who wished to have his sins forgiven by sacrificing that which was most precious to him (Jesus) to the scales of judgment in purgatory - which would then present him with the life which he most desired (one in which he was able to love Jesus as a man and not as the son of God). After which, when he realized the mistake he'd made by killing the person he loved most, he killed himself only to be punished with an immortal life; carrying the remains of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, he goes on, acting as the "hands and feet" of Jesus who remained with him then, reincarnated into another form with whom he could not share his love.
  • On "Will & Grace", Jack and Will once dated the same man, and ended up going behind each others' back to do so:
Jack: How could you betray me like this? We had a deal, and you stabbed me in the back. [gasp] Judas! You're Judas! This is exactly what he did!
Will: Mmm...don't know that the big problem there was a gay love triangle.
  • In the play "A Raisin in the Sun", when Mr. Lindner is trying to buy the house from Youngers so they couldn't move into the white neighborhood, Beneatha exclaims as a price "Thirty pieces and not a coin less!" This of course is a remark about the thirty silver coins the Romans paid Judas for betraying Jesus.
  • In issue #5 of Marvel Comics Civil War, Daredevil equates the actions of former ally, Iron Man to the biblical betrayer due to the fact that his supporting the Superhuman Registration Act has led not only to his incarceration, but to many of his former friends as well. Before being led to his cell in the Negative Zone Prison, a guard finds a silver dollar under Daredevil's tongue and tells Stark that Daredevil wanted him to have it. Stark doesn't understand the significance until Daredevil says to him, "Guess that's thirty-one pieces of silver you've got now, huh? Sleep well, Judas."
  • The song "One Thousand Apologies" by Demon Hunter (A christian metal band) is an apologetic confession from Judas to Jesus
  • In "3.09 Finding Judas" of House, M.D, Wilson announced his decision to cooperate with Detective Tritter's criminal investigation against House by saying, "I'm gonna need thirty pieces of silver." Wilson is House's only friend and most trusted confidant.

[edit] Trivia

In Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper an overturned salt cellar lies in front of Judas (a reference to the superstition that spilling salt is bad luck).

In the British television show Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer's middle name is Judas, but he tells everyone it is Johnathan to avoid mockery.

In the American film The Exorcism Of Emily Rose the demon that allegedly possessed Judas is one of the 6 demons that are possessing The title character.

The satirical GWAR song, from their album War Party, "Bring Back The Bomb", contains the lyrics: "Crucify Judas Iscariot" in place of "Summon the brazen war chariot" near the end of the song. This substitution is not included on the lyrics for the song on the inside cover.

In the manga Fist of the North Star, which features several biblical overtones, there is a villain named Juda (pronounced Yuda in Japanese, which is the Japanese pronounciation of Judas' name), one of the "Six Holy Fists of the South Dipper" (Nanto Rokusei Ken), who betrayed the others by joining forces with Raoh (the series' primary antagonist).

In Kohta Hirano's Hellsing the Vatican has a top-secret wing named after Judas. In volume six members of the Iscariot organisation refer to the to the thirty silver pieces and the rope, saying When the time comes we shalt cast our thirty silver piecs at the altar and hang thy head fom our rope.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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[edit] External links


Apostles of Jesus Christ
Evangelists: John | Matthew | Mark | Luke
Others: Simon Peter | Andrew | James | Philip | Bartholomew | Thomas
James son of Alphaeus | Simon the Zealot | Thaddaeus | Judas Iscariot
ar:يهوذا الإسخريوطي

cs:Jidáš Iškariotský da:Judas Iskariot de:Judas Ischariot es:Judas Iscariote eo:Judaso Iskarioto fr:Judas Iscariote ko:이스카리옷 유다 ilo:Judas Iscariote id:Yudas Iskariot it:Giuda Iscariota he:יהודה איש קריות lt:Judas Iskariotas nl:Judas Iskariot ja:イスカリオテのユダ no:Judas Iskariot pl:Judasz (Apostoł) pt:Judas Iscariotes ru:Иуда Искариот sk:Judáš fi:Juudas Iskariot sv:Judas Iskariot vi:Judas Iscariot

zh:加略人猶大

Judas Iscariot

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