Skip to comments.Judas the Misunderstood
Posted on 01/12/2006 6:32:30 AM PST by NYer
JUDAS ISCARIOT, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars.
The proposed rehabilitation of the man who was paid 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus to Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, comes on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just fulfilling his part in Gods plan.
Christians have traditionally blamed Judas for aiding and abetting the Crucifixion, and his name is synonymous with treachery. According to St Luke, Judas was possessed by Satan.
Now, a campaign led by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, is aimed at persuading believers to look kindly at a man reviled for 2,000 years.
Mgr Brandmuller told fellow scholars it was time for a re-reading of the Judas story. He is supported by Vittorio Messori, a prominent Catholic writer close to both Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.
Signor Messori said that the rehabilitation of Judas would resolve the problem of an apparent lack of mercy by Jesus toward one of his closest collaborators.
He told La Stampa that there was a Christian tradition that held that Judas was forgiven by Jesus and ordered to purify himself with spiritual exercises in the desert.
In scholarly circles, it has long been unfashionable to demonise Judas and Catholics in Britain are likely to welcome Judass rehabilitation.
Father Allen Morris, Christian Life and Worship secretary for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, said: If Christ died for all is it possible that Judas too was redeemed through the Master he betrayed? The rehabilitation of Judas could help the Popes drive to improve Christian-Jewish relations, which he has made a priority of his pontificate.
Some Bible experts say Judas was a victim of a theological libel which helped to create anti Semitism by forming an image of him as a sinister villain prepared to betray for money.
In many medieval plays and paintings Judas is portrayed with a hooked nose and exaggerated Semitic features. In Dantes Inferno, Judas is relegated to the lowest pits of Hell, where he is devoured by a three-headed demon.
The move to clear Judass name coincides with plans to publish the alleged Gospel of Judas for the first time in English, German and French. Though not written by Judas, it is said to reflect the belief among early Christians now gaining ground in the Vatican that in betraying Christ Judas was fulfilling a divine mission, which led to the arrest and Crucifixion of Jesus and hence to mans salvation.
Mgr Brandmuller said that he expected no new historical evidence from the supposed gospel, which had been excluded from the canon of accepted Scripture.
But it could serve to reconstruct the events and context of Christs teachings as they were seen by the early Christians. This included that Jesus had always preached forgiveness for ones enemies.
Some Vatican scholars have expressed concern over the reconsideration of Judas. Monsignor Giovanni DErcole, a Vatican theologian, said it was dangerous to re-evaulate Judas and muddy the Gospel accounts by reference to apocryphal writings. This can only create confusion in believers. The Gospels tell how Judas later returned the 30 pieces of silver his blood money and h anged himself, or according to the Acts of the Apostles, fell headlong and burst open so that all his entrails burst out.
Some accounts suggest he acted out of disappointment that Jesus was not a revolutionary who intended to overthrow Roman occupation and establish Gods Kingdom on Earth.
In the Gospel accounts, Jesus reveals to the disciples at the Last Supper that one of them will betray him, but does not say which. He adds Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.
But he also according to St Matthew acknowledged that Judas had a divine function to fulfil, saying to him during the arrest, Friend, do what you are here to do and adding that the prophecies of the Scriptures must be fulfilled.
The Gospel of Judas, a 62-page worn and tattered papyrus, was found in Egypt half a century ago and later sold by antiquities dealers to the Maecenas Foundation in Basle, Switzerland.
MOCK OF AGES
Is sainthood next? /sarcasm
The Sunday Times has an agenda... it regularly does hit pieces on Christians and the Catholic Church in particular. Let's wait to see what the Vatican really says and not what The Times writes.
I had always understood that by his suicide, Judas rejected the final mercy of God which he could have obtained by repentance.
In Judas and Peter, we have two examples of how people can respond to God's grace. Judas felt bad about what he did (metamelomai) and committed suicide. Peter felt bad about what he did and changed his mind (metanoia), receiving God's grace and forgiveness. Another term for it is "repentance".
OK, so, the Jews aren't to blame and neither is Judas. I'm sure the Romans were quite conflicted about killing him as well. At this rate, scholars will soon "discover" that Jesus did in fact die of a severe head cold.
Good point. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Exact same thought crossed my mind.
Hmmm. Funny how, while it's true that the Church has never defined that any particular person is in Hell, there is solid scriptural evidence for only one man in the NT to be "extremely likely" to be there. That man is Judas Iscariot. Matthew 26:24-25 says: "'The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.' Judas, who betrayed him, said, 'Is it I, Master?' He said to him, 'You have said so.'"
Even if Judas had to spend a bazillion years in Purgatory, it would have been worth it for him to be born regardless, as the eternity of Heaven thereafter would make the stay in Purgatory a worthwhile means to an indescribably wonderful end. The fact that Jesus, knowing such a thing, still says that it would have been "better if he had not been born," certainly makes the prospect of Judas' salvation look inconceivably "remote." His "rehabilitation," in light of the fact that he is singled-out as the sole person explicitly named in the New Testament who is virtually certain to be in Hell, is an excercise in stupidity. I can't believe the Vatican would be so silly as to waste time on such a project. I'm *hoping* this was bobbled by the Times (not too hard to suppose!), or wherever they got it from, and thus it bears little resemblance to fact.
I don't think this "rehabilitation push" is ever going to catch on.
"Prominent Catholic writers" who are friendly with Popes are now sources of Catholic doctrine?
The Times is really reaching ...
Something I have never understood is the demonization of ANYONE involved in Christ's death. Christ was SUPPOSED to die--that was His PURPOSE on Earth. He died, taking sin and death with Him, and then rose from the dead, completing the conquest. So, if He hadn't been betrayed, how could he have died?
It's all part of God's plan, so to blame Jews or hate Judas for the part they played is, well, ignorant. The whole "Killers of Christ" is complete BS--what was He supposed to do, commit suicide?
From the Times?
went to hell.
Judas is damned.
Not only does Catholic art depict this (at a favorite Church in Pittsburgh - Sacred Heart, he is shown crouched over and disfigured while his Guardian Angel weeps over him), but the Liturgy is perfectly clear:
"O God who punished Judas for his crime, and rewarded the Good Thief for his penitence ..." (Traditional Collect for Holy Thursday and Good Friday).
What is wrong with all these little modernist rats we have scurrying around the Church? Do you really think the typical Catholic woke up this morning all worked up and worried over the fact that most people view Judas as a treacherous lowlife who was rightly damned for his impenitence? Does the average Catholic really think that the link of Judas and the Jews is one of the most critical issues needing resolution in today's world?
Not only the Scriptures but the Liturgy speak of Judas being in hell. The point is irrefutable. The Scriptures also speak of the damnation of other specific sinners, such as Core and his followers.
Even if Judas had to spend a bazillion years in Purgatory,
Why does this always get brought up? Judas committed several mortal sins, and when given the impulse of grace to repent, instead chose to heap up his sins with fresh new ones by committing suicide. Sinners cannot be forgiven after death. Purgatory is not a place of forgiveness but of penitence and purification.
The notion of Judas in Purgatory is an implicit endorsement of the Apokatastasis.
I can't believe the Vatican would be so silly as to waste time on such a project.
The Vatican is full of modernists who trip over themselves to bow down and kiss the feet of the extreme liberal Jews at B'nai Brith and the ADL and the like. If some wing-nut non-Orthodox Jews are offended at the whole concept of traditional Catholic piety surrounding Judas and start to make a stink over it, undoubtedly there will be some pseudo-Catholics in the Vatican beating the drums for a "study" or "dialogue" to better "understand" his fate, and "apologize" for the Church "misrepresenting" Judas for all these years.
Oh, I don't know. Maybe by just being captured since he wandered about without guards in the open?
Yes, its all part of God's plan. All your sins are part of God's plan too, since He foresaw them and still allowed you to commit them. That doesn't mean God endorses you sinning.
Both Scripture and the Liturgy clearly say otherwise and say clearly that he is damned. Since these are the sources of Dogma, it is an undoubted fact that Judas is damned.
Yes, he hypothetically COULD have repented, but he actually DID NOT.
What about the bigger problem, the lack of mercy shown in Matthew 25? In scholarly circles, it has long been unfashionable to demonise Judas and Catholics in Britain are likely to welcome Judass rehabilitation.
It's much more fashionable to demonize Jesus, when they're not trying to claim He endorsed the poltitical fad of the moment.
After reading this fishing expedition for press attention, for some reason I'm reminded of that Borges story about a scholar who decides that Judas was really the messiah and was now in hell.