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.
What are you talking about in the reference to Purgatory? You misinterpret what I said. The reference was hypothetical and put there for contrast to what should have been the obvious slant of my post. I have little doubt that Judas is in Hell. Mainly, this is based on the words of Christ in Matthew 26, but there are other reasons, as you alluded to yourself.
And I do believe that I am entirely on-board with regard to the nature and purpose of Purgatory... To the extent that there is a hypothetical possibility that Judas went there, it would be because of repentance *before* his death, not "forgiveness" after. I don't think that was even implied.
I agree with you. The role of Judas in Jesus' crucification has been misunderstood for centuries.
Judas? No way. Judas was just a tool. It was Rove who did it.
Little 't' tradition. That must be one extremely obscure tradition.
I think I'll rely on the Judge of the living and the dead in this matter. This kind of stuff is his business, not ours.
All we can do is speculate. It seems sort of pointless.
In Orthodoxy, Wednesdays are fast days and are the days upon which we meditate on Judas' betrayal of Christ. I doubt sincerely if this will play well in the East if this silly idea ever gets off the ground. You guys really do need to muzzle some of these characters.
There are 2 billion+ catholics. Are you up to the challenge? :-)
Really? I thought it was around 1.1 billion.
She included the Church triumphant.
I agree with you,..not to be confused with condoning the behavior of Judas. For the Church Age believer, once regenerated in the spirit with a spirit life, we have assurance of everlasting life. An intersting question though is for those who lived and died immediately before Christ, or before Pentecost, if they had faith, then they still had to have a relationship with God through the priesthood. So Judas' death by suicide may have been treated differently than post-Pentecost believers.
The point is Why was it Judas? and Why take money? The Jews wanted to test Jesus belief and pressed the issue
of Jesus death to hasten it. My simple point of view as
I understand it and my belief that Judas sinned by taking money for his deed. Even though we are forgiven doesn't mean we will go to heaven, or sorry if I am mistaken. It is
also my simple belief that only 10,000 or such will go to
The Times botched the story:
"Mea culpa - Why it is important to directly read mistranslated texts/ The wrong Judas article in The Times"
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Why didn't Jesus try to stop Judas from betraying Him? It would seem Jesus should try to dissuade someone from doing evil if indeed Jesus truly didn't want Judas to tell His location.
Did Judas really betray anyone? Jesus wasn't exactly hiding from the authorities, was He? So he told the Sanhedrin where to look, big deal. He never told any lies or untruths about Jesus.
Last time I checked, Jesus was killed by crucifixion, nails applied courtesy of the Roman Army.
This simple fact seems to escape a lot of people. I think the Roman authorities had a lot of influence in which Gospels were accepted and which ones were rejected. By rejecting the Gospel of Judas, the Romans were convenitently able to deflect blame from themselves and onto Judas and the Jews who supposedly demanded Barrabbas be freed, not Jesus. The new view of Judas has the ring of truth to it and makes a lot more sense.
- 1 Corinthians 15:16-22
Whether Jesus asked Judas to betray him or not isn't really relevant. The betrayal had to happen for the Lord's plan to move forward. Before Christ, physical death was final. There was no coming back. His Resurrection changed all that. His Atonement for our sins overcame spiritual death. We could return to live with our Heavenly Father. So, does this knowledge make Judas a hero or a villain? If we are focused on the meaning and importance of the Atonement and the Resurrection, it just doesn't matter.
I blame Constantine.
God never interferes with man's free will. As it was with satan, Judas attempted to force Jesus's hand to interfere in just such a way. Judas knew who Jesus was afterall.
" It would seem Jesus should try to dissuade someone from doing evil if indeed Jesus truly didn't want Judas to tell His location.
...Jesus wasn't exactly hiding from the authorities, was He? So he told the Sanhedrin where to look, big deal. He never told any lies or untruths about Jesus."
Having known who Jesus was, knowing the commandments and having heard Jesus explain these things, Judas made up his own mind to attempt to force Jesus's hand. This decision was an attempt to force the hand of Jesus against His Father's wishes-against the Holy Spirit.
Those attempting to kill Jesus needed a clandestine op and trial hidden from the people. The success of the murder conspiracy depended on the confusion and fear created with stealthy and speedy action. Pulling Jesus from a public appearance, surrounded by those lifted in spirit by His words wouldn't have gone down well. Remember in all this, that they would have no power over Him, unless allowed from above.
"Did Judas really betray anyone?"
With a kiss.
It's relevant to who God is and what He, the Holy Spirit stands for. Conspiring to commit suicide and carrying out a fraudulent scheme is not something the Holy spirit engages in.
"The betrayal had to happen for the Lord's plan to move forward. Before Christ, physical death was final."
The Lord's plan was to dwell amoung us and teach. His plan did not include being killed at the hands of the wicked. That was the plan of the wicked. God's plan was to dwell amoung us and demonstrate His Love in the face of the wicked.
"His Atonement for our sins overcame spiritual death."
His Atonement was contained in His forgiveness of the faults present in, the evils some had committed and He did this in the face of the wicked. The forgiveness was given regardless of the campaigns of the wicked. This passage from the OT covers God's day of vengeance, the redemption of His people and the praise and prayer of those redeemed. This happened on Good Friday. His own arm worked salvation for Him; as there was no one there to help. He became their Savior.
Who is this coming from Edom,
from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor,
striding forward in the greatness of his strength?
"It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save."
Why are your garments red,
like those of one treading the winepress?
"I have trodden the winepress alone;
from the nations no one was with me.
I trampled them in my anger
and trod them down in my wrath;
their blood spattered my garments,
and I stained all my clothing.
For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and the year of my redemption has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm worked salvation for me,
and my own wrath sustained me.
I trampled the nations in my anger;
in my wrath I made them drunk
and poured their blood on the ground."
I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the LORD has done for us
yes, the many good things he has done
for the house of Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
He said, "Surely they are my people,
sons who will not be false to me";
and so he became their Savior.
In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
Yet they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them.
Then his people recalled [a] the days of old,
the days of Moses and his people
where is he who brought them through the sea,
with the shepherd of his flock?
Where is he who set
his Holy Spirit among them,
who sent his glorious arm of power
to be at Moses' right hand,
who divided the waters before them,
to gain for himself everlasting renown,
who led them through the depths?
Like a horse in open country,
they did not stumble;
like cattle that go down to the plain,
they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD.
This is how you guided your people
to make for yourself a glorious name.
Look down from heaven and see
from your lofty throne, holy and glorious.
Where are your zeal and your might?
Your tenderness and compassion are withheld from us.
But you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us
or Israel acknowledge us;
you, O LORD, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name.
Why, O LORD, do you make us wander from your ways
and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?
Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes that are your inheritance.
For a little while your people possessed your holy place,
but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.
We are yours from of old;
but you have not ruled over them,
they have not been called by your name.
"Why didn't Jesus try to stop Judas from betraying Him?"
God never interferes with man's free will. As it was with satan, Judas attempted to force Jesus's hand to interfere in just such a way. Judas knew who Jesus was afterall.
I disagree. Didn't Jesus tell Mary the Prostitute to sin no more? Jesus frequently interceded and actively worked against sin. He didn't tell the Prostitute, well, just use your own free will.
I'm sure next year during Holy Week we'll be treated to a sequel in which Pontius Pilate was really a closet follower of Jesus and sneaked Jesus out the back door and crucified someone else in His place. I am sick of the Jesus-haters coming out of the woodwork at this time every year, aided by their buddies in the msm, of course.
Jesus taught Judas also. Judas rejected His teaching in preference for his own values. It's not like Judas was a moron and had to be taught that betrayal is wrong, what Jesus taught was right, the plots against Him were evil, and he would be a part of their evil.
Also, Mary Magdalene wasn't a prostitute. Whatever Mary did, she did by her own free will. If some prostitute repents, they do so by their own free will, for the reasons they value.
"Jesus frequently interceded and actively worked against sin. "
He taught. He never interfered.
Here's Jesus in action in John 8. He went to teach and then made requests. Let those of you w/o sin toss the first stone. Go, sin no more.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
It can't be said that Judas was oblivious to all that Jesus had said and done. Judas acted on his own.
The truth is that Peter denied Jesus three times, to save his own skin. Peter is now considered a Saint for that treachery.
Judas merely told the Sanhedrin where Jesus was camping out. Jesus wasn't even hiding from the Romans or Temple Elders, was He?
Maybe the reason he didn't try to stop Judas from telling his whereabouts is because he had told Judas to do so. If there is forgiveness for Peter, shouldn't Judas be forgiven as well?
According to the Gospel of Judas, Jesus had the highest respect for Judas, that is why he entrusted him with the money and the secrets of the Kingdom.
Now someone betrayed Ann Frank when she was in hiding in Amsterdam during the Holocaust. As a result her entire family was sent to the concentration camps for execution.
But I didn't get the sense that Jesus was in hiding. He wanted a confrontation with the powers that be (especiallly the Temple Priests). If he wanted to avoid the confrontation He could have left the Holy City, which He did not do.
Anne wasn't God out on a mission to teach.
"I didn't get the sense that Jesus was in hiding."
Obviously He wasn't hiding. He was just impossible to find for a clandestine snatch and grab. Judas wanted to push the matter, that's why he betrayed Jesus.
"He wanted a confrontation with the powers that be (especiallly the Temple Priests). ..."Maybe the reason he didn't try to stop Judas from telling his whereabouts is because he had told Judas to do so."
Then He would have confronted them on His own. God doesn't decieve.
"If he wanted to avoid the confrontation He could have left the Holy City"
He was here to teach, not to confront.
"The truth is that Peter denied Jesus three times, to save his own skin. Peter is now considered a Saint for that treachery."
Peter acted out of fright. His was not an act of treachery, but one of self preservaiton out of paralyzing fear. There was no change in his heart about his Lord and the Holy Spirit. what was in his heart, that never changed, was why he is called a saint. No act of treachery counts towards sainthood.
Judas's act was an act of treachery. He turned over God's firstborn, His right hand, to be tortured and killed after the Passover meal. That was done in attempt to force God's hand against His will. Judas rejected the Holy Spirit. A living Spirit, that he had know and dwelt with.
" If there is forgiveness for Peter, shouldn't Judas be forgiven as well?"
"Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."
"The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."