Nathan (vovat) wrote,

Iscariot, Is Not Cariot

When you think about it, the role of Judas Iscariot in the Bible doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First of all, he follows Jesus around for about a year before ratting him out. Wouldn't there have been other opportunities before that? And why would he need to identify Jesus by kissing him? If the authorities were after him, wouldn't they know what he looked like? And John claims that Judas was the treasurer for the Apostles, so if he had only been interested in money, couldn't he have absconded with that money (not that I would imagine a group of ascetics would have all that much cash on hand)? I've even seen it suggested that the story of Judas' betrayal was simply a bit of after-the-fact anti-semitism, making the guy with the most blatantly Jewish name a villain. Even if that's the case, though, I don't think it means Jesus didn't have a disciple named Judas. In fact, according to some lists, he actually had two, and the Gospel of John sometimes refers to the other one as "not Iscariot." But what does "Iscariot" mean, anyway? The most common interpretation is that it means he came from a place called Kerios, but it's also been suggested that it means he was a member of the sicarii, a group that favored violent overthrow of the Romans (as Simon bar Kochba would later attempt). Regardless, I kind of like the idea that Judas was trying to goad Jesus into action by betraying him, which I first saw mentioned in Asimov's Guide to the Bible. The recently discovered Gnostic Gospel of Judas presents the betrayal as something Judas was told to do by Jesus himself, in order to fulfill his mission. If this is the case, I hardly think Dante's presenting him as one of the three worst sinners in history is reasonable, but we ARE talking about a guy who put his own political enemies in his version of Hell.
Tags: bible, religion

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