It's funny how Jesus asks god to forgive his crucifiers "for they know not what they're doing", and yet the church has never forgiven Judas. Surely the Judaic kiss is as pardonable a sin as any, and judas himself a pardonable sinner, even when you just take the "regular" gospels. To me, the new gospel doesn't change a thing, really; whether Judas was instructed or not, he remains a central figure and to some extent ought to be the prime example of somebody who trespasses and is forgiven.
(If Judas can not be redeemed, then Christianity as a whole looses it's existential point of salvation, redemption and forgiveness...)
There's a pleasing medieval legend that Judas is allowed out of hell once a year. I forget why.
Yes. if God witholds forgiveness from Judas on the grounds that "it's personal" then he's nothing but a whimsical, old tyrant.
That's the legend of St. Brendan, that he's allowed out of hell every year on Candlemas, to ease his torment on sea.
And yeah! word to everything you said. I am celebrating all this Gospel of Judas kerfuffle by watching Jesus Christ Superstar
, or, as Andrew Rilstone says
, the apocryphal gospel of Andrew and Timothy. (yay!)
!! PS. full text here
. It is totally weird so far: Jesus is apparently from 'the immortal realm of Barbarelo' - !!!
The full text? This I've got to see!
No kidding! Plus, Eve's real name ('in the clouds') is 'Zoe'. HILARITY ENSUES
Re Barbarelo: ... your guess is as good as mine.
Ah yes, St Brendan...
I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Well, for the record, the Church to my knowledge (it's been pointed out to me several times over the course of my religious education) has never officially declared anybody to be in hell, even Judas -- Dante of course has him getting gnawed on by Satan along with Brutus and Cassius, but Dante, wonderful as he is, is no theologian. So who knows?
I believe the notion of Hell featured quite heavily in mid-Medieval theology, actually, so Dante was certainly leaning on an established theology when he wrote La Commedia. But yes, I think even the theologians who believed there to be a Hell never actually poured out judgments about who had gone where. (Then, of course, the notion of Purgatory was invented - i can't remember when this became standard - and the church suddenly seemed to know a lot about the people there and how one might pay to get one's arse quickly out of there. Different matter entirely, of course, but worth a mention.)
Still; I study comparative literature and not theology, so i'm quite happy to accept Dante's version of the three death realms. Especially the Inferno. (Paradiso is just long-winded and boring... Yada-yada... Beatrice... Yada-yada... Virgin Mary... Yada-yada... Holy Trinity... Gimme Francesca da Rimini, Inferno canto V, any day!)
Judas is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. One of the most interesting, for the reasons noted here. I tried once to write a long poem about him, and ended up with a very flawed medium length thing. Frustrating to get a grip on.
Dramatically speaking, he's just about the most interesting character in the story. We don't know his motives and so feel compelled to supply them.
Why do you think he did it?
I have often thought that Judas simply wanted to force Jesus' hand. He thought that by backing Jesus into a corner, he would force him to show his power, to make a political or overtly supernatural move, to kick ass, and then they would Get Things Done. The poor guy had no idea that he was playing into Jesus' plan to Get Things Done by a very different method. He was smart, and loyal--he just didn't understand.
2006-04-08 09:24 am (UTC)
Re: Jumping in...
The canonical Gospels imply that Jesus knewwhat was going on.
The explanation that Judas was just money-mad doesn't really hold water. Why would Jesus have chosen someone like that?
2006-04-11 10:42 am (UTC)
Why did he do it?
I'm tempted to see Judas as the most humane of the disciples, really, so I like to think he did it because he was human and, by consequence, flawed by human weakness. Jesus, too, was human - that was the point of him being on earth, no? - and by saying so, one would assume that he also had certain human weaknesses, and it's easy to imagine how such a goody-two-shoes could seem, perhaps, slightly proud and self-centred. It was always me-me-me with Jesus. Who wouldn't be annoyed with him and somehow wish to take him down a peg? (Or up a peg, as it might be on a cross...)
I somehow see it as two of the seven sins, pride and envy, coupled up in a grand narrative.
Also, I firmly believe that most saints must've been rather annoying in many ways. Imagine being the sibling of Joan of Arch: "I was chosen by God to save France" "-There goes Joan with her rampant megalomania again... Won't somebody slap her?"
Actually, the Judas question was one of the many things that made me slowly lose faith in Christianity. The normal construction of the story and the eternal fate of Judas seems to imply the instrumentality of evil to God and therefore, the end of omnibenevolence.
Orthodox theology is held together by string and sticky-tape.
2006-04-08 08:40 am (UTC)
This is why i never understood the demonisation of the Jews, after all were they not fulfilling destiny?
And surely Judas is God's business not man's.
Fulfilling destiny- as were Pilate, Herod and all the rest.
I played Herod in a passion play once. It was huge fun.
I would have so enjoyed watching you play Herod!
I was very, very over the top.
I was very, very over the top.
:) I knew it! Wonderful!
If I'm not mistaken, the 1970s TV mini-series, Jesus of Nazareth, portrayed Judas as a sympathetic character who was (on his on, without Jesus's instruction) determined to give Jesus a place in history.
That aside, I wonder what Jesus's motivation might have been, to have Judas betray him on purpose? Was he wanting to fulfill the prophecy? Interesting--people are so shocked at the revelation that I haven't yet heard any sensible discussion about motives.
And I also understand that there is no mention of Jesus's resurrection in the G of Judas.
Films about the Life of Christ always have problems animating the central character. What is it that drives him? What does it feel like to be the Son of God? As soon as you start attributing recognisable human motives to him people stand up and shout "blasphemy!"
My favourite passion play is Son Of Man, a 1960s TV dramatization by Dennis Potter- which characterizes Jesus as a working class rebel.
No resurrection in the G of J? From what little I've read I suspect the writers of the book may have seen the Incarnation as a charade. Jesus was a Divine Personage pretending to be human. There's no resurrection because the mortal body of Jesus was a disguise he was only too happy to cast aside.
No resurrection in the G of J? From what little I've read I suspect the writers of the book may have seen the Incarnation as a charade.
Where were you able to read about the G of Judas? I would like to read it, too. I can't get the National Geographic Channel on my cable--it's for the highest-paying customers.