Without Judas, History Might Have Hijacked Another VillainBreaking News
But in the publication last week of what is described as an ancient text called the Gospel of Judas, Judas is portrayed not as the treacherous apostle but rather as a hero of the Easter story who helps fulfill salvation history by betraying his beloved Jesus at the messiah's own bidding.
A feast for theological debate, surely, but after centuries of Christian rancor and persecution directed at Jews, much of it magnified through the lens of a caricatured Judas, a question of history arises, too. Would the terrible legacy of anti-Semitism have been different had a text like the Gospel of Judas been in the Christian canon from the start? If, in effect, the "bad Judas" were not in the picture?
Jewish and Christian scholars agree that the dynamic of early Christianity — a Jewish sect that failed to win over its own people — almost guaranteed a divorce with all the bitterness of a family feud. At first, Jewish authorities had the upper hand. But very quickly, as the Romans waged war against the Jews and as Christianity drew huge numbers of converts from the Gentile world, the tables turned, and Christians became the dominant camp. Even as a powerful force, however, Christian believers often adopted the victim's posture and took every opportunity to batter the increasingly beleaguered Jews.
In this campaign, Judas Iscariot became the perfect foil.
comments powered by Disqus
- Snopes debunks slavery Internet meme
- Revamped Chinese History Journal Welcomes Hard-Line Writers
- Poll: 3 Out of 5 Texan Trump Supporters Want Secession if Hillary Clinton Is Elected
- The Psychiatric Question: Is It Fair to Analyze Donald Trump From Afar?
- Minorities still feel Eugene, Oregon’s historical link to the Ku Klux Klan
- Ernst Nolte, Historian Whose Views on Hitler Caused an Uproar, Dies at 93
- Japan should give formal apology for wartime aggression, says historian
- Historian Benjamin Madley says what whites did to Indians in the 19th century in California was genocide.
- Kevin Baker says America needs to bring back political machines
- Covell Meyskens uses his blog to show what life was like under Mao. (Interview)