Let’s continue down the rabbit trail on Judas. Last week we speculated about whether Judas was a real person, or whether the author of Mark invented him as a purely symbolic character in the first Christian public relations campaign with the Romans. Alternatively, the attached ‘Iscariot’ descriptor (they did not have last names back then) could indicate that Judas was a rebel trying to get Jesus to join the guerilla movement. One of our readers even noted the rebellion parallels to the character of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Let’s look at some other interesting things about Judas.
- What does Paul have to say about Judas? The short answer is nothing. Yep, nowhere in any of Paul’s letters is there a mention of Judas or the betrayal after the last supper. To make matters more interesting, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul starts listing all the people Jesus appeared to after his resurrection: first to Cephas, then to the twelve, then to the 500 …..
- Wait a minute. Didn’t Judas die soon after the betrayal? If that was the case why would Paul write about 12 disciples in the post resurrection appearances? In the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus appeared to eleven disciples. And even though Paul did not have access to the gospels (they had not been written yet), we know from Galatians 1 that Paul spent time with Peter about three years after Jesus’ death. You woulda thought something like that would have come up while they were partaking of some good Middle Eastern wine and discussing the need for circumcision to become a Christian.
- Two different versions of Judas’ death. First, there is nothing about Judas’ death mentioned in Mark, Luke, or John. In Matthew he hangs himself. And in Acts there’s a strange description of Judas falling down in a field and his intestines falling out. So there’s that.