The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle

Book - 2015
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Independent Publishing Group

The most famous traitor in all of history—who was he really, and what does he mean for us today?

In this fascinating historical and cultural biography, writer and broadcaster Peter Stanford deconstructs that most vilified of Bible characters: Judas Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Beginning with the gospel accounts, Peter explores two thousand years of cultural and theological history to investigate how the very name Judas came to be synonymous with betrayal and, ultimately, human evil. But as Peter points out, there has long been a counter-current of thought that suggests that Judas might in fact have been victim of a terrible injustice: central to Jesus' mission was his death and resurrection, and for there to have been a death, there had to be a betrayal. This thankless role fell to Judas; should we in fact be grateful to him for his role in the divine drama of salvation? "You'll have to decide," as Bob Dylan sang in the sixties, "Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side." An essential but doomed character in the Passion narrative, and thus the entire story of Christianity, Judas and the betrayal he symbolizes continue to play out in much larger cultural histories, speaking as he does to our deepest fears about friendship, betrayal, and the problem of evil. Judas: the ultimate traitor, or the ultimate scapegoat? This is a compelling portrait of Christianity's most troubling and mysterious character.

Publisher: London : Hodder & Stoughton, c2015
ISBN: 9781444754728
Branch Call Number: 226.092 STA
Characteristics: 311 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.


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Aug 31, 2016

Fascinating! This history of Judas and the perception of Judas through the ages was completely fascinating.
The author starts by looking at the Gospels, both those in the bible and the Gnostic ones, that mention Judas. He compares/contrasts what is written. Judas is, surprisingly, very vaguely mentioned and what is mentioned is at times contradictory or out of sync with the circumstances. Who was Judas? What were his motives? Did he exist? It adds up to an interesting story.
Then the idea and perception of Judas is followed through the ages through artwork, written word and social concepts. He's the betrayer, the traitor, the most evil of all men ever. Whatever his is, he's certainly the symbol of all evil and blame goes to him almost always.
But has mankind seen Judas as the man he was or have we burdened him with an image he doesn't deserve? How much harm has that image caused us, in terms of perceptions, over the years?
This book laid out the facts known, follows Judas and us through the ages focussing on artwork (which was used to scare the illiterate masses away from evil), written words (poetry, Dante, etc) and how our questions towards Judas keep re-emerging and begging to be asked and explored. Have we misinterpreted the story & concept of the man?
In total a really interesting, readable book.

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