Thursday, April 06, 2006

Well this throws a spanner in the works, don't it?

Recently a new gospel was translated (I'm not so religious myself, my family couldn't hack the rigorous demands of Unitarianism, after all, but still) the long awaited Gospel of Judas. Apparently it was cited in a work by Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons in 180, so people had been looking out for it. (sidebar: I thought reviewing modern citations for my term paper sucked, imagine trying to find references from 1815 years ago! think that's covered by Google Scholar?)

The Times has a nice review today. And it's something I thought about for a while, as a kid, when, in order to fit in to the cub scout troop, I got sent to Sunday School for a few months. Basically, Judas, and by extension, Jews, have been reviled by 'good Christians' for a couple of millenia because "Jews killed Jesus" (ok, fine, there were a lot of other bad reasons having to do with money lending, the need for scapegoats and the like, but this is the front that was put up for the masses) and this doesn't make any sense to me. Sure, the killing of Jesus was a bad thing (if you buy it, that is) but honestly, without the betrayal and execution (and subsequent rising) of Jesus, doesn't the whole Christian Faith as commonly practiced simply fall to pieces? That guy standing at the Superbowl with the John 3:16 sign should be thanking Judas, not berating him. Judas, alone among the Disciples, put the needs of the faith, and of his God, first, without the betrayal, there is no crucifixtion, no Easter. Jesus becomes a prophet, and the early Christians remain Jews. Instead of going out to buy my Easter Lamb this weekend, I'd be out looking for Gefilte Fish. (hey, just cause I'm not religious doesn't mean I don't take advantage of an excuse to eat lamb and mint jelly)

So who is the person most responsible for the Christian Myths, the entire backbone of the religion? Judas Iscariot. And what does he get for it? two millenia of revulsion. Gee, Thanks, God! You let Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John get all the props, heck, kids are still being named after them, but Judas? the guy who did the heavy lifting? two thousand years of persecution of a religion that happens to share his name. What if his name was Christopher, would that justify 2000 years of going apeshit on Christians?

gosh, I hate it when the facts seem to get in the way of a good group hate.

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