The Name Judas Iscariot: What Does It Mean?

Several members of the blog have commented on my posts about the death of Judas by asking about his name itself.  Most interesting, what does “Iscariot” mean?  I deal briefly with the topic in my book on Judas, a book in which I deal at length with the newly discovered Gospel of Judas, but then go on to say what I think we can actually know historically about the man himself, and his one most famous nefarious act, the betrayal ...

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Two Rather Bizarre Accounts of How Judas Died

In my experience, most people don’t realize that there are two different accounts of Judas’s death in the New Testament, let alone that these two are very difficult indeed to reconcile with one another.  Virtually impossible, I would say.  But even more people don’t know that there are accounts of Judas’s death from *outside* the New Testament in other sources.  One of these two almost *nobody* knows about, except for a few specialist scholars.

The first account comes to us from ...

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Can We Know Anything Historically About How Judas Iscariot Died?

In this post I continue with the New Testament accounts of the death of Judas Iscariot.  In my previous post I talked about the first account, found in Matthew. Now I look at the second (and only other) one, found in the early part of the book of Acts, written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke.   This post comes in two parts, both taken from my book The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot.   In the first part ...

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The Death of Judas in Matthew

My recent post on Judas Iscariot has raised a number of questions among readers of the blog.  Here is one of them, about Judas’s death.

 

QUESTION:

Do you have any sense of how Judas met his end after the betrayal? Matthew’s version seems at least somewhat plausible, but Act’s doesn’t.  Or maybe he just took the money and moved elsewhere.

 

RESPONSE

              This is an interesting question for a number of reasons.  For one thing, the only writers who thought that Judas’s demise was ...

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Why Did Judas Iscariot Betray Jesus?

In this edition of the Readers’ Mailbag I address an interesting and perplexing question about Judas Iscariot:

 

QUESTION

You may have mentioned this (I cannot recall) but why did Judas go to the authorities in the first place?

 

RESPONSE

              I wrestled with this question long and hard while writing my book The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot, which includes a section on what we can know about the historical Judas.  In the book I argue that there are some things that ...

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Do We Know Why Jesus Went to Jerusalem?

Browsing through my blog posts I came across this one from exactly six years ago today.  Amazingly, I still agree with it!  It deals with an unusually important question, one that, in a sense, involves a decision that changed the entire history of our world.

 

QUESTION

Just what did the historical Jesus think he was doing that last week in Jerusalem? It looks to me like he was working as hard as he could to get himself killed. If that’s what he ...

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Seeing Capernaum and the “Jesus Boat”: A Blast From the Past

I will be going to Israel with a tour group in October, and browsing through the blog I see that I made a number of posts from Israel last time I was there.  Here’s an interesting one from five years ago today about the town of Capernaum and an intriguing archaeological discovery made there in relatively recent times.

 

***************************************************************************************

 

I am typing just now on the third floor of the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, in a room with a glorious ...

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Degrees of Punishment and Purgatory

Christians have always had a wide variety of beliefs about the afterlife, and just about everyone (who chooses) is able to find biblical support for their views.  The Bible itself has an enormous range of views.

Among other things, there have always been Christians who have thought that there must be varying levels of punishment for sinners in the afterlife.   The guy on the street who does his best but is not always a very good father surely doesn’t get punished ...

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Who Invented the Idea of a Suffering Messiah?

For this week’s readers’ mailbag I give a very interesting and important question.

 

QUESTION:

Where did the idea of a Jewish messiah dying for the sins of mankind originate from? OT? Did Jews prior to Jesus’ existence believe this notion of the messiah dying for other’s sins?

 

RESPONSE:

I deal with this issue in a couple of my books.  Here is one of my fuller discussion from Did Jesus Exist?, where I talk about the issue in connection with the question of why Paul ...

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The Unforgivable Sin and Purgatory

In my previous post I discussed one of the passages of the New Testament that has traditionally been used to support the idea of Purgatory, the place that most of the “saved” go after death to be purged of their sins (Matt 5:26  “you won’t get out of there until you have paid the last penny”).  In my judgment this passage is not talking about what happens in the afterlife, even though it has been read that way.   With another ...

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