Here is an interesting question from my Readers’ Mailbag connected to the tradition that Judas Iscariot killed himself soon after Jesus’ death, leaving only eleven disciples. Did Paul know about this tradition? Why does he seem to think there were still twelve disciples after the resurrection?
What do you think about Paul saying that Jesus appeared to the “twelve” (Apostles) after his resurrection? (1 Cor. 15:5) I find this to be a big mistake; given the multiple gospel stories about Judas’s betrayal and subsequent suicide. Wouldn’t Paul have known that there were only eleven Apostles at that time?
Ah, an interesting question, and answering it involves a number of rather unexpected complexities. The basic question: does Paul know that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and afterward committed suicide?
The first issue to address: who among the authors of the New Testament does know about the suicide of Judas? Here’s an interesting point. It is not “multiple” authors. There is, in fact, only one: the author of Matthew (see 27:5). Judas’s death is not mentioned in Mark, Luke, or John.
In only one other New Testament book is there any reference to Judas’s death: Acts 1:18-19. But this passage doesn’t say anything about …
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