Author of the Month

The Judas Goat: the Substitution of Christ on the Cross (cont.)
By Tracy R. Twyman

A further interesting fact to add is that Judas’ name as given by the gospels may have in fact included the word “Canaanite.” This was an ancient tribe that, I have argued in previous articles, may have ultimately descended from Cain, but by the time of Jesus it apparently indicated a member of the fanatical Zealot movement. As Hyam Maccoby explains:

“... the theory that Iscariot means Zealot appears in third- and fourth-century Coptic versions of the Gospel of John. Here the word ‘not’ is missing in the phrase ‘not Iscariot’, but instead of Iscariot we find the word Kananites. The complete designation of Jesus’s interlocutor at this point in the Coptic versions is thus Judas the Canaanite. Now obviously neither Judas Iscariot nor any other disciple was a Canaanite, since this nation has ceased to exist many centuries before the time of Jesus. But easily confused with the name “Canaanite’ is the Hebrew word qan’ai, which means Zealot. The tendency of the Gospel writers to confuse this word with Canaanite is shown elsewhere. So what the Coptic versions alone have preserved is that Jesus’s interlocutor in John 14 was in fact Judas Iscariot (the ‘not’ being omitted), and that an alternative name for him was Judas the Canaanite, i.e., Judas the Zealot....”

Maccoby believes that Judas Iscariot is the same as “Jude, brother of James”, who is sometimes listed among the twelve apostles, and who is the supposed author of The Epistle of Jude. He further believes that this “James” is the same as “James the brother of Jesus”, and thus that Judas was in fact Jesus’ brother. And since Jesus was the King of the Jews, Maccoby writes that this would have made Judas a prince, and a candidate for leadership in the Jerusalem Church - the “church” (comprised largely of relatives of Jesus) that continued his “ministry”, especially the Zealot royalist movement associated with it, after his death. Maccoby presents evidence that Judas follow Symeon the son of Cleopas as the leader of this church:

“…what is particularly interesting, for our purposes, is that Sumeon’s successor as leader of the Jerusalem ‘Church’ was no other than ‘Judas of James’, according to Apostolic Constitutions 7:46. The common view of later commentators, such as Ephraem, was that he was Judas, the brother of Jesus, the author of the Epistle of Jude. If this is true, then Judas was actually the third ‘Bishop’ (or more correctly Vice-Regent) of the Jerusalem ‘Church’. Such an appointment is only what one would expect, given the royalist position of the group. What better candidate for leadership, pending the return of King Jesus, than his brother, Prince Judas Iscariot?”

Maccoby has further argued, although with less enthusiasm, for the idea that Judas Iscariot and Judas Thomas were one in the same. Rather than seeing this as literally and historically true, he tends to regard it as having merely a symbolic significance, although one that accords with my hypothesis:

“It might be argued that the apostle Thomas, known in East Syrian circles as Judas Thomas or Didymus Judas Thomas, is the same person as the apostle Jude, and that therefore the considerable literature, mostly legendary, about Thomas is part of the Judas-saga. Indeed, there were some ancient traditions (the Book of Thomas and the Acts of Thomas) identifying Thomas with Jude, and some modern scholars have argued in favour of these traditions and associated the authorship of the Epistle of Jude with Thomas. In particular, the legends about Thomas call him not only the brother but the twin-brother of Jesus. It seems, however, that though Thomas’s real name was indeed probably Judas, he was not, historically, a brother of Jesus. His nickname ‘Thomas’ does mean ‘twin’ in Hebrew’, but he was the twin of someone else, not Jesus, and he was known by this nickname for the specific purpose of distinguishing him from the other Judas, the apostle and brother of Jesus. In the lists of Jesus’s brothers, Judas is either the youngest or second youngest of the four, and the Gospel narratives hardly leave room for the supposition that Jesus had a twin brother. On the other hand, from a mythological standpoint, it is interesting that the legend of Jesus’s twin brother arose, and that it was associated with a disciple called Judas. In the East Syrian literature, the twin-motif appears somewhat lacking in depth, and may be a secondary development, serving a Gnostic purpose. There is substance in the suggestion... that the legend was originally influenced by a Greek myth, especially that of the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. If so, it is altogether possible that the twin-motif arose at some stage of the development of the Judas-the-Betrayer myth. For the Betrayal stories in mythology often involve a pair of twins, one of whom betrays or murders the other, for a salvific purpose. Examples are the story of Romulus and Remus, Jacob and Esau. The twin-brother relationship expresses the identity of victim and slayer, found in an even more ideal form in stories of divine self-immolation, such as the self-hanging of Odin. I would suggest, therefore, that the notion that Jesus had a twin-brother called Judas arose first in the context of the Juas-as-Betrayer myth, but was erased from this by the needs of the Mary-as-Perpetual-Virgin myth (demanding that Jesus should have no brothers at all). It lingered, however, in Gnostic circles, attaches to Judas Thomas (Judas the Twin), as a symbol of the spiritual identity of every true Gnostic with Jesus.”

Indeed, Maccoby believes that all of the Judases mentioned in the Gospels are in fact the same character. He writes:

“...I suggest the best hypothesis is that there was originally only one Judas, namely Judas Iscariot, and that when he was chosen for the mythic role of traitor, the good traditions about the historical Judas were shifted to a second Judas, who was at first assigned some of the sobriquets of the original, but was gradually differentiated from him by being given different designations.”

One of the motivations for demonizing Judas, Maccoby believes, is anti-Semitism. The early church, as well as Gnostic Christian sects, regarded the Jews as a cursed race – the murderers of Jesus. The Gnostics had a further reason to hate the Jews: they were the chosen servants of Jehovah, the Demiurge, whom they regarded as evil, and (they believed) the Jews had killed Jesus because he intended to redeem mankind from “the curse of the Law” of Jehovah. The Church, as well as most Christian sects, agreed that Jesus had to create a “New Covenant”, and to abolish, the old, Judaic covenant, including all of the Judaic laws. At the time of Jesus, the term “Jews” often referred to those occupying the area of “Judaea”, exclusively, and did not include other areas of Israel, such as Galilee and Samaria. As Jesus and most of his followers were initially, they were not thought of as “Jews”, although they may be considered so today. Thus the early Christians were able to conceptualize Jesus as being both the King of the Jews and at the same time not a Jew.

Judas, if by his name alone, embodies the archetype of the Jewish race. Thus he was cast in the role of the Betrayer. But ironically, by executing Jesus, both Judas and the Jews are enabling the sacrifice that will purportedly abolish their own covenant with Jehovah. Thus the role of both Judas and the Jews in the sacrifice of Jesus had to be obfuscated in the scriptures.

Maccoby successfully demonstrates that Judas has been identified with the Jews, and with the Jews’ murder of Jesus, throughout the history of anti-Semitism in Europe. There is certainly one obvious correlation between the portrayal of Judas Iscariot and prevailing Jewish stereotypes: Judas is shown as being predominantly occupied with financial concerns. He objects to the use of spikenard to anoint Jesus because of the cost, revealing a penny-pinching nature. In fact the sum for which he betrays Jesus is relatively small, demonstrating his pettiness. Maccoby highlights other earmarks of the Judas/Jewish stereotype:

“An additional feature of Judas in the Passion Plays was his red hair. This was not part of the general Jewish stereotype, but an identifying mark of Judas himself, which he shared with Herod... It may be that redness, as the colour of blood, was reserved for those taking the leading murderous parts - Judas for his acceptance of blood-money and his association with the Field of Blood, and Herod because of his massacre of the Innocents….
In addition to the features of the Jewish stereotype, Judas was given special characteristics of his own. Chief among these were his red hair and his yellow gown...Since [red] was also the colour of Satan’s hair in the Passion Plays and in art, the triple identification, Judas/Jews/Devil, was reinforced by his coloration. The yellow gown, on the other hand, is cognate to the yellow badge which Jews were compelled to wear, and which was a regular feature of their portrayal in art…
Indeed, the tradition of a red-haired Betrayer goes back to prehistoric times. Set, the brother, betrayer and murderer of Osiris, had red hair...”

The revelations I have had while researching the contents of this article have lead to further revelations as well. The possibilities outlined in my hypothesis require a new examination of the entire life and work of Jesus, including the roles played by such figures as John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. Indeed, the entire Jewish-Gnostic movement from which they came, as well as the various forms of Christianity that emerged after Jesus’ supposed death, must be reexamined as well. These ideas also shed new light on the subjects of the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion, the Merovingian bloodline, and the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. I have already delved deep into this research and what I have found so far is absolutely astounding. All of these things and more will be discussed fully in an upcoming book.

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