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Rabbi Yehuda Versus Judas Iscariot: The Gospel Of Judas And Apocryphal Passion Stories

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Chapter Summary

The most sympathetic picture of Judas - named here Rabbi Yehuda ʽish Bartōtā - is found in the medieval Jewish pamphlets known as the Toledoth Yeshu, or "Stories about Jesus". This chapter devotes some space to the figure of Judas Iscariot in the often overlooked Hebrew and Aramaic Toledoth Yeshu and in the little known Ethiopic Book of the Cock and Coptic Book of the Resurrection of Jesus-Christ by Bartholomew the Apostle. It shows how several traditions preserved in these relatively late "apocryphal" texts are, in fact, much earlier and may even have some interesting connections with the Gospel of Judas. It then suggests some possibilities about the role of the Sethian (or "Sethianized") Judas on the basis of the analogy offered by the presence of other New Testament characters in Gnostic literature and the opportunities that an "association" with the Demiurge would eventually offer to them.

Keywords: apocryphal; Gnostic literature; Gospel of Judas; Judas Iscariot; Rabbi Yehuda; Sethian; Toledoth Yeshu



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