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4.0 out of 5 stars Hyam Maccoby releases Judas Iscariot from his mythological role, 12 Oct 2009
By 
G. Imroth (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil (Hardcover)
Judas Iscariot has a role in Christian mythology somewhat like Loki, the trickster god of Norse mythology, who hates the brilliant god, Baldur, for no real reason but only as the dark hates the light. Judas is also accused of simony, though thirty pieces of silver is not very much money to sell a god to the Romans. His betrayal is also explained by jealousy, because he was a Judean outsider in the midst of Galileans and because he was possessed by the devil (which surely exonerates him, though this earns him no forgiveness by Christianity).

Using his deep knowledge of the realities of Roman Judaea, contemporary Jewish religious teachings and 'tendenz criticism' of the Gospels (whereby fragments from the original texts are visible beneath Christian accretions because they contradict the pro-Roman tendency of the Gospel editors), Hyam Maccoby argues that Judas was chosen by Christian mythographers to enact the role of a 'sacred executioner' in a pagan deicide myth. (The 'sacred executioner' performs a task that saves the community, which transfers all their guilt onto him, whom they exile and treat with hatred and contempt.)

The real Judas Iscariot was probably the same man as Judas the brother of Jesus, author of the Espistle of Jude, and even possibly the same man as Judas Thomas. Of course, Judas never betrayed Jesus and did not kill himself: the stories of his death in Matthew and Acts contradict each other, though together they complete a pagan sacrifice myth, like that of Attis. Indeed, the whole Judas legend must be understood on the level of pagan mythology rather than history.

'Judas Iscariot' is a well-made argument and a worthy addition to 'Revolution in Judaea' and 'The Sacred Executioner'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read for any student of the history of Christianity, 9 Nov 2013
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Mr. Paul F. Law "DiaryShopMan" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil (Hardcover)
Maccoby's writings on the origins of Christianity have generally met with hostility from Christian scholars, because they question too many assumptions and traditions that lie at the very heart of the history of the early Christian church. While his hypotheses have been dismissed as 'unhistorical', there has been to date no serious attempt to refute them.
'Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil' is consistent with Maccoby's overall revision of early Christian history, but it is more narrowly focussed on the NT account of Judas' 'betrayal' of Christ - and of the subsequent attachment of 'guilt' to the Jewish race.
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Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil
Judas Iscariot and the Myth of Jewish Evil by Hyam Maccoby (Hardcover - 31 May 1992)
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