Was there a Gospel of Judas?

Judas Iscariot is typically remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus. He was one of the twelve disciples who lived with and followed Jesus for three years. He witnessed Jesus’ ministry, His teaching, and His many miracles. He was the treasurer for the group and used this trusted position to steal from their resources (John 12:6).

The existence of the Gospel of Judas codex was made public in 2004, the name Judas was a common name in that era, and there are several other Judases mentioned in the New Testament. One of the other disciples was named Judas (John 14:22), and so was one of Jesus’ own half-brothers (Mark 6:3). To differentiate, John 6:71 and John 13:26 refer to Christ’s betrayer as “Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.”

Iscariot refers to Kerioth, a region or town in Judea, it also refers to the Sicarii, a cadre of assassins among the Jewish rebels.

The association with the Sicarii allows for interesting speculation about Judas’ motives for his betrayal, but the fact that he made a conscious choice to betray Jesus (Luke 22:48) remains the same. The surname Iscariot is useful, if for no other reason, in that it leaves no doubt about which Judas is being referred to.

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