Friday, 18 March 2016
The media have pretty much done the "Jesus-was-married-to-Mary-Magdalene!" theme to death, so a new angle was about due. This time it's "Judas-not-as-black-as-he's-been-painted!"
You see, for the last 2000 years, the Church has unfairly castigated Judas for betraying Jesus. It seems that he didn't do it for the money - he betrayed Jesus because he wanted to force him to take power and overthrow the Romans.
That makes it so much better, doesn't it?
The Telegraph report claims that "prominent clerics" think Judas' role should be reappraised. However, the only clerics actually quoted are the Anglican Bishop of Leeds (of whom I'd never heard) and the Anglican vicar whose prominence is entirely due to the fact that she was videoed cavorting around her church during a wedding ceremony "disco flash mob", footage of which went viral on YouTube. Of course, these days that's more than enough to get you a slot on TV.
Anyway, the Bishop of Leeds seems to think that Judas' motives have been misrepresented. Now it's true that they are not mentioned in the Gospels. However, the Evangelists left out rather a lot of stuff which was considered unnecessary for our salvation. Presumably Judas' motives were not considered pertinent. The fact that Judas gave in to despair and killed himself was recorded, and so that, presumably was the important point.
I was rather taken aback by the Rev. Kate Bottley's interview with the Telegraph as a plug for her program. "I don’t think any of the other disciples were whiter than white – we just probably didn’t hear about it" was one snippet.
Ahem. Now, I'm no Scripture scholar, but actually we did hear about it. We hear how Matthew was a tax collector (not an honourable position!) We heard about Peter's misunderstanding of Jesus' mission - a misunderstanding that drew pretty harsh condemnation from Jesus himself ("Get thee behind me, Satan!") and, of course, we hear plenty about Peter's threefold denial. We heard that James and John got their mother to try and wangle positions of power for them in Jesus' kingdom. The Scriptures record quite clearly how the Apostles fled after Jesus was arrested, and how, after the Crucifixion, they hid in the Upper Room in Jerusalem.
Another quote from the Rev. Bottley also confused me: "Up until that moment of betrayal, Judas seems no better or worse than any of the other disciples... But he has been defined by the worst thing he did."
Ummm... but what about the bit which pointed out that Judas objected to the wasting of precious ointment on Jesus' feet because he had charge of the money and was helping himself to it?
Just reading about the programme was irritating. Fortunately I will have better things to do on Good Friday than watch this sort of drivel...