Friday, April 07, 2006

"Go. Do What It Is That You Have To Do..."


Far form being a devout Catholic, or devout anything for that matter other than a lover of Rock & Roll music, I am absolutely fascinated by religion. I think I even had my folks worried when I studied it with such zeal while in college. I know I must have bored them to death more than once at the dinner table with my musings on the Bhagavad-Gita, or whatever it was that we were reviewing that week. When I read this weeks big news about the discovery of the 1700 year old transcripts of the gospel of Judas Iscariot, well I was as excited as hearing that Keith Richards was coming to dinner (okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but as Jackson would say, it’s my blog).

While I’ve not been able to review all of what these texts contain just yet, it would appear that the major excitement surrounds the relationship Judas enjoyed with Jesus as a favored apostle, and the shocking revelation that Jesus may have instructed Judas to betray him.

Now, I am no student of the Catechism and maybe my father who will be inducted into the Knights Of Columbus this weekend can better explain it all to me while we play eighteen on Sunday, but two things came to mind right away after I read this story.

First, this is NOT the first time I have be exposed to this characterization of Judas. In Martin Scorcsese’s Last Temptation of Christ, this is exactly how Judas was portrayed. He was lion hearted, if not more than a little skeptical even cautioning Jesus, “I will be your most fateful follower, but if you step out of line I’ll kill you…”. Judas is true to his word as is Jesus of course, and their relationship blossoms. They become very close, closer than any of the others. In the film as well as in the book the film is based on I imagine, Jesus relies on Judas as his trusty lieutenant. It is Judas that demands they wait for Jesus when he goes out to the desert. He is the voice of authority when the other apostles are freaking out. It breaks Judas’s heart to have to betray his friend and master. As one who places a high value on loyalty and friendship almost to a fault, this is the films most emotional scene for me.

Second, this version of Judas is one that makes the most sense to me from a Christian perspective. If all things were prophesized, a manifest destiny if you will, then why wouldn’t Jesus ask one of his apostles, his most loyal and trusted apostle, to do the deed? I really have no idea why the Catholic church, or any other Christian leadership would take issue with this gospel. It changes dogma and doctrine so little in my lapsed
Catholic point of view. And that’s my beef with most Christian belief. So hung up on the specifics that the message gets lost. The message is more important people.

Jesus lived in the most politically charged times the world has ever experienced (well, until now that is). I find it fascinating to read and learn more about Jesus within the framework of the places and time he walked the earth. I will continue to devour as much as I can about the historical Jesus and bore my old man with it until he either quits inviting me to golf with him, or I am able to distract him enough with heretical chat that I’m able to beat him again.

7 Comments:

At 3:16 PM, April 10, 2006, Blogger Dave Cavalier said...

Just think of all the re-writes to "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and "Godspell" this would cause.

 
At 3:19 PM, April 10, 2006, Blogger Dave Cavalier said...

BTW, I'll golf with you and listen to talk about the historical Jesus any time.

 
At 5:15 PM, April 10, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

Actually, JCS has a more sympathic Judas then the mainstream. While the protrayal is still colored as him being pissed off about not being in the know, he does attempt to convince Jesus he's worth more alive than dead and is a reluctant betrayer. He struggles with the manifest destiny part of the prophacy playing out.

Like eating food and learning about Cuba, playing golf and talking heretically Jesus just sounds like a great deal of fun doesn't it?

 
At 4:16 PM, April 11, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

Yep, my reaction was much the same.

"Duh."

MY question is; who is surprised by this?

 
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