Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Kiss of Judas and the Shape Shifting Jesus

Photo of the recently translated Codex
Ever wonder why Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss? Well you are not alone. In fact, many others through the ages have asked that same question. And one of the answers offered in a Coptic work by an author identified as Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem is that Jesus kept changing shape and color. Here is the story.

"Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him (Jesus), for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man ..." This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him. If Judas had given the arresters a description of Jesus he could have changed shape. By kissing Jesus, Judas tells the people exactly who he is. 

The story comes from a recent translation of the 1,200 year old work of Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem. The work was translated by Roelof van den Broek of Utrecht University in the Netherlands. The Judas story is one of several expansions that appear in the Coptic work. Others include Pilate serving Jesus dinner and offering to substitute his own son in place of Jesus. These stories are not new. Through the ages some Christian authors sought ways to redeem Pilate and the Romans and cast blame on the Jews for the crucifixion. The work of Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem contains some of the more elaborate expansions

To read a review of the new translation and some of the expansions go to science page on NBCNEWS

1 comment:

  1. It gives new meaning to Paul's admonition about being "all things to all people."