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Judas: Betrayer or Friend of Jesus [Paperback]

By William Klassen (Author)
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Item description for Judas: Betrayer or Friend of Jesus by William Klassen...

This fascinating books sifts the evidence and startlingly concludes that in the earliest sources Judas was not a traitor. While the name Judas Iscariot evokes horror among many people, Klassen argues persuasively that Judas may have meant no harm in handing over Jesus to the religious authorities. The book traces the ways in which Judas is portrayed by the four writers of the gospels, showing how the picture was increasingly demonized as the later gospels were written. This is the most important study in English of Judas within the context of first-century Judaism. Klassen shows by rich reference to literature of both the ancient period and later times how the concept of Judas as traitor emerged

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Fortress Press
Pages   254
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.87 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2004
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800637348  
ISBN13  9780800637347  

Availability  87 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 17, 2017 07:41.
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More About William Klassen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William Klassen is adjunct professor and Principal Emeritus at St. Paul's College, University of Waterloo, Ontario. He has been professor of New Testament and Peace Studies at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, the University of Manitoba, Simon Fraser University, the University of Toronto, and the Ecole Biblique, Jerusalem.

William Klassen has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Classics of the Radical Reformation

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Judas: Betrayer or Friend of Jesus?

Excellent piece of scholarship.  Nov 27, 2001
This book is an extremely interesting portrait of Judas which should be overlooked. Klassen is an excellent scholar, whatever one may think of his conclusions. The book discusses the perspectives on Judas throughout history, from the period of the Gospels onward, including the demonization of Judas as typifying the early conflict within Judaism between the Jews and Gentiles who believed in Jesus and those who did not. Then Klassen discusses how Jesus predicted his 'betrayal', and willingly gave himself over. Whilst one could claim he was like the lamb being led to the slaughter, putting up no fight whatsoever, and allowing oneself to be arrested obviously means one is not averse to the idea. Thus, Klassen concludes, also based on other evidence, that Judas and Jesus had planned to get Jesus arrested in order to have an encounter with high priests.
The passage in Acts where Luke states Judas' entrails fall out is chapter 1, verse 18, not chapter 2. Furthermore, Klassen mentions his own opinion regarding the bias of the NT writers, and then goes on to mention the views of others. He is not contradicting himself, but merely exploring various viewpoints. Nowhere does he mention that he agerees with them all. Whilst Klassen's theory would, like any other theory regarding Jesus of Nazareth, be impossible to prove beyond any doubt, it is nonetheless an important perspective on two first century Jews, Jesus and Judas.
Religious Studies Review  Apr 13, 2000
This masterful study challenges the traditional view of Judas as a traitor who betrayed Jesus...Klassen relies upon impressive linguistic evidence...he also provides a strong exegesis of NT texts...Highly recommended for a wide range of readership from specialists to serious laypersons.
Didn't make it past Chapter 1  Apr 8, 2000
If Klassen wanted me to read this book, he should have captured my attention within the first chapter by showing me that he knows what he's talking about. I am a junior in college and a religion major, and I heard Klassen say things during the introduction and chapter one that are not accurate (but people who are not religion majors can see them as well). For example, on p.2, he says this statement, "When the high priests refuse to take back the thirty pieces of silver, he [Judas] throws them back into the Temple and then either hangs himself (Matt 27:1-10) or, according to Luke (Acts 2:15-22) falls forward on the ground and his body burst open pouring out his entrails in an ignominious death." Whoa! Where did that come from? I have never heard of Judas' body exploding before...and if Luke did, he didn't say anything about it. Acts 2:15-22 is Peter's Pentecost sermon. It says nothing about Judas' death. Later, in the first chapter, he has one paragraph explaining how the Gospel writers had their own agenda (which can be seen by anyone when comparing the Gospels to each other). Two pages after that, though, he cites someone named Donatus Haugg who says that they were "objective historians" to help support his point. (16) Since they had their own agenda, though, it's impossible for them to be objective. He just contradicted himself. (Plus, they weren't historians either - which he claims they were. They were not writing history; they were writing theology.) These are only a few of things that I found wrong with what he said, and remember this was only within the first 24 pages. I would like to hear his argument, though, about how "handing over" does not mean "betray," but if he cannot get his information straight at the beginning of the book, I wonder if he can do so for the rest of it.

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