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Bible Professor Completes Book About Judas

A book by a Freed-Hardeman University Bible teacher will be published by Sheffield Phoenix Press. “The Death of Judas, The Characterization of Judas Iscariot in Three Early Christian Accounts of his Death” by Dr. Jesse Robertson will be published November 2012.

Although for centuries Judas typically has been condemned, some modern interpreters argue that details in the canonical Gospels regarding his remorse and suicide vindicate him to some extent. In addition, the recent discovery of the Gospel of Judas demonstrates that differing views of Judas were common in antiquity. Robertson looks at three accounts of Judas’ death from before 150 CE: the Gospel of Matthew, the Acts of the Apostles, and the fragments of Papias, a second century writer.

Elements of Greco-Roman and Jewish literary portraiture reveal how the details in accounts of Judas’ death would have shaped his characterization. His final words and actions, as well as the way he died would have been understood as indications of his inner qualities and moral worth, Robertson said. Robertson concludes that ancient auditors would have agreed with Jesus’s assessment in Matt. 26:24, “Woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

Robertson, an assistant professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman, has recently been named dean of graduate studies and outreach. He received a Ph.D. from Baylor University in 2010. The book resulted from work done for his doctoral dissertation. In addition to his work at FHU, Robertson is one of the ministers at the Estes Church of Christ.

The book may be ordered from Sheffield Phoenix Press located in the Department of Biblical Studies of the University of Sheffield. The aim of the Press “is to support scholarship with high quality academic books and journals,” according to its web site.

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