Judas Iscariot—Was He a Good Guy or a Bad Guy?

By Harrell Rhome. Was Judas (Yehuda) Iscariot a betrayer, as we usually think of him? Or was he really a true friend of Jesus, perhaps one of the three or four people Jesus could really count on? Did Jesus (Yahshua the Nazarene) assign him the extremely painful and delicate task of pretending to betray him?


Does Iscariot mean “sicarii,” or assassin (terrorist; insurgent)? Was Judas a Zealot? Or does his name mean he came from the Judean town of Kerioth? Will we ever know the truth? Joining other works such as that by William Klassen on Judas, as well as a growing body of tomes about Mary Magdalene, the Apostle Thomas and others, the book promises to be fascinating to historians and others who find the early days of Christianity of interest.

Following on the heels of the literary fanfare about The Da Vinci Code (TBR March/April 2006), now comes The Gospel of Judas with similar flourish, and more than a few books sure to follow. While The Da Vinci Code and its predecessor, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, are largely speculative fiction, the Judas manuscript, at first glance, seems to offer more. The ancient text probably dates from c. A.D. 300 but could be older. It is written in Coptic, the script of Egypt before the Arabs came, and not in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek (it may have been translated from an even earlier Greek version that is now lost). Allegedly found more than 30 years ago, it was not made public until acquired by Frieda Tchacos Nussberger, a speculator in artifacts of various kinds, and involved in previous “shady deals” according to a New York Times News Service article. [Read the entire article as PDF…]

Taken from

The Barnes Review, July/August 2006: Inside the Judas Gospels