Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ken's Guide To The Bible: Judas Iscariot

Everyone is familiar with the version of Judas' fate, found in Matthew 27:3-5, in which he hangs himself. But, another book of the Bible totally contradicts that. In Acts 1:18, Judas lives long enough to buy a field with his 30 pieces of silver, but God apparently explodes Judas in the middle of the field.

So which is it? Why wouldn't the Apostles know what Judas' fate was? Certainly, there can be an innocent explanation for there being two inconsistent accounts of his death in the Bible (but, even if there is an innocent explanation, remember-- at least one account still has to be wrong). However, it at least tends to make it less likely that Judas' died either by suicide or by God's revenge if these are two clearly inconsistent accounts of his death in the Bible. That is, it makes it more likely that the story of Judas suffering an "unhappy fate" is something just made up by the Apostles.

One thing I should not neglect to mention is that the Gospels were written down many years after Christ's death, and while two were written by two of his apostles, the other two were not. Why were they written? Perhaps the writers found that writing down the story was a good way to make money or to promote their nascent churches and themselves. The epistles- such as Acts- were written closer, chronologically, to Jesus' death, so they may be more accurate for that reason. Matthew, unlike Acts, is one of the Gospels and was written much later after Jesus' death.