JUDAS ISCARIOT ('loMas 'IcrKapidirTjs or 'I<r/capub0), in the Bible, the son of Simon Iscariot (John vi. 71, xiii. 26), and one of the twelve apostles. He is always enumerated last with the special mention of the fact that he was the betrayer of Jesus. If the generally accepted explanation of his surname (" man of Kerioth "; see Josh. xv. 25) be correct, he was the only original member of the apostolic band who was not a Galilean. The circumstances which led to his admission into the apostolic circle are not stated; while the motives by which he was actuated in enabling the Jewish authorities to arrest Jesus without tumult have been variously analysed by scholars. According to some (as De Quincey in his famous Essay) the sole object of Judas was to place Jesus in a position in which He should be compelled to make what had seemed to His followers the too tardy display of His Messianic power: according to others (and this view seems more in harmony with the Gospel narratives) Judas was an avaricious and dishonest man, who had already abused the confidence placed in him (John xii. 6), and who was now concerned only with furthering his own ends.
As regards the effects of his subsequent remorse and the use to which his ill-gotten gains were put, the strikingly apparent discrepancies between the narratives of Matt, xxvii. 3, 10 and Acts i. 18, 19 have attracted the attention of biblical scholars, ever since Papias, in his fourth book, of which a fragment has been preserved, discussed the subject. The simplest explanation is that they represent different traditions, the Gospel narrative being composed with more special reference to prophetic fulfilments, and being probably nearer the truth than the short explanatory note inserted by the author of the Acts (see Bernard, Expositor, June 1904, p. 422 seq.). In ecclesiastical legend and 2 For the principle of the Levirate illustrated in Gen. xxxviii., see RUTH. Lagarde (Orientalia, ii.) ingeniously conjectured that the chapter typified the suppression of Phoenician (viz. Tamar, the date-palm) and the old Canaanite elements (Zerah = indigena) by the younger Israelite invaders (Perez = " branch "). For other discussions, apart from commentaries on Genesis, see B. Luther in Meyer, op. cit., pp. 200 sqq.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)