The Mythical Interpretation of the Gospels: Critical Studies in the Historic Narratives

By Thomas James Thorburn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
JUDAS ISCARIOT AND [JESUS?] BARABBAS

Judas Iscariot

THE name Judas Iscariot presents a great puzzle to the modern critical scholar. Its traditional interpretation, "Judas, man of Kerioth"

, ish Kerijjoth), has of late years been much questioned, especially by critics of avowedly mythical views. The chief objections raised to this explanation of the name are: (1) It is doubtful whether the initial syllable "Is-" really represents the Heb., (ish = man), the 's,' perhaps, belonging. rather to the latter word (cf. Syr., skariota), though this conclusion is at least uncertain. (2) Kerioth (Karioth) seems not to be a place, but to refer to a district, or rather a group of towns (cf. Joshua 15:25, but see Jer. 48:24 and 41, where a Kerioth in Moab is mentioned). (3) Had Judas come from any such place, or even district, we would expect his designation to be I. ἀU+03Cο Kεριωϑ

Now, there is, as Doctor Cheyne noted ( Enc. Bib., art. "Judas Iscariot", 1899), "a well-supported reading in John, ἀπο καρυωϊν, which, according to Zahn and Nestle, confirms the view that it is derived from the Heb.,

." Doctor Cheyne, however, thought it more probable that the name may have been incorrectly transmitted to us, and suggested (loc. cit.) that Judas's true appellation may have been 'Iεριχωϊής, "man of Jericho." Subsequently, in the light of further inquiry, he seems to have decided ( Hibbert Journal, July, 1911, p. 891, and July, 1913, pp. 919 and 920) that "Iscariot comes from

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