Hangin’ Out With Judas

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve original apostles and was infamously known for his kiss and betrayal of Jesus.  I think that most devoted readers of the Bible know the two different stories regarding the expiration of Judas.  Judas either killed himself by hanging (Matthew 27:5) or had some kind of freak accident by falling headlong and bursting his body open allowing his intestines to spill out (Acts 1:18).  These two dissimilar stories are written by two different authors who wrote decades apart from each other.


Non-believers of Christianity like to bring up the apparent contradiction to prove that the Bible contains errors and contradictions.  Christian apologists defend the stories and agree that the two merely supplement one another.  Apologists will say something like, “Judas simply hung himself and after a while the rope snaps, the decayed and bloated body falls from the tree onto the ground and splits open, spilling his guts out.”

The harmonization of these two stories is fine – I have no problem with that.  However, most apologists who combine the two stories usually forget including “all” the details.  For instance, Matthew’s version states that Judas felt remorse after turning Jesus over to the officials so he gave the money back to the chief priests.  They took the undesirable silver pieces and bought a field as a burial place for foreigners fulfilling a prophecy of Jeremiah.  They called it the Field of Blood because it was about “blood” money.

Luke, the author of Acts, believes that Judas took the silver pieces and bought the field himself prior to his death.  Later on, he falls headlong and his guts spill out.  Luke doesn’t mention Jeremiah’s prophecy but believes everyone in Jerusalem called it the Field of Blood because that’s where Judas spilled his guts.

My thoughts?  I enjoy the Bible stories for what they are.  Instead of trying to make two different stories into one, why not appreciate the fact that these were simply two stories about the death of Judas – myth or real – who knows for sure?  Why insult one author’s opinion over the other?  As a Christian, wouldn’t you prefer to hear someone say, “We’re not certain how Judas died but we do have two different opinions,” instead of a made-up story?  Uh, oh… wait a minute.  Our Christmas story is a conflation of two separate stories by two different authors.

Oh, well!  Coffee solves all the mysteries of the world – at least in my world.  Read your Bibles!

2 thoughts on “Hangin’ Out With Judas

  1. Sometimes I wonder if there is a reason that these contradictions were kept in the bible. The ones who compiled the different books/letters in the 4th century had to have noticed them. Do you think they wanted us to accept the fact that there is more than one version of some stories, not knowing which was correct? Or do you think the compilers wanted us to put the ideas together to make one story, like the christmas story you mentioned?

  2. I believe that each writer wanted to express the thoughts of their time frame and what their community was practicing. Christianity has been varied since the beginning.

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