(Fwd) Re: Did Judas know?

From: Chris Montgomery (chris@mail.ipswich.gil.com.au)
Date: Fri Feb 13 1998 - 07:12:02 EST

Oops, I think I sent this somewhere else, so will send it again,
please forgive me if you end up receiving two of the same thing

Chris Montgomery


On the subject of Judas' question to Jesus in Matthew, I found at
least three things significant when I wrote my Thesis on the subject
of 'Judas and the Community' that may be of relevance here:

1. I think Matthew's use of MHTI EGW EIMI is reflective more of his
use of Mark's Gospel (this is my assumption) than a necessarily
conscious attempt at saying anything particular about Judas. Of
course he singles Judas out to make the remark in a way in which Mark
does not (Mark has all of the disciples, including Judas by
implication, make the remark at 14:9). I expect that the fact that
Matthew has Judas ask the question separately is a matter of
Matthean style as much as anything else.

2. However, by doing so he is able to highlight a disparate attitude
on the part of Judas. For me, the significant part of the question is
not the question itself, but the title(s) which are applied to Jesus
by (a) the disciples and (b) Judas. The disciples use the title
KURIOS; Judas uses RABBI. This is significant not only because titles
are missing in the Markan original (thus they constitute a deliberate
Matthean addition) but because of the implications for belief
contained in each one. KURIOS is a faith statement which is used
consistently in Matthew's Gospel by those who in some way acknowledge
Jesus as the Messiah of God. It is the appropriate title for
believers. RABBI, however is very rare in Matthew. Indeed, Matthew
seems to be prejudiced against it - witness his deliberate change to
Peter's confession (Mk 9:5), in which KURIOS is substituted for
RABBI. In Matthew, the terms RABBI or it's equivalent DIDASKALOS are
generally applied to Jesus by unbelievers (Mt 8:19; 9:11; 12:38;
17:24; 19:16; 22:16, 24, 26). There is only one instance where Jesus
applies the term DIDASKALOS to himself in Matthew, and that is at Mt
23:8 and S.H. Brookes (1987) considers this such a unique saying that
it is apparently evidence for 'M' material. Thus for me, Matthew is
using the question to highlight Judas' attitude of unbelief.

3. There is also the position of the question within the
narrative, which has some bearing on the matter of Jesus' response.
As far as the question from the disciples is concerned, Matthew
follows Mark in this regard, their question proceeds from the
assertion by Jesus that one of their number would deliver him. Judas'
question proceeds from the assertion that it would be an intimate who
would deliver him and also from the imprecation of the woe. Jesus'
answer, for all of it's apparent evasiveness, confirms Judas as the
intimate who delivers and the subject of the woe.

In this way Matthew appears to be making the point that Judas the
deliverer is not a real part of the faith community. In the wider
context he appears perhaps to be assuring the community of at least
two things: (1) that those who deliver intimates are not really part
of the community and perhaps never have been and (2) that those who
deliver intimates are perhaps subject to the same sort of woe
imprecated upon Judas at the table.

Sorry for the long-winded response, but that's what I think, anyway
for what it is worth. For a different and opposite of treatment can
I recommend Bill Klassen's book (1996), Judas:Betrayer or Friend of
Jesus? (Fortress).


Chris Montgomery
Ph.D. Candidate

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