Judas / Review by Hagai Hoffer
(Translation from Hebrew, with the help of Google Translate).
In Amos Oz's new book, "Judas" (Keter, 2014), there is a framework story and internal ideological content (for example, and this is a very flattering comparison, like in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.(
The story of the framework is simple: the year is 1959, the place Israel and the hero Shmuel Esh (perhaps, apparently, a reference to Shalom Esh, who published the book Jesus of Nazareth, which sparked controversy) is a student who retired from his studies before completing his master's thesis, "Jesus In the eyes of the Jews", and moved to the home of Atalia Abravanel, a widow whose husband had died in the War of Independence, and Gershom Wald, the father of her husband.
The ideological content is twofold: On the one hand, it turns out that Athaliah's father, Shaltiel Abarbanel, was a Zionist activist who opposed the establishment of the State of Israel and sought to establish a super-government of the United Nations or the United States. I know a man, Dr., who is dealing with a similar idea right now, and perhaps in the future his book will be published.
On the other hand, throughout the book, Shmuel Ash's work on "Jesus in the eyes of the Jews" is slowly detailed, leading him, in the end, to present Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus and turned him over as a positive figure. This is the subject that I have come to this book in the first place, and therefore I have appended a little.
Oz begins by summarizing the manner in which Judaism relates to the subject of Jesus Christ throughout the generations. In this matter, as he notes at the end of his book, he uses the book "That man" edited by Prof. Avigdor Shinan, as well as two books (I did not read). His findings indicate that Jews almost always ridiculed the story of Jesus because of the multiplicity of his legends and the inexplicable things in him (as well as the contradiction between his pretense and the persistence of the existence of diseases and wars, etc.), and thus their claim seems strong, but on the other hand they generally refrained from dealing with the message of love and grace Which is a revolutionary message worthy of attention, and thus their weak point. To this I can point out that a later attitude even to the thought of Jesus can be found in Rabbi Amozg's book "Jewish morality versus Christian morality" (see I reviewed it). More interesting material on the subject can be found on the site "Daat", which gathered many arguments between Jews and Christians conducted over the years.
This is where we come to the theme of Judas Iscariot, who has courage in his matter, says such a thing (and here is a conceptual spoiler, caution!): Unlike the other emissaries, who were ignorant and meager Galilean, Yehuda was a wealthy resident of Jerusalem. And Oz continues and assumes that he was sent by the priests or the Pharisees to spy on Jesus, because they began to fear his great influence, but at a certain stage Judah was captivated by his charms and followed him in truth. Moreover, he planned the crucifixion in Jerusalem in order to prove to everyone the messianism of Jesus, who expected to be miraculously liberated from the crucifixion. Jesus did not want to do so, but he finally agreed. How else can one explain his request to the father, God, to take this glass from him, that is, his request to be released from his last mission? And Judah took money, but a small sum for a rich man like him, so it was not because of it that he gave Jesus. Finally, Jesus was crucified, and Peter, together with all the other apostles, turned to him and betrayed him during the crucifixion. Only Judah remained faithful. He waited for him to be released miraculously, as stated, but this did not happen, and Jesus died while he read, "Father, Father, why did you leave me?" A sentence that can be understood only for someone who has indeed expected to be redeemed and be released. Yehuda himself, when he saw it, also broke down and committed suicide. How else can one explain his suicide if he is not loyal to the end?
This is the story of Judah according to Oz. How much of it can be confirmed or turned out? Well, basically it is completely theoretical, of course, and has no basis in the Bible, but in between we see how some unclear writings are explained in the New Testament, as I explained above. Moreover, this is not mentioned directly in the book, but Oz's story is very similar to the "Gospel of Judah" – the gnostic Coptic text that was published only a few years ago through the National Geographic Channel and made a lot of media noise (see its entry on Wikipedia). The name Yehuda is also presented in a positive light, and crucifixion is presented as an act intended to transform the earthly body of Jesus into heavenly, and Jesus discussed this with Judah. Also, in a rather rare way to the Bible in general, here Jesus also laughs several times.
But what does this mean? First, the two ideas I have outlined are united, because, as the book says, Shaltiel Abarbanel was perceived at the time as a traitor. Oz writes about this: "Whoever has the courage to change, he will always be considered a traitor in the eyes of those who are unable to change and fear death fear of change and do not understand change and loathe any change" (p. 254-255). In an excellent article on Oz's book, Zivah Shamir elaborates the picture: "To which of the breakthrough leaders and change-makers did the "guards of the walls" label the label "traitor"? "Ben-Gurion, who was prepared to accept the partition agreement in 1947, The Sinai Peninsula to the Egyptians, to Rabin who signed the Oslo agreement in 1993. In the last war, Tzuk Eitan, a few more names were added to the list of alleged traitors, among them, I believe, Oz himself.
Second, as the book also states, Judas can be seen as a symbol of all Jews. His name already hints at this, and so was his acceptance and attitude to him throughout history. The purification of his name can, therefore, symbolize the purification of the Jews' name, or come parallel to it. But in my opinion there is another matter here, because in the work of "Jesus in the eyes of the Jews" the work can also come as "the Jews in the eyes of the Christians" or "Judas Iscariot in the eyes of the Christians." And here there is something interesting – Christianity, which preaches love to all, nevertheless marks one factor that does not win her love – Judah, or the Jews. This is a stumbling block to the whole system. Judah is said in the New Testament in one place where Satan is and where the devil enters. These are two different things. If he is the devil, then the devil must fight until the end. But if only "the devil enters him", that is, his evil inclination overcame him – as it turns out – then, whether we accept the story of Oz or not, we can also forgive him! By analogy, of course, we can forgive all Jews (Indeed, as is well known, the Jews were cleared of guilt in the church document called Nostra Atata, 1965). All the historical persecution of Jews by Christians, which caused, among other things, hatred of Christianity among Jews, can be seen as the result of that initial failure – and that, hopefully, can be corrected.
Incidentally, the theme that accompanies this "hope" is the character of Gershom Wald, whose approach is secular, skeptical and even cynical, and he apparently comes to create a response to the reader's identification of these characteristics. Thus, in the matter of love, he says that he is very close to hatred, whereas on the figure of Judas Iscariot he says that the Christians would hate the Jews with or without him, for the Jews say in the New Testament, "There blood on us and our children." However, I can not elaborate on this figure.
I will mention only a few other books related to Oz's book that I have not mentioned: First, as noted in the book itself, there is the book of Quebec on Jesus – "narrow path", which Oz says that does not exceed the usual agreement. He also mentions a few more books that I will not mention here. But it is also worth mentioning the book by Joseph Klausner, uncle of Oz, who is also mentioned in the book "Jesus Christ", which is quite objective and neutral, in my opinion, scholarly and balanced, but he received stormy reactions when it was published. The subject is probably sensitive. On the other hand, the book of a later scholar, David Flusser, about Jesus, did not win, as far as I know, such stormy reactions. Maybe we got a little older. I myself became acquainted with Christianity in my youth, when I read in Pinhas Sadeh's wonderful book "Life as a Parable," which often refers to the New Testament. His book, as he himself attests, was not easily accepted. I also see a direct connection between Oz's book, "Jews and Words" (and I have review of it) and this one, both of which deal with purely Jewish issues (beyond the Zionist issue).
Finally, a small confession, or a kind of "proper disclosure": In the past I met a man who dealt extensively with the figure of Judas Iscariot and he also discussed him as a positive figure, to be done justice, but hardly anyone listened to him. In the wake of my conversations with him, I even wrote a short article about the hints in the Bible to Yehuda, as various kisses of deceit, but I did not elaborate on the subject. And more, I think that this book has great potential for success in the Christian countries.
In conclusion, Oz is courageously dealing with a difficult, deep and controversial issue. After all, what would we do without loyalty? It seems to be the foundation of the revised society (and not just the army or the credit companies). The study also found that the more trustworthy companies and economies have in the companies, the more successful they are (but all of them have advanced intelligence services). But Oz has a certain duality: On the one hand, he advocates people who have been called traitors. On the other hand, he says that Yehuda never betrayed him, so it can be assumed that he would have reservations about a "real" betrayal. So the picture is complex. And so, finally, whether you agree with him or not, the book is interesting.
Bottom line: fascinating, important (and esoteric), recommended!