Rome, March 20 (Reuters): Judas Iscariot was not the betrayer but the betrayed. He schemed to save Christ from being killed and did not commit suicide but lived to an old age.
These are some of the main tenets of a new book, The Gospel According to Judas, written by British novelist Jeffery Archer.
The book, presented as a gospel written by Judas’s son Benjamin Iscariot, an imaginary character, is bound to spark controversy even though Archer wrote it with a world-class Bible expert who once worked under Pope Benedict. “I thought this would not be credible if it were a Jeffrey Archer novel,” he said.
The thrust of Archer’s gospel is that Judas loved Jesus, believed he was sent by God, but that he was not the Messiah. Judas loved Jesus so much that he wanted to save him from “unnecessary death” in Jerusalem.
So, the Archer-Maloney version goes, Judas conspired with a Scribe or Hebrew teacher who said he wanted to save Jesus. But the Scribe was a double agent who was working for Jerusalem’s Jewish elders and handed Jesus over to be killed.
The authors, who wanted to write a work in which “not everything was probable but everything was possible”, are braced for controversy. “In the Church there is an extreme Right wing and there is an extreme Left wing and they will not like it for two totally different reasons,” Archer said.