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Friday, April 07, 2006

The Judas Defense

People accuse defense lawyers like me of being able to make an argument for The Devil. Well, I never was retained by Her, but the idea that anyone is entitled to a defense got a boost by the release of The Gospel According To Judas by the National Geographic.

Judas Iscariot, you might recall, was the disciple whose very name became synonymous with Traitor and Informant, accused by the Gospels of Mark, John, Luke, and Matthew of selling out Jesus to the Romans for money.

Now, more than two thousand years after the “crime,” it seems like Judas has come up with a defense after all. And as a criminal defense lawyer, I must say that it is a pretty good one at that.

According to the translation of the Judas Gospel, Jesus told Judas in private conversation to do what Judas in fact did do, turn him in. Thus, the defense is that Judas was not a conspirator in the legalized murder of Jesus, but was instead following the Savior’s orders, in effect carrying out God’s plan to sacrifice His Son for the sins of humanity. So, from a strictly legal viewpoint, Judas was guilty of nothing more than assisting in a suicide, which is apparently lawful in some jurisdictions.

What next? Can I expect a call from Cain, wanting to file a writ of Habeas Corpus to raise the defense of ignorance: since no murders had ever been committed before, Cain didn’t know that his act would result in death, or that it was unlawful to end someone’s life. After all, this preceded The Ten Commandments by... well, many pages.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like the argument changed from "the devil made me do it" to "Jesus made me do it."

    But here's the deal. If that is true, then the other gospels are false. And rather than Judas really being a good guy after all, Jesus is actually a bad guy for being a deceiver and for manipulating His disciple into effectively killing rather than laying down his life.

    So anyone rushing to sign on with that warped view of Judas needs to be prepared to take the view of Jesus that goes with it.

    I suspect that no one would want to believe in such a concocted Jesus, nor would it make much sense.

    That's not to say that the traditional view of Judas is accurate, only to say that the Gnostic Gospel of Judas is at least as bunk.