National Geographic has a new discovery, a "Book of Judas." It is an ancient scroll, painstakingly reassembled by a small selected group of people. Here is how NG introduces it on their website:
"What if Jesus arranged his own execution? One of the most hated men in history sheds light on the last days of Christ. See the contents of one of the most controversial discoveries revealed for the first time."
This new scroll is making some waves. It purportedly says that Christ instructed Judas to betray him. Some have joked that this lets the Jews off the hook, as if they were ever on it. More importantly, it also says that Christ instructed Judas to do this to hasten His return to God. This is an interesting tenet of Christianity, and one that Muslims share. The belief in the afterlife, or Heaven and Hell. This is not a part of Judaism, and yet Jesus was a Jew, as was Judas.
Judas appears to be a manifestation of the human condition, which is basically a sinner. If these scrolls are accurate, Jesus chose Judas to be the traitor in order to forgive him, symbolizing all of humanity, who can never live up to God's (or Jesus') standard. I cite Islam's Sharia law as a futile effort to please God, since none of us can live a perfectly holy life. -Or can we, if we were instructed by God to sin?
Judaism reveals much of God's word, though some Jews refuse to print the word God itself... good old common sense laws, such as incrementally increasing the penalty for killing an unborn child as it grows in the womb, were established well before Christ was born. Now that science can show how developed a baby is only confirms the wisdom of these ancient people, notwithstanding their failure to acknowledge an afterlife. Science cannot confirm an afterlife, either. That doesn't stop many from believing in it; or the many others who disbelieve what science tells them about "fetuses."
I am going to get an earful about this post from Anna, my fiance. She has studied the Bible much more extensively than I have, and I generally defer to her superior knowledge. This scroll has just been discovered, though, so I think I have grounds to posit an opinion. I'll post her input tomorrow, if I can get her to co-post with me.
UPDATE: As noted in the comments, Jews do believe in the afterlife, just not the same concepts of Heaven and hell. However, Anna mentions to me a thing called sheol, which she defines as "separation from God." I also saw Ed Koch talk to Leon Charney on a word for purgatory in Hebrew. I think they settled on "we'll see."
Judas should've never been considered a traitor, because it was part of God's plan. It's commonly known that Jesus knew about this betrayal before it happened, as described in the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper.
Anna doesn't believe that Jesus instructed Judas to betray him. She does believe the "betrayal" fit God's plan, but it was Judas's choice to do this. We all have free will.
She also points out that Judas killed himself, and went to Hell for that. So we're not all Judas, after all.