As I continue to plod along with Ioudas, I keep stumbling over strange historical “facts” – I put facts in quotes not to annoy those of you who consider the Bible to be literal, historical truth, but merely because, in all honesty, nobody at this late date can truly prove anything… yet – and other errata that makes me wonder if this story has been floating around in the ether all this time just waiting for someone to snatch it up and put the pieces in this particular order. It almost makes the maniacal imp in the back of my head contemplate starting his own religion, but that would be bad, mmmkay?
Anyway, prompting this post are a couple of the newest tidbits I uncovered while casting the net for all information Judas-related. While working on a chapter detailing how Ioudas came to follow Joshua and came to believe in His message, I began wondering if there was an “official” statement on who Judas Iscariot’s partner was; since Jesus supposedly sent the Apostles out in pairs to spread His name and do good deeds, I figured it might be interesting to prod at that part of the backstory for a bit, but wanted to know if anyone had an official ruling on those pairings or not.
Well, they did. And it’s awesome, because it fits so well with things that I was already using in my story and some of the plot hooks I’m planning for later. So awesome, that I had to share.
Before that, though, it’s important to know that there’s some divided camps on what exactly “Iscariot” means. The general party line is that it refers to an area of Judea called Kerioth; basically, it’s saying “Judas of Kerioth,” just as one might say “Jesus of Nazareth.” There’s a handful of other possibilities, but one that keeps turning up and seems to be gaining ground – as well as having been used in The Last Temptation of Christ – is that it’s actually related to the word “sicarii,” a group of revolutionaries/terrorists/assassins (depending on your viewpoint) who sought to liberate Judea from Roman rule. I’m using this as the basis for Ioudas, partly because I’ve always been interested in the sicarii, and partly because it serves as a handy explanation for where Judas gets his combat knowledge from, which is important, him being a monster hunter and all.
Now where it gets even more interesting is that the sicarii were supposedly a splinter or sister group of the Zealots, a Jewish political faction that were attempting to free themselves from Roman rule by following the rules; mostly, anyway. Now, one of Jesus’ other disciples is known as Simeon Zealotes – or Simon the Zealot, if you want to Anglicize it – and he’s got similar issues to Judas with his last name. Some folks claim it’s just a name, others that it’s describing the fervor with which he served Christ, and still others claim that it is actually a political affiliation with the Zealots.
Now, I’d somewhat already decided that I was going to make Judas and Simon partners, just based on the historical associations of their names and the direction I wanted to take things. What entertained me so is that, when finally determining what the Catholics, at least, consider to be the “official paired groups,” do we care to guess who turned up as Judas’ partner?
Why, yes. Yes indeed. Simon the Zealot. Things that make you go “hmmmm,” eh?
For the other eye-opener in my game of associations (also known as “how many supporting arguments can I find in case someone thinks my work of fiction is a manifesto of my own religious beliefs and tries to kill me for it”), we turn to the Gospel of Thomas. That’s another one of those naughty little heretical Gnostic gospels that people’ve gotten so up in arms about as the centuries pass, but it’s not like I haven’t been referencing them a lot as it is, so…
But the part that applies here is this little quote: “He who drinks from my mouth will be as I am, and I will be he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.” Now, “drinks from my mouth” is an odd turn of phrase – and conjures all kinds of unpleasant images of fetish porn I’ve tripped over when looking for artwork – but in more “modern English” translations, it’s often considered to be a poetic or dramatic phrasing of “kisses my mouth.”
So, whoever kisses Jesus will become like Jesus? Gee, I wonder who might have done such a thing…