Judas Iscariot

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Judas Iscariot (Hebrew: יהודה איש־קריות‎, Yehuda, Yəhûḏāh ʾΚ-qəriyyôṯ) was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original apostles of Jesus, and is best known for betraying Jesus into the hands of the chief priests.[1]

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Etymology

In the Greek New Testament, Judas is called Ιούδας Ισκάριωθ (Ioúdas Iskáriōth) and Ισκαριώτης (Iskariṓtēs). "Judas" (spelled "Ioudas" in ancient Greek and "Iudas" in Latin, pronounced yudas in both) is the Greek form of the common name Judah (יהודה, Yehûdâh, Hebrew for "God is praised"). The same Greek spelling underlies other names in the New Testament that are traditionally rendered differently in English: Judah and Jude.

The precise significance of "Iscariot", however, is uncertain. There are two major theories on its etymology:

  • The most likely explanation derives Iscariot from Hebrew איש־קריות, Κ-Qrîyôth, or "man of Kerioth". The Gospel of John refers to Judas as "son of Simon Iscariot",[2] implying it was not Judas, but his father, who came from there.[3] Some speculate that Kerioth refers to a region in Judea, but it is also the name of two known Judean towns.[4]
  • A second theory is that "Iscariot" identifies Judas as a member of the sicarii.[5] These were a cadre of assassins among Jewish rebels intent on driving the Romans out of Judea. However, many historians maintain the sicarii only arose in the 40s or 50s of the 1st century, in which case Judas could not have been a member.[6]

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