Henry's Songbook

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Stand Up For Judas

  • (Leon Rosselson)

    So stand up, stand up for Judas and the cause that Judas served
    It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word

    The Romans were the masters when Jesus walked the land
    In Judea and in Galilee they ruled with an iron hand
    And the poor were sick with hunger and the rich were clothed in splendour
    And the rebels whipped and crucified hung rotting as a warning
    And Jesus knew the answer
    Said, Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, said, Love your enemies
    But Judas was a Zealot and he wanted to be free
    Resist, he said, The Romans' tyranny

    Jesus was a conjuror, miracles were his game
    And he fed the hungry thousands and they glorified his name
    He cured the lame and the lepers, he calmed the wind and the weather
    And the wretched flocked to touch him so their troubles would be taken
    And Jesus knew the answer
    All you who labour, all you who suffer only believe in me
    But Judas sought a world where no one starved or begged for bread
    The poor are always with us, Jesus said

    Now Jesus brought division where none had been before
    Not the slaves against their masters but the poor against the poor
    Set son to rise up against father, and brother to fight against brother
    For he that is not with me is against me, was his teaching
    Said Jesus, I am the answer
    You unbelievers shall burn forever, shall die in your sins
    Not sheep and goats, said Judas, But together we may dare
    Shake off the chains of misery we share

    Jesus stood upon the mountain with a distance in his eyes
    I am the way, the life, he cried, The light that never dies
    So renounce all earthly treasures and pray to your heavenly father
    And he pacified the hopeless with the hope of life eternal
    Said Jesus, I am the answer
    And you who hunger only remember your reward's in Heaven
    So Jesus preached the other world but Judas wanted this
    And he betrayed his master with a kiss

    By sword and gun and crucifix Christ's gospel has been spread
    And 2.000 cruel years have shown the way that Jesus led
    The heretics burned and tortured, and the butchering, bloody crusaders
    The bombs and rockets sanctified that rain down death from heaven
    They followed Jesus, they knew the answer
    All non-believers must be believers or else be broken
    So put no trust in Saviours, Judas said, For everyone
    Must be to his or her own self - a sun

    (as sung by Roy Bailey)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • english [1983:] The only way to accept or reject any ideology is to subject it to critical scrutiny. I feel this side of the Christian tradition deserves examination, as it is the unquestioned assumption that Christianity is a "good" philosophy and it is only its malpractice which is "bad". (Notes Dick Gaughan, 'A Different Kind of Love Song')

  • english [1997:] In the Christian world, the name of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for the paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver, has become synonymous with unmitigated evil. The kiss, by which he betrayed his master to the arresting troops, has become an archetypal symbol of treachery. His deed has become an emblem of sin itself, showing the perversity of human beings who can stand in the divine presence, yet deliberately reject it. [...]

    Some scholars have recently concluded that the Judas story fits uneasily into the narrative and may have been inserted later. His act of treachery seems so arbitrary. Mark, whose gospel is usually regarded as the earliest and whose account of Judas is very sketchy, gives us no motive for Judas's betrayal. It is only some 10 years later, when Matthew is writing and the story has had more time to develop, that the 30 pieces of silver are mentioned and Judas's treachery is attributed to greed.

    And why was a betrayal necessary? Jesus had become a well-known figure in Jerusalem and it is hard to believe that the arrest depended solely upon Judas's identification. Further, scholars have long noted that the Greek verb 'paradidomi', which is used in the Gospels to describe Judas's act, simply means 'to hand over' - not, as it is usually translated, 'to betray'. Judas need not have been acting against Jesus's wishes: the Gospels tell us that Jesus insisted that his death was preordained and tells Judas to go ahead.

    But this raises a theological difficulty. Why, it has been asked, did Jesus choose Judas as a disciple, knowing that he would prove treacherous? [...] Jesus shows that there will be no mercy for Judas: 'The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for the man by whom the Son of Man is handed over. Better for that man if he had never been born!' (Mark 14:21).

    It is not surprising, therefore, that some have felt sympathetic towards Judas. [...] it is certainly true that the Gospel portrait of Judas has helped to shape the chronic anti-semitism of Christianity. [...] On Good Friday, after hearing the Gospel story of Jesus's betrayal and death, Christians would rush from the churches to take vengeance on the Jews. And the inspiration for these Easter pogroms was the figure of Judas. (Karen Armstrong, Observer, 30 March)

  • german [1997:] [Nach] fast zwei Jahrtausenden voller Haß und Verachtung, zeigt sich, daß vieles von dem nicht stimmt, was über Judas in den Evangelien steht. [...] Es bedarf nicht immer spezieller Kenntnisse, um im Neuen Testament die wenigen Fakten über Judas von den vielen Legenden zu unterscheiden. Die vier Evangelien sind geprägt von dem Trend, die Römer von der Schuld am Tode Jesu zu entlasten und sie den Juden zuzusprechen. Nutznießer dieser geschichtsverfälschenden Tendenz ist der Statthalter Pontius Pilatus, dem eine beinahe christliche Gesinnung und humanitäre Großmut angedichtet werden. Opfer ist Judas, der von einem Evangelium zum anderen immer düsterer geschildert wird. [...]

    Daß Jesus den Verrat des Judas und seinen eigenen Tod voraussagt, ist kein historischer Bericht, sondern ein theologisches Konstrukt. Die Evangelien sollen zeigen, daß Jesus nicht gescheitert ist, sondern mit seinem Tod Gottes Plan verwirklichte und die Welt erlöste. Das führt - so [Autor Hans-Josef] Klauck - zu einer "Dialektik des Ineinanders von göttlichem Heilsplan und menschlichem Verschulden." Sie ist allen Nichtchristen und vielen Christen fremd. Nimmt man die Bibel beim Wort, dann haben sowohl Gott als auch Judas den Tod Jesu gewollt. Dem einen wird dafür jeden Sonntag in allen Kirchen gedankt, der andere ist deshalb jahrhundertelang verflucht worden. [...]

    Neben dem antijüdischen Trend in den Evangelien [...] gibt es noch einen anderen Grund, viele oder sogar die meisten biblischen Berichte über Judas für unhistorisch zu halten. Nach dem Tode Jesu suchten dessen Anhänger nach einer Erklärung für sein Scheitern und fanden sie im Alten Testament. Etliche Schandtaten, die dort erzählt wurden [Kuß, Silberlinge, Selbstmord], schrieben sie nun auch Judas zu. [...]

    Da bleibt nicht viel, was man zum historischen Kern rechnen kann. Für Klauck ist es dies: "Judas hat sich von Jesus abgewandt, äußerlich wie innerlich, und bei den Ereignissen um die Verhaftung Jesu hat er in irgendeiner Weise eine unrühmliche Rolle gespielt." [...] Die Rehabilitierung müsse "nicht notwendigerweise zum Freispruch von jeglicher Schuld" führen, aber zumindest sein Handeln "auf ein verstehbares und historisch plausibles Maß bringen". (Spiegel, 31. März)

  • english [1999:] They needed Judas Iscariot or the story could not have come out. How else could it have worked? God betraying Jesus directly? That would destroy the entire message of sacrifice and apotheosis. So they needed some human agency to do the deed but they couldn't agree. The Judas of Matthew and Mark approaches the high priests of his own free will and negotiates his price; Luke's Judas was possessed by Satan. John's has Jesus dipping a morsel at supper, which he hands to 'Judas the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him'. It's a strange reversal, a negative of the Eucharist; and (if we follow Matthew's account, at least) the end of it all was not one but two bodies hanging from a tree.

    We know nothing of Judas the Betrayer. Only John gives him an explicit paternity. And then there is his name: Iscariot. Judas 'from the village of Kerioth'. Or Judas Sicarius, 'Judas Daggerman', one of the Sicari, the real or politically convenient band of treacherous 'patriots' who hung around crowds with tiny daggers concealed under their cloaks. A brief jostle; a man drops to the ground, dying. Who did it? The Daggermen. And the name Judas itself: man of Judea. Ioudas iscarioth: Judean Daggerman. A turnip ghost, a fall-guy, a bogeyman.

    And the betrayer must always vanish. His role is transient: to precipitate change so that the story can proceed. [...] He must vanish because any other fate is unthinkable. For him to be punished for playing his pre-ordained role in the divine comedy would set God's justice at naught. Had he refused to play his part, there would have been no betrayal, no cruxification, no redemption; under such constraints, how could free will be compatible with the role in which the Daggerman was cast? No; away with him, to a decent obscurity.

    All great stories hinge on a betrayal, explicit or implied. Betrayal highlights the existing complicity, brings it into opposition with external forces so that it may be proved in the furnace of conflict. Without betrayals, things would remain in stasis, without the fear of pain, but also without the hope of change or growth or understanding.

    The Judean Daggerman has been ill-favoured by history. Without him, we are cendemned to revolve slowly in a universe of predictable complicity, living - and dying - none the wiser. This might be a good day to acknowledge his pivotal narrative significance; to consider, also, the other possibility: that his name was a misspelling; that it might have been not iskarioth but ischyros: the violent, for sure, but also the resolute, the steadfast, and, above all, the powerful. (Michael Bywater, Observer, Easter Sunday, 4 Apr)

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 29.08.2002