In this expansive cultural biography of Judas, prominent scholar Susan Gubar explores the meaning of Jesus' betrayer over twenty centuries. Who was Judas Iscariot and why did he betray Jesus? Despite the recent recovery of a Gnostic Gospel bearing his name, the centrality of the twelfth apostle has gone largely ignored. Yet, because of gaps and incongruities in his appearance in the Bible, artists throughout the ages have returned to this man, whose treacherous act inaugurates Jesus' death and resurrection.
In this comprehensive, interdisciplinary work, Susan Gubar explains that Judas came to stand for the Jewish people because he reflects ambivalence about a composite Judeo-Christianity as well as changing attitudes toward the body, blood, and money; greed and hypocrisy; suicide and repentance; homosexuality and divinity. Over twenty centuries, a figure of disgrace turns into a dignitary. Gubar shows how Jesus' most notorious disciple--known for a kiss--has provoked profound reflections on the problem of evil that still resonate today.
"Starred Review. The evolution of the Judas myth is an important story, one not to be missed." - Publishers Weekly.
"Starred Review. An exhaustive, beautifully written cultural history of our favorite wrongdoer, Gubar's work is an immensely rewarding and crucially important book. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.
"If Judas had not existed, God would have had to invent him. The divine script called for betrayal with a kiss, and someone had to be cast in that role. Judas, the intimate friend of the Son, became thus the indispensable collaborator of the Father and a figure of endlessly inviting ambivalence for the Western imagination. Susan Gubar has assembled a tour-de-force collection of Judas-art and Judas-literature and turned it into a Judas biography full of thought, heart, and fascination." - Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography.
"Judas is a dark journey through the murderousness of Christian Anti-Semitism, culminating in the mass slaughter of more than a and their associated European butchers. Lucid, study is close to definitive on the fictive figure of Judas." - Harold Bloom.
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Susan Gubar (Ph.D. University of Iowa) is a Distinguished Professor at Indiana University, where she has won numerous teaching awards, most recently the Faculty Mentor Award from the Indiana University Graduate and Professional Student Organization. In addition to her critical collaboration with Sandra Gilbert, she is the author of Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture (1997), Critical Condition: Feminism at the Turn of the Century (2000), Poetry After Auschwitz: Remembering What One Never Knew (2003), and Rooms of Our Own (2006), and editor of the first annotated edition of Woolf's A Room of One's Own (2005).
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