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Judas Iscariot and Others
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Group Read Archive 2014 > Judas Iscariot And Others - chapters 1-3

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message 1: by Amalie (last edited Jul 25, 2014 08:51AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III

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I did not open another thread for the reading schedule. I look forward to read this!


Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
I've already finished the first 2 chapters. I already notice a tension between the Biblical narrative and the “true history” Andreyev provides. He uses the characters and situations in the Bible however, he weave his own story and philosophy.

Andreev’s Judas seeks rational truth on earth. (But I'm not sure he has the capacity to it) He comes to Jesus after wanderings on his own, and he has come away from the experience with a pessimistic view of humanity.

Can someone explain Judas' parable about a dog?

And I'm wondering why Andreev has dehumanized Judas so obviously for evenyone to get a grotesque depiction of the hero of his story. To dislike him from the beginning? To doubt him?


dely | 340 comments Amalie wrote: "I've already finished the first 2 chapters. I already notice a tension between the Biblical narrative and the “true history” Andreyev provides. He uses the characters and situations in the Bible ho..."

I noticed this too. I must look for the Biblical narration because I don't know it very well so I can't see all the difference between Andreyev's narration and the biblical one.


Can someone explain Judas' parable about a dog?

Which one? The one told by Andreyev (you pet a dog and he bits; you beat a dog and he comes to your feet) or is there a Biblical parable?

And I'm wondering why Andreev has dehumanized Judas so obviously for evenyone to get a grotesque depiction of the hero of his story. To dislike him from the beginning? To doubt him?

I think so. As soon as I will end the book (I must read only the last chapter) I will look for the real story of Judas in order to understand better because I still don't understand what Andreyevs wants to tell to the reader.


message 4: by Anya (last edited Jul 29, 2014 05:06AM) (new)

Anya Here are some explanations from Russian-language sources:

-Judas Iscariot was written on the island of Capri in 1907.
-According to the author himself, the work was conceptualized to be something about psychology, ethics and the practice of betrayal
-The story is a reinterpretation of the classic evangelical story about the betrayal of Jesus by Judas
-Andreyev took a biblical narrative with little artistic detail and psychological characteristics and transformed it into a subtle, philosophic tale full of literary detail.
-In his physical and pyschological descriptions of JI, Andreyev intended for us to have contradictory feelings towards him. On the one hand, JI is a base, egotistical, lying type, and on the other, he fights boldly against human stupidity and cowardice. Even physically: one side of his face was vibrant and alive, while the other was deathly smooth and flat.


message 5: by Anya (new)

Anya One more thing, Andreyev wrote this story as a reflection on the events of Bloody Sunday. January 9th, 1905, when workers in St. Petersburg were encouraged by priest Gapon to go to the Winter Palace with a petition for Tsar Nicholas. This peaceful procession was shot at by Tsarist armed forces. A year later, it turned out that Gapon was uncovered by the socialist revolutionaries to be a secret agent and was hung by them.


dely | 340 comments Anya wrote: "-In his physical and pyschological descriptions of JI, Andreyev intended for us to have contradictory feelings towards him. On the one hand, JI is a base, egotistical, lying type, and on the other, he fights boldly against human stupidity and cowardice. Even physically: one side of his face was vibrant and alive, while the other was deathly smooth and flat. ."

In fact, till the end I was confused because I wasn't able to classify or understand Judas's behavior.


dely | 340 comments Anya wrote: "One more thing, Andreyev wrote this story as a reflection on the events of Bloody Sunday. January 9th, 1905, when workers in St. Petersburg were encouraged by priest Gapon to go to the Winter Palac..."

Thanks! All this additional informations help to understand a little bit better the reasons of Andreyev.


message 8: by Mishek (new) - added it

Mishek | 1 comments Very interesting stuff. Wish I knew of this group in time to read it along with everyone.


Silver The parable of the dog, reminds me of the Biblical, spare the rod and spoil the child.

It seems to be a suggestion that in order to gain loyalty/obedience sever (and often psychical) discipline is needed. If you are too lenient, or kind, or forgiving, or if you cuddle people too much, than they will turn against you, and become unruly and savage. People need to be ruled with a firm hand if you want them to obey you, and if you want to keep them in line.

A part of me almost feels that the treatment of Judas is unfair in a way, and maybe it is because I am not a religious individual that I think this way, but I feel bad for him that he does tend to be so savagely vilified. In some ways I think he was just a very misunderstood individual.

I also feel that there is something about him/the way he is portrayed that is quite comical at times. The whole thing with the octopus and comparing Judas to an octopus, a part of me felt bad for him, but it was also kind of funny.

And when Judas made his remark about how he could never really know who is farther was, and said that for all he knew his father could have been a goat. I presumed he was being sarcastic when he said it, but than later Thomas asks Judas (seemingly seriously) how it would be possible for a man to be the son of a goat. Then I just rolled my eyes at Thomas, because I did not think that Judas literally meant his father was a goat.


message 10: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "And when Judas made his remark about how he could never really know who is farther was, and said that for all he knew his father could have been a goat. I presumed he was being sarcastic when he said it, but than later Thomas asks Judas (seemingly seriously) how it would be possible for a man to be the son of a goat. Then I just rolled my eyes at Thomas, because I did not think that Judas literally meant his father was a goat. "

I understood it in a different way and with "goat" I thought about Satan because he is often depicted with goat semblances. I thought Judas was perhaps joking wanting to make believe that his father could have been the Devil.


message 11: by Silver (last edited Jul 29, 2014 01:55PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Silver dely wrote: "I understood it in a different way and with "goat" I thought about Satan because he is often depicted with goat semblances. I thought Judas was perhaps joking wanting to make believe that his father could have been the Devil. ..."

I did not think of Satan specifically but I did think the reference to the goat was meant to be generally symbolic of the sinfulness of man and that is father may have been a goat was a way of stating his father may have been a base sinner.

But that thing that seemed odd to me was that when Thomas later questions Judas, Thomas seems to think that Judas literally meant a goat. Unless Thomas was also inferring that it was Satan. Or is Thomas just so naive that he didn't understand the reference to Satan?


message 12: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "dely wrote: "I understood it in a different way and with "goat" I thought about Satan because he is often depicted with goat semblances. I thought Judas was perhaps joking wanting to make believe t..."

Is the goat related to sinfulness? I don't know if it is the same everywhere (and I like such comparisons) but in Italy, if you say to a persona that he is a goat, it means also that he is stupid and ignorant.
Perhaps Judas was saying that his father was a stupid person and so also he is silly?

Yes, that Thomas was so serious about this thing and asked explanations was really odd.


message 13: by Silver (last edited Jul 29, 2014 11:23PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Silver dely wrote: Is the goat related to sinfulness? I don't know if it is the same everywhere (and I like such comparisons) but in Italy, if you say to a persona that he is a goat, it means also that he is stupid and ignorant. ."

In many Pagan cultures the goat and other hoved and horned creatures are symbolic of fertility, love, lust, they represent the primal, that is why Satan is depicted as being goat like or having certain goat attributes, because Christians perceive things relating to sex and our animal nature as being sinful.


message 14: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "dely wrote: Is the goat related to sinfulness? I don't know if it is the same everywhere (and I like such comparisons) but in Italy, if you say to a persona that he is a goat, it means also that he..."

Thanks! I knew that the goat was related to Satan but didn't know why.


Silver dely wrote: "
Thanks! I knew that the goat was related to Satan but didn't know why. "


The image of Satan most likely derived from the Greek God Pan, who was half-man and half-goat.


message 16: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "dely wrote: "
Thanks! I knew that the goat was related to Satan but didn't know why. "

The image of Satan most likely derived from the Greek God Pan, who was half-man and half-goat."


My knowledge of Greek mythology or Pagan culture is very poor :(


Silver dely wrote: "
My knowledge of Greek mythology or Pagan culture is very poor :( ...."


Mythology has always fascinated me and been one of my favorite subjects.

The portrayal of Judas in this story remands me a lot of The Last Temptation of Christ. I am not really familiar with how Judas is portrayed within the Bible. Was Judas in the Bible so barbaric/angry?

It seems to me that Judas does appear as being more Earth-bound, or more primitive in a way, than some of the other disciples, Thomas for example, who are more ethereal/philosophical.


message 18: by dely (last edited Jul 30, 2014 12:27AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "dely wrote: "
My knowledge of Greek mythology or Pagan culture is very poor :( ...."

Mythology has always fascinated me and been one of my favorite subjects.

The portrayal of Judas in this story..."


I have looked for Judas in the Gospels and there aren't many informations about him: we know that he betrayed and took money for this; that he kissed Jesus so that the soldiers could see who they had to arrest; in one Gospel there is also written that he was possessed by the Devil and that he was a thief; in another one there is written that he regretted the betrayal and brought back the money but the High Priests didn't care about this. In the Gospel of Judas he is a hero because he has done what had to be done and thanks to his betrayal Jesus could redeem mankind with his death.

To me all the Apostles seemed very human: one played with the stones, Peter had denied Jesus when he was arrested surely because he was scared and this is human.

edit: the Gospel of Judas is a gnostic Gospel so it isn't part of the Bible.


Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
Ok, I'll start from a beginning. I decided to complete the story before commenting to get the complete idea.

Anya wrote: "One more thing, Andreyev wrote this story as a reflection on the events of Bloody Sunday. January 9th, 1905, when workers in St. Petersburg were encouraged by priest Gapon to go to the Winter Palac..."

Interesting! Thanks for sharing. Plus, looking the period of time this had been written in, Russian context in the early 20th century, Andreyev's view is a split between reason and faith and is very familiar to Dostoevsky’s Life.


Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
dely wrote: "Silver wrote: "And when Judas made his remark about how he could a... I thought about Satan because he is often depicted with goat semblances. I thought Judas was perhaps joking wanting to make believe that his father could have been the Devil. "

I have nothing to add here on your arrival at connotation to Judas' father is the Devil.

I also have two more ideas to add. Through out the story Judas is portrayed as an antithesis /counterpart to Jesus which also explains to tension between them. So I guess, as Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God, it makes complete sense that Judas recognizes his father as Devil?/A goat?

Plus, a goat was a sacrificial animal, right? like the escape goat. In the Old Testament, a goat, symbolically burdened with the sins of the people, was killed. Or was it always "lamb" like the "Lamb of God" aka Jesus Christ?


Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
Silver wrote: "I have looked for Judas in the Gospels and there aren't many informations about him: we know that he betrayed and took money for this; ;...."

I agree with dely on Judas. The nature of his betrayal has proven difficult to understand because we don't have a complete account of him and it certainly can be biased.

I don't know if this is there in the first three chapters but Judas often retreats into the shadows of rocks and cliffs, hiding in the darkness. Now, this can be his mentality or/and how he is written in the Bible.


message 22: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments I don't see him like an antithesis of Jesus; perhaps of the other Apostles but not Jesus. I don't think he was the son of the Devil but he could have said these things to frighten or confuse the other Apostles or perhaps he really felt evil. This following the book, not the Gospels.
After all he was an Apostle and his betrayal was human (though we don't know the reasons), not something devilish.

I know about the lamb. In fact we still use to eat lamb for Easter (well, me not, I'm vegetarian) because it represents God who takes away the sins.


message 23: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Amalie wrote: "I don't know if this is there in the first three chapters but Judas often retreats into the shadows of rocks and cliffs, hiding in the darkness. Now, this can be his mentality or/and how he is written in the Bible. "

I don't know if it is written in the Bible but I thought that also dangerous and poisonous animals like snakes and scorpions hide under the rocks. I don't know if Andreyev talks about Judas hiding on the rocks to lead the reader think he was similar to such beasts.


Silver Amalie wrote: "Silver wrote: "I have looked for Judas in the Gospels and there aren't many informations about him: we know that he betrayed and took money for this; ;...."

I agree with dely on Judas. The nature ..."


I might be a little rusty here but I thought in the Bible he betrayed Jesus for money. He was offered payment if he reveled who Jesus was. That doesn't seem very difficult to understand. Greed is a common motivator for betrayal.


message 25: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "I might be a little rusty here but I thought in the Bible he betrayed Jesus for money. He was offered payment if he reveled who Jesus was. That doesn't seem very difficult to understand. Greed is a common motivator for betrayal."

In the Gospel he betrays for money but it can't be only for this, at least in my opinion. There must be other reasons. Perhaps Andreyev wanted to look deep inside the reasons of betrayal.


message 26: by Anya (new)

Anya dely wrote: In the Gospel he betrays for money but it can't be only for this, at least in my opinion. There must be other reasons. Perhaps Andreyev wanted to look deep inside the reasons of betrayal. "

Agreed. And I think Andreyev's foremost objective was not to provide the authoritative explanation as to why Judas betrayed Jesus. I think the biblical story was a vehicle for him to, as dely said, look deep inside the reasons of betrayal and reflect on the events of 1905.


Silver One of the other things that stuck me as kind of odd, is when Judas is arguing about how sinful and wretched people are and then it mentions that every time they visit a new town they always get money from people who love Jesus. The idea of Jesus and his disciples collecting money from people struck me as contradictory to his teachings about wealth, materialism, poverty. I never thought of him as being like a pan handler before.


message 28: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "One of the other things that stuck me as kind of odd, is when Judas is arguing about how sinful and wretched people are and then it mentions that every time they visit a new town they always get mo..."

They didn't ask money to become rich but just to buy food or other necessary things. Also Saint Francis lived in poverty but he asked for money in order to help the needy or buy stones to rennovate churches. Real Christians give money to beggars because people must be compassionate and merciful; helping the needy is a good action and Christians like to do it (perhaps not now that streets are full of false beggars).


message 29: by Anya (last edited Jul 30, 2014 04:06AM) (new)

Anya Here's an English language link about Priest Gapon, one of the inspirations for this story. He was also accused of 'double loyalty'. Hmmm...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgy_G...

So...was Gapon's betrayal of the revolutionary socialists (i.e. his collaboration with Tsarist Police) something that was essential to the success of the cause? Was it a necessary betrayal, like Judas' has been interpreted to be?


message 30: by dely (new) - rated it 3 stars

dely | 340 comments Anya wrote: "Here's an English language link about Priest Gapon, one of the inspirations for this story. He was also accused of 'double loyalty'. Hmmm...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgy_G...

So...was Gap..."


I have switched to the Italian page and it was soooo long to read, full of details!

The comparison is interesting though I don't think we can know the answer. Perhaps he was sure it was necessary or it could have been a political tactic; others believe that he was really a spy and a betrayer who worked for the police.
It isn't easy to find answers for these questions because we can't see in a human mind. Surely Andreyev wanted to leave the reader with the same unanswered questions because human mind is inscrutable.


Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
dely wrote: "I don't know if it is written in the Bible but I thought that also dangerous and poisonous animals like snakes and scorpions hide under the r..."

Yes! :) I knew there should be something.


Silver wrote: I thought in the Bible he betrayed Jesus for money. Greed is a common motivator for betrayal. ..."

That seems to be the provided answer, yes. But I doubt it had been such a simple direct reason. People are complex and their actions are motivated by various reasons.

I always wondered how Judas might have been treated since he was the only non-Galilean among the Twelve. And what might have happened if others saw Jesus loved Judas more? In this story that's what he wanted.


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