Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Judas Iscariot

  • Clodagh WeldonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_360


In Christianity, Judas Iscariot is one of the 12 apostles who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. His name, Judas (Ioudas), is the Greek form of Judah, the southern territory of Palestine (renamed Judea by the Romans). The inhabitants of Judah were the Judahites (later abbreviated as “Jews”), and thus Judas’ name is equated with the Jews. The name “Iscariot” is subjected to two different interpretations. The first is that it means “Man of Kerioth,” a city in Judah (Joshua 15:25), which would be significant because it would present Judas as an outsider, a man who was different from the 11 Galileans. A second suggestion is that “Iscariot” derives from the Greek “sicarri,” a sect of the Zealots who took up arms (daggers) against the Romans. Whichever interpretation is preferred, Judas’ name is synonymous with betrayal; to call someone a “Judas” is to express contempt for the duplicitous behavior of that person.

Judas in the Bible

In the Old Testament, Judah was the son of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dominican UniversityRiver ForestUSA