Judas Iscariot, An Antisemitic Stereotype

Bitter Winter Magazine published a fascinating interview with Christophe Stener by editor Massimo Introvigne discussing Judas Iscariot as an anti-Semitic stereotype. The interview begins:

Christophe Stener graduated from Sciences Po and the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA). He is currently Professor of Geostrategy at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest (UCO), Angers. He has published a monumental work on Judas, and the use of the image of Judas to promote antisemitism.

Q: Professor Christophe Stener, you published a lengthy work, seven volumes, more than 4,000 pages, up to 1,000 images, about the “Iconographie antisémite de la vie de Judas Iscariot [The Antisemitic Iconography of the Life of Judas Iscariot].” What was your starting point?

A: “Judas!” as a common insult. Judas as the quintessential bad guy in the Gospels. The antisemitic iconic figure of the ugly Jew. I wanted to understand how all this religious propaganda flourished.

Q: When did it started?

A: As early as the Gospels. Mark’s and Mathew’s Gospels are factual, Luke introduces Satan, John makes the greediness the motive for the delivery. Origen (ca. 185–253) is objective, and questions the why of the delivery, while the Patristic literature portrays Judas as the antagonist. The Middle Ages exacerbated the Satanic dimension of Judas as the iconic sinner charged with lust, avarice, felony… I reviewed the representation of Judas in religious texts, from the Gospels to 20th century theology, through a very basic issue: Why did Judas deliver Jesus?

Q: “Delivery” or treason?

The New Testament mostly says paradounai (delivery), not prodotes (treason), but Jerome in his Vulgata always uses traditus, alluding to a treason and making Judas the quintessential traitor, “der Erz-Schelm” (the damn bad guy) to quote the German divine Abraham a Sancta Clara (1644–1709).


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