Objections to the Bible: the death of Judas Iscariot

For some, the accounts of the death of Judas Iscariot reveal contradictions in the scriptural text. Again I have to ask the question: were the first Christians really so stupid that they didn’t notice these supposed contradictions? The arrogance of the modern really shines through in some textual criticism. The basic accounts are in Matthew 27 and Acts 1 and harmonize easily if we picture Judas hanging himself on a tree over a valley and then falling and bursting apart.

R.J. Knowling’s commentary on Acts has this to say:

Wendt and others maintain that St. Luke here follows a different tradition from St. Matthew, xxvii. 6 ff., and that it is only arbitrary to attempt to reconcile them. But Felton and Zockler…see in St. Luke’s description a later stage in the terrible end of the traitor…if the rope broke, or a branch gave way under the weight of Judas, St. Luke’s narrative might easily be supplementary to that of St. Matthew. Blass, in loco, adopts the former alternative, and holds that thus the narrative may be harmonized with that of St. Matthew, when the rope broke, he fell to the ground…

The words no doubt mean strictly “falling flat on his face”…not “falling headlong,” and so they do not necessarily imply that Judas fell over a precipice, but Hackett’s view that Judas may have hung himself from a tree on the edge of a precipice near the valley of Hinnom, and that he fell on to the rocky pavement below is suggested from his own observation of the locality…At all events there is nothing disconcerting in the supposition that we may have here “some unknown series of facts, of which we have but two fragmentary narratives:”

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