UDAS by Igal Mossinsohn


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A powerful and disturbing novel by one of Israel's leading playwrights and novelists, this is his first to be translated into English. To the average Christian, brought up on an acceptance of the gospel version that Judas Iscariot betrayed his ord for thirty pieces of silver and then after the crucifixion repented and hung himself, this suggestion of a different and somewhat cynical interpretation will ome as a shock. For here we are told that teen years later Judas is alive, living under an assumed identity in voluntary exile, secure in his belief that he is safe, his past buried. Then comes Simon Peter to the island seeking- Judas thinks-revenge. aunted by one he had deemed a friend, prodded by Peter as to his role, subtly then penly accused of being his double and a murderer, Judas reverts to his Judaism, shouts his identity to unwilling ears, rejects the urging that he maintain his new name and allow Judas to have been a suicide in order that a legend can be sustained, the facts ignored. For the facts, according to Judas, are that theirs was a planned rebellion, that arms had been collected in Jerusalem, that Barabbas was the leader of the Underground, that Jesus sought crucifixion as a means to spark the revolt, and that Judas was simply a tool under orders (a claim singularly suggestive of the defense put forward by the Nazi officials at Nuremberg). Under the pressure of fear, his personality disintegrates, approaches madness with sexual aberrations, suspicions, violence, working up to a finale --another crucifixion, perhaps even another ""saint"" the making. The book has a strange, morbid fascination, despite its often distasteful facets.

Publisher: St Martin's Press