My review of Judas: A Biography by Susan Gubar ran today at PopMatters.
Gubar follows in the footsteps of Jack Miles, whose extraordinary books (God: A Biography; Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God) took a literary eye to the biblical characters in an effort to understand their motivations and development. With Judas, there’s not as much to go on: only 22 references in the New Testament. Gubar instead uses those references as a starting point and goes on to evaluate the portrayals of Judas in art, politics, and culture throughout history as a means to understand how his characterization relates to the attitudes of those behind them. It’s an excellent, revealing book that touches on the foundations of Christian faith and explores the roots of antisemitism.