The medieval legend of Judas Iscariot: the Vita of Judas and the Gospel of Barnabas

J S Mackley

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper


This paper looks at the development of the Judas Legend, particularly in the Middle Ages. The beginning of the paper establishes a foundation: how reliable are the canonical gospels and how did the legend develop along with the early church (particularly considering the Apocryphal infancy gospel and the recently discovered Gospel of Judas) before considering two texts of the medieval period: The Vita Judas, dating from around 1150 incorporated the recently re-discovered Oedipus legend and has Judas guilty of Oedipus’s crimes as well as crimes that subvert the natural order as found in the Bible); the second text is The Gospel of Barnabas, a non-canonical gospel dinting from the early fourteen century that has been worked over by Muslim scribes and in which Judas is always on the periphery of the disciples, never believing Jesus’ teaching. In this gospel, he betrays Jesus but through a miraculous transformation Judas is crucified in Jesus place
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007
EventYork Medieval Religion Research Group Meeting - King's Manor, University of York
Duration: 1 Feb 2007 → …


OtherYork Medieval Religion Research Group Meeting
Period1/02/07 → …


  • Judas
  • medieval
  • Gospel of Judas
  • Vita Judae
  • Vita of Judas
  • Gospel of Barnabas


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