This fascinating books sifts the evidence and startlingly concludes that in the earliest sources Judas was not a traitor. While the name Judas Iscariot evokes horror among many people, Klassen argues persuasively that Judas may have meant no harm in handing over Jesus to the religious authorities. The book traces the ways in which Judas is portrayed by the four writers of the gospels, showing how the picture was increasingly demonized as the later gospels were written.
This is the most important study in English of Judas within the context of first-century Judaism. Klassen shows by rich reference to literature of both the ancient period and later times how the concept of Judas as traitor emerged.