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1988.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:48 pm Reply with quote

Colm could do this for us - his New Testament Greek is very good - not sure if he has any Aramaic though. He doesn't get into this board, but maybe if you have the Greek bits sorted out you could email him, Jack?

1993.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 8:09 pm Reply with quote


1994.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:12 pm Reply with quote


2001.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:22 am Reply with quote

Flash, Jenny

Excellent ideas for translators, thank you.

Flash, I don't have the address of Richard Coles' cell. Could you possibly forward a method of getting in touch with him, however eerie? Alternatively, you could invite him along yourself. He would, of course, be an absolutely first class contributor to these boards.

Jenny,As to Colm, I feel a residual guilt about having a two-tier talkboard, but I think it's probably the practical solution, at least for the time being, to establish a more workmanlike attitude in the Inner Sanctum, and a more discursive relaxed one in the Outer Darkness. That seems to me to be the Utilitarian solution – 'the greatest good of the greatest number'.

You two as co-moderators may want from time to time to lure people in from the outside, but I think that must ultimately be Flash's call.

2002.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:09 am Reply with quote


Thank you for further revelatory detail on what has now become the central obsession of my life. The 'fobbing off' comment wasn't serious: I could see that you just wanted to get on with something fresh.

Brilliant work.

2003.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:13 am Reply with quote

Rabbi Lionel JumpingJack's Thought For The Day

The Judas riff is a great example of how QI can work. Each of us has obsessive edges which are seemingly inexhaustible, and other areas where we just cannot be arsed any more. We also, of course, have widely varying knowledge bases (whether hardware,software or wetware*). Pooling our different ways of looking at the world, personal experiences, books and contacts creates a virtual neural net, much more powerful than any of us can manage alone.

'Peer review' is an important element of this, the continual refinement of each other's information, and this seems to be working peachily - even if occasionally it hurts. (I found myself getting pathetically huffy about Gladiators' Thumbs the other day).

Another is distillation. The nature and purpose of QI the gameshow means that it is necessarily soundbitey. Stephen's answers have to be crisp, with not a word out of place. (And on his script they usually are, even if he sometimes cannot forbear to embrioder elaborately).

On the other hand, they are emphatically not unsupported 'trivia' but 'facts' – as 'true' and as justifiable as we can make them, based on tough-minded deep research superior to that found in the average newspaper, or, for that matter, the average university department. (Certainly more open-minded that most).

The former rests of the latter. Both are essential. 'Crisp' remarks based solely on hearsay may be good stimulus material, but someone has to do the hard research for them to be of value. Conversely, very long, unedited pastes may mean that the person charged with turning these into quiz questions may nod off or make a mistake in trying to process them.

Ultimately, it's the job of the show's 'writers' to create this synthesis. There's a point at which the wave-function of the initial insight, supported by enormous amounts of data, has to collapse into a solidly asserted factoid.

I think we are very, very close to this with The Judas Explosion now. The final cherry on the bun will be the unarguable translation of Matthew 27:5 by one or other (probably both) of our religious friends mentioned above...

*At the risk of being patronising, for those who may not know, 'wetware' is (the faintly gross) slang for the brain

2004.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:51 am Reply with quote

Picking up on Garrick's last clump of Judas theory, these ideas seem to fit with the logic of the drama.

Having attempted to wriggle out of his mistake, Judas tears out of the temple, fuelled by a high-octane mixture of righteous and guilty anger. He returns in due course to the disciples, who are frightened and confused – and, of course, feeling guilty themselves. They fell asleep in Gethsemane when they were supposed to be standing guard. Matthew nearly succumbed to taking the Pharisees' shilling himself. Peter is cursing himself for being a total coward in denying Jesus three times.

Judas is shame-faced inside and desperately hoping to be understood, but the disciples are cold towards him. Blood is thicker than water, and they badly need a scapegoat to make themselves feel better.

Judas is sullen and defensive. He tries to justify himself. An argument breaks out. ('We never liked you from the start') Punches are thrown. One of the disciples with less reason to feel guilty than some of the others (Thomas or James, Jesus' brother, perhaps) manages to calm everyone down.

This is not what Jesus would have wanted, argues the peacemaker.Whatever Judas has done, he was chosen by Jesus as one of the disciples – even to the extent that Jesus chose him as his betrayer, in front of all of them. They must stick together, or all Jesus' work will have been in vain.

So an uneasy peace is achieved, but Judas is deeply depressed. Most of the others cannot meet his eye and rarely speak to him. Judas doesn't come by much, but sits at home, resentful and gloomy, bitterly kicking the furniture.

He tags along to the Ascension, but in the meantime the other disciples have cemented their tribal loyalties. As far as they're concerned Judas is anathema. Despite the amazing show, Judas has a horrible time and leaves early, like a theatre-goer before the encore, avoiding the crush.

He goes back home, and notices the sack of the disciples' money on his sideboard. 'Fuck the lot of 'em', he thinks, 'I've had enough of this. I'm going to buy a little property and retire to grow fruit'.

Judas gets ill with a ruptured spleen and blows up like a balloon. Later, struggling alone to move a huge boulder on the barren acres he has bought, he suffers a stroke brought on by the intolerable pressure, and falls down the steep slope impaling himself on a shard and exploding hideously.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

2013.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 7:34 am Reply with quote

Wow Jack - that sounds like a pitch for Judas - the movie. Amazing! I'd go and see it...

even to the extent that Jesus chose him as his betrayer, in front of all of them.

This is the part of the story that niggles at me the most. Did Jesus choose Judas as his betrayer - tell him to betray him because it was essential for Jesus to be betrayed and suffer death in order to fulfil the prophecies (and we know that Jesus went out of his way to perform actions that fulfilled the prophecies, as in riding into Jerusalem on an ass). If so, then Judas is the most essential member of the disciples, because without him the prophecies could not be fulfilled. Or did Jesus somehow sense that Judas would betray him? All those Christian websites seem to ooze the certainty that Satan entered Judas' soul and that Judas is in hell, but if Judas hadn't done the deed Christ would not have been crucified, which would rather negate the point of his ministry.

2029.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 11:25 am Reply with quote


2041.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:12 pm Reply with quote

Incidentally, did you know that Judas clown troops appear, and figures of Judas are exploded, during Holy Week in some of the Tarascan-Mestizo towns on Lake Pátzcuaro?

See for a picture and further details.

There's also a cartoon on

2042.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:55 pm Reply with quote

And off at a tangent to the Judas topic, but I thought this was QI:

It is believed to be the first discovery of a New Testament verse carved onto an ancient Holy Land shrine - even Old Testament inscriptions are rare because the ancients believed that carving Scripture onto monuments debased sacred words. The practice only began around 1000AD in Europe.

The inscription declares the 60-foot-high monument is the tomb of Simon, a devout Jew who the Bible says cradled the infant Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah.

It's actually unlikely Simon is buried there; the monument is one of several built for Jerusalem's aristocracy at the time of Jesus. However, the inscription does back up what until now were scant references to a Byzantine-era belief that three biblical figures - Simon, Zachariah and James, the brother of Jesus -shared the same tomb.

Earlier this year, an inscription referring to Zachariah, who was John the Baptist's father, was found on the same facade.

The archaologists uncovered the inscription using a 19th century technique of spreading a kind of papier mache over the surface, having detected the rough shape of the inscription on a photograph taken at sunset - the slanting light created shadows which showed that something was there.

2051.  Mon Nov 24, 2003 7:05 pm Reply with quote


2109.  Tue Nov 25, 2003 11:53 am Reply with quote

My friend at vicar school, Richard Coles, has this to say about the exploding Judas debate:

Now I'm glad you asked me that...

Don't go down the apanchomai road; the solution which reconciles
differing material in the NT is nearly always the wrong one because it
answers an interpetative need rather than a textual problem. Or, to put
it as a question, why would someone want to harmonise the different NT

Usually these differences occur because, first, these are not eye-
witness accounts, but material circulating in particular traditions in
different places - Matthew probably Antioch, Acts proboably Rome or
Achaia - maybe fifty years after the events they describe. And second,
the writers are not primarily interested in reportage, they're
interested in demonstrating the meaning of the life and death and new
life of Jesus - i.e. they are theologians. So material in the NT which
seems wonky or fishy is often the reuslt of the writer trying to
reconcile stories about Jesus with Old Testament prophecy, Jewish
expectation, jots and tittles of Torah and so on. So here I think the
writer of Matthew is trying to (a) show the fulfilment of the prophecy
at 26:24, (b) maybe explain to his circle why the potter's field came
to be known as the field of blood, and, most importantly, (c) show that
the events are prefigured in Zechariah 11:12-13, Exodus 9:12 - thirty
pieces of silver - and 2 Samuel 17:23. His overriding concern always is
to show that Jesus is the Messiah, the one who comes in fulfilment of
Israel's hope as set out in the Law and the Prophets.

In Acts I think the writer - a gentile writing for gentiles unlike the
Jewish Matthew - is maybe thinking of the nasty ends that befall God's
enemies - 2 Maccabees 9:7-12, Wisdom 4:19 - and look at what happens to
Herod a bit further on in 12:23.

So I shouldn't bother trying to reconcile them.

And how do you make a quiz question out of that?

So has he shot our fox, do you think?

2113.  Tue Nov 25, 2003 1:38 pm Reply with quote


2117.  Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:37 pm Reply with quote

OK I wonder what happens if we take the interpretation of apanchomai to mean that he was choked with emotion, and go the medical route for the other explanation. What could happen to a person, realistically, that would cause people coming upon the body later to conclude that he had exploded? The account in Acts doesn't suggest that anybody saw him explode, so presumably his body was discovered after the event.

Hara kiri? But no weapon mentioned. Some interpreters have suggested that he impaled himself on a sharp rock, but surely he would still be sticking on it if that was the case?


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