Review of Susan Gubar, “Judas: A Biography” (2009)

review-of-susan-gubar-judas-a-biography-2009“In Judas: A Biography, Susan Gubar has amassed a long, grim and often nauseating catalog of the ways in which the Christian imagination has vented its wrath on the disciple who betrayed his master. . . The author of the medieval Golden Legend imagined Judas’s early life, which included killing his father and marrying his mother; an Arabic legend conjured an infant Judas obsessively biting himself. Medieval artists portrayed him as a slavering brute, deploying a racist arsenal of Jewish and African stereotypes to contrast him with the lily-white Jesus. No wonder that Dante placed Judas at the very bottom of the Inferno, where he is gnawed by Satan: ‘his head within and outside flails his legs.'” [. . .]    –Adam Kirsch, The New York Times, April 3, 2009