Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

Judas, the disciple who was known to the high priest: A deconstruction of the betrayal based on John 18:15

Patrick Chatelion Counet
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a923 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.923 | © 2011 Patrick Chatelion Counet | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2010 | Published: 11 April 2011

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Patrick Chatelion Counet, Department of Religious Studies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Netherlands

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After his arrest, Jesus is taken to the high priest. According to John 18:15 he is accompanied by ‘another disciple’. In this article, I discuss the possibility that this other disciple was Judas. He is the one who was known to the high priest. The arguments to put him in this position are derived from a narrative analysis of the Gospel. What is the actantial role of Judas in the Gospel? Tradition describes him as an opponent of Jesus. Against this, one can see him as a helper who supports Jesus’ intention to convince the high priest and the Sanhedrin of his divine mission. In the group of Jesus Judas carries the purse. The text of the Gospel uses a curious Greek word (almost a hapax legoumenon), glôssokomon, for ‘purse’. In the Septuagint, this word indicates the Ark of the Covenant. It is highly significant for the role of Judas. It shows that the text of the Gospel sometimes generates meanings that the author cannot control.


betrayal, deconstruction; disciple; Gospel of John; Judas


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