Date: Fri, 19 Dec 1997 13:06:34 -0500
To: Stevan Davies 
Subject: the Twelve and Judas

On Thu, 18 Dec 1997, Stevan Davies wrote:

> Yuri wrote:
> > We know about the Levites and their Temple service. We know about other
> > tribes all over the Tanach. So there were all these tribes that were very
> > important. So how many tribes were there according to you? Or the number
> > was unimportant? I trust you will reveal to me the True Meaning of the
> > Word as it was meant to be understood.
> Yes, always glad to help. Jesus had 12 main associates. Later on
> it was decided that 12 associates has something to do with 12 tribes
> although only in one NT sentence. Later on still it was thought 
> obvious that if Jesus had 12 disciples his contemporaries would have 
> known that 12 always equals 12 tribes because of the wealth of 
> Jewish textual evidence in Nakh etc. that they did that sort of 
> thing. But so far as I can tell there isn't any such evidence.

Well, Steve, let's look at this evidence. Would you agree with me that the
tribes were important, which tribe were you from was important, and that
there were 12 tribes altogether? I think all this is self-evident. Yes? So
then you would agree that everyone in Israel knew for sure that there were
12 tribes of Israel? 

Everyone had to know this. Jewish Scriptures may be quite irrelevant here.
Even those who could not read, or knew nothing about the Scriptures, all
knew this piece of information anyway. 

The alsternative for you of course would be to suggest that it was not 12
but perhaps 21, or 17, tribes of Israel... Suggest your own number if you

> And so
> the whole shawl begins to unravel. Knit it up for me will ya?

I tried.


> Here's the one sentence:
> Matthew 19:28
> Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, 
> when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne,
> you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, 
> judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
> Is this it? This is the evidence? This wierd business? This
> is the Historical Jesus speaking? It's one of the lines I'd pick
> out to prove Jesus was clinically insane if I was of a mind to 
> argue that. 

I cannot disagree with your here. Anyone who would seriously suggest that
the above is historical should really think twice if they seriously
consider themselves in the business of historical scholarship. Their faith
agenda may be showing...

This is how I see the likely scenario. A few years after the Crucifixion,
the idea emerged in the Jerusalem branch of the movement to create a
college of the 12. These 12 were perhaps all early disciples, but not
necessarily. This was the time when intense work was going on to mine the
Tanach for the appropriate prophesies and references to give the HJ a
scriptural backing. Process that is generally well understood now. This is
the period when the above quite early Mt text about the 12 was created. 

At a much later stage, probably post-70, the myth of Judas emerged in the
Hellenistic circles. This myth is clearly anti-Judaic if not antisemitic.
This Judas was made to be one of the 12, perhaps as a snide way of putting
down the original 12. The interest in bringing down the original 12 a
notch or two was clear in the later Hellenistic/Pauline circles. Needless
to say, the myth of Judas is in violent contradiction with the myth of 12. 

The historicity of Judas is nonexistent above all for the simple reason
that if the authorities wanted to arrest Jesus, they really did not need
any inside informer or informers anyway. This myth is not only lacking all
historical sense, but it also is lacking _all logical sense_. What was the
role of Judas according to the Scriptures, anyway? To point the finger and
to kiss the Promised One? For this they paid him big money? 



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