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3 Bumps

How did Judas die?

In Mathew the Bible states the Judas hangs himself. But in Acts it states that he falls... Why the contradiction?

This came up in some of my research of Judas, it's something I never noticed before... So what do you all think the truth is. Why do you think there are differences? And do you think the difference matters?

To me, if something so basic as how someone died can be controversial, from one Bible book to the next, what else isn't quite right...

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 3:40 PM on Mar. 9, 2011 in Religious Debate

Answers (21)
  • Both are true. He hung himself then his body fell onto the floor and he split open. That is the thinking of most people on Judas anyway.

    Answer by gemgem at 3:43 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • Translation errors, variations in reporting by the authors. The Bible may be divinely inspired, but it was still written by Man, who makes mistakes.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:45 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • Does it matter? He *did* die. A few contradictions aren't going to invalidate the whole text, at least not as long as people understand that the text *is* just different accounts of Jesus' life and ministry. Only if someone believes that its literal and absolute is there a problem. We need to recognize that these accounts merely show us the way those who wrote them understand the point of Jesus and his life (the NT anyway). I don't believe it was ever intended to be a literal historical account, and even if there are a few facts that don't add up, the main message is the same, because the main message - the point of it all - is a transcendent message not bound to how Judas died or any of the trivial facts of the text. Its a message that transcends the words on the page, one that isn't bound to the specifics of the events. Its just up to us to realize and see it....

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 3:45 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • (totally didn't mean that to be snarky btw..., lol)

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 3:46 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • Well hanging usually involves falling at least a short distance and death by hanging can result in a loosening of the bowels (as mentioned in Acts). Some sources suggest that what ever Judas used to hang himself on (as quoted in Matthew) could have broke causing him to fall and "burst open in the middle and his bowels gushed out" (Acts). Whether such a thing happened before or after he actually died from the hanging is up for debate. But regardless of if the rope broke and he fell or if he hung himself, the two statements are not totally contradictory.


    Answer by asmcbride at 3:50 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • Actually a few contradictions DO invalidate the whole text. How can you base your entire life around a text which contains mis-information? If something as basic as how someone dies is wrong, what about the bigger stuff? I've been studying Judas, and he's actually very interesting. The Gospel of Judas is actually answering many questions I've always had and making all of Christianity much more clear!

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:52 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • Because, again, the message that *matters* isn't about whether Judas hanged himself or died some other way. The message that *matters* is the transcendent message of love and compassion that isn't bound to those trivial details. If you look at it as different accounts that reveal that transcendent message, different perceptions and understandings that all are centered on this underlying theme, then its easy to understand which information is important and which isn't. I'm not saying not to study, I *love* studying and digging deeper, its just that *through* my study I've come to realize that those parts of the text aren't fundamental parts of that transcendent message, that theme, the main point. They don't change or effect what the text is *really* trying to tell us. Its not about seeing it as misinformation, because the truth its revealing isn't an "earthly" kind of truth, its a transcendent one...

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:11 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • First off He did fall. He was in despair. Instead of standing strong and trusting in God, that everything prophesied would come true, he doubted and forgot all that Christ taught him, in the end he fell into sin. Then He hung himself.

    Answer by daps at 6:07 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • I'm with bandgeek as far as literalism goes. But then again, I'm not a literalist, not of the Bible and not in the texts of my own faith. I think the message remains the same even as the details change... to me inconsistancies are simply going to be there because, regardless of it's information, the Bible's stories were set down by human beings and then have been translated and retranslated over the years.

    Answer by Freela at 9:29 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

  • Both are correct. When you find something that seems contradictory, doing a word/history study is always helpful. Hanging in those days was done by crucifixion or impalement. So what Judas likely did was to throw himself on a sharpened stake.

    Answer by popzaroo at 11:57 PM on Mar. 9, 2011

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