My Name Was Judas by C K Stead - review by Francis King

Francis King

The Traitor’s Tale

My Name Was Judas


Harvill Secker 244pp £16.99

From the gnostic Gospel of Judas, published at least three hundred years after Judas’s death, to the American Taylor Caldwell’s bestselling I Judas in the Seventies, to this novel by the most versatile of present-day New Zealand writers, there have been numerous attempts to use Judas as the narrator of the tremendous story, part tragedy and part triumph, in which he played a major role.

Even if we accept that basically that story is true, the information provided by the Bible about the people involved in it is remarkably sparse. Each individual is largely defined by one dominant trait. Peter is the coward who denies any knowledge of Christ. Thomas is the unbeliever desperate for

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