Thursday, January 26, 2006

Some versions of Judas as seen by Borges and Nikos Kazantzakis

"Nils Runeberg proposes an opposite moving force: an extravagant and even limitless asceticism. The ascetic, for the greater glory of God, degrades and mortifies the flesh; Judas did the same with the spirit. He renounced honor, good, peace, the Kingdom of Heaven, as others, less heroically, renounced pleasure. With a terrible lucidity he premeditated his offense.
In adultery, there is usually tenderness and self-sacrifice; in murder, courage; in profanation and blasphemy, a certain satanic splendor. Judas elected those offenses unvisited by any virtues: abuse of confidence (John 12 :6) and informing. He labored with gigantic humility; he thought himself unworthy to be good. Paul has written: Whoever glorifieth himself, let him glorify himself in God (I Corinthians 1:31); Judas sought Hell because the felicity of the Lord sufficed him. He thought that happiness, like good, is a divine attribute and not to be usurped by men."


"The general argument is not complex, even if the conclusion is monstrous. God, argues Nils Runeberg, lowered himself to be a man for the redemption of the human race; it is reasonable to assume that the sacrifice offered by him was perfect, not invalidated or attenuated by any omission. To limit all that happened to the agony of one afternoon on the cross is blasphemous. To affirm that he was a man and that he was incapable of sin contains a contradiction; the attributes of impeccabilitas and of humanitas are not compatible. Kemnitz admits that the Redeemer could feel fatigue, cold, confusion, hunger and thirst; it is reasonable to admit that he could also sin and be damned. The famous text He will sprout like a root in a dry soil; there is not good mien to him, nor beauty; despised of men and the least of them; a man of sorrow, and experienced in heartbreaks (Isaiah 53:2-3) is for many people a forecast of the Crucified in the hour of his death; for some (as for instance, Hans Lassen Martensen), it is a refutation of the beauty which the vulgar consensus attributes to Christ; for Runeberg, it is a precise prophecy, not of one moment, but of all the atrocious future, in time and eternity, of the Word made flesh. God became a man completely, a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of being reprehensible - all the way to the abyss. In order to save us, He could have chosen any of the destinies which together weave the uncertain web of history; He could have been Alexander, or Pythagoras, or Rurik, or Jesus; He chose an infamous destiny: He was Judas."

(Borges' Three Versions of Judas)

"Understand? Rabbi, you broke my heart. Sometimes I curse the day I ever met you. We held the world in our hands. Remember what you said to me? You took me in your arms, do you remember? And you begged me. "Betray me, betray me. I have to be crucified. I have to be resurrected to save the world.”I am the lamb," you said. "Death is the door. Judas, my brother, don't be afraid. Help me go through the door." And I loved you so much I went and betrayed you"

Judas to the ailing Christ in Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ, based on Nikos Kazantzakis's Novel.


P.S.
So what say you? Reader.

6 comments:

Madnas said...

Aha...


Now I know the origin of your semantics...


Of taking an arguement/emotion/perception to such a polarity that you start experiencing its antithesis.


You.

Majaz said...

Judas will be Judas. I find no courage in the murder or the love in betrayal. Opposing poles can only appeal in a result that finds some profit, at least.

If that wasn't so, he wouldn't be Judas.

Ozair said...

ooh thats twisted... by far the most interesting blog iv come by... :)

*there is courage in murder... there is tenderness in adultery... maybe even happiness nestled in the myriad folds of sadness... there is truth to a lot of things when viewed from just the right angle...

*maybe God did so to lower the bar for humans... regardless the notion is i guess, doused in a bit of romanticism... obviously from Judas' point of view...

:)

Majaz said...

But when are you gracing us with more of your posts?

Ajay said...

hey that was a bit complex
nevertheless it was awesome ... thought provoking ... will read it again and ponder a bit more.

Majaz said...

There you go. Now post something already.