Judas Maccabaeus, a son of Mattathias, who succeeded his father in fighting the Syrians and after victories purified the Temple (1 Macc. 4: 36–61). He was killed in 160 BCE.

One of the Twelve, son of James (Luke 6: 16), probably the ‘Thaddaeus’ of Mark 3: 18.

A brother of Jesus (Mark 6: 3).

Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve; the name may derive from the Greek sikarios = assassin; or it could mean ‘man of Karioth’, making Judas the only apostle from Judah. He betrayed Jesus to the authorities. Schweitzer held that he betrayed the secret of Jesus' Messiahship, but more probably he handed over information to enable Jesus to be arrested without publicity. Afterwards Judas suffered remorse and committed suicide (Matt. 27: 5)., though one Christian tradition seems to have initiated rehabilitating Judas by showing that even his great sin might be forgiven; so in Acts 1: 18 his death is attributed to an accident.

However, Judas' rehabilitation was carried to an extreme by Gnostics of the 2nd cent. A Gospel of Judas had long been known in translated quotations of it by Irenaeus; but in 1975 the Coptic original was discovered in a papyrus Codex in the sands of Egypt and eventually made public in 2004. In this work Judas is portrayed as Jesus' friend and a hero who enables Jesus to die, so be liberated from the constraints of his mortal body and from the evil material stuff of this earth and ascend to his proper home in heaven. Jesus revealed secret knowledge which enabled Judas and other initiates to follow upwards to the realm of goodness and light and salvation from this present world. All this differs from Jesus' teaching in the canonical gospels, which is centred on the Kingdom of God and a promise of salvation which holds together in unity both creation and redemption: the creator God loved the world and the Messiah carried out his saving purpose and defeating death—not propagating a message of self-discovery.