Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Judas Iscariot, The Author of the Fourth Gospel" by C. S. Griffin

NOTE: Since publishing this post I found Mr. Griffin's pamphlet in a much more readable format at the Open Library website. Here is the link to the pamphlet at Open Library: http://archive.org/stream/judasiscariotaut00grif#page/n1/mode/2up

Note added by Gary on July 26, 2012.

        I scanned photocopies of the pamphlet, "Judas Iscariot, The Author of the Fourth Gospel," by C. S. Griffin and attached the images to a page of inmyownname.com.

        To see the images, CLICK HERE.

        The images are blurry, so I typed an edited copy of the pamphlet to post as a regular blog post.

        That copy follows this preamble.

        I include Mr. Griffin's pamphlet at inmyownname.com because I know of no other access to the pamphlet on the internet.




        The facts that brought this book out were stumbled upon in this way: One day I picked up a Bible that had at the beginning of each book some historical account of its origin and authorship. Among those I read the account of the book of St. John, which said that a majority of the early fathers ascribed this book to him, but that one or more had ascribed it to Peter. This caption cited one or two passages as evidence that John was the author. I turned to them and concluded that they did not sustain the position, and my curiosity being thoroughly aroused I carefully went through the book to see what else could be found relative to its authorship. Among the first things to inspire me was the clear and repeated evidence that the author purposely hid his own identity. There is abundant proof, which is cited in the following pages, that neither John or Peter could have been the author. While reading the last chapter I was startled with the thought that perhaps Judas Iscariot might be the author. After re-reading the book many times and the other gospels and the epistles, this startling thought was fully confirmed, the proof of which is taken from the book itself. I have looked for no evidence outside of the New Testament itself, and used but little outside of the fourth gospel to prove its authorship. As small as this pamphlet is, I have had it under examination more than five years, and have read not only the book itself but the whole New Testament many times through to get at the evidence pro and con upon the facts asserted. The substance of this pamphlet has been published in a newspaper. The fourth gospel is probably more dear to the Christian heart than any other, and when we understand its real origin it becomes doubly so, and throws added light upon the whole New Testament.
C. S. Griffin,
812 Washington Street
Boston, Mass., Apr. 25, 1892.



        I believe Judas Iscariot was the author of the book of St. John, the fourth gospel; also the author of the three epistles ascribed to John. The history of the New Testament shows that the authorship of the book of John is in doubt, although a majority of the early fathers ascribe this book to him, but a careful study of the book shows that John could not have been the author.
        Peter, James and John were the only three disciples present with Jesus upon the mount when Moses and Elijah materialized, or at the "transfiguration" as it is called. (Luke 9:28; Matt 17:1; Mark 9:1) This was the most remarkable thing John ever witnessed, yet the book of John makes no mention of such an occurrence. Had John written the book he would certainly have mentioned this remarkable scene. We are therefore bound to conclude that either John never saw the transfiguration, or John never wrote the book ascribed to him.
        At the raising of the daughter, John, Peter and James were the only three disciples present, according to the other gospels, (Luke 8:49; Mark 5:35) but the book of John makes no mention of the occurrence. As John and only two others were specially chosen to witness these two most remarkable events, also his last prayer in Gethsemane, (Matt 26:37; Mark 14:33) it is not probable that he would write a biography of Jesus and not mention either of them, and this is the more remarkable because the book of John is the most carefully written of the four gospels, and the book was so clearly written by an eye-witness of what it relates that one can hardly doubt that the author was one of Jesus' disciples. The question is, which one?
        What first leads to the suspicion that Judas Iscariot is the author, is the fact that the author purposely hides his identity on several occasions. He always speaks of himself as "another disciple," or "the disciple whom Jesus loved," or "one other disciple." The author must have known the name of this "other disciple," had it not been himself, and being so careful to mention all other things, even to small details, we can only conclude that he covered up the name of this disciple for some good reason.
        According to this book, the two disciples who first followed Jesus were Andrew and another disciple. Why did not the book tell us his name? These two immediately found Simon Peter. This book says Judas was the son of Simon. I believe Judas was the son of Simon



Peter, and the nephew of Andrew, and not the son of Simon, called Zelotes, as most commentators think.
        It will probably be asserted that Judas died immediately after the crucifixion, and therefore could not have been the author of this book. There are two accounts of his death: one is that he committed suicide by hanging; (Matt 27:3,4,5.) another is that he fell headlong, burst asunder and his bowels gushed out; (Acts 1:18) As the authors of Matthew and the Acts were neither of them eye-witnesses of the things they relate, but gathered the contents of their books from the people, it is not surprising that they heard and believed many strange stories. We are told by the New Testament in several places that many false reports got abroad and were generally believed, and this story of the death of Judas, especially as related in Acts, has every appearance of a false tradition, and this is the more probable because the other three gospels say nothing of the death of Judas.
        I believe it was at the sea of Tiberias (John 21:1,2) where Jesus last appeared to his disciples that he separated Judas from the others, and Peter looking back saw Judas and said "Lord, and what shall this man do?" It is a curious fact that the book ends with this scene, and makes no mention of the ascension spoken of in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50, and Acts 1:9. Would John have failed to mention the ascension?
        The last six verses in the book of John are in these words; "Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following: (which also leaned on his breast at supper and said, Which is he that betrayeth thee?) Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die; yet Jesus said not that he should not die, but that If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."
        The above quotation from the book of John shows several facts. One is that the "beloved disciple" testified of these things and wrote these things, or, in other words, wrote the book of John, so called. All commentators agree that the "beloved disciple" is the author of this book. Neither of the other gospels speak of a "beloved disciple," or indicate that John was any more beloved than Peter or James. Judas was probably the youngest of the twelve because his father was also a disciple with them. Judas carried the purse and probably made all the collections, and at least was entrusted to buy such things as were needed by the disciples, and distributed the gifts to the poor.



This shows that Jesus trusted him, and it was probably due to his youth partly, for older disciples could better attend to the more religious duties and instructions.
        The word "we" in the next to the last verse is important. This word "we" appears also in the last verse of the last epistle of John. It was customary in those days to employ a scribe to do the writing. Paul wrote but one of his epistles with his own hand. Peter employed a scribe (2 Peter 5:12) and we may well conclude that Judas did also.
        That Judas was not a traitor will be shown further on, although he went to the enemy in the guise of a betrayer, but he only did as Jesus told him privately to do. This  was partly why he believed himself the specially beloved, because he was given a task for which all men would brand him with infamy. But beside this, at the crucifixion, when all the other disciples had fled for safety, Jesus consigned his mother to the life-long care of Judas, who alone of all the disciples could live in safety among the Jews, because he was no longer considered one of the hated Christians, and the proof of this will be given further on as we wish to deal at present with the above quotation from the book of John.
        Besides showing that the "beloved disciple" wrote the book, it shows also that a false report of what Jesus said had not only got abroad but was also believed by the brethren, namely, that Jesus had declared that the beloved disciple should not die. That this false report should prevail among the brethren is significant, for it was a most important statement about one of their own number. Judas was separated from this number, and on motion of Peter a new disciple was chosen to fill his place. The brethren might believe this about Judas, for he was not there to correct it. But no such false report could be believed by them about John, for John was with them and could and would have corrected it. They believed that only through death could they receive their great reward, and it was natural that they might believe that Jesus had declared that Judas should never die, for all, save probably Peter, believed Judas had been a traitor to Jesus.
        In the Holy Land a belief still prevails that an ancient evil-doer was forbidden to die and that same wandering Jew is still roaming about the earth. To be forbidden to die was in their belief a curse and in no sense could it be applied to John, yet it was a perfectly natural error to fall into about Judas. In the passage above cited it is also further evident that the author does not like this false report, for he is very clear and emphatic in his correction of it.
        The quotation further shows in the last paragraph two facts; first that the author does not think that his book contains an account of all the things that Jesus did. It indicates that he had written only the very few things that he himself knew to be true, and the whole book indicates the same thing. Secondly, that the author was a very ignor-



ant man, for he says he supposes the world itself would not contain the books that would give an account of all that Jesus did. Probably the number of sheepskins it took to write his book  on made quite a pile in itself. Judas probably wrote this book when he was an old man, and he had no doubt heard thousands of marvelous tales about the things Jesus had done, and this is why he thought skins enough to write them all on would fill the world. He had probably heard many statements that he knew to be false and he wrote the book that concerning certain matters the exact truth might be known. He was careful to state which was the first and which was the second miracle Jesus did after his baptism, and he made several other statements in a similar manner, as though he was specially anxious there should be no confusion on the point.
        On the occasion when Mary was anointing Jesus, (John 12:6) Judas recommended that the ointment be sold and the proceeds given to the poor, and in narrating it he says he cared nothing for the poor, but he was a thief and carried the bag. This was certainly a hard thing for one to say about himself, although he was disguising his authorship. But in his more mature years he looked back on that event only to be filled with the bitterness his words express. He was no doubt selfish at that time, loved money, thought but little of religion and cared but little for the poor, and certainly could not then have realized the significance of the anointing, and he was probably not more honest than other young men of his time who had been raised as he was; and, looking back on all this in his mature years, the words he has written could well have expressed his feelings. He believed Jesus had known every good and bad impulse of his heart, yet loved and trusted him; and finally, though the youngest, Jesus placed upon him the heaviest burden of all, and it is not surprising that he loved to write of himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," though he could not tell his name and have his book received by the Christian world.
        That John would not have written such harsh things about Judas is evident from the tone of the whole New Testament. When the new disciple was chosen, Peter spoke of Judas in these words, (Acts 1:16): "Men and brethren; this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus." Peter here speaks of Judas as a guide prophesied of in the time of David as necessary to fulfill the Scriptures.
        It is not probable that John would have referred to him in any harsher or different tones. Verses 18 and 19, (Acts 1:18,19) following the above quotation, might, to a careless reader, appear to be quoted from Peter's speech; they describe the death and burial of Judas. It reads: -

        18. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels



gushed out.

        16. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood.

        These two verses are historical, and descriptive of the language used in Jerusalem. For those reasons they could not have been quoted from Peter's speech, for Peter was speaking in Jerusalem at the time, and to the natives, and on the next day after the ascension. I have been the more particular about this because many have thought it was the language of Peter that is describing the death and burial of Judas.
        There is one part of the book of John, viz., from verse 31 in chap. xiii. to the end of chap. xvii., that is a long sermon so much like the Sermon on the Mount that it is probably mixed up with it. It purports to have been delivered at the supper table after Judas went out to notify the authorities where to find Jesus, and only the other eleven were present to hear it, and it is certainly too long for any man to have remembered and written down. With this part left out, the whole book is one connected narrative, and such a one as one in Judas' condition might have easily remembered and written at any time in his life afterward. Judas may have written this sermon, but it looks like a stray parchment that belongs to some other book or to another place in this book. I believe it belongs to another book.

        Verses 21 to 31 inclusive in chap. xiii. are as follows:

        21. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified and said: Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

        22. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

        23. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples whom Jesus loved.

        24. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

        25. He then lying on Jesus' breast, said unto him, Lord, who is it?

        26. Jesus answered, He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

        27. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

        Now, the careless reader might suppose that all at the table knew who was to betray Jesus, and that he was told to go about it quickly; but notice the three next verses: -

        28. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.

        29. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things we have need of against the



feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.

        30. He then having received the sop, went immediately out, and it was night.

        31. Therefore when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

        The beginning of chap. xviii. makes a connected story from this on, and if Judas wrote the intervening as it appears, he used it in a manner to hide his identity. But the above ten verses quoted from chap. xiii. are very important. Verse 24 says Peter beckoned to the beloved disciple to ask which one would betray him, and the beloved disciple while leaning on his breast said, "Lord, who is it?" "Jesus answered," &c. To whom could Jesus have answered but to the beloved disciple? It is evident Peter did not ask his question in words - he asked by a sign or beckoning, and evidently none present understood Peter's question or suspected that he had asked anything but the beloved disciple, for verse 28 begins, "Now, no man at the table knew," &c.
        It is quite clear that not even Peter heard what Jesus answered to the disciple leaning on his breast, for it says no man at the table knew the meaning of Jesus' words addressed to Judas, viz., "That thou doest, do quickly." Peter would have known the meaning of this if he had, after his sign, heard what Jesus said about the sop. If Judas had been leaning on Jesus' breast he could have easily understood without the others catching the words, and this is the only solution to the mystery, that only Judas understood Jesus. For the occasion was such, and the signs and words were all so important that the whole would have been evident to all of them if Peter's beckoning had been understood or even noticed. Had John written the book it would have read: "For some of us thought," instead of "Some of them." That sentence was consistent alone for Judas to write. The author also mentions that it was night when Judas got outside. Who would remember this better than Judas, judging of his mission and probable state of mind at that moment?
        The above quotation also shows that Judas had never dreamed of showing the authorities where Jesus concealed himself nights, until Jesus told them all at the table that one should betray him, and not even then until the sop had been handed to Judas. It was then that "Satan entered into him." It is evident that he thought he had done wrong in betraying Jesus, and that he believed Satan had inspired him, and that his own vileness of heart had enabled Satan to take that possession of him. Thus he believed in his own vileness and the wickedness of the act. And it is quite probable he took the bribe that was offered only to learn that he could not use it, for Jesus or the brethren who would cast him out, and further remembering that Jesus had not authorized him to take anything for the service, and had always condemned covetousness. All these reflections naturally led to self-re-




        This book says the Church authorities did not dare arrest Jesus during the day for fear of the multitude, and this is why they sought him by night when alone, or only with his disciples. At the Last Supper, when Peter spoke with a sign or motion it would indicate that the disciples felt the need of keeping very quiet, and if Jesus had   spoken only in a whisper to Judas it would not have been surprising. (Matt 26:36-46; Luke 22:44) His fervent prayer in the garden was perfectly consistent, but Peter, James, and John would not have slept then, had they understood the mission Judas was on. This also indicates that Peter did not understand Jesus' words to Judas, and John could not have been on his breast, for the disciples were also endangered by the  exposior.
        When Jesus was arrested he said, "Take me and let these go," and they arrested Jesus only. The subsequent experience of Peter (Matt 26:56,58,74) shows the danger the disciples were in if they could be identified. Peter had to deliberately falsify and curse and swear to convince them that he was not a disciple. After the arrest described in John 18 verse 15 begins as follows: -

        15. And Simon Peter followed Jesus and so did another disciple. That disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.

        16. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple which was known unto the high priest and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.

        17. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.

        18. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals (for it was cold) and they warmed themselves, and Peter stood with them and warmed himself.

        Thus the chapter goes on describing in this minute manner all that occurred in the presence of "that other disciple," thus showing that "that other disciple" must have written the account. But it shows more. It says that "that other disciple" was known unto the high priest. Who but Judas, among Jesus' disciples, could have been so favorably known by the high priest that he could have influence with the servants to let in a stranger? as he persuaded her to let in Peter. Judas had just been there all the evening for the purpose of conducting the posse they were getting together to arrest Jesus. It is thus natural that Judas should be perfectly safe in this palace and have some influence with the servants while Peter was unknown and in danger. This same "other disciple" also went over to the judgment hall and appears to have entered there also; the priests did not enter, yet "that other disciple" appears to be perfectly safe, though Peter had denied his identity and fled for safety. How could John have filled the place of "that other disciple" on this occasion? No one but Judas



could have filled it. To him all was safe, and the story seems perfectly natural.

        In those days women were not held accountable for crimes; their husbands, fathers or guardians, were held accountable for the conduct of the women, as though the women were property like cattle. For this reason the women were at the cross, but "that other disciple" was the only man there that had been a friend of Jesus, and in this connection verses 34 and 35 of chap. xix. are important. They read: -

        34. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water.

        35. And he that saw it, bare record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

        This certainly is the statement of the author of the book of what he saw with his own eyes, and he seems very anxious that this statement should be believed. It had probably been denied. It certainly indicates an honest and positive authorship. Verses 38 and 39 of chap. xix. show that the disciples feared to be known. The following should be cited, John xix. :-

        25. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

        26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son.

        27. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

        The above shows several facts: First, that there were four women at the cross, and this one un-named disciple.Also that Jesus assigned his mother to the keeping of that disciple. Being thus assigned to take Jesus' place in the care of Jesus' mother would certainly convince even Judas that he was the beloved disciple. This is the more important, because the mother of Jesus had at least six other children, as appears by the following. Mat. xiii. 55. 56. reads :-

        Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas. And his sisters, are they not all with us.

         To the same effect in Mark 6:3. In Paul's epistle to the Galatians i. 19. he says, concerning persons he met in Jerusalem, "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."
        The reason Jesus had for not leaving his mother in the care of her other four sons must be that they had become followers of his and would always be in jeopardy. Judas Iscariot was alone safe from persecution.
        We will quote once more from the book of John to show that the author purposely hides his identity. John xx. 1-10, reads as follows; -

        1. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from



the sepulcher.

        2. Then she runneth and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him.

        3. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher.

        4. So they ran both together, and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.

        5. And he stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloth lying, yet went he not in.

        6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher and seeth the linen cloth lie.

        7. And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen cloth, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

        8. Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulcher, and saw, and believed.

        9. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

        10. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home."

        What reason could John have for thus concealing his name? Verses 1 and 2 of chap. xxi. are as follows:-

        1. After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.

        2. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

        This second verse is important because it contains the only reference to John or his brother James that occurs anywhere in this book of John, and here they are only mentioned as the sons of Zebedee. Neither of their names appear in the book. If John had written the book would he thus have ignored the name of his brother?
        John the Baptist is frequently spoken of but not John the son of Zebedee who is supposed to be "the beloved disciple."
        The Gospel of John, so called, mentions only seven of the disciples by name, viz: Peter, Andrew, Philip, Nathaniel, Thomas, Judas Iscariot and Judas. This book merely says that the last named Judas is not Iscariot (xiv. 22) and Acts i. 13 says the same.
        When Judas Iscariot was left behind these at the sea of Tiberias never to see Jesus or the other disciples again, the fish they had caught were evidently left with him, and probably the nets, boats and the business also to enable him to support his new charge, Jesus' mother and sisters. He tells us there were 153 fish. (vi. 11) The next day a new disciple was chosen to take his place with the twelve and these remained at Jerusalem until after the day of Pentecost. (see Acts 1:16 and Acts 2:1)


10          JUDAS ISCARIOT

Then scattered and gave their lives to the ministry.
        Seeing that the "beloved disciple" twice declared that he wrote the book, and many times purposely covers up his own name, and leaves out everything that was specially important to John, and also did things that Judas alone could have done, - does not this all point to one conclusion, namely, that Judas Iscariot wrote the book ascribed to John?
        Did Judas write the three epistles ascribed to John? In those days it was customary to begin an epistle with the name of the author, and not sign the name at the last end as we do. All the epistles in the New Testament begin with the name of the author except the three epistles ascribed to John, and the epistle to the Hebrews. The epistle to the Hebrews closes by saying it was "Written to the Hebrews from Italy by Timothy." The three epistles ascribed to John do not tell who wrote them, or to whom they were written, or where, or when written. The second  epistle begins: "The elder unto the elect lady and her children," and in closing this letter to her, he says; "The children of thy elect sister greet thee, amen."
        If the author had married one of Jesus' sisters, who, (by caring for the mother,) must have been in his care also, and his wife had died leaving him children, then, in that case, we can understand the meaning of "the elect lady" and the greeting he sends her from the children of her "elect sister." There seems to be no other explanation to this letter than that the "beloved disciple" became the brother-in-law of Jesus.
        The next to the last verse in this second epistle reads: -

        "Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink, but I trust to come unto you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full."

        This spirit of secrecy does not appear in any other writings but those ascribed to John. All this would be consistent for Judas Iscariot but not for John. Who then but Judas can be the author?
        I believe John the son of Zebedee wrote Revelation, but there is not the least evidence that he wrote the gospel or either of the epistles that are ascribed to him.
        James, and Judas the brother of James, I believe were brothers of Jesus, and that James the brother of Jesus wrote the "Epistle of James," and that Judas the brother of James, whom Mark calls Juda (vi. 3) is a brother of Jesus and the author of the "Epistle of Jude" (see Jude 1:1) Thus three of the sons of Mary are founders of the New Testament, and Judas Iscariot was the most carefully truthful and faithful of Jesus biographers.
        As Judas, the archetype of all traitors, can be acquitted, so all men will be found good hearted toward the just.

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