Published by Howard Books on February 2013
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Historical
Buy on Amazon
Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brilliantly adapts the life of Judas Iscariot into a dazzling work of fiction—humanizing the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal.
Based on extensive research into the life and times of Judas Iscariot, this triumph of fiction storytelling by the author of Havah: The Story of Eve revisits one of biblical history’s most maligned figures and brings the world he inhabited vividly to life.
Iscariot | Tosca Lee
He has been despised and rejected by men. He met his end when he was hung upon a tree. Very likely he was a well-known religious leader of his time. No, not Jesus…the one we often consider his opposite—Judas. With elegant prose, an impeccable use of history, and just a bit of artistic freedom, Lee brings the story of the most notorious apostle to life and offers an interesting perspective on the man from Kerioth and the Galilean rabbi he followed.
Iscariot is both reverent and salacious, true to Scripture and history even as it explodes the common perception of Jesus’ most notorious disciple. Lee humanizes Judas, makes him real, gives him flesh, delivers him from the judgment that Christians through the millennia have cast. And throughout, the haunting question of Iscariot is whether or not you, dear reader, would have done the same.
Lee begins her story when Judas is a small child in Jerusalem. The city is in unrest following a revolt at the gates of Herod’s Temple. Judas’s family flees the city and settles in Sepphoris, but revolt follows them as Judas’s father throws in his lot with the revolutionary Judas ben Hezekiah. Their resultant defeat by Rome not only left Sepphoris in shambles but made a shambles of Judas’s life.
Flash forward to many years later. Judas has become a religious leader, involved with Temple activities. His life is blessed but he still believes he is missing something. When he and a friend go to investigate a crazed madman baptizing in the Jordan, he sees a figure whom he will never forget—Jesus.
Judas soon believes that this Jesus may be the One, the Messiah, and called by Jesus himself, begins to follow the miracle-working Galilean. As the years pass, Judas becomes immersed in following Jesus, is positive that he will end the Roman rule, is certain that the Nazarene is the future king of Israel. But Jesus defies convention, alienates himself from the religious leaders, and appears to be pushing a wildly different agenda.
From here, we know how the story goes: thirty pieces of silver and a kiss, betrayal followed by remorse, followed by his death. No plot twist here. Rather, the twist remains in Lee’s portrayal. Throughout the book, readers begin to understand Judas, know his motivations, sympathize with his mindset. And it all leaves readers asking the same question: Would I have done the same?
Tosca Lee is a truly magnificent Storyteller. She has the heart of a poet, the mind of the scholar, and the imagination of a novelist. The three have melded here in harmony to produce a thought-provoking, comfort-disrupting, and heart-rattling tale of history’s most famous Betrayer. But beyond that, Iscariot also forces readers to look at Jesus in a new light and consider whether or not they have truly understood the message of the kingdom. Iscariot is one of those books that will not soon, if ever, leave your mind.