Betrayal Essay

Failures of nerve that we have redescribed to ourselves as commitment, or loyalty, or integrity, or kindness. Psychoanalysis wants us to ask what happens to frustration when it isn’t voiced; and a betrayer is someone who enacts, who voices, a frustration.

And yet to talk in this way, to promote betrayal, to make the case for it, is also morally reprehensible.

The gospel encourages us to believe that we have misunderstood the nature of betrayal: we have not been able to see how it is linked to recognition and transformation.

It has been tempting to exonerate Judas – to portray him as one of the misunderstood – and so to avoid or disqualify the betrayal issue from the start.

Sexual jealousy is not just one of the things that happens when you become attached to someone: it is the sign of attachment.

If there was no such thing as betrayal in the world how would anything matter to us, or how would we know that it did?And then we would be talking of consciously or unconsciously engineering our own betrayal, and looking for people (or things) we can betray.We would be talking of betrayal as a transformational act; we might even talk of it as an object of desire and start noticing how we seek it.You can do a lot of things with betrayal, but you can’t undo it. To betray is to create a situation that there is no going back from.If betrayal is one of the ways, or even the way, in which we change our lives, perhaps we should talk not only of the fear of being betrayed, but of the wish, the willingness to be betrayed, and to betray.By doing something new and unexpected, Dylan was Judas.Here the betrayer is someone who wanted something to change; in retrospect we can see that what sounded like a betrayal was innovation.The Gospel of Judas says fairly and squarely that Judas did betray Jesus, and it was a good thing too.The Judas of the New Testament – which we know now to be four gospels among many – is not an impressive figure; though he is an enigmatic one, partly because we are told so little about him, which invites modern readers to ascribe motives, and partly because he is such a decisive presence in the story.Judas is the only one of the disciples whom Jesus then initiates into the divine mystery.The Gospel of Judas could be taken to be saying that only someone who truly recognises someone can betray them, and so-called betrayal may be the best thing they can do.


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