Judas Iscariot. Has there ever been a name more reviled in Christendom? How could a guy who’d been with Jesus throughout his 3-year ministry, seen the miracles, listened to the parables and sermons, felt the wind stop that scary night on the Sea of Galilee–how could a guy with those experiences turn around and betray Jesus to his death?
Tosca Lee asked that question, and didn’t stop asking it until she found some possible answers to “What if?” She doesn’t claim her version is the correct one, but Iscariot: The Story of Judas satisfies my heart on many of my own questions.
Israel sought a Messiah. Although this wasn’t a new promise, it was one that held a lot of appeal at this point in history, when Roman rule was at its most oppressive. When would a Messiah rise up and rescue the Jewish people? They looked for a deliverer under every rock. Every rumor of men banding together had the populace wondering if “this time” the leader was the Promised One.
In this first-person narrative, Judas has been actively seeking the Messiah all his life, as his father did before him. John the Baptist, while appealing as a thundering wilderness preacher, said he was definitely not The One, then pointed at Jesus. This man intrigued Judas. There was definitely something different, unique. And so he followed.
But Jesus was confusing. He spoke in parables. He refused to work with the religious leaders. He confronted at awkward times, and pulled back when confrontation seemed the answer.
What was Judas to think?
In Iscariot: The Story of Judas, Tosca Lee pulls us into Judas’s life and times. We see Roman rule from his viewpoint. We are challenged to put aside our quick condemnation of “the betrayer” and see the complexities of Jesus’ teachings “from the ground” in a way we struggle with from two-thousand-plus years distance. If you’ve ever wanted to know what made Judas tick, if you wish to immerse yourself in Jesus’ life and times, if you love evocative, lyrical story telling, you owe it to yourself to pre-order Iscariot today.
Tosca Lee is a New York Times best-selling novelist whose works include the critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and The Books of Mortals series (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign) with best-selling author Ted Dekker. Iscariot, Tosca’s highly-anticipated novel about the infamous betrayer of Christ will release February 2013. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research. Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University. A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and lifelong world adventure-traveler, Tosca makes her home in the Midwest.
I received a digital version of this novel from NetGalley for the purposes of review. Opinions are mine alone. These links are to my reviews of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve, both by Tosca Lee.