Innocent or guilty, Judas still will be strung up and burned Saturday

An unofficial tradition here is the burning of Judas the night before Easter.

In Christian theology, Judas Iscariot is the apostle who fingered Jesus Christ to officials in exchange for money. He has been the paramount traitor in modern history and the character that Dante put in the final and ninth circle of Hell in his 14th century allegory.

With that history, Judas is the target of young people who create a dummy, string it up and set it ablaze the night before Easter.

Never mind that Judas is getting a redemption of sort with the recent publication of the “Gospel of Judas,” which cast him as a hero and the best of the apostles.

The Fuerza Pública typically detains dozens of Judas burners on that night. And sometimes motorists are hampered and threatened by aggressive revelers.  Alajuela, Pavas, Santa Ana and Heredia are hot spots, and some years there are 500 or more incidents of burning material in the streets.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said that there have been nearly 30 major incidents every year, and in the past a car, and two buildings have been torched.

A release Wednesday warned of unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the situation.

Fire fighters have been injured in the past, too, when they were pelleted with rocks.

The Second or Third century “Gospel of Judas” got a lot of publicity with a television documentary and publications in major magazines. In it, Judas claims he was acting on the judasthree040215Lord’s request when he turned Him in. He also claims to be the only apostle with the correct understanding of the teachings of Jesus.

Some scholars note that hatred of Judas encourages anti-Semitism. This gospel is one of those books that is not included in the Christian Bibles.

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