You raise some fascinating issues here. I think the possibilities I presented about Judas are anchored securely in the text, but I also think you've got some interesting points about how my interpretation (and Joseph Campbell's) actually make the story less complex rather than more so. My purpose in writing an essay like this is never to "disregard the most common reading" but to challenge it, to suggest an alternative view. You, in turn, have challenged me - which I greatly appreciate. I was especially moved by your final sentence, which implies that we should not vilify Judas, but perhaps recognize ourselves in him. It looks like we're in agreement on one core issue - that redemption and forgiveness are at the center of the story.
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