The Communion of Judas Iscariot
This chapter shows how Judas imagery had brought together several related concerns about the peace of the church. Peace was a sacrament, held to be so in oaths of reconciliation (sacramenta), alliances, and of course in the Mass itself. It therefore had the potential for misuse, distortion, and falsification. Judas exemplified a purveyor of false peace, not only because he was a sinful priest but because he had traded God’s body for money and had taken communion with him while holding treason in his heart. Debates over what Judas had taken at the Last Supper thus became a means of expressing clerical concerns about mirror sacraments and the falsification of peace on earth. In the process of resolving the question of Judas’s communion, the early twelfth-century canon Alger of Liège created a theological framework for membership in the church, whereby the Eucharist distinguished between true and false peace.
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