For similarly named villains, please see Judas Iscariot.

Judas Iscariot is the secondary antagonist from the 1977 television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.

Judas was a zealot, a member of a group that sought to evict the Romans from Judea and restore Jewish independence.

After Jesus began his public teaching Judas began to follow him. After a time Judas came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and he began to hope that Jesus would save the Jewish people from Roman oppression. Judas tried to steer Jesus in that direction, to endorse using violence to evict the Romans but Jesus would have none of that.

With that in mind, Judas decided to help the Sanhedrin take Jesus. He believed that once Jesus explained himself to the Sanhedrin they would offer to help him in throwing off the yoke of Roman impression, and that in turn would convince Jesus to lead them in expelling the Romans.

What Judas had not realized was that the Sanhedrin was working with the Romans, and that they were not interested in anything Jesus had to say. He came to regret what he had done and committed suicide not long after betraying Jesus to the authorities.


  • This version of Judas was portrayed by Ian McShane, who also portrayed Al Swearengen in Deadwood. The late Peter O'Toole was initially cast for the role but had to back out due to serious health problems that nearly ended his life in the late 1970s. In addition director Franco Zeffirelli had initially considered casting Robert Powell - who played Jesus in the miniseries - in the role of Judas.
  • In Jesus of Nazareth rather than betraying Jesus for money, which had been named as the motivating factor in the Gospels, Judas betrayed Jesus in order to convince the Sanhedrin to follow Jesus in overthrowing the Romans controlling their country.
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