Kiss of Judas

The kiss of Judas, also known (especially in art) as the Betrayal of Christ, is the act with which Judas identified Jesus to the multitude with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests and elders of the people to arrest him, according to the Synoptic Gospels. The kiss is given by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper and leads directly to the arrest of Jesus by the police force of the Sanhedrin.

Within the life of Jesus in the New Testament, the events of his identification to hostile forces and subsequent execution are directly foreshadowed both when Jesus predicts his betrayal and Jesus predicts his death.

More broadly, a Judas kiss may refer to "an act appearing to be an act of friendship, which is in fact harmful to the recipient".

In the New Testament

The gospels of Matthew (26:47–50) and Mark (14:43–45) both use the Greek verb καταφιλέω (kataphileó), which means to "kiss, caress; distinct from φιλεῖν (philein); especially of an amorous kiss" It is the same verb that Plutarch uses to describe a famous kiss that Alexander the Great gave Bagoas. The compound verb (κατα-) "has the force of an emphatic, ostentatious salute". Lutheran theologian Johann Bengel suggests that Judas kissed Him repeatedly: "he kissed Him more than once in opposition to what he had said in the preceding verse: φιλήσω , philēsō, a single kiss (), and did so as if from kindly feeling".

According to Matthew 26:50, Jesus responded by saying: "Friend, do what you are here to do". Luke 22:48 quotes Jesus saying "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

Jesus' arrest follows immediately.

In liturgics

In the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom the Greek Orthodox Church uses the troparion Of thy Mystical Supper.., in which the hymnist vows to Jesus that he will "...not kiss Thee as did Judas..." («...οὐ φίλημά σοι δώσω,καθάπερ ὁ Ἰούδας...»):

In art

The scene is nearly always included, either as the Kiss itself, or the moment after, the Arrest of Jesus, or the two combined (as above), in the cycles of the Life of Christ in art or Passion of Jesus in various media. In some Byzantine cycles it is the only scene before the Crucifixion. A few examples include:
  • Probably the best known is from Giotto's cycle in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.
  • The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio.
  • A sixth-century Byzantine Mosaic in Ravenna.
  • A fresco by Barna da Siena.
  • A sculpture representing the Kiss of Judas appears on the Passion façade of the Sagrada Família basilica in Barcelona.

    File:Fra Angelico 020.jpg|Fresco by Fra Angelico, San Marco, Florence, 1437–1446 File:F463.highresBaiserJudas.jpg|Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss, in the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany, between 1503 and 1508 File:The Taking of Christ-Caravaggio (c.1602).jpg|The Taking of Christ by Caravaggio, 1602. File:Wilhelm Marstrand, Judaskysset, udateret, 0122NMK, Nivaagaards Malerisamling.jpg|Wilhelm Marstrand, Kiss of Judas, undated (between 1830 and 1873), File:Gustave Doré - Study for "The Judas Kiss" - Walters 371387.jpg|Study for The Judas Kiss by Gustave Doré, 1865 File:Brooklyn Museum - The Kiss of Judas (Le baiser de Judas) - James Tissot.jpg|The Kiss of Judas by James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum, between 1886 and 1894