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A leading Church of England bishop has said he feels "a bit sorry" for Judas Iscariot, the disciple that betrayed Jesus, leading to his crucifixion.
Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines said the Biblical figure had a "lousy press" since Jesus's death.
In a Radio Times article, reviewing an upcoming BBC documentary by the Church of England vicar and reality television star Revd Kate Bottley, Bishop Nick said history had judged Judas as "the ultimate traitor".
He was thought to be "the cheap and nasty greed-merchant who sells his friend and his soul for a few quid," the bishop said.
"Whether he is a traitor or a scapegoat, he's had a lousy press," he added.
Judas, the Bible says, betrayed Jesus by telling soldiers his whereabouts for 30 pieces of silver.
He then took his own life after Christ died on the cross.
Bishop Nick said: "Judas had invested himself in the revolutionary leadership of Jesus of Nazareth, only to find himself let down.
"Trying to force the hand of the Messiah didn't work and, instead of provoking the ultimate uprising against Roman rule, the glorious leader simply let himself get nailed without resistance.
"No wonder Judas got upset. Judas kiss': the apostle identifies Jesus to a detachment of soldiers
"I guess it's up to the observer to decide what was really going on with Judas - whether he is a traitor or a scapegoat.
"People would lean in and say 'I actually feel a bit sorry for Judas' - they look both ways as if they are not allowed to say it."
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