The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66440   Message #4167039
Posted By: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
06-Mar-23 - 12:23 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles
Why anyone takes Niles' "collections" seriously is, frankly, beyond me. It is possible that he collected some of these things. Even if he did, though, they are NOT Child 23.

And odds are that Niles made them up to claim credit for finding a Child Ballad that no one else had collected. But we can't even prove that "Judas" was sung! And there is a report that Bertrand Bronson (who knew more about the Child Ballads than John Jacob Niles could have figured out in two lifetimes, and who was fluent enough in Middle English to write one of the classic books on Chaucer) scribbled things like "fake" in his copies of Niles's Ballad Book.

BTW, "Judas" is not twelfth century. It's thirteenth. The manuscript was dated around 1300 by all paleographers I know of. If you want a good deal more information about the manuscript, and the ballad, than Child had (Child had to rely on transcripts, because the manuscript had been temporarily lost, and the transcript he had was dubious), it has a substantial Ballad Index entry:

The Ballad Index entry for "Judas and Jesus," the "B" text of Niles, is; that for Niles's "C", "Oh Judy, Oh Judy," is The reason I split them is, of course, because they aren't versions of "Judas." Neither page has much to say, since they're so patently not the same song -- and it's noteworthy that neither one has ever been collected by anyone except John Jacob Niles.

Need I say "Smoking Gun"?