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Tune Req: Judas ballad (Child 23)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: 'Judas' (Child 23?) by John Jacob Niles (38)
Lyr Req: Stand Up For Judas (Leon Rosselson) (5) (closed)
Lyr Req: My Name is Judas (9)
A Song about Judas Iscariot (18)
(origins) Lyr Req: Stand Up For Judas (Leon Rosselson) (27)
Help: JUDAS (6)

Marymac90 25 Sep 00 - 02:06 AM
Joe Offer 25 Sep 00 - 12:26 AM
Hotspur 24 Sep 00 - 11:50 PM
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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Judas ballad
From: Marymac90
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:06 AM

For a very different look at this character, you may want to see Leon Rosselson's "Stand Up for Judas" (magic blue clicky). However, 2 am is too late for me to go out to the car for the tape and transcribe the lyrics off of it! Email me at if you want them.

Rosselson will be making what is supposed to be his last tour of North America in October. Do catch him if you have any chance to!

Mary McCaffrey

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Subject: Judas - Child #23
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 12:26 AM

Well, here's the listing from the Traditional Ballad Index. Looks like there might not be a tune available in the usual sources, but I'll betcha one of our Ballad experts like Bruce O may be able to help us. The Ballad Index says Niles has tunes, but Niles had a habit of making up tunes. I can transcribe the Niles tunes if you like.
-Joe Offer-

Judas [Child 23]

DESCRIPTION: Judas is sent on an errand by Jesus. As he does so, he is cheated (by his sister!) of thirty pieces of silver. He therefore betrays Jesus to get his money back.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1300 (ms. Trinity College B 14.39, f. 34a)
KEYWORDS: Jesus betrayal
April 6, 30 C.E. - most likely date for the arrest of Jesus (the crucifixion took place the following day)
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Child 23, "Judas" (1 text)
Leach, pp. ,108-109 "Judas" ( text)
Friedman, p. 56, "Judas" (1 text plus interlinear modern English translation)
OBB 97, "Judas" (1 text)
Niles 16, "Judas" (3 texts, 2 tunes, of which only the first could possibly be this ballad, and even it looks suspicious)

cf. "Judas and Jesus" (listed by Niles as a version of this ballad)
cf. "Oh, Judy, My Judy" (listed by Niles as a version of this ballad)
Notes: The betrayal of Jesus by Judas is told in Matt. 26:14-16, 47f.; Mark 14:10-11, 43f.; Luke 22:3-6, 47f.; compare also John 13:2, 27, 18:2f. The story of the thirty pieces of silver is found only in Matt. 26:15 and the sequel in 27:3-10 (it is based on Zech. 11:12-13). The notion of Judas as treasurer and thief occurs only in John 12:4-6, (13:29)
Even though this piece exists only in the Trinity College manuscript, it should not be assumed that Child's transcription is authoritative. The text in Child's volume 1 was printed without reference to the manuscript (which had been temporarily lost). As a result it contains many orthographic innaccuracies (e.g. concerning u/v, i/j, and the use of th rather than the runic thorn þ (|o) -- as well as seven conjectural emendations replacing s with h). It also omitted the duplicated lines at lines 8, 25, 30. Also, the manuscript was written without stanza divisions and with (at best) imperfect word divisions, all of which are editorial. In addition, the script is sometimes unclear. And finally, the copyist may not have been perfectly familiar with the dialect of the original.
Child later printed a corrected version, giving the readings of the manuscript verbatim (as read by Skeat). However, modern ballad scholars have almost always followed at least one of the imperfections of Child's original text (omitting duplicated lines, modifying the thorns, exchanging u and v, using Child's h instead of s, etc.)
Scholars should keep in mind that even Child's corrected text, so badly reproduced by later scholars, is open to reinterpretation. Kenneth Sisam, in Fourteenth Century Verse and Prose, prints a text which differs in hundreds of particulars from Child's original version. It shows several differences even from Child and Skeat's manuscript collation:
* five places where the editors break words differently,
* two major variants (in line 6 Sisam reads "cunesman" for "tunesman"; in line 16, "top" for "cop")
* Sisam also notes that in line 22 omits "Crist" was originally written by the scribe but then marked for erasure. This MAY indicate comparison of two texts of the ballad.
* Sisam also considers line 27 to be intact ; Child implies it is defective. - RBW
Niles claims that his informant ("Mayberry Thomas," of Tennessee) had seen this piece in broadsheets, but there is no evidence of this, and many scholars hold that Niles made up his text 16A based on the old British text. - RBW
File: C023

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Subject: Judas ballad
From: Hotspur
Date: 24 Sep 00 - 11:50 PM

I'm looking for the tune to this ballad, which is labelled as being Child 23. The first verse is:

It was on a shere Thursday that our Lord aras Ful mild were the wordes he spak to Judas: "Judas, thou moste to Jerusalem, our mete for to bigge Thirtty platten of silver thou bere upon thy rigge."

Gotta love Middle English! *grin*

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