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What Does the Biblical Name Judas Mean?


Choosing a name for your child is a big decision, and many parents look to the Bible for inspiration. One name that appears in the Bible is Judas, but it has a complicated history and may not be the first choice for many parents. In this article, we will explore the meaning of the name Judas, its significance in the Bible, and its use in modern times.

The Meaning of Judas

The name Judas is derived from the Hebrew name Yehudah, which means 'praised' or 'celebrated.' In the Bible, Judas is most commonly associated with Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' twelve disciples who betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. This betrayal led to Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, making Judas one of the most reviled figures in the Bible.

Judas in the Bible

While Judas Iscariot is the most well-known Judas in the Bible, there are actually several other figures with this name. One of them is Judas Thaddaeus, also known as Jude, who was another of Jesus' twelve disciples. He is often referred to as 'Judas (not Iscariot)' to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. Another Judas in the Bible is Judas Maccabeus, a Jewish leader who led a rebellion against the Seleucid Empire in the second century BCE.

The Significance of Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Jesus is one of the most significant events in the Bible, and it has had a lasting impact on Christian theology and culture. The story of Judas' betrayal is recounted in all four of the Gospels, and it is often seen as a symbol of the dangers of greed and the consequences of betraying one's friends. Judas' name has become synonymous with treachery and betrayal, and it is often used as a cautionary tale in literature and popular culture.

Judas in Modern Times

Given the negative connotations associated with the name Judas, it is not a popular choice for parents today. In fact, it is one of the least common names in the United States, with only a handful of babies named Judas each year. However, there are some people who still choose to name their children Judas, often as a way of reclaiming the name and separating it from its negative associations. Some Christian parents may also choose the name Judas as a way of honoring Judas Thaddaeus, who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox churches.


In conclusion, the name Judas has a complex history in the Bible, with both positive and negative connotations. While Judas Iscariot's betrayal of Jesus has made the name synonymous with treachery and betrayal, there are other figures in the Bible with this name who are not associated with these negative traits. Today, the name Judas is not a popular choice for parents, but there are still some who choose it as a way of reclaiming the name or honoring a saint. Ultimately, the decision to name a child Judas is a personal one, and parents should consider the name's history and associations before making a choice.