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Journal of English Philology

Ed. by Kornexl, Lucia / Lenker, Ursula / Middeke, Martin / Rippl, Gabriele / Zapf, Hubert

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.17

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.148
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.672

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Volume 131, Issue 4


Debt and Sin in the Middle English “Judas”

Irina A. Dumitrescu
Published Online: 2013-12-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/anglia-2013-0063


In the thirteenth-century English “Judas” ballad, Judas is sent to buy the Passover meal, loses his coins, and in desperation, sells Jesus to Pilate for the necessary money. This article argues that the poem’s chain of unequal exchanges evokes contemporary concerns about usury and its abuse of the needy, and that the ballad’s portrayal of Judas incurring a debt for which Christ is the payment also dramatizes Anselm of Canterbury’s theory of redemption. The ballad fuses mercantile and theological ideas of debt into a compact and pedagogically accessible exploration of sin.

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Published Online: 2013-12-04

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Anglia, Volume 131, Issue 4, Pages 41–69, ISSN (Online) 1865-8938, ISSN (Print) 0340-5222, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/anglia-2013-0063.

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