The apocryphal legend known as the Life of Judas developed in the twelfth century, and soon after became a popular medieval text, included in Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend and translated into many vernacular languages. While most studies of this tradition examine later versions, this article focuses on the earliest surviving Latin Life in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 14489. The article argues for situating this apocryphon among preaching exempla, which also developed in the twelfth century. Understanding the Life in the contexts of such preaching texts allows for new ways to interpret the framing of the Latin apocryphon with biblical material at the beginning and conclusion, as well as to identify literary parallels that speak to the early transmission of this text. These associations reveal that the Life emerged within more general developments as religious literature brought together intellectual and popular culture in the high Middle Ages.

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