Jesus in the Babylonian Talmud

Jesus was Jewish

Author’s Note: When King Jannaeus captured Bethone (in 86 BCE), the Jewish scriptures record that he had 800 Pharisees crucified as a punishment for the Jewish Resistance to his invasion of Judea. The Jewish records of Jesus Christ assume that he lived duing the reign of king Alexander Jannaeus r. 103-76 BCE – 100 years before the dates associated with him in the ‘received’ New Testament Gospels. Readers might be surprised that Early Christians had only a ‘nodding acquaintance’ with historical fact, dating and scholarly consistency. However, at a time when far less than 10% of the population could read or write (some sources suggest a less than 3% literacy rate for Judea c. 30 CE), or had any access to, (or experience of) formal education, it is also important to note that the Jewish Rabbis of old, as educated as they were, are equally well-known for possessing only a ‘vague’ sense of historical time-frame, simply because they did not have to think (or act) in this context. Their expertise is something entirely different, which caters to the internal functionality of Judaism, although today Jewish scholarship meets all the demands of modern academia (despite areas of contention I have discussed elsewhere). Mary – or Miriam ‘m’gaddla nashaia’ (the ‘hairdresser’) – is how the Talmudic Jews refer to Mary Mother of Jesus. It has been suggested that this might be a Jewish confusion with the name ‘Mary Magdalene’ – literally confusing one Bibilcal Mary for another. The redeemed prostitute Mary is mistaken for the ‘pure’ Mary Mother of Christ, and the two women change places in Talmudic Jesus stories. If this error could have crept in, how much more could be in error? As this question cannot be answered, the Jewish stories of a ‘Jesus’ should be studied with an open mind. It seems that the Jewish Authorities believe he was a magician trained in ‘secret’ arts in Egypt, and that he had ‘hidden’ varous spells within ‘cuts’ in his skin (possibly through the assumed influence of ‘sacred letters’ and/or ‘holy symbols’ cut into the skin. The Talmud says that when the Ten Measures of magic descended into the world, Egypt received 90%, whilst the rest of the world only 10% of its potency. As Jesus was forbidden from taking any books of magic out of Egypt, he had the information ‘tattooed’ on his body, and took this magic back to Judea via this method). ACW (3.9.2020)

Dear Gillian

I was interested to learn that Early Christians recorded widely different dates for the existence of Jesus (including the names of Kings who ruled at those times). Perhaps the most surprising to me is that of king Alexander Jannaeus r. 103-76 BCE, who was the second king of the Hasmonean dynasty, who ruled over an expanding kingdom of Judea. Writing in the 4th century CE, Eusebius records all the Christian heresies he could find, and it is interesting when he writes about the Nazoreans – a Jewish-Christian Sect which followed the Torah and Circumcision, etc. Jesus Christ is interpreted as being a direct descendent of King David in an unbroken line – who has inherited by his divine status, everything that belongs to the Kingly status of his position in history. Yahweh blesses him with both spiritual and temporal power – with the name ‘Nazorean’ meaning ‘healer’ and not pertaining to any geographical location. (You are probably aware that modern archaeology has revealed that ‘Nazareth’ was a burial area for the Jews for thousands of years, and that it was taboo for anyone to have lived there). According to the Nazoreans, Jesus was born in Judea during the reign of king Alexander Jannaeus r. 103-76 BCE (perhaps a hundred years earlier than commonly thought today). The story of this Jewish-Christian Sect is also recorded in the Babylonian Talmud, which suggests that Jews in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire only knew of this form of Christianity – which they did not call ‘Christian’ but simply ‘Nazorean’ (as Jesus Christ was supposed to be the ‘Healer’ of the Spirit and the Nation). The Babylonian Talmud states that when ‘Jannaeus was killing our Rabbis’ – Joshua (Jesus) ben Perachjah and Joshua (Jesus) the Nazarene (thought to be ‘Master’ and ‘Disciple’ respectively) fled to Alexander (in Egypt) – until the trouble passed – before finally returning to Judea. Two names associated with Jesus in this context are ‘Jesus ben Pandira’ (aka Joshua ‘Pandera’ and Joshua ‘Pantera’), and ‘Jesus ben Stada’ (always bearing in-mind that ‘Joshua’ is often spelt ‘Yeshua’ in phonetical Hebrew). Ben Stada means ‘son of the unfaithful’, whose mother – ‘Mary’ or ‘Miriam’ (the ‘dresser of women’s hair’ or ‘m’gaddla nashaia) – is said to have committed adultery with a man known as ‘Pandira’ or ‘Panthera’ (possibly a Roman soldier). Jesus the Nazarene was arrested and executed for the crimes of immorality, magic, worshipping idols and for leading Israel astray. He was sentenced to be first ‘stoned’, and then ‘crucified’ on Passover-Eve (some texts state ‘Sabbath-Eve’). The Jewish timing of these events aligns with the gospel of John. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled between the 3rd – 5th centuries CE. The Jerusalem Talmud includes part of this story, but omits mentioning the name of Jesus. I suppose either the Jerusalem Talmud took the name of Jesus out, or the Babylonian Talmud added it in. Many scholars assume the former. Not only this, but it is also assumed that Early Christian scribes often copied Jewish texts and omitted the name of ‘Jesus’ so as to remove all mention of him being often favourably mentioned by mainstream Judaism. Quite often the original (early) Jewish texts have been lost during the various anti-Jewish pogroms, so that the only versions left are Christian redactions. Early Christian scribes often changed historical events by ‘inserting’ the presence of Christians into important historical episodes where none were present. Therefore, when Jewish communities were targeted for attack by the Roman State, Christian commentators simply switched ‘Jewish community’ for ‘Christian community’ and thereby fabricated anti-Christian pogroms that never existed. This is how the expanding Christian Church aligned itself with the ‘pagan’ local culture it encountered, before infiltrating and then replacing it with their own culture and tradition – a model of Christian expansionism that can be viewed all over the world. 

References:

Richard Carrier: On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, Sheffield Phoenix Press (2014), Chapter 8 – Extra-Biblical Evidence

Dr. Robert E. Van Voorst: Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Studying the Historical Jesus), Eerdmans (2000)

Bernhard Pick (1842-1917): Jesus in the Talmud; his personality, his disciples and his sayings, (Kindle)

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