Jesus in the Talmud
Before you proceed, I strongly advise you to read this piece in its appropriate context, which is the Church’s heinous persecution of Jews. For a better understanding of this, see the article – The Rabbis Strike Back!) When it came to his teachings, Jesus was referred to be a fool in the Talmud since he claimed to be the Son of God, which was considered heretical at the time. It is also claimed that Jesus was an idolator by the Talmud, notably in Sanhedrin 103a, which is the portion that has the most mentions of Jesus.
Jesus was accused of magic and of corrupting and seducing the people of Israel, according to some sources.
A call from the rabbi was received by him, but Jesus mistook it for a command and went away, worshipping an idol.
As a result of this incident, it is concluded that “Jesus the Nazarene used sorcery, led people astray, and fooled the people of Israel.” It should be noted that while the Talmud does not dispute the historical truth of the crucifixion, the reasons for it have been rewritten.” And it is a matter of tradition: Yeshu the Nazarene was beheaded on the eve of the Passover festival.
- Anyone who has knowledge that may be used to his advantage should come out and share it with him.” However, no defense was produced for him, and he was subsequently hanged on the eve of Passover.
- The All Merciful has decreed that he was a seducer, and that he will not be spared or concealed by anybody (Deut.
- ” However, in Jesus’ situation, things were different since he was on the verge of entering the kingdom “.
- This was the reason for Jesus’ crucifixion; it was a Roman penalty.
- It’s both fascinating and perplexing to read through.
- They brought Matthai with them.
- It is prophesied in Psalm 42:2 that Matha will come and make his appearance before God.” “Yes, Matthai must be slain,” they informed him, citing Psalm 41:5 as evidence that “Mathaishalldie and his name vanish.” They brought Nekai with them.
- After all, it is written in Exodus 23:7 that “you must not kill” the Naki and the righteous.” “Yes, Nekai must be murdered, as it is stated (Psalm 10:8), ‘In hidden places does he slaughter Naki.'” They said to him, “Yes, Nekai must be killed.” They brought Netzer with them.
- After all, it is stated in Isaiah 11:1 that “Netzershall rise out from his roots.”” They addressed him as follows: “Yes, Nezter must be put to death.
- He addressed them as follows: “Is Buni’s death absolutely necessary?
- For it is written in Exodus 4:23, “Behold, I slay Bincha, your firstborn,” that “I slay Bincha, your firstborn.”” They brought Thodah with them.
According to Psalm 100:1, ‘A Psalm for Thodah,’ the song of praise.” “Yes, Thodah must be sacrificed,” they informed him, citing Psalm 1:23, which states, “Whoever sacrifices Thodah honors me.” Each so-called disciple has his or her character assassinated before they are actually executed on the scaffold.
- However, if you look closely, you can find vague and grudging references to Jesus and his legacy in other places.
- “Something had become lodged in the grandson’s throat.
- When he came out, he asked him, “What did you say to him in your whisper?” “There’s a word,” he explained to him.
- And it happened to him, “as it were an error that proceeded from the ruler” (Ecc.
- “So an acknowledged Christian healing in the name of Jesus, in the Talmud.
- Shmuel bar Nachman, in the name of R.
When he came to this verse, “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”, he said, “Lord of the World, how you are giving a chance to the Minim!
Another attack is seen here, in a commentary on Daniel 3, the story of the three men cast into the furnace.
“Like of son of God.” Reuben said, In that hour, an angel descended and struck that wicked oneupon his mouth, and said to him, Amend your words.
He turned and said”Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who – it is not written, ‘has sent his son’, but – has sent his angel, and has delivered his servants who trusted in him.” Now let’s put all this into context.
It was just about the only way the Jewish scholars and sages could fight back against the ominous rise of a Christianity that seemed hell-bent in wiping out the Jewish nation from the face of the Earth.
By making Jesus seem such an unsavoury character, they probably largely succeeded. Steve Maltz January 2013(This is an abridged extract from Steve’s bookJesus Man of Many Names)
Jesus In The Talmud
The following is written byGil: Student Bastard Harlot Died Young Balaam Introduction Conclusion Historians Jesus in the Lake of Fire A charge against Jesus’ mother is made in Sanhedrin 106a, which states, “She who came from the line of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” The accusation is rebutted by the evidence. It is also mentioned in footnote2 to Shabbat 104b that the “uncensored” language of the Talmud states that Jesus’ mother, Miriam the hairdresser, had intercourse with a large number of men.
- (Yebamoth 49b, p.324).
- “Mary was a whore, and Jesus (Balaam) was a wicked man,” says the prophet.
- “Jesus was a conjurer as well as a fool.
- Shabbath 104b, page 504 of the Talmud.
- The Textual Content Yevamot 4:18R, Mishnah Yevamot 4:18R, Mishnah Yevamot 4:18R, Mishnah Yevamot 4:18R, Mishnah Yevamot 4:18R.
- This claim, on the other hand, is clearly absurd.
- Plony is a biblical phrase that is used in the same way that John Doe is used now (cf.Ruth 4:1).
Studies into genealogy and accusations of bastardy were not prevalent throughout the period under consideration (cf.Nehemiah 7:5; Talmud Kiddushin 70b-71a).
Gustaf Dalman dismisses the claim that this Mishnah is a reference to Jesus, as stated by others.
I, page 108 note 53, John P.
Avraham Korman’s commentary inZeramim Vekitot Beyahadut, pp.
A passage from the text (Sanhedrin 106a) states that R.
It is at this point that the widespread misconception arises, which is that allusions in the Talmud to Balaam are actually disguised references to the Messiah.
Because of this, the text above is referring only to Balaam and not to Jesus.
Yochanan’s assertion through the use of a parable.
Yochanan’s remark to refer to Jesus and Rav Papa’s statement to refer to Jesus’ mother, they must both be read as referring to Jesus.
Yochanan that Balaam had immense talent and began his career as a genuine prophet of G-d.
user of black magic).
Check out our video about Jesus’ appearance in the Talmud for more information.
Let us imagine a lady who is married to a great monarch who is responsible for leading their people into combat.
Her desire to marry someone in a comparable position of power and leadership if her spouse were to pass away would remain unaffected.
Even though she knows she will never be able to regain her former greatness, she will do all in her power to achieve any position that even somewhat approaches that of her former splendor.
He possessed the ability to foresee the future and, via his curses and blessings, to manipulate the course of events.
This text has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus, and there is absolutely no insult directed at Mary in any way whatsoever.
Meir HaLevi Abulafia, Yad Ramah, Sanhedrin ad loc.
Meir HaLevi Abulafia, ” Rabbinic Exegesis About Gentile Prophet The Charges Leveled Against You Jesus’s death at a young age is celebrated.
However, because it says in Psalms 55:24 that “men of violence and deception will not live out half their days,” he died when he was 33 or 34 years old, according to the Bible.
When I was younger, I read the Balaam chronicle, and it stated that “Balaam the lame was slain by Pinchas (Phineas) the robber when he was 33 years old.” Balaam is used as a codeword for Jesus once more, and this time the presumption is correct.
Furthermore, the names Pinchas and Pontius Pilate both begin with the initial “P.” This paragraph does not appear to be a reference to Jesus, which it does not, and I do not perceive any gloating.
Nevertheless, it is inconceivable to believe that a Christian would inquire of a Jew about the age of Jesus and refer to the Gospel as Balaam’s Chronicle, or that Pontius Pilate, who is not even mentioned once in the entire body of rabbinic literature, would be referred to as Pinchas the Robber.
- Balaam’s Chronicle was an apocryphal book about the biblical figure Balaam.
- See, for example, Urbach, ibid., p.
- Bacher, Jewish Quarterly Review, O.S.
- 456-457; and Chanoch Zundel, ibid., p.
- Ben Yosef, Eitz YoseftoEin Ya’akov, Sotah 11a sv Balaam, Ben Yosef, Eitz YoseftoEin Ya’akov Let us now examine the broad notion that Balaam is a talmudic codeword for Jesus, in order to elucidate the situation further.
- As we shall see, he was a strong man, whose prophesy and connection to G-d gave him the opportunity to accomplish great good in the world.
- Because of his tremendous potential that was completely warped, and his celestial powers that were diverted towards wickedness, he is regarded as the most egregious example of corruption there has ever been on the planet.
However, we shall demonstrate that Balaam is regarded as the paragon of evil in passages that do not relate to Jesus, and we will conclude from these passages that there is no compelling reason to view other comparable passages as referring to Jesus.
Sifrei’s reflections on Deuteronomy 34:10 “There was never again in Israel a prophet like Moses,” says the Bible, “but there were prophets like Moses in other nations.” Who?
There is, however, a distinction between Moses’ prophesy and Balaam’s prophecy in this case.
It is assumed from texts detailing the biblical Balaam that he possessed incredible prophetic abilities, even greater than Moses’s.
Avot DeRabbi Natan 2:5 (The Avot of Rabbi Natan) Why is Job referred to as Job (Job 1:8)?
” To demonstrate to us that he was circumcised from birth.
5:2) ” He fathered children in his own likeness and image.
Shem was likewise circumcised at the time of his birth.
Joseph was also circumcised at the time of his birth.
Even the evil Balaam was circumcised when he was born.
David was likewise circumcised at the time of his birth.
Zerubabel was likewise circumcised at the time of his birth.
Uncircucised man is not fully finished, and G-d entrusted us with the task of completing the process and bringing man’s creation to a close by circumcising him.
They were destined for greatness from the moment they were born.
He was born with the capacity for greatness, which he, regrettably, channeled in the direction of evil via the exercise of his free will.
Both Jesus and Yeshu would have been included in the line of prophets following David, Jeremiah, and Zerubabel.
Allow me to offer you some advice.
When the Jews are traveling through the market, the old lady approaches them and tries to sell them garments at market value, while the young lady offers them goods at a discount.
She extends an invitation to him to have a glass of wine.
She will pull out her idol and insist that he worship it first before anything else happens.
Furthermore, she will state that she will not sleep with him until he has publicly denounced the Torah of Moses.
(Numbers 25:1) In the Shittim, Israel established a settlement and the people began to engage in harlotry with the daughters of Moab.
In this section, Balaam is definitely the focus, and both his cunning and his despicability are described.
Mishnah Avot 5:19 (Mishnah Avot 5:19) We believe that anyone who exhibits these three characteristics, which are: a generous eye, a humble heart, and a meek soul, is one of Abraham our father’s students.
What is the difference between the followers of Abraham and the disciples of Balaam?
As it is written in the Bible, the disciples of Balaam inherit Gehenna and descend into the pit of destruction (Psalm 55:23) “But you, O G-d, will cast them into the depths of the lowest pit; the bloodthirsty and treacherous will not live out even half of their lives.
With examples drawn exclusively from the Old Testament, the Mishnah attempts to demonstrate the proper attitudes that one should have in one’s life.
We have demonstrated via incontrovertible evidence that the biblical Balaam, rather than Jesus or Yeshu, is regularly presented as someone who was destined for greatness but instead chose to utilize his abilities for evil.
As a result, it should come as no surprise that historians can unearth several texts that disparage Balaam.
Some historians believe that the name Balaam is a talmudic codeword for Jesus, whereas others disagree.
Professor Louis Ginzberg, “Some Observations on the Attitude of the Synagogue Towards the Apocalyptic-Eschatological Writings,” Journal of Biblical Literature (1922), p.
18; “Some Observations on the Attitude of the Synagogue Towards the Apocalyptic-Eschatological Writings,” Journal of Biblical Literature (1922), p.
As a result, one can claim with perfect certainty that no nicknames for Jesus or his disciples are known to exist throughout the whole Talmudic-Midrashic literature.
Meier’s A Marginal Jew (vol.
95) was published in 1991.
In my judgment, Maier’s arguments are particularly persuasive in the case of the Mishna and other early rabbinic literature, because no source mentioned from that period explicitly refers to Jesus as a historical figure.
41 See Johann Maier’s “Jesus von Nazareth in the Talmudic Uberlieferung” (Jesus of Nazareth in the Talmudic Uberlieferung) (Ertrage der Forschung 82; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1978).
To learn more about rabbinic exegesis of Gentile prophets and the Balaam passage, read Ephraim Urbach’s article in Tarbitz (25:1956), pp.
The Charges Leveled Against You Gittin 57a is a gittin.
When asked: Who is revered in that world, the answer was Israel.
(Deuteronomy 23:7) “You must not seek their peace or wellbeing throughout your days.” When asked: What is your punishment, you replied: In a pot of boiling sperm.
When asked: Who is revered in that world, the answer was Israel.
replied: Seek their well-being.
It is as if the person who touches them has touched the pupil of his or her own eye.
The narrative tells of the legendary convert Onkelos, who utilized black magic before becoming Christian in order to summon notable criminals from history and question them about if their wickedness will save them in the realm that awaits them in the hereafter.
Onkelos is said to have been persuaded to convert to Judaism as a result of this.
A notable sectarian of the first century BCE, he is most certainly a rabbi who broke away from rabbinic tradition and founded his own religion, which combined Hellenistic paganism with Judaism, according to the evidence.
However, if someone were to assert that Yeshu is a reference to Jesus in the verse above, then Balaam could not also be referring to Jesus because both Balaam and Yeshu are mentioned in the passage together.
In other words, You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Returning to our original point of departure Email [email protected] with any comments or suggestions you may have. Gil Student is the owner of the copyright for the year 2000.
Does the Talmud Teach That Jesus is Burning in Hell?
Is it accurate that the Talmud tells that Jesus is suffocating in feces in the Lake of Fire in Hell? He was a magician and a liar, was he not? Is it true that his mother, Mary, had him in an adulterous relationship? Obviously, this would be quite offensive, and it would be totally natural if Christians were upset and even enraged as a result of this. Is this, however, correct? There is really a heated disagreement concerning whether or not the Talmud makes any reference of the Jesus of the New Testament at all.
A small number of Jewish academics hold the view that there are certain definitively negative allusions, while others doubt some of the more ambiguous passages.
Who is correct?
What is the Talmud?
The Talmud is not a single book, but rather a collection of volumes – and a very large collection at that. When printed in normal editions, it contains more than 6,200 pages of legal discussion and debate that delves into every area of Jewish law that can be found in the Torah. (If you find the legal portions of the Old Testament difficult to comprehend, you will find the Talmud to be nearly impossible to comprehend.) You’ll also discover insightful interpretations of Scripture, instructive anecdotes, and a plethora of interesting (and often odd) folklore and customs interspersed throughout the lengthy legal arguments and disputes.
- For example, you may remark, “I don’t care how inconsequential the references to Jesus are.
- However, I want to be clear that the Talmud does not place a strong emphasis on Jesus.
- And even if it addresses him by name, even in the most heinous of ways, it represents less than.001 percent of the whole amount of material in the Talmud, to repeat, it represents less than.001 percent of the total amount of content in the Talmud.
- Generally speaking, most religious traditions say things that are quite hurtful to individuals of other faiths.
Is Muhammad in Hell?
Using Twitter as an example, I recently inquired, “As a Christian, if you believe Muhammad to be a false prophet, does this imply that he is damned to hell?” The three options were as follows: 1) yes, in hell; 2) no, in hell; and 3) it was not up to me to decide. Surprisingly, 76 percent of those polled believed Muhammad was in hell, with only 1 percent believing he was not. (The remaining 23% of respondents stated that it was “not for me to say.”) Do you have any idea how hurtful it is to Muslim believers?
Please Contribute to the Stream: Providing Christians with the tools they need to think clearly about the political, economic, and moral issues that face them today.
Many Christians, on the other hand, believe it is a no-brainer: “Of course he’s in hell.” In addition, the same Christians would assert that the greatest rabbis in Jewish history, persons admired for their dedication to God, as well as for the depth and purity of their piety, were also in hell because they did not believe in Jesus Christ.
And they’d say it without blinking an eyelash, either. In the words of Paul, “Jesus is the only way to go to heaven, and we’re lost without him.”
Jewish Religious Leaders
In the same manner, they would feel the same way about current rabbis, such as an ultra-Orthodox leader who died in 2017 at the age of 104, despite having lived for decades in poverty and given away tens of thousands of dollars to help the less fortunate. It’s mind-boggling to think about how he spent his life in such a selfless manner. Many Christians, on the other hand, would reply right once, “His excellent efforts could not rescue him.” He is currently lost and burning in the depths of hell.” When I first came to trust in Jesus at the age of 16, the local rabbi became a friend of mine, and the two of us spent many hours talking about the gospel.
- The hypocrites, blind guides, vipers, and offspring of hell were among the labels he used for them.
- I don’t understand how Jesus could say such degrading things about them.” As a disciple of Jesus, it goes without saying that I put my faith in the Lord’s judgment.
- Despite the fact that they appeared to be in fine shape on the surface, he detected an underlying depravity in their lives.
- Having said that, I can absolutely understand why my buddy was irritated.
Christian ‘Hatred of Jews’
Despite the fact that many Jewish academics feel there are unfavorable allusions to Jesus in the Talmud, they believe that these references are a direct response to Christian anti-Semitism. Some argue that the Talmudic assertions are a response to the New Testament’s harsh portrayal of their leaders, and that this is the case. Others refer to early Christian literature that denigrate Jews or to the persecution of Jews under Constantine and his predecessors as justifications for their actions.
- As for the unfavorable words about Jesus and Mary that may be found in the Talmud, some are likely to exist, but they are few and few between, and their scope is fairly restricted.
- And I despise the fact that orthodox Jews continue to believe these slanders about our Savior.
- Peter’s statements to a Jewish throng immediately after the crucifixion, while he was preaching to them: “And now, brethren, I know that you behaved in ignorance, just as your rulers did” (Acts 3:17).
- It’s also worth recalling the words of Jesus himself, as he was being nailed to the cross: “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Do you agree with the article? Please forward this to your friends! And don’t forget to join or start the conversation on our social media platforms! You may find us on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Parler, Instagram, MeWe, and Gab.
What Do Jews Believe About Jesus?
Christian tradition holds that Jesus is the major character of the religion, and that he is also the messiah, the son of God, and the second member in the trinity. What, on the other hand, do Jews believe about Jesus?
- For some Jews, the name alone conjures up images of pogroms and crusades, accusations of deicide, and centuries of Christian anti-Semitism
- For others, he has recently gained recognition as a Jewish teacher. The fact that they do not believe in his resurrection or that he was the messiah, as Christians do, does not imply that they support him.
While many people now consider Jesus to be the founder of Christianity, it is vital to remember that he did not plan to start a new religion, at least according to the earliest accounts, and he never used the name “Christian” himself. He was born and raised as a Jew, and his early disciples were also sprung from Jewish stock. After Jesus’ death, Christianity did not develop as a distinct religion until several decades later.
Who Was Jesus?
Most of what we know about the real Jesus comes from the four New Testament Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — which historians think were written many decades after Jesus’ death and are thus the most reliable sources. However, despite the lack of archaeological or other tangible proof for his existence, the majority of experts accept that Jesus did live and that he was born somewhere before the Common Era and crucified sometime between 26 and 36 CE, according to the most recent estimates (the years when the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, ruled Judea).
The period was also characterized by unrest, with some people expressing dissatisfaction with Roman policies as well as with theTemple’s high priests, while others hoped for a messianic redeemer who would drive out the foreign rulers and restore Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
(Taken from the novel “At Home,” written by Grace Stebbing and published by John F.
Was Jesus the Messiah?
The question of whether or not Jesus was the messiah. necessitates the consideration of the preceding question: “What is the definition of messiah?” They (the Prophets, or Nevi’im), who wrote hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, saw the coming of the messianic age as a period of worldwide peace in which violence and famine would be banished and mankind would recognize God’s authority over all things. According to tradition, a global resurrection of the dead would take place during the messianic period, as well as a reunification of all Jews, including the ten lost tribes, in the land of Israel, as well as ultimate judgment and worldwide peace.
The Dead Sea Scrolls refer to two messiahs, one of whom is a military commander and the other of whom is a religious leader.
Stories in the Gospels about Jesus healing the sick, reviving the dead, and declaring the imminence of the kingdom of heaven imply that his disciples viewed him as the one who had been chosen by God to usher in the messianic period.
The sage Maimonides observed, “And it is well known that he is not the one who was promised by the Torah if he is unsuccessful in this endeavor or if he is dead.”
What About Jews for Jesus?
Jews for Jesus is an acronym that stands for Jews for Jesus. is a subset of a larger movement known as Messianic Jews, which includes a number of other groups. Members of this organization are not recognized as Jews by the larger Jewish community, despite the fact that some members may have been born Jewish and that their ritual life involves Jewish customs, among other factors. Individual Jews might embrace Jesus as the messiah and still be considered Jewish under the law — rejection of any essential Jewish belief or practice does not automatically exclude one from being considered Jewish — but the ideas of messianic Jews are theologically irreconcilable with Judaism.
Did the Jews Kill Jesus?
No. The Romans executed Jesus on the cross. Crucification was a Roman method of death rather than a Jewish one. For the majority of Christian history, Jews were deemed culpable for the murder of Jesus and were punished accordingly. Due to the fact that the New Testament places the responsibility particularly on the Temple leadership, as well as more broadly on the Jewish people, this is the case. A sequence from Mel Gibson’s controversial 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” prominently depicted the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who was reluctant to murder Jesus but was compelled to do so by bloodthirsty Jews, according to the Gospels.
These words, along with others, were used to legitimize centuries of Christian anti-Semitism against Jews.
In many ways, this document cleared the path for the first time in history for a historic reconciliation between Jews and Catholics.
The crucifixion of Jesus is shown on a mosaic at Jerusalem’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension.
Why Was Jesus Killed?
Some have argued that Jesus was a political rebel who sought the restoration of Jewish sovereignty and was executed by the Romans for his actions — an argument advanced in two recent works: Reza Aslan’s Zealot and Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus — while others have argued that Jesus was a religious revolutionary. This concept, on the other hand, is not universally accepted by scholars of the New Testament. if Rome had recognized Jesus as the head of a revolutionary group, it would have apprehended and executed his disciples as well.
A more plausible explanation is that the Romans considered Jesus as a threat to the peace and executed him because he was attracting followers who saw him as a messianic figure, according to this theory.
Did Jesus Reject Judaism?
Several passages in the Gospels have been read as rejections of Jewish religion and practice, according to some. Jesus is claimed to have declared banned foods “clean” in the Gospel of Mark, a statement that has come to be taken as a repudiation of traditional Jewish dietary regulations. However, this is Mark’s inference, not necessarily Jesus’ purpose. When Jesus and his early Jewish disciples returned to their homeland, they continued to obey Jewish law. Additionally, the New Testament has multiple lines that affirm Jesus as being equal to and divine with God, a concept that is difficult to reconcile with Judaism’s stress on God’s oneness.
Others, such as the “Angel of the Lord,” who appears in Genesis 16, Genesis 22, Exodus 3 (in the burning bush), and other passages, could have seen Jesus as an angel, as did others before him.
Are There Jewish Texts that Reference Jesus?
Yes. Despite the fact that the Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus in hisAntiquities of the Jews, the principal reference in his work appears to have been modified and extended by Christian scribes in the first century. Many sources believe that the term “Yeshu” is a reference to Jesus in the Talmud, which has a few references to him. Yeshu the Nazarene was hanged on the eve of Passover, according to the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin, for the offense of leading Jews astray, according to the original report.
The Toledot Yeshu, written during the medieval period, gave an alternate narrative of Jesus that was in opposition to traditional Christian beliefs.
In his Mishneh Torah, Maimonides sees Jesus as the failed messiah foretold by the prophet Daniel, and as such, he is condemned to death.
We would like to express our gratitude to Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences, for her support in the preparation of this piece.
Join Our Newsletter
Encourage your Jewish exploration on a daily basis.
References to Jesus in Early Rabbinic Literature
Early Rabbinic Literature Makes Reference to the Person of Jesus Christ (200-500 c.e.) (Rabbi) Dr. Michael J. Cook, Ph.D., is a Sol Arlene Bronstein is a well-known author. Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania The Cincinnati Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) [taken from “Evolving Views of Jesus,” in B. Bruteau, ed.,Jesus Through Jewish Eyes(Orbis, 2001): 1-24.] [This article has been posted with Prof. Cook’s permission.] Note from the webmaster: The question of whether the Talmud and other rabbinic literature provide historical information about the role played by Jewish individuals or institutions in the death of Jesus is raised in an article published in the October 3, 2003 issue of The Jewish Week [Eric J.
- This explanation from Prof.
- Statements on Jesus from primarily Jewish sources can be found in early rabbinic literature (which comes from both Babylonia and Palestine).
- Moreover, because these allusions are so widely dispersed, we must “hunt and peck” in order to piece together a credible image that incorporates perspectives from many rabbis, generations, and academies.
- Rabbinic passages dealing with other figures (e.g., benStada, Peloni, and Netzer) were misapplied to Jesus after they were first published.
- The result was that even erroneous allusions to Jesus were included into the mix of imagined rabbinic ideas about him, further confounding and even corrupting what was already an incomprehensibly complex picture of the man.
- What arises is not just a rudimentary form of collage, but also something that may be described as a caricature.
- To be sure, the outcomes of such an investigation might help to shed some light on how rabbinic traditions regarding Jesus came to be formed.
In terms of the rabbis’ cumulative understanding of Jesus, some had come to believe that while in Egypt [the newborn Jesus is depicted in Egypt in Matthew 2:13-23], Jesus had learned the art of sorcery, as well as the charms and formulae required to perform feats of magic, which they believed Jesus had acquired while in Egypt.
When it comes to Jesus’ birth and death dates, these are also confusing.
Despite this, the Gospels placed Jesus’ career to a specific time period (26-36 C.E.) during which Judea was controlled by Pontius Pilate, and during which Jesus was “around thirty years old.” However, by their latter days, the rabbis—particularly in Babylonia—would have had few rules for dating Pilate’s reign as well.
- Was it merely a matter of rabbinic convention because professors frequently had five followers (as was the case with Johanan ben Zakkai, the legendary founder of the Jamniaacademy, who received five disciples, and Judah ben Baba, who ordained five disciples of Rabbi Akiba)?
- The rabbis’ confusion between Jesus’ mother, Mary, and Mary Magdalene (a mistake that is also common among some current Jews) is also perplexing.
- In their natural state, they saw anti-Jewish attitudes given to Jesus in the Gospels as having originated with him personally, rather than as retrojections by the later church.
- It’s ironic that the same Jesus who had designated the Shema (“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one”) as his paramount mandate could also be hastily accused of having repudiated the central message of Judaism.
- All things considered, the rabbis could consider the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Sanhedrin trial to be completely believable.
- As far as the ears of subsequent rabbis were concerned, that was reasonable enough – after all, “blasphemers” was exactly how the rabbis of that day saw Christian contemporaries at the time.
- Although they accepted these premises, the rabbis maintained that Jesus’ trial had been either too quick or too unfair: It was also taught as follows: Yeshuawas was beheaded on the eve of the Passover holiday.
“Anyone who has something to say in his favor should come up and plead on his side,” he says.
Sanhedrin.) Behind the most part, the explanation for this Sanhedrin 43a text is self-explanatory: the later Babylonian Rabbis were unhappy with the idea that a Sanhedrin had been accused of acting unfairly by Christians.
As “Gospel truth,” they accepted Christian reporting of the facts as authoritative, and then twisted those purported “facts” to suit their own purposes.
Whatever the reasons for these and other rabbinic traditions, the overall conclusion remains valid: the rabbis provide little or no trustworthy information about the historical Jesus.
In the event that Jesus was not well-known among Jews at the time of his own ministry, as has been maintained, the Jewish tradition may not have gotten off to an accurate grasp of who he was from the outset.
A situation like this might easily have resulted in not only the emergence of misunderstandings about Jesus at an early stage, but also the preservation and elaboration of these errors by Jews throughout history.
The Jewish Talmud and the Death of Christ
Using a passage from the book of Job (5:13, LXX) to underscore the foolishness of human knowledge in comparison to that which is divine, Paul stated that God “catch[s] the wise in their own craftiness” in one of his epistles (1 Corinthians 3:19). A fisherman who has been “caught in his own net” is a sad sight to see. Another way of putting it is that the soldier “is worsted by his own weapons,” as Chrysostom (c. A.D. 347-407) of Constantinople famously said. The Romans were swayed by a wicked faction among the Jewish population, which resulted in the execution of Christ.
- This is not meant to diminish the responsibility of all sinners for the murder of God’s Son; rather, it is intended to recognise the historical events that took place in the spring of A.D.
- It has been over two millennia since Jewish writers attempted to modify history in an attempt to justify their participation in the killing of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
- It would have been preferable if they had simply dealt with the horrible past in a truthful manner and moved on.
- It attempted to explain Christ’s execution against the backdrop of Hebrew law, with the assertion that the Lord’s death was carried out in accordance with the letter of the law.
The Jewish Text
The Babylonian Talmud is a commentary on Jewish law that was written between the years 500 and 600 A.D. (Neusner and Green, 69). There is a passage in there that speaks of Jesus’ death. The following paragraph is found in the TractateSanhedrin(43a): On the eve of Passover, Jesus was beheaded. “He is being taken out for stoning because he has practiced magic, led Israel astray, and seduced them into apostasy,” the herald had yelled forty days before, according to the Bible. “Whoever has something to say in his defense, please step out and speak it.” The fact that there was nothing presented in his defense resulted in his hanging on Passover Eve.
First and foremost, it must be noted that the document is written from a Jewish point of view, and as a result, it is antagonistic to Jesus and protective of Jewish justice, as would be expected.
Jesus — A Real Person of History
The first and most obvious truth to note is that the Jews responsible for the Babylonian Talmud, who had every reason to want to wipe Christ from the face of the earth, did not desire to do so. That is significant. The historical significance of Jesus has been acknowledged. This is particularly striking evidence given the fact that a small number of current skeptics (a minority within their own ranks) deny that Jesus ever existed.
In the contemporary day, for example, G.A. Wells has attempted to show that Jesus was only a fictional character, although even he acknowledges that “almost all present-day academics” do not agree with his argument (Wells, 1.363).
The Manner of Jesus’ Death
“Hanging” was the method of death that he chose. This is a phrase that was used in reference to the crucifixion. “The God of our ancestors brought up Jesus, whom you slaughtered by hanging him from a tree,” says Peter (Acts 5:30). The text states, “whom you killed by hanging him from a tree,” which is a literal translation. In this case, the participle “having been hung” is “coincident with the meaning of the verb” (Lenski, 225). See also Acts 10:39 for further information. When it came to the method of Christ’s death, there was divine design involved.
It will be explained in greater detail later by Paul: “Christ rescued us from under the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us; for it is stated, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13; cf.
I’ll get back to you on this shortly.
The Time of Jesus’ Death
The “Passover Eve” is the approximate time of his death, according to the obituary. “Now it was the Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour,” says John the apostle, who was there at the moment of Christ’s death: “Now it was the Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour.” And he addressed the Jews by saying, “Behold your king” (19:14). See Geldenhuys for a detailed examination of the purported complications linked with the time aspect of the Passover, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, and other such issues (649-670).
The Illegal Trial of Christ
According to the evidence, the reference to a “herald” screaming out for “forty days” declaring Christ’s guilt appears to be an evident attempt to cover up the criminal misconduct that happened in connection with the Lord’s trial and execution. In Jewish judicial practice, a “herald” was supposed to do the following before an execution: announce the victim’s name, identify his claimed crime, reveal the names of witnesses against him, and call for any exculpatory testimony before the execution could begin (see our article on the trial of Jesus,Part 1andPart 2.) According to the New Testament, there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that this was done in conjunction with Jesus’ death.
Until five days before his crucifixion, Christ had not yet arrived in Jerusalem.
Accusation of Collusion with Satan
As a result of the accusation that Christ was performing magic, it was implied that he was working with the devil on his mission. It is true that the term “sorcery” refers to a distortion of the truth in reference to Jesus; nonetheless, it implicitly acknowledges that he was doing exceptional feats (his miracles) that were unfathomable from a strictly natural standpoint. The Hebrew authorities were increasingly agitated as support for the Lord grew. As a result, the chief priests and Pharisees convened a council and discussed what they should do.
“If we leave him alone, all men will come to believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our location and our nation,” says the author (John 11:47-48).
“This guy does not drive out demons except through the power of Beelzebub,” the Pharisees accused after the Savior healed a man who had been demon possessed and had become blind and mute as a result of his demon possession (Matthew 12:24).
Sorcery is what the Talmud refers to as this type of behavior. Sorcery, to be sure! In order to demolish their reasoning, Christ demonstrated that if their idea were correct, Satan would become split against himself!
Stoning or Crucifixion — Which?
The Sanhedrin narrative mentions that he was brought away for “stoning” (as was the case with Stephen and Paul later on in Acts 7:58 and 14:19, respectively). The method of execution used by the Hebrews was stoning. This is remarkable, given that the same Talmudic scripture claims that Christ was “hanged.” Observe the discussion above on the “Manner of Jesus’ Death.” From a legal standpoint, the Jews were unable to execute a person by stoning because the Romans had removed their ability to carry out capital punishment directly (see John 18:31b); they were instead required to go through the Roman judicial system for executions, which meant crucifixion for a non-Roman.
This, of course, was all part of God’s master plan all along.
It was necessary for the Savior to die in a manner that resulted in a great deal of blood loss.
The Lack of Defense
According to the idea that Jesus lacked any “protection,” this is significant because it confirms the prophesy of Isaiah. In spite of the fact that he was troubled, he did not open his mouth when afflicted; just as a lamb is carried to the slaughter, and a sheep is silent before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth when afflicted” (53:7). Examine the following passage from the Gospel of Matthew: “And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not utter a single word.” And he didn’t say anything, not even a single word” (see Matthew 27:12, 14; cf.
As revealed by these writings, while Christ made a few brief remarks throughout the course of his multiple “court” appearances, he made no formal defense of his own innocence.
Additionally, the impact of the Lord Jesus is mentioned in this Jewish historical record. He was accused of having “taken Israel astray. into apostasy,” a development that the chief priests and Pharisees were dreading with apprehension (cf. John 11:48). It has been estimated that the Jerusalem church had grown to include no less than 20,000 members by the time Stephen was murdered (Acts 7:60). (Kistemaker, 148). This amounted to more than one-third of the projected 55,000 people of Jerusalem at the time of the census in 1948.
Isn’t it remarkable (and perhaps even “providential”) that Jewish writers of the post-apostolic period ended up supplying the kind of evidence that, rather than undermining the New Testament claims, unknowingly supports them?
According to Wayne Jackson’s commentary, “Acts of the Apostles—Via Jerusalem to Rome,” the book is accessible from Christian Courier Publications (www.christiancourier.com). For further information, call 1-888-818-2463.