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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

 As with many pieces on my sight it's written to be more like debate briefs than an essay. But don't let that get in the way,  It's a series of quotations with explains about why I'm using them.


Jews self censored the Talmud to remove mentions of Jesus, thus modern Jews deny that it is talking about him, while ancient rabbis used examples supposedly speaking of him for centuries. But what cannot be denied is that the Talmud gives evidence of Christians believing in Jesus as a flesh and blood rabbi from the late first century, which contradicts the Jesus myth theory.


There is a history of the Talmud

The Babylonian Talmud

translated by MICHAEL L. RODKINSON
Book 10 (Vols. I and II)
[1918]
The History of the Talmud

from Vol I chapter II


Thus the study of the Talmud flourished after the destruction of the Temple, although beset with great difficulties and desperate struggles. All his days, R. Johanan b. Zakkai was obliged to dispute with Sadducee and Bathueians and, no doubt, with the Messiahists also; for although these last were Pharisees, they differed in many points from the teaching of the Talmud after their master, Jesus, had broken with the Pharisees



This clearly indicates that Jesus was followed by Christians who understood him as a Rabbi in the late first century, but the Jesus myth theory says that it was only in the second century that began to put a concrete history to Jesus. Note this history indicates that they had a history about him as they said he had been a pharisee.

The index indicates that this statement is from the time covering the late first century.
Index to the work

The Talmud is Rabbinical commentaries that begin about the second century but they draw upon even older material. Some parts of the Jerusalem Talmud go back to the first century and even before:


Michael L Rodkinson

"History of Talmud"

"The Talmud is a combination of Mishna and Gemara, the latter is a collection of Mishnayoth, Tosephtas, Mechilta, Siphra, Siphre and Boraithas, all of these, interpreted and discussed by the Amoraim, Saboraim, and also Gaonim at a later period. "The Mishna is the authorized codification of the oral or unwritten law, which on the basis of the written law contained in Pentateuch, developed during the second Temple, and down to the end of the second century of the common era." The author of which was R. Jehuda, the prince named "Rabbi" (flourishing toward the end of the second century), taking the unfinished work of R. Akiba and R. Meir as basis."




Christian apologists have long used the references in the Talmud to certain figures, some named "Yeshua" and others called by derogatory nick names, to prove the Jews wrote about Jesus. But modern Jewish scholars have given up that pastime and now deny that any of these references pertain to Jesus.


Rabbis have never denied it. Rabbis have been using the Talmudist stories of Jesus for centuries to illustrate the problems with Christianity. Secondly, they were confident enough that this was Jesus that they actually took the mentions of name out at one point to avoid attacks by anti-Semitic Christians.


Sam Shamoun

"Jesus in Rabbinic Traditions"

"It is not surprising to find the Talmud referring to Jesus, his mother and his disciples. In fact, some of the material coincides with the NT depiction of Jesus and the Jewish ruling council's assessment of his person and mission. The following statements are taken from the Soncino edition of the Babylon Talmud as cited in Robert A. Morey's pamphlet Jesus in the Mishnah and Talmud. We will also be using Josh McDowell & Bill Wilson's He Walked Among Us unless noted otherwise."

"Before proceeding, we must point out that at one time the following Talmudic references were believed to have been lost. This is due to the fact that in the seventeenth century, Jewish rabbis took steps to expunge all references to Jesus. This act was motivated primarily by the Church's persecution of the Jews. Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson explain:"

"... in light of the persecutions, the Jewish communities imposed censorship on themselves to remove references to Jesus in their writings so that they might no longer be a target of attack. Morris Goldstein, former Professor of Old and New Testament Literature at the Pacific School of Religion, relates: Thus, in 1631 the Jewish Assembly of Elders in Poland declared: ‘We enjoin you under the threat of the great ban to publish in no new edition of the Mishnah or the Gemara anything that refers to Jesus of Nazareth... If you will not diligently heed this letter, but run counter thereto and continue to publish our books in the same manner as heretofore, you might bring over us and yourselves still greater sufferings than in previous times.’"

At first, deleted portions of words in printed Talmuds were indicated by small circles or blank spaces but, in time, these too were forbidden by the censors.

We know that passages pertianing to Jesus were removed, so they once existed:

NEIL ALTMAN

Special to The Star

As reported in the Kansas City Star

Posted on Sat, Jun. 07, 2003 to KansasCity.com


Among the challenges to Christianity was the charge that Jews had rejected Jesus and that no Jewish leaders or scholars ever accepted Jesus as the Messiah. But even one of the most revered Jewish texts, the Talmud, a collection of rabbinical writings from 100 B.C. to A.D. 500, suggests otherwise.

In the second century A.D., Rabbi Judah Ha Nasi (A.D. 135-200) purged the Mishnah, part of the Talmud, of many references to Christianity and those who adhered to it. But not everything was edited out.

In his classic work, The History of the Talmud, Jewish Talmudic scholar Michael L. Rodkinson wrote: "There were passages in the Mishnayoth concerning Jesus and his teaching...the Messianists...(were) many and considerable persons and in close alliance with their colleagues the Pharisees during the (first) two centuries."

Those words from the Mishnah appear to correspond to New Testament accounts that many Jews, including Pharisees and "a great company of priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).

The Talmud mentions that the Romans hanged Jesus from a tree, while in another text section the Talmud does something done nowhere else but the New Testament -- mentions Jesus' birth.

English scholar R. Travers Herford, in his book Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, wrote that rabbinical writings mention that Jesus' mother, Mary, was "descended from princes and rulers."

Despite the noble lineage, Herford noted, the Talmudic text referred to Jesus as "Ben Pandira," roughly translated as "son of a virgin," which was considered an epithet.

"While the Jesus Seminar was making radical pronouncements (among them that Jesus was not the Son of God) and courting the media," Blomberg said, "what is less well-known to the public is the study in which scholars have been growing in their appreciation of Jesus' Jewish roots."

He said, "These things have never been presented in any popular forms of consumption to the American public."



--- .


Neil Altman is a writer who lives in Pennsylvania and specializes in the Dead Sea Scrolls and religion. His others works have appeared The Times of London, the Toronto Star and The Washington Post.

David Crowder, an investigative reporter with the El Paso Times, and Bill Norton, of The Star, contributed to this story


As a result of the twofold censorship the usual volumes of Rabbinic literature contain only a distorted remnant of supposed allusions to Jesus ..." (Ibid, pp. 58-59)




It seems pretty obvious that the Talmud is discussing Jesus, at least in some enstances. A summary of what the most liley passages say about theone I take to be Jesus of Nazerath makes this clear:

a Summary of what is said about the charactors who seem go by these names:



*He was born under unusual circumstances, leading some rabbis to address him as ben Pandira and " a bastard of an adulteress."
*mother Mary was Heli's daughter.
*was crucified on the eve of Passover.
* made himself alive by the name of God.
* was a son of a woman. (cf. Galatians 4:4)
* claimed to be God, the son of God, the son of man.
* ascended and claimed that he would return again.
* was near to the kingdom and near to kingship.
* had at least five disciples.
* performed miracles, i.e. practiced "sorcery".
* name has healing power.
* teaching impressed one rabbi.
The Talmud essentially affirms the New Testament teaching on the life and person of Jesus Christ, God's unique Son and Savior of the world.


Before going into that we need to understand what we are looking for. The Talmudic writters don't say "O Jesus of Nazerath is who we are talking about." They couch things in langaue form their world which is very different to anything modern Christian would expect to find. they have many nicknames for Jesus, both as derogatory and as part of the self censering. soem of these can be translated as "may his name be blotted out" Others are of doubtful origin, but it is asserted strongly by Rabbis over the centuries that they are Talking about Jesus.Some of htese names include:

*Such-an-one
*Pantera
*Ben Stada
*Yeshu
*Ben Pantira



Origin of Pantera


Morey quotes from the Soncino edition of the Babylonian Talmud:

Footnote in Soncino: "Supposed by Tosah, to be the Mother of Jesus; cf. Shab. 104b in the earlier uncensored editions. Her description Megaddela (hairdresser) is connected by some with the name of Mary Magdalene whose name was confused with the name of Mary, the mother of Jesus." (Ibid., p. 7) Some scholars also see an allusion to the virgin birth of Christ in the term, "son of Pandira." This is due to the fact that "Pandira" seems to be a play on the Greek word for virgin, parthenos, the very term used in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke when recording Jesus' virgin birth. McDowell & Wilson report:

"... Scholars have debated at length how Jesus came to have this name (i.e., ben Pandira) attached to his. Strauss thought it was from the Greek word pentheros, meaning 'son-in-law.' Klausner and Bruce accept the position that panthera is a corruption of the Greek parthenos meaning 'virgin.' Klausner says, 'The Jews constantly heard that the Christians (the majority of whom spoke Greek from the earliest times) called Jesus by the name "Son of the Virgin"... and so, in mockery, they called him Ben ha-Pantera, i.e., "son of the leopard."'... The theory most sensational but least accepted by serious scholars was dramatized by the discovery of a first century tombstone at Bingerbruck, Germany. The inscription read, 'Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, an archer, native of Sidon, Phoenicia, who in 9 c.e. was transferred to service in Germany.'... This discovery fueled the fire of the theory that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary and the soldier, Panthera. Even Origen writes that his opponent, Celsus, in circa A.D. 178, said that he heard from a Jew that 'Miriam' had become pregnant by 'Pantheras,' a Roman soldier; was divorced by her husband, and bore Jesus in secret.

"If 'Pantheras' were a unique name, the theory of Mary's pregnancy by the Roman soldier might be more attractive to scholars. But Adolf Deissman, the early twentieth-century German New Testament scholar, verified, by first century inscriptions, 'with absolute certainty that Panthera was not an invention of Jewish scoffers, but a widespread name among the ancients.'... Rabbi and Professor Morris Goldstein comments that it was as common as the names Wolf or Fox today. He comments further:

It is noteworthy that Origin himself is credited with the tradition that Panther was the appellation of James (Jacob), the father of Jospeh, the father of Jesus... So, too, Andrew of Crete, John of Damascus, Epiphanius the Monk, and the author of Andronicus of Constantinople's Dialogue Against the Jews, name Panther as an ancestor of Jesus...

"Jesus being called by his grandfather's name would also have agreed with a statement in the Talmud permitting this practice. Whereas Christian tradition identified Jesus by his home town, Jewish tradition, having a greater concern for genealogical identification, seems to have preferred this method of identifying Jesus. Goldstein presents more evidence to argue the case convincingly." (McDowell & Wilson, pp. 66-67)

Hence, why or how Jesus came to be called ben Pandira is an issue which scholars have not come to an agreement.





we can push it back to the fifth century:

Shomoun, Ibid:

R. Shimeaon ben 'Azzai said: I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, "Such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress." McDowell and Wilson state, on the authority of Joseph Klausner, that the phrase such-an-one "is used for Jesus in the Ammoraic period (i.e., fifth century period)." (McDowell & Wilson, p. 69)

this statement is originally in Lightfoot According to the Jewish Tractate of Talmud, the Chagigah a certain person had a dream in which he saw the punishment of the damned. In the dream, "He saw Mary the daughter of Heli amongst the shades..." (John Lightfoot, Commentary On the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica [Oxford University Press, 1859; with a second printing from Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1995], vol. 1, p. v; vol. 3, p.55)

Compare this with Luke 3:23.



One of the oldest sources of Talmud is the Mishna. It dates to second or Thrid century, but draws upon mateial that goes back to the fist. There are two Talmuds, Jerusalem and Babylonian. The latter is more improtant, the Mishna belons to the former. In the Mishna, this is drawing upon first century sources (see opening quote above)


Dr. Robert Morey continues:

"Thankfully, copies of the uncensored pre-1631 texts can be found in Oxford University and several other European libraries. Thus the statements about Jesus were never actually ‘lost.’ They were published separately in numerous editions and studied by Jewish scholars in private. No one denies these facts any more... While the Soncino edition of the Babylonian Talmud is a censored text, the editors usually give the uncensored original readings in a footnote. We have put the statements about Jesus back into the text where they originally belonged and have indicated this by [ ]." (Morey, pp. 1-2)


(Dr. Robert A. Morey,Jesus in the Mishnah and the Talmud,California Institute of Apologetic PO Box 7447 Orange, CA 92863 1-800-41-TRUTH or (714) 630-6307--looks like private printing)

R. Papa said: When the Mishnah states a MESITH IS A HEDYOT, it is only in respect of hiding witnesses. For it has been taught: And for all others for whom the Torah decrees death, witnesses are not hidden, excepting for this one. How is it done? - A light is lit in an inner chamber, the witnesses are hidden in an outer one [which is in darkness], so that they can see and hear him, but he cannot see them. Then the person he wishes to seduce says to him, "Tell me privately what thou hast proposed to me"; and he does so. Then he remonstrates; "But how shall we forsake our God in Heaven, and serve idols?" If he retracts, it is well. But if he answers: "It is our duty and seemly for us," the witnesses who were listening outside bring him to Beth din, and have him stoned. ["And thus they did to Ben Stada in Lydda, and they hung him on the even of Passover." Ben Stada was Ben Pandira. R. Hisda said: The husband was Stada, the paramour Pandira. But as not the husband Pappos b. Judah? - His mother's name was Stada. But his mother was Miriam, a dresser of woman's hair? - As they say in Pumpbaditha, This woman has turned away (satath da) from her husband, (i.e. committed adultery).] (Morey, p. 6)




These are passages from the Mishna that pertian to Jesus. Of course the information is distorted, and he is doubed "Panther." How he got this name and what it means is undecided, I'll deal with that at leangth by quoting a huge footnote by Shomoun, but latter for that. There are more passages pertaining to Jesus crucifiction and Resurrection:




II. Jesus' Crucifixion


"And it is tradition: On the eve of Passover they hung Jeshu [the Nazarene]. And the crier went forth before him forty days (saying), [Jeshu the Nazarene] goeth forth to be stoned, because he hath practiced magic and deceived and led Israel astray. Anyone who knoweth aught in his favor, let him come and declare concerning him. And they found naught in his favor. And they hung him on the eve of the Passover. Ulla said, 'Would it be supposed that [Jeshu the Nazarene] a revolutionary, had aught in his favor?' He was a deceiver and the Merciful (i.e. God) hath said (Deut. xiii 8), ‘Thou shalt not spare, neither shalt thou conceal him.’ But it was different with [Jeshu the Nazarene] for he was near the kingdom.'" (Sanhedrin 43a) Would you believe that any defense would have been so zealously sought for him? He was a deceiver, and the All-merciful says: "You shall not spare him, neither shall you conceal him." It was different with Jesus, for he was near to the kingship. (McDowell & Wilson, p. 65)




Notice it say he was "hung." But Raymond Brown in Death of the Messiah establishes the fact that "hung" was a euphemism for crucifiction. So what they really saying is that he was crucified.



III. Jesus' Resurrection

"And he took up his parable and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this! R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Woe unto him who maketh himself alive by the name of God. [a covert allusion to Jesus.]" (Sanhedrin 106a)



IV. Jesus' Deity

Christian Author Michael Green quotes a rabbi named Eliezar, writing about AD 160, who writes:


"God saw that a man, son of a woman, was to come forward in the future, who would attempt to make himself God and lead the whole world astray. And if he says he is God he is a liar. And he will lead men astray, and say that he will depart and will return at the end of days." (Green, Who is this Jesus? [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992], p. 60- cited in We Believe Series - Basics of Christianity, Jesus Knowing Our Savior, author Max Anders [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995], p. 136)




How obvious can you get?


"Rabbi Eliezer ha-Kappar said: God gave strength to his (Balaam's) voice so that it went from one end of the world to the other, because he looked forth and beheld the nations that bow down to the sun and moon and stars, and to wood and stone, and he looked forth and saw that there was a man, born of a woman, who should rise up and seek to make himself God, and to cause the whole world to go astray. Therefore God gave power to the voice of Balaam that all the peoples of the world might hear, and thus he spake: Give heed that ye go not astray after that man, for is written, 'God is not a man that he should lie.' And if he says that he is God, he is a liar; and he will deceive and say that he departed and cometh again at the end. He saith and he shall not perform. See what is written: And he took up his parable and said, 'Alas, when God doeth this.' Balaam said, Alas, who shall live - of what nation which heareth that man who hath made himself God." (Yalkut Shimeon, [Salonica] sec. 725 on wayissa mishalo [Num. 23. 7], according to Midrash Y'lamm'denue)

Another rabbi, writing a hundred years after Eliezer, states:

"Rabbi Abahu said, If a man says 'I am God,' he lies; if he says, 'I am the Son of man' he shall rue it; 'I will go up to heaven,' (to this applies Num. xxiii 19) he saith, but shall not perform it." (Jerusalem Talmud Taanith-65b




Well all of that tells us that the Jews were of Christiantiy and barrowed from Christian stories to refute and debunck it, and that they did this as early as AD160. But none of that really indicates that that they have anything orignally form the Jewish community that historically verifies Jesus, accept that they do seem to affirm that he existed. They are clealry talking about him and they never argue that he didn't exist. But there's more, there's a more posative argument, but we must wade through a lot of stuff to get to it.



The Proof


I. Genealogy


The geneology of Jesus was known to the Jews, is mentioned in the Talmud and shows up in the use of the name "panteria." This is duscussed above where it is said that the use of that name is the jewish preference for a geneological connection. Another quotion above:

R. Shimeaon ben 'Azzai said: I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, "Such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress." McDowell and Wilson state, on the authority of Joseph Klausner, that the phrase such-an-one "is used for Jesus in the Ammoraic period (i.e., fifth century period)." (McDowell & Wilson, p. 69)

So geneological connections tie the figure of Pantera to Jesus of Nazerath. Of course mythological figures would not have geneological connections. Jesus Mother, brother, and family are mentioned throughout many sources.

II. Celsus


Celsus demonstrates a connection to the material of the Talmud, indicating that that material about Jesus was around in a leaast the second century. Since Jewish sources would not have been reidaly avaible to Celsus it seems reasonable to assume that this information had been floating around for some time, and easier to obtain. Therefore, we can at least went back to the early second, late frist century.


Origin quoting Celsus: Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god."


So we estabilsh:

(1) Mary was poor and worked with her hands

(2) husband was a carpenter

(3)Mary committed adultary with Roman soldier named Panthera. (where have we heard this before?)

(4) Jesus as bastard

(5) driven to Egypt where Jesus leanred magic.


All of these points are made in the Talmudic passages. This can be seen both above and on the next page. The use of the name Panthera is a dead give away. Clearly Celsus got this info from the Talmud. Christians never used the name Panthera. He could only hae gotten it form the Talmud and these are very charges the Talmudists made.

Here is a mishna passage, which makes most of the points. Being from the Mishna it would draw upon first century material:

MISHNAH.[104b] If one writes on his flesh, he is culpable; He who scratches a mark on his flesh. He who scratches a mark on his flesh, [etc.] It was taught, R. Eliezar said to the sages: But did not Ben Stada bring forth witchcraft from Egypt by means of scratches [in the form of charms] upon his flesh? He was a fool, answered they, proof cannot be adduced from fools. [Was he then the son of Stada: surely he was the son of Pandira? - Said R. Hisda: The husband was Stada, the paramour was Pandira. But the husband was Pappos b. Judah? - his mother was Stada. But his mother was Miriam the hairdresser? - It is as we said in Pumbeditha: This is one has been unfaithful to (lit., 'turned away from'- satath da) her husband.] (Shabbath 104b)




In fact Origin himself almost hints at spcial knowledge of Jesus "ture" origns, what would that knowldge be? Christian knolwege would be posative and not contian many of the poitns, such as Mary being a spinner or hair dresser. No Christians ever said that. It was suspect for a woman to work. That's an insutl to her.

The following quotes are taken from Celsus On the True Doctrine, translated by R. Joseph Hoffman, Oxford University Press, 1987:

Celsus:

"Let us imagine what a Jew- let alone a philosopher- might say to Jesus: 'Is it not true, good sir, that you fabricated the story of your birth from a virgin to quiet rumors about the true and unsavory circumstances of your origins? Is it not the case that far from being born in the royal David's city of Bethlehem, you were born in a poor country town, and of a woman who earned her living by spinning? Is it not the case that when her deceit was uncovered, to wit, that she was pregnant by a roman soldier called Panthera she was driven away by her husband- the carpenter- and convicted of adultery?" (57).



why a Jew? or Philospher? Celsus was obviously reading the jewish sources. This is one of the charges made in the Talmud.

Here he claims to have secret knowledge that Christians don't have:

"I could continue along these lines, suggesting a good deal about the affairs of Jesus' life that does not appear in your own records. Indeed, what I know to be the case and what the disciples tell are two very different stories... [for example] the nonsensical idea that Jesus foresaw everything that was to happen to him (an obvious attempt to conceal the humiliating facts)." (62).



where is that from? It has to be the Talmud, or sources commonly drawn upon by the Talmud.


But how does this prove it was Jesus? Celsus sure thought it was. Apparently his Jeiwsh contracts told him this is the straight truth on Jesus' life. We see that everywhere in the Talmud Jesus is talked about as a living person,and connections are made to his family and genealogy.

Celsus pushes the knowledge back to late second century, but due to the availability or Rabbinical writings it must have been around for some time before that. The Jews were very conscious of genealogies and family connections. why would they not pick up on the fact that Jesus had none and no one had ever seen him personal, if indeed that was the case?

1 comments:

Do you have any Talmudic quotations acknowledging that Jesus was a miracle worker? I had read a tale long ago from a Jewish book about Jesus performing miracles because He had obtained the secret name of God from the Holy of Holies. What's the reference for that?

Thanks for whatever you might relay back to me!

Daniel Mann

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