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Old July 3rd, 2011 #1
Zeth O. Grady
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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Zeth O. Grady
Lightbulb Jesus is not in the Talmud

The Jesus Narrative In The Talmud
http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/jesusnarr.html

Introduction
There are four main passages in the Talmud that are alleged by some to discuss the story of Jesus' life and death. What we will do here is to analyze closely these passages and see the reasons one may or may not attribute these stories to the life of Jesus. We will also look at another two passages that help us identify our protagonist(s). We will quickly realize that there are great difficulties in stating that any of these texts refer to Jesus. We will see that a large number of historians and talmudists have addressed these issues and have concluded that either none of these passages refer to Jesus or that they refer to a proto-Jesus, whose life was later obfuscated by the theologically motivated rewriting of history.

Passages
It is important to keep in mind that there are many people in the Talmud with the same names. R. Aaron Hyman in his biographical work on the sages of the Talmud, Toldot Tannaim VeAmoraim, lists 14 Hillels, 61 Elazars, and 71 Hunas. Josephus lists approximately twenty different men named Jesus, at least ten of whom lived in the same time as the famous Jesus [cf. John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, p. 206 n. 6]. The name Panthera was also a common name in the first two centuries [cf. L. Patterson, "Origin of the Name Panthera", JTS 19 (1917-18), p. 79-80, cited in Meier, p. 107 n. 48]. When dealing with first names, it is very common to come across different people in the Talmud with the same name and the same applies today. When I refer to Bill, am I talking about the President of the United States, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, or a local celebrity? In one place I could mean one Bill and in another place a different Bill. It is therefore almost impossible to identify someone based on their first name alone. Second names, which in the Talmud means the name of the father, enable us to identify people with much better accuracy, but not entirely. It is very possible for both two men and their father's to have the same names. This makes history much harder but ignoring this fact is distorting history.

Note that the word "ben" means "son of" in Hebrew. Therefore, the name "Shimon Ben Gamaliel" means Shimon the son of Gamaliel.

Passage #1: Ben Stada

Quote:
Talmud Shabbat 104b, Sanhedrin 67a

It is taught: R. Eliezer told the sages: Did not Ben Stada bring witchcraft with him from Egypt in a cut that was on his skin? They said to him: He was a fool and you cannot bring proof from a fool.

Ben Stada is Ben Pandira.

R. Chisda said: The husband was Stada and the lover was Pandira.

[No,] the husband was Pappos Ben Yehudah and the mother was Stada.

[No,] the mother was Miriam the women's hairdresser [and was called Stada]. As we say in Pumbedita: She has turned away [Stat Da] from her husband.
Summary
What we see from here is that there was a man named Ben Stada who was considered to be a practicer of black magic. His mother was named Miriam and also called Stada. His father was named Pappos Ben Yehudah. Miriam (Stada) had an affair with Pandira from which Ben Stada was born.

Proof
Some historians claim that Ben Stada, also known as Ben Pandira, was Jesus. His mother's name was Miriam which is similar to Mary. Additionally, Miriam was called a women's hairdresser, "megadla nashaia" [for this translation, see R. Meir Halevi Abulafia, Yad Rama, Sanhedrin ad. loc.]. The phrase "Miriam megadla nashaia" sounds similar to Mary Magdalene, a well-known New Testament figure.

Problems
1. Mary Magdalene was not Jesus' mother. Neither was Mary a hairdresser.
2. Jesus' step-father was Joseph. Ben Stada's step-father was Pappos Ben Yehudah.
3. Pappos Ben Yehudah is a known figure from other places in talmudic literature. The Mechilta Beshalach (Vayehi ch. 6) has him discussing Torah with Rabbi Akiva and Talmud Berachot 61b has Pappos Ben Yehudah being captured and killed by Romans along with Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva lived during the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. He died in the year 134. If Pappos Ben Yehudah was a contemporary of Rabbi Akiva's, he must have been born well after Jesus' death and certainly could not be his father.

Passage #2: Yeshu

Quote:
Talmud Sanhedrin 107b, Sotah 47a

What of R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah?

When John [Hyrcanus] the king killed the rabbis, R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah [and Yeshu] went to Alexandria of Egypt. When there was peace, Shimon Ben Shetach sent to him "From me [Jerusalem] the holy city to you Alexandria of Egypt. My husband remains in your midst and I sit forsaken."

[R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] left and arrived at a particular inn and they showed him great respect. He said: How beautiful is this inn [Achsania, which also means innkeeper].

[Yeshu] said: Rabbi, she has narrow eyes.

[R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] said to him: Wicked one, this is how you engage yourself?

[R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] sent out four hundred trumpets and excommunicated him.

[Yeshu] came before [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] many times and said: Accept me. But [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] paid him no attention.

One day [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] was reciting Shema [during which one may not be interrupted]. [Yeshu] came before him. He was going to accept [Yeshu] and signalled to [Yeshu] with his hand. [Yeshu] thought that [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] was repelling him. He went, hung a brick, and bowed down to it.

[Yeshu] said to [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah]: You taught me that anyone who sins and causes others to sin is not given the opportunity to repent.

And the master said: Yeshu {the Notzri} practiced magic and deceive and led Israel astray.
Background and Summary
Note that historians differ on the exact years of these events. For simplicity, we will assume the latest possible dates as suggested by Gershon Tannenbaum [Jewish Time Line Encyclopedia, p. 87].

John Hyrcanus was a successful king and soldier. During a banquet celebrating his victories in 93 BCE, some Pharisee rabbis offended him and he was convinced by Sadducee leaders to try to kill every Pharisee rabbi [Hyman, vol. II pp. 691-692, 766]. Some rabbis, such as R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah and his student Yeshu, fled to Alexandria outside of John Hyrcanus's reach [Hyman vol. II pp. 647, 692]. Shimon Ben Shetach, however, was hidden in Jerusalem by his sister, Salome Alexandra, who was John Hyrcanus's daughter-in-law [Hyman, vol. II pp. 647, 692, 766, vol. III pp. 1212-1213]. The extremely diverse religious population of Palestine, full of sects such as the Essenes, Kumrans, and numerous other groups, was temporarily devoid of any public Pharisee leaders.

By the year 91 BCE, John Hyrcanus and his sons Antigonus and Aristobulos had died and his third son Alexander Janneus became king. Even though Alexander Janneus was an ardent Sadducee, his wife convinced him to appoint his Pharisaic brother-in-law, Shimon Ben Shetach, to the Sanhedrin, then dominated by Sadducees. Slowly, over the course of a number of years, Shimon Ben Shetach outshone his Sadducee opponents in the Sanhedrin and appointed his Pharisaic students as members [Hyman, vol. II pp. 766-767, vol. III pp. 1213-1214].

By the year 80 BCE it was finally safe for the Pharisee rabbis to quietly return and Shimon Ben Shetach sent a cryptic note to his mentor, R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah, encouraging him to return [Hyman, vol. II pp. 647-648, vol. III pp. 1213-1214].

Some 50 to 60 years after the great Pharisaic victory of the Hasmoneans, in which Pharisees rebelled against the Greek-Syrians and gained the monarchy, these Pharisee rabbis returned to a country full of heretical sects that had either integrated aspects of Hellenist paganism into their religion or had, in an attempt to repel all unproven influence, rejected the traditions of the rabbis. The Pharisees who remembered the prominence in which they had so recently been held were now witnesses to the disintegration of their religious society.

While returning, Yeshu misunderstood one of his teacher's remarks and said something that demonstrated that he was interested in and looking at married women. As sexual promiscuity was a sign of many of the Hellenist sects, R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah suspected his student of being yet another leader influenced by Hellenism and had him excommunicated [this hasty conclusion was condemned by the Talmud a few lines before our passage]. After many attempts by Yeshu to reconcile with his mentor, R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah was finally ready. However, Yeshu approached him while he was reciting Shema, the most important part of the morning prayer during which he could not stop to speak. He motioned to Yeshu with his hand which was misinterpreted as a signal to go away. Yeshu finally gave up and fulfilled his teacher's suspicion. He adopted a pagan religion and went on to create his own sect of Judaism and lead many Jews astray.

Proof
Some historians note some similarities here between Yeshu and Jesus. Most notably, in one manuscript of the Talmud he is called Yeshu the Notzri which could be rendered (with only a little difficulty) Jesus the Nazarene.

Problems
1. Yeshu lived about a century before Jesus.
2. Only one of the approximately four distinct manuscripts available have the title HaNotzri (possibly, the Nazarene). None of the other manuscripts contain that title which make it suspect as a later interpolation, as medieval commentators suggest [cf. Menachem HaMeiri, Beit Habechirah, Sotah ad. loc.].
3. Notzri does not necessarily mean Nazarene. It is actually a biblical term (Jeremiah 4:16). While centuries later it was undoubtedly used to refer to Christians in the form of Notzrim or Netzarim, it could have been a term used to refer to many strong communities. The name "Ben Netzar" was used by the Talmud to refer to the famous chief of robbers Odenathus of Palmyra [see Marcus Jastrow's Dictionary p. 930]
4. The name Yeshu alone could have been common. We know that the name Jesus was common [see Collossians 4:11 and above].
5. Other than the name, nothing in the story fits anything we know about Jesus.

Passage #3: Trial

Quote:
Talmud Sanhedrin 67a

It is taught: For all others liable for the death penalty [except for the enticer to idolatry] we do not hide witnesses. How do they deal with [the enticer]? They light a lamp for him in the inner chamber and place witnesses in the outer chamber so that they can see and hear him while he cannot see or hear them. One says to him "Tell me again what you said to me in private" and he tells him. He says "How can we forsake our G-d in heaven and worship idolatry?" If he repents, good. If he says "This is our obligation and what we must do" the witnesses who hear him from outside bring him to the court and stone him. And so they did to Ben Stada in Lud and hung him on the eve of Passover.
Summary
This passage discusses how an enticer to idolatry, one of the worst religious criminals (see Deuteronomy 13:7-12), was caught. The Talmud then continues and says that this was the method used to catch the notorious Ben Stada.

Proof
Again we see Ben Stada. Above we were told that he performed witchcraft and we are now told that he was an idolater as well. The connection to Jesus is that Ben Stada is connected to Jesus in the passage above and that he was executed on the eve of Passover. The Gospel of John (19:14) has Jesus being executed on the eve of Passover.

Problems
1. The same problems above connecting Ben Stada to Jesus apply here as well, including his living almost a century after Jesus.
2. Ben Stada was stoned by a Jewish court and not crucified by the Roman government like Jesus.
3. The Synoptic Gospels say that Jesus was executed on Passover itself (Matthew 26:18-20; Mark 14:16-18; Luke 22:13-15) and not the eve of Passover.
4. Jesus was not crucified in Lud.

Passage #4: Execution

Quote:
Talmud Sanhedrin 43a

It is taught: On the eve of Passover they hung Yeshu and the crier went forth for forty days beforehand declaring that "[Yeshu] is going to be stoned for practicing witchcraft, for enticing and leading Israel astray. Anyone who knows something to clear him should come forth and exonerate him." But no one had anything exonerating for him and they hung him on the eve of Passover.

Ulla said: Would one think that we should look for exonerating evidence for him? He was an enticer and G-d said (Deuteronomy 13:9) "Show him no pity or compassion, and do not shield him."

Yeshu was different because he was close to the government.
Summary
Here we have the story of the execution of Yeshu. Like Ben Stada, he was also executed on the eve of Passover. Before executing him, the court searched for any witnesses who could clear his name, as was normally done before any execution. Ulla, however, questioned this practice. An enticer, due to the biblical mandate not to be merciful, should not be afforded this normal consideration. The Talmud answers that Yeshu was different. Because of his government connections, the court tried to search for any reason not to execute him and upset the government.

Proof
Again we see Yeshu. All of the proofs from above connecting Yeshu to Jesus apply here as well. Additionally, the execution on the eve of Passover is another connection to Jesus as above with Ben Stada.

Problems
1. As mentioned above with Ben Stada, the Synoptic Gospels have Jesus being executed on Passover itself and not the eve of Passover.
2. As above, Yeshu lived a century before Jesus.
3. Yeshu was executed by a Jewish court and not by the Romans. During Yeshu's time, the reign of Alexander Janneus, the Jewish courts had the power to execute but had to be careful because the courts were ruled by the Pharisees while the king was a Sadducee. It seems clear why the courts would not want to unneccesarily upset the monarch by executing a friend of his. During the Roman occupation of Jesus' time, there is no indication that the Jewish courts had the right to execute criminals.
3. There is no indication from the New Testament that Jesus had friends in the government.

Passage #5: Disciples

Quote:
Talmud Sanhedrin 43a

It is taught: Yeshu had five disciples - Matai, Nekai, Netzer, Buni, and Todah.

They brought Matai [before the judges]. He said to them: Will Matai be killed? It is written (Psalm 42:2) "When [=Matai] shall (I) come and appear before G-d."
They said to him: Yes, Matai will be killed as it is written (Psalm 41:5) "When [=Matai] shall (he) die and his name perish."

They brought Nekai. He said to them: Will Nekai be killed? It is written (Exodus 23:7) "The innocent [=Naki] and the righteous you shall not slay."
They said to him: Yes, Nekai will be killed as it is written (Psalm 10:8) "In secret places he slay the innocent [=Naki]."

They brought Netzer. He said to them: Will Netzer be killed? It is written (Isaiah 11:1) "A branch [=Netzer] shall spring up from his roots."
They said to him: Yes, Netzer will be killed as it is written (Isaiah 14:19) "You are cast forth out of your grave like an abominable branch [=Netzer]."

They brought Buni. He said to them: Will Buni be killed? It is written (Exodus 4:22) "My son [=Beni], my firstborn, Israel."
They said to him: Yes, Buni will be killed as it is written (Exodus 4:23) "Behold, I slay your son [=Bincha] your firstborn."

They brought Todah. He said to them: Will Todah be killed? It is written (Psalm 100:1) "A Psalm for thanksgiving [=Todah]."
They said to him: Yes, Todah will be killed as it is written (Psalm 50:23) "Whoever sacrifices thanksgiving [=Todah] honors me."
Summary
Five of Yeshu's disciples were brought before a court, tried for the crime against G-d and society of idolatry, and executed according to biblical law. This passages presents each disciple cleverly bringing a biblical verse in an attempt to exonerate himself and the court responding likewise.

Proof
The name Yeshu is used as above. The additional proof this passage provides is that Matai is the Hebrew equivalent of Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples.

Problems
1. The same problems above connecting Yeshu to Jesus apply here.
2. Of the five disciples, only one is recognized. What of the other four?
3. The name Matai seems like a nickname or Aramaic equivalent of Matityahu, which was a known Jewish name in that time period. It was probably a common name, considering the high esteem in which the patriarch of the Hasmonean dynasty, Matityahu, was held by the common people. Some manuscripts have the name of R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah's famous colleague as Matai from Arbel [cf. R. Shimon Ben Tzemach Duran, Magen Avot, ed. Zeini (Jerusalem:2000) p. 31].

Passage #6: The Student

Quote:
Tosefta Chullin 2:23

It once happened that R. Elazar ben Damah was bitten by a snake and Ya'akov of the village Sechania came to heal him in the name of Yeshu ben Pandira, but R. Yishmael did not allow him.
Proof
Here we see the only place in which the names Yeshu and Ben Pandira are connected.

Theories
Hazy History
Some historians consider all of the above passages to refer to Jesus. Granted, there are many difficulties in tying all of the details together, particulary the historical timeframes. However, these historians claim "that chronology was not a science in which the rabbis excelled, or one in which they laid stress upon accuracy" [RT Herford, Chritianity in Talmud & Midrash, p. 347]. The rabbis of the talmud had a hazy memory of Jesus and embellished upon it in order to villainize him. The inconsistencies among the various stories are of no consequence because the rabbis did not care. Thus, Jesus is Yeshu is Ben Stada is Ben Pandira. Mary Magdalene is called Jesus' mother due to some vague familiarity with the gospel story. Jesus' execution was recalled but only some details remembered. In fact, these historians found many more references to Jesus in the talmud that did not use his name [discussed here]. Herford lists about twenty different passages that he claims refer to Jesus and still concludes that "it is remarkable how very little the talmud does say about Jesus" [ibid.].

This was at one time the standard approach of historians. However, the obvious bias against talmudic rabbis and the wanton attribution of nameless passages has since given way to a more balanced approach among academics.

Goldstein, in his highly respected doctoral dissertation Jesus in the Jewish Tradition, argues against the attribution to Jesus of various references in the talmud, such as Balaam and "a certain person". In his view, this is finding in the texts what one was a priori looking for [Cf. Goldstein, pp. 57-81]. Joseph Klausner does not consider the Ben Stada passages as referring to Jesus [Joseph Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 20-23]. Johann Maier concurs and adds that Ben Pandira had no connection to Jesus either [Johann Maier, Jesus von Nazareth in der talmudischen Uberlieferung, p. 237, cited in John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, vol. I p. 106 n. 45]. Maier further denies that the passage in Sanhedrin 43a about the execution and disciples of Yeshu has anything to do with Jesus [Maier, p. 229, cited in Meier vol. I p. 107 n. 51]. John P. Meier, a Catholic priest and author of the most recent and highly acclaimed scholarly analysis of the evidence of Jesus' life, A Marginal Jew, which has even been added to the Anchor Bible Reference Library, takes a middle ground and says "While not accepting the full, radical approach of Maier, I think we can agree with him on one basic point: in the earliest rabbinic sources, there is no clear or even probable reference to Jesus of Nazareth" [Meier, vol. I p. 98].

Meier also adds what seems to be a direct answer to Herford's remark quoted above. Meier says "Hence, apart from Josephus, Jewish literature of the early Christian period offers no independent source for inquiry into the historical Jesus. Indeed, why should it? Engaged in a fierce struggle for its own survival and definition, early rabbinic Judaism had other matters on its mind -- matters that, from its own perspective, were much more important" [Meier, ibid.].

Many modern historians detect different strata of texts from different ages within the talmudic period. The passages originally referred to different people named Yeshu, Ben Stada, and Ben Pandira, none of whom were Jesus. Over time, different generations of talmudic rabbis melded the passages together with added phrases and details. However, according to Johann Maier, none of these passages ever related to Jesus. Some scholars, such as Joseph Klausner and John P. Meier, believe that some of the later additions were meant to refer to Jesus, while the original basic text did not. It is therefore very difficult to determine what, if anything, the talmud actually says about Jesus.

These attempts at literary analysis of the talmud, while not quite heretical to traditional Jews, are certainly anathema. We will therefore try to use the literature of more traditional historical views of the talmudic passages along with some classic rabbinic commentaries to understand the subjects of these texts.

Two Yeshus
The standard rabbinic understanding of these passages is that these passages refer to at least two different people [cf. Tosafot HaRosh, Sotah 47a sv Yeshu, Shabbat 104b sv Ben Stada; Tosafot (uncensored) Shabbat 104b sv Ben Stada; R. Abraham Zacuto, Sefer Hayuchasin 5:6, R. Natan David Rabinowitz, Binu Shenot Dor Vador, pp. 422-425] . The first lived in the first half of the first century BCE during the reign of Alexander Janneus. The second lived in the first half of the second century CE, during the time of the Roman persecution that led to Rabbi Akiva's tragic death.

The first, Yeshu Ben Pandira, started his own sect and had many followers. His heretical and idolatrous teachings lasted centuries after his life but, like so many Jewish sects, slowly died out after the destruction of the Temple.

The second, Ben Stada, was simply a public idolater from an illustrious family who was caught and punished.

The only connections between the two are their fathers' names, that they were executed on the day before Passover, and that they both spent time in Egypt. The first is probably a mere coincidence because, as pointed out above, Panthera (which in Hebrew and Aramaic is equivalent of Pandira) was a common name.

Ben Stada may have been executed on the day before Passover in Lud out of deference for his illustrious step-father. On that day, most people were gathered in Jerusalem preparing their Passover sacrifices and very few people would have witnessed the execution in Lud. Yeshu Ben Pandira may have been executed on the day before Passover in Jerusalem for the exact opposite reason. Since he was the leader of a heretical sect, the court may have wished that the crowd in Jerusalem would see his execution and learn that his sect was a deviation from the true Judaism.

Their both having spent time in Egypt is similar to two American Jews today both visiting New York City at some time in their lives. From the year 307 BCE to the year 113 CE, Alexandria had one of the largest and most illustrious Jewish communities in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of Jews had a very large and active Jewish community, which is probably why R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah and Yeshu were able to hide there . The Alexandrian community was also noted for its affinity to Hellenistic culture. Its most famous product, Philo, wrote exclusively in Greek and propounded a very Hellenistic philosophy which some consider to be heretical to Judaism [see Samuel Belkin's introduction to Midreshei Philon]. It is certainly not surprising that the young Ben Pandira's visit to this thriving Jewish center led him to accept a hybrid Jewish-Hellenist religion that was considered idolatry by traditional Jews.

The following chart shows which details refer to each person.

Quote:
Yeshu Ben Pandira
Passage 2
Lived appr. 80 BCE
Student of R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah
Escaped persecution by fleeing to Egypt and, upon return, became an idolater
Passage 4
Executed on the day before Passover
Had close contact with government officials
Passage 5
Had five disciples who were also executed.
Passage 6
His legacy remained for centuries, even until the time of R. Yishmael (died 133)
Quote:
Ben Stada
Passage 1
Lived appr. 100 CE
Sometimes called Ben Pandira but mainly Ben Stada, possibly to differentiate him from Yeshu Ben Pandira
Brought witchcraft from Egypt
Mother was Miriam the hairdresser, also known as Stada
Father was Pandira
Step-father was Pappos Ben Yehudah
Passage 3
Executed on the day before Passover in Lud for idolatry
Early Jesus
Some historians go further. It is well known, and long a matter of controversy, that beginning in the early 19th century some historians disputed the existence of an historical Jesus at all. According to this theory, Jesus never existed and the early church fathers created him as a figure for their religion. The gospels are compilations of various legends that were attributed to this mythical character Jesus. Much ink has been spilled debating this theory, but there are some historians who accept this and go one step further. They identify the basis of the New Testament Jesus in the story of Yeshu Ben Pandira. This legendary figure, who was branded a heretic by Jewish leaders, founded a Jewish sect that inspired and influenced the early Christians. These early Christians then adopted the story of Yeshu Ben Pandira and modified it to fit into a later historical period and their own eclectic religious beliefs. [cf. R. Avraham Ibn Daud, Sefer Hakabbalah, 53; Sefer Hayuchasin, ibid.; Avraham Korman, Zeramim Vekitot Beyahadut, pp. 354-364].

Some daring scholars have even identified the original Jesus or proto-Jesus, Yeshu Ben Pandira, as the Teacher of Righteousness who led the sect in Qumran [cf. Alvar Ellegård, Jesus One Hundred Years Before Christ; G.R.S. Mead, Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?; G. A. Wells, The Jesus Myth].

While these theories are highly speculative and certainly not mainstream, researchers have amassed a large amount of evidence, from archaelogical finds to medieval references, that point to either this or a similar conclusion.

Conclusion
It seems clear by now that there is no consensus whether Jesus is mentioned at all in the Talmud. Most of the supposed "blasphemies" of Jesus and Mary in the Talmud do not refer to them at all. However, there can be no denying, and no rabbi would deny this, that the authors of the Talmud did not believe in Jesus' messiahship or his divinity. If you are looking for Christian fellowship then Jewish literature is not the place to look. However, there is no basis at all to state unequivocably that the Talmud calls Jesus a bastard or that Mary was a prostitute who had sex with many men. As has been shown, those passages definitely do not refer to Jesus.

Note: The wording of the texts was taken from Chisronot Hashas, originally printed in Koenigsberg in 1860 and reprinted in Tel Aviv in 1989. The text of the Tosefta was taken from the standard Vilna edition and slightly modified based on Saul Lieberman's Tosefet Rishonim.
 
Old July 3rd, 2011 #2
Zeth O. Grady
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 785
Zeth O. Grady
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Jesus In The Talmud
http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/jesus.html

Quote:
The Accusation
Insults Against Blessed Mary, Sanhedrin 106a . Says Jesus' mother was a whore: "She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters." Also in footnote #2 to Shabbath 104b it is stated that in the "uncensored" text of the Talmud it is written that Jesus mother, "Miriam the hairdresser," had sex with many men.

"Jesus was a bastard born of adultery." (Yebamoth 49b, p.324).
"Mary was a whore: Jesus (Balaam) was an evil man." (Sanhedrin 106a &b, p.725).
"Jesus was a magician and a fool. Mary was an adulteress". (Shabbath 104b, p.504).
The reference to Shabbat 104b will be taken up in the section on the Jesus narrative.

Quote:
The Text
Mishnah Yevamot 4:18

R. Shimon ben Azzai said: I found a book of geneologies in Jerusalem and in it is written "The man Plony is a bastard."
This is claimed to be a reference to Jesus. However, this claim is patently ridiculous. The Mishnah was most likely referring to a famous person and, due to the lack of any practical ramifications, his name was left out by the compilers of the Mishnah. Plony is a biblical term used similar to John Doe today (cf. Ruth 4:1). The keeping of geneological records was very common in talmudic times so that regular Jews did not marry bastards and violate the biblical prohibition (Deuteronomy 23:3). Investigations into lineage and proclamations of bastardy were not uncommon (cf. Nehemiah 7:5; Talmud Kiddushin 70b-71a). There is no reason to assume that this refers to Jesus.

Gustaf Dalman rejects the assertion that this Mishnah refers to Jesus [Dalman, Die Worte Jesus (Liepzig: Hinrichs, 1898), p. 4 n. 2]. Similarly, RT Herford calls this suggestion "doubtful and probably unfounded" [Herford, "Jesus in Rabbinical Literature", The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 6 pp. 87-88]. Johann Maier calls it "odd speculation" [Maier, Jesus von Nazareth in der talmudischen Uberlieferung, p. 50]. All of this is cited approvingly by John P. Meier in his highly acclaimed A Marginal Jew, vol. I p. 108 n. 53. See also Avraham Korman's discussion in Zeramim Vekitot Beyahadut, pp. 348-349.

Quote:
The Text
Sanhedrin 106a

R. Yochanan said (regarding Balaam): In the beginning a prophet, in the end a sorcerer.
Rav Papa said: As people say, "She was the descendant of princes and rulers, she played the harlot with carpenters."
Here we come to the common distortion that references in the talmud to Balaam are really veiled references to Jesus. As we shall soon see, Balaam is not a talmudic codeword for Jesus. Therefore, the passage above is referring solely to Balaam and not to Jesus. Besides this fact, read the passage closely and you will see that Rav Papa is offering a parable that explains R. Yochanan's statement. It is impossible to read R. Yochanan's statement as referring to Jesus and Rav Papa's as referring to Jesus' mother.

R. Yochanan is saying that Balaam had tremendous potential and started out as a true prophet of G-d. However, he turned to evil and in the end of his life became a sorcerer (i.e. user of black magic). This tradition regarding Balaam's descent was also recorded in the Tanchuma [Balak, 5] and in Yalkut Shimoni [Numbers, 771].

Rav Papa adds a parable to explain this. Consider a woman who is married to a powerful ruler who leads their people out into battle. She is used to being the wife of someone strong, whose powerful hands can skillfully manipulate a sword and overcome any opponents. If her husband were to die she would still want to marry someone in a similar position of leadership and strength. Even if this widow is continually passed over by those she wishes to marry, she will still strive for her former glory, and will even marry a carpenter who, while not leading his countrymen out into battle, still must skillfully handle tools. Even when the ability to reach her old glory is obviously absent, she will still try everything possible to reach any position that remotely resembles it.

Similarly, Balaam started out as a man with prophecy (like a prince or ruler). He was capable of seeing the future and even manipulating it through his curses and blessings. However, when he lost that gift when G-d removed his prophecy, Balaam still wanted to see the future, even resorting to such pale comparisons as sorcery and black magic (like a carpenter).

This passage has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and there is certainly no insult implied towards Mary.

Cf. R. Meir HaLevi Abulafia, Yad Ramah, Sanhedrin ad. loc.; Ephraim Urbach, "Rabbinic Exegesis About Gentile Prophets And The Balaam Passage" (Hebrew), Tarbitz (25:1956), p. 284 n. 56.

Quote:
The Accusation
Gloats over Jesus Dying Young, A passage from Sanhedrin 106 gloats over the early age at which Jesus died: "Hast thou heard how old Balaam (Jesus) was?--He replied: It is not actually stated but since it is written, Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days it follows that he was thirty-three or thirty-four years old."
Quote:
The Passage
Sanhedrin 106b

A sectarian said to R. Chanina: Do you know how old Balaam was? [R. Chanina] replied: It is not written. However, since it says (Psalms 55:24) "Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days..." he was 33 or 34. [The heretic] said: You said well. I have seen the chronicle of Balaam and it said "At 33 years Balaam the lame was killed by Pinchas (Phineas) the robber."
Again we see the assumption that Balaam is a codeword for Jesus. Here the connection is that Jesus died at the age of 33, and this passage says that Balaam died at that age also. Also, Pinchas and Pontius Pilate both have the letter "P" in their names. Even if this passage refers to Jesus, which it does not, I do not see any gloating.

However, historians generally agree that this passage does not refer to Jesus. The following is taken from Encyclopedia Judaica ("Jesus", vol. 10 p. 16) [transliteration from Hebrew changed for consistency]:

However, it is impossible to imagine that a Christian would ask a Jew how old Jesus was, and call the Gospel Balaam's Chronicle or that Pontius Pilate, who is not mentioned even once in the whole of rabbinic literature, should be referred to as Pinchas the robber. The sectarian referred to was merely a member of a Gnostic sect who was testing whether Chanina could answer a question that was not answered in the Torah. Balaam's Chronicle was an apocryphal book on Balaam. These books often adopted an unfavorable attitude to the patriarchs and the prophets and it was possible that Pinchas of the Bible was called in them Pinchas the robber.

Cf. Urbach, ibid., p. 284; W. Bacher, Jewish Quarterly Review O.S. 3, pp. 456-457; Chanoch Zundel Ben Yosef, Eitz Yosef to Ein Ya'akov, Sotah 11a sv Balaam.

To clarify the issue, let us now address the general claim that Balaam is a talmudic codeword for Jesus.

Balaam
Balaam in rabbinic literature is one of the archetype villains. As we shall see, he was a powerful man whose prophecy and closeness with G-d gave him potential to do much good. However, he chose to use those gifts towards evil. Because of his terrific potential that was utterly twisted, his heavenly abilities that were perverted towards wrongdoing, he is considered the prime example of corruption.

Some scholars have suggested that Balaam is a codeword in talmudic literature for Jesus. However, we will show that Balaam is considered the paragon of evil in passages that cannot refer to Jesus and from these passages we can see that there is no compelling reason to read other similar passages as referring to Jesus. Indeed, reading these passages as referring to Jesus would be breaking with the established understanding of the talmud.

Quote:
Sifrei on Deuteronomy 34:10

"Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses" - But in other nations there did arise. Who? Balaam the son of Beor. But there is a difference between Moses's prophecy and Balaam's prophecy.

Moses did not know who spoke to him but Balaam knew who spoke to him, as it says (Numbers 24:16) "The words of the one who hears the sayings of G-d..."

Moses did not know when G-d would speak to him until he was spoken to but Balaam knew when He would speak, as it says (ibid.) "Who knows the knowledge of the Supreme One..."

With Moses, G-d would not speak to him until he was standing, as it says (Deuteronomy 5:28) "But as for you, stand here with Me..." But with Balaam, G-d would speak to him even while fallen, as it says (Numbers 24:4) "Who sees the vision of the Almighty, while fallen with uncovered eyes."
We see here a clear reference to the biblical Balaam. The descriptions of his awesome prophetic powers, greater than Moses's, are inferred from verses describing the biblical Balaam. There is no way that this passage can refer to Jesus or to Yeshu.

Quote:
Avot DeRabbi Natan 2:5

Why is Job called (Job 1:8) "A perfect and upright man"? To teach us that he was born circumcised. Adam was also born circumcised as it says (Genesis 1:27) "So G-d created man in His image..." Seth was also born circumcised as it says (ibid. 5:2 ) "He begot in his likeness and his image..." Noah was also born circumcised... Shem was also born circumcised... Jacob was also born circumcised... Joseph was also born circumcised... Moses was also born circumcised... Even the wicked Balaam was born circumcised... Samuel was also born circumcised... David was also born circumcised... Jeremiah was also born circumcised... Zerubabel was also born circumcised...
The Talmud here is working with the understanding that circumcision is the final step in the creation of a man. An uncircucised man is not quite complete and G-d gave it to us to finish the job and complete the creation of man by circumcising him. However, there were some people born with such potential for greatness and perfection that they were born already circumcised. They were born destined for perfection. Among this list of heroes, this list of righteous and holy leaders, is Balaam. He was born with the potential for greatness which he unfortunately perverted towards evil with his free will.

It is clear, however, based on the chronological order, that this refers to the biblical Balaam and not Jesus or Yeshu. Both Jesus and Yeshu would have been listed after David, Jeremiah, and Zerubabel.

Quote:
Talmud Sanhedrin 106a

Numbers (24:14) "Come, I shall advise you..." Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: [Balaam] said to them: Their G-d hates promiscuity and they desire flaxen clothes. Let me give you this advice. Make tents and put old prostitutes in front of them and young ones inside... When the Jews are walking in the market, the old lady offers to sell them clothes at market value and the young one offers it cheaper. After two or three times she tells him that he is already a comfortable visitor and should choose what he wants, all the while a bottle of Amonite wine sitting beside her. She offers him a glass of wine. After he drinks it will burn him up and he will ask for sex. She will take out her idol and demand that he worship it first. He will say that he is a Jew and she will say that all she is asking is that he defecate [and he will not know that this is the worship of that idol]. She will also say that she will not sleep with him until he denounces the Torah of Moses.
This passage discusses the surprising transition in the biblical narrative from Balaam's prophecy (Numbers 24) directly into (Numbers 25:1) "Israel settled in the Shittim and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab." The talmud's explanation is that Balaam, the paid advisor of Moab (see Numbers 22), showed the Moabites how and why to entice the Jewish men into harlotry.

This passage is clearly about Balaam and it describes both his cleverness and his despicability. There are many more passages that show that Balaam is considered by the talmud to be both a powerful and utterly wicked man who earned the title of most hated villain.

Quote:
Mishnah Avot 5:19

Whosoever possesses these three qualities belongs to the disciples of Abraham our father: a generous eye, a humble spirit, and a meek soul. But he who possesses the three opposite qualities -- an evil eye, a proud spirit, and a haughty soul -- is of the disciples of Balaam the wicked.

How do the disciples of Abraham differ from the disciples of Balaam? The disciples of Abraham enjoy this world and inherit the world to come, as it is written (Proverbs 8:21) "Endowing with wealth those who love me, and filling their treasuries." The disciples of Balaam inherit Gehenna and go down to the pit of destruction, as it is written (Psalm 55:23) "But you, O G-d, will cast them down into the lowest pit; the bloodthirsty and treacherous shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you."
Here again, we see that Balaam is the paragon of evil. Using strictly Old Testament examples, the Mishnah tries to demonstrate the proper attitudes one should take in life.

The point of all these examples is to show that Balaam is viewed in rabbinic literature as the ultimate villain. Through indisputable proofs we have shown that the biblical Balaam, not Jesus or Yeshu, is consistently painted as someone destined for greatness who instead misused his talents for evil. In contemporary terms, he is the Darth Vader of the Bible. It is therefore no surprise that historians can find many passages that denigrate Balaam. However, there is every reason to believe that these passages refer to the actual Balaam and not to Jesus or Yeshu.

There are some historians who believe that Balaam is a talmudic codeword for Jesus. However, this theory has not stood up to the scrutiny of academic talmudic scholarship and has fallen out of favor with historians.

Quote:
Professor Louis Ginzberg, "Some Observations on the Attitude of the Synagogue Towards the Apocalyptic-Eschatological Writings", Journal of Biblical Literature (1922), p. 121 n. 18

One may therefore state with absolute certainty that the entire Talmudic-Midrashic literature does not know of any nicknames for Jesus or his disciples.
Quote:
John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew (1991), vol. 1 p. 95

For instance, a radical position is represented by Johann Maier, who maintains that not only the Mishna but also both Talmuds lack any authentic, direct mention of Jesus of Nazareth41...

In my opinion, Maier's arguments are especially convincing for the Mishna and other early rabbinic material: no text cited from that period really refers to Jesus. He thus confirms the view I defend in this section.

41 See Johann Maier, Jesus von Nazareth in der talmudischen Uberlieferung (Ertrage der Forschung 82; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1978). His position, which is argued in minute detail throughout the volume, is summarized on pp. 263-75.
The noted historian of rabbinics, Ephraim E. Urbach, dedicated an article to explaining the rabbinic view of Balaam and debunking the theory that Balaam is a talmudic codeword for Jesus. See Ephraim Urbach, "Rabbinic Exegesis About Gentile Prophets And The Balaam Passage" (Hebrew), Tarbitz (25:1956), pp. 272-289.

Quote:
The Accusation
Gittin 57a. Says Jesus is in hell, being boiled in "hot excrement."
Quote:
The Text
Talmud Gittin 56b-57a

[Onkelos Bar Kalonikus] called up Balaam from the dead. [Onkelos] asked: Who is honored in that world? [Balaam] replied: Israel. [Onkelos asked:] What about joining them? [Balaam] replied: (Deut. 23:7) "You shall not seek their peace or welfare all your days." [Onkelos] asked: What is your punishment? [Balaam answered]: In boiling semen.

[Onkelos] called up Yeshu from the dead. [Onkelos] asked: Who is honored in that world? [Yeshu] replied: Israel. [Onkelos asked:] What about joining them? [Yeshu] replied: Seek their good. Do not seek their bad. Whoever touches them is as if he touched the pupil of his eye. [Onkelos] asked: What is your punishment? [Yeshu answered]: In boiling excrement. As the mast said: Whoever mocks the words of the sages in punished in boiling excrement.
Here we see a story of the famous convert Onkelos who, prior to converting, used black magic to bring up famous villains of history and ask them whether their wickedness saved them in the world to come. In both cases (there is a third case of Onkelos calling up Titus as well) the sinner is being terribly punished in the afterlife while Israel is being rewarded. Presumably, this helped convince Onkelos to convert to Judaism.

As we have explained elsewhere, Yeshu is not Jesus of the New Testament. He is most likely a prominent sectarian of the early first century BCE who deviated from rabbinic tradition and created his own religion combining Hellenistic paganism with Judaism. While Yeshu may be the proto-Jesus some scholars point to as inspiring the early Christians, he is definitely not the man who was crucified in Jerusalem in the year 33 CE.

Interestingly, if someone were to claim that Yeshu in the passage above is Jesus, then Balaam cannot also refer to Jesus because both Balaam and Yeshu are in the passage together. In other words, it is self-contradicting to claim that the passages above about Balaam's mother being a harlot or dying young refer to Jesus and to claim that the passage above about Yeshu being punished also refers to Jesus. You can't have it both ways.
 
Old July 3rd, 2011 #3
Armstrong
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Well there, ZOG.....That's the same crap the Jewish Task Force and other Jewish debaters try to peddle when confronted about Judaic crap about Jesus in the Talmud....try harder next time, maybe you'll fool someone. It's not working with me, or probably anyone else who's 'Judaism hip'.

Talmud Unmasked
 
Old July 3rd, 2011 #4
Zeth O. Grady
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Instead of making knee-jerk emotional responses, why not actually read the analysis and try to refute it with well-reasoned arguments of your own?
 
Old July 3rd, 2011 #5
Damian Smith
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Amazing that someone would use a jew holy book as a reference in their fight against Christianity.
 
Old July 3rd, 2011 #6
Zeth O. Grady
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Originally Posted by Damian Smith View Post
Amazing that someone would use a jew holy book as a reference in their fight against Christianity.
Amazing that Christian apologists use a jew holy book as proof for a historical Jesus.
 
Old July 3rd, 2011 #7
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Would you prefer using a Muslim Holy book as proof of a historical Jesus?
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #8
Zeth O. Grady
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The important thing to remember is that even if "Jesus Christ" were mentioned in the Talmud, it would still be completely useless as proof for a historical Jesus, because it would represent nothing more than legends that the rabbis heard from Christians centuries after Jesus' alleged lifetime.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #9
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Could be...much of the Talmud was written after the time of Christ, though I understand some of the Mishnah was being written down while Christ was alive.

It seems the same challenges could be raised to Islamic sources, as Muhammad lived after the time of the Christ as well.

Josephus did write about Christ and he lived during the time of Christ....here's some fair details of what Christ looked like from various sources and reports of the day.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #10
Zeth O. Grady
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I have to tell you that several of those "letters" on that website are modern forgeries.

1. There are no contemporary references to Jesus Christ in the historical or archaeological record. None whatsoever. So there is no record of what "Jesus Christ" looked like. The four gospel accounts of Jesus' life were written in the late 1st century or possibly as late as the middle of the 2nd century. The four gospels are not eye witness accounts(obviously), nor do they claim to be. They are also completely anonymous. They were not written by four people named "Matthew", "Mark", "Luke", and "John", nor do they claim to be.

2. The passages in Josephus' writings about Jesus were exposed as crude 4th century forgeries over 100 years ago. Josephus was not alive during the alleged lifetime of Jesus. Josephus was born in 37. Jesus was allegedly crucified sometime between 30-33. So Josephus was not even close to being a contemporary of Jesus. Also note that even if the passages in Josephus were authentic, it wouldn't provide any kind of proof for a historical Jesus, because Josephus would merely have been repeating what he was told by Christians who were living in his day, many decades after Jesus' alleged death.

3. There were many historians and philosophers(Jewish, Greek, and Roman) who lived and wrote during the time frame in which Jesus allegedly lived. Guess what they had to say about the miracle man from Galilee? Absolutely nothing. On the subject of Jesus, all these writers are completely silent.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #11
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Oh, they are forgeries? Evidence of them being forgeries please.

I suspect your mind is made up on this issue, so we're probably wasting our time typing about it. Don't feel bad though, mine's made up too, has been for 58 years about Christ.

I don't really see any need to belabor our points though, issues of Jewish control over our nations, and indeed the whole planet, are far more concerning.

As to Christ, one either has faith in Christ and believes, or they do not.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #12
Zeth O. Grady
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You're kidding, right? Religious websites like that are kind of a joke, because they mix together known forgeries with authentic/disputed material.

The "Publius Lentulus" letter is a 15th century forgery:
Publius_Lentulus Publius_Lentulus


The "Pontius Pilate" letter is a 4th century forgery:
Acts_of_Pilate Acts_of_Pilate


The "Archko Volume" is a 19th century forgery:
The_Archko_Volume The_Archko_Volume
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #13
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Certainly that Nazarene site is no more of a joke than Wikipedia, controlled by Christ hating Jews.

Wikipedia is a reliable source? Don't try using it as a reference on your thesis. Of course you cannot prove
Christ DID NOT exist....so we are still on even terms.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #14
Zeth O. Grady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armstrong View Post
Of course you cannot prove Christ DID NOT exist....so we are still on even terms.
I don't think you understand basic logic. The burden is on you to prove that "Jesus Christ" existed. You're asserting that something existed, therefore you have to prove it. I don't have to prove anything.

However, what I can do is show lots of evidence that Jesus is a composite character cobbled together from previous Jewish prophets(Elijah and Elisha) and various Greco-Roman mystery savior cult motifs. The probability that "Jesus Christ" is a mythical character is extremely high.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #15
Zeth O. Grady
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Wikipedia is a reliable source? Don't try using it as a reference on your thesis.
It's modern scholarship that you're going up against, not the "Wikipedia Jews". You didn't refute the scholarly consensus in those Wikipedia articles. What's your argument?
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeth O. Grady View Post
It's modern scholarship that you're going up against, not the "Wikipedia Jews". You didn't refute the scholarly consensus in those Wikipedia articles. What's your argument?

Modern scholarship? This is as bad or worse than multiculturalism, porn and the homosexual agenda rolled into one in being destructive to the goyish society. What makes you believe these 'scholars' are doing their work properly and not following an agenda of their own? It is common for research scientists to be caught forging their work, why not these 'modern scholars'?

You're doing a good job of following the admonition to, 'question authority', though I suspect you're throwing the baby out with the bath water in this case. You might put Jeremiah 8:8 in your arsenal too. Seems according to Jeremiah, the scribes destroyed the written 'Word of God' back in his day.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #17
Damian Smith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeth O. Grady View Post
I don't think you understand basic logic. The burden is on you to prove that "Jesus Christ" existed. You're asserting that something existed, therefore you have to prove it. I don't have to prove anything.

However, what I can do is show lots of evidence that Jesus is a composite character cobbled together from previous Jewish prophets(Elijah and Elisha) and various Greco-Roman mystery savior cult motifs. The probability that "Jesus Christ" is a mythical character is extremely high.
Yet your using a jew holy book to back your statements. You know the jew is a master liar yet believe the jew when it suits you to, when it fits your agenda. You are the one claiming Christ never existed,come up with better sources than anything made by the jew and we will talk, until then, you are just spouting the same jew crap as any rabbi would.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #18
Zeth O. Grady
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Originally Posted by Damian Smith View Post
Yet your using a jew holy book to back your statements. You know the jew is a master liar yet believe the jew when it suits you to, when it fits your agenda. You are the one claiming Christ never existed,come up with better sources than anything made by the jew and we will talk, until then, you are just spouting the same jew crap as any rabbi would.
I'm not using a "jew holy book" to back anything, you fool. Whether or not Jesus is mentioned in the Talmud is irrelevant to whether he actually existed as a historical character or not. I posted this thread to counter the common misconception that Jesus is discussed in the Talmud, which, as you can see, is clearly not true. That's the only purpose of this thread.

You have the nerve to claim that someone is using a "jew holy book", when you yourself practice a religion derived from a Jewish written "holy book"(the Bible) and worship a Jewish tribal deity(Yahweh/Jesus). Completely contradictory.

I notice that you've conveniently ignored the other threads I posted which prove that "Jesus Christ" is a Jewish literary fabrication. Hmm, I wonder why? Probably because the material is over your head and you don't know how to argue against it.

If you wish to be taken seriously as a Christian apologist, you're going to have to do a hell of a lot more reading and research. Because right now you sound pretty unintelligent.
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeth O. Grady View Post
I'm not using a "jew holy book" to back anything, you fool.
Your opening post is lifted from the talmud, that says all I need to know. Only jews are as anti Christian as you appear to be and only jews would use the talmud as evidence that Jesus did not exist. You lie when you claim not to be using a jew holy book, you lift complete passages out of it
 
Old July 4th, 2011 #20
Zeth O. Grady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damian Smith View Post
Your opening post is lifted from the talmud, that says all I need to know. Only jews are as anti Christian as you appear to be and only jews would use the talmud as evidence that Jesus did not exist. You lie when you claim not to be using a jew holy book, you lift complete passages out of it
Hmm. This thread is about whether Jesus is discussed in the Talmud or not. So maybe you can tell me how someone could argue whether or not Jesus is discussed in the Talmud without quoting and analyzing various passages from the Talmud in which it is claimed that Jesus is discussed?

This thread is not about whether Jesus existed or not. The subject of this thread has nothing to do with that per se.

I think you are mentally unstable.
 
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