JESUS

The Babylonian Talmud is a commentary on Jewish laws composed between A.D. 500-600 (Neusner/Green, 69) Therein is a text about Jesus’ death. The Tractate Sanhedrin (43a) contains this passage:

Babylonian Talmud (late first or second century AD)  Babylonian Sanhedrin43a-b

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.” 

‘The Sages of the Synagogue, succeeding in capturing Jeschu, who was then led before the Great and Little Sanhedrin, by whom he was condemned to be stoned to death and his dead body was hung on a tree.’

‘On the eve of Passover Jesus, the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, ‘Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry.
(Babylonian Sanhedrin 43a–b)

Sanhedrin can stone people, adding to all the other evidence that contradicts the one solitary statement in John’s Gospel, that the Sanhedrin can’t stone people. We even have the early Jewish critic of Christianity, Celsus who is mentioned by Origen as repeating:

‘Although Celsus becomes tautological in his statements about Jesus, repeating for a second time that, “he was punished by the Jews for his crimes,” (Origen ‘Contra Celsus Bk2 Ch5’)

Another Jew repeatedly blaming his own people when he could, quite easily, blame the Romans if they had crucified him. But no he was stoned and then hung on a tree.

‘If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.’ (Deuteronomy 21:22)

Acts 12:19, NASB – When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there.

Luke 23:13-17, NASB – 13 Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 17 Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.

If a Galilean remained in Galilee, Pilate could not touch a hair of his head – but let him enter Judæa, and Pilate gained absolute powers of life and death over him.

The Temple inscription mentioned above is a stone discovered by archaeologists in 1871 on the Temple Mount; it has been dated to between 23 BCE and 70 CE (the year of the Temple’s destruction). It is written in Koine Greek, and reads:

ΕΝΤΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΕΡΙ ΤΟ ΙΕΡΟΝ ΤΡΥΦΑΚΤΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΠΕΡΙΒΟΛΟΥ ΟΣ Δ ΑΝ ΛΗΦΘΗ ΕΑΥΤΩΙ ΑΙΤΙΟΣ ΕΣΤΑΙ ΔΙΑ ΤΟ ΕΞΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΕΙΝ ΘΑΝΑΤΟΝ

“No foreigner may enter within the balustrade around the sanctuary and the enclosure. Whoever is caught, on himself shall he put blame for the death which will ensue.”

The Governor of a province has authority only over the inhabitants of his province; and this only as long as he remains therein, for if he departs from it, he becomes a private person. He sometimes has jurisdiction over foreigners, when one actually commits an offence; for it is stated in the Imperial Mandates that he who presides over a province must take care to purge it of bad characters, without any distinction as to where they come from.

the Babylonian Talmud:

(Was he) the son of Stada (and not on the contrary) the son of Pandera?

Said Rav Hisda: the husband (ba‘al) was Stada, (and) the cohabiter/lover (bo‘ēl) was Pandera.

(But was not) the husband (ba‘al) Pappos ben Yehuda and rather his mother Stada [he is Jesus the Nazarene]”?

His mother was [Miriam], (the woman who) let (her) women’s [hair] grow long (megadla [sē‘arnešayya). This is as they say about her in Pumbeditha: This one turned away from (was unfaithful to) her husband (satat dā miba‘alāh).

In this passage, Jesus is described as born as a result of an act of adultery. His real father is identified as Pandera, a name almost identical to the one mentioned by Celsus:

Let us return, however, to the words put into the mouth of the Jew, where the mother of Jesus is described as having been turned out by the carpenter who was betrothed to her, as she had been convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Panthera.

It is possible that the story about Jesus’s Father being a (Roman) soldier named Panthera (or Pantera) influenced the description in VR, whereby the Egyptian taskmaster was the blasphemer’s father, thus hinting at the counter-narrative life story of Jesus.

Moreover, Celsus also mentions the connection between Jesus and Egypt in the context of obtaining Egyptian magical powers:

And he says that because he [Jesus] was poor he hired himself out as a workman in Egypt, and there tried his hand at certain magical powers on which the Egyptians pride themselves; he returned full of conceit, because of these powers, and on account of them gave himself the title of God. 

It is not until the fourth century that scenes of the Crucifixion of Jesus began to appear. And this is the first one.

Yes, this is it, the very first image of the Crucifixion of Christ, which appears on a small panel on a wooden side-door of the Church of Santa Sabina in Rome, which was consecrated in AD 440, almost exactly 400 years after the event.

In this first attempt the crucified figures do not appear to be attached to crosses, although there are nails in the hands. But no church before this date even had a crucifixion image. So around AD 430 the image we know was invented. Invented because not only is there no image of Jesus on the cross but there is no image of anyone on a cross. 

Crucifixion was not the method of capital punishment used by the Romans.

Jewish Law as expressed in the Bible: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “The one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be taken outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him.” (Leviticus 24:14) 

To help you understand the significance let me quote you another event in the Bible. 

Acts of the Apostles has this story:  “Stephen, was performing great wonders and signs… The elders dragged him away and brought him before the Council.” When Stephen makes a long speech: “They cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him.” (Acts 7) 

Jesus’ trial before the same Sanhedrin: “Jesus said, “You shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power.” Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard the blasphemy?” And they all condemned him to be deserving of death.” (Mark 14:61) 

Jesus’ crime is also clearly blasphemy, so why do the Sanhedrin take Jesus to Pilate? Blasphemy has nothing to do with the Romans. The crime is punishable, as shown in Life of Brian by stoning, which is clearly decided by the Jews themselves. Crucifixion/staking is the Roman punishment for rebellion. 

And let me quote from Jewish law about stoning: “If a man guilty of a capital offence is put to death and his body hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse”’ (Deuteronomy 21:22)

So after stoning the body is hung on a tree and then taken down and buried before sunset.

Jesus’ two year mission begins after the death of John the Baptist. But look how Josephus describes John’s life and death. Firstly he describes the death of King Philip in AD 34. Then he tells us that to marry Philip’s wife, Herod divorced his first wife, who was the daughter of King Aretas of Petra.

But King Aretas’ daughter went home crying to her father, who raised an army and attacked Israel. Herod sent his army into battle but they were completely wiped out.

‘Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God as a just punishment of what Herod had done against John, who was called the Baptist. For Herod had killed this good man…’(Joseph ‘Antiq’)

If John had been killed eight years before the destruction of Herod’s army, surely nobody would link the two events? The destruction of the army in AD 36 must have been no more than six months to a year after the Baptist’s death, for them to be linked, which places his death in AD 35. If Jesus’ two year mission began then he would still be alive in AD 38. Pilate left Judea in AD 36.

The Aramaic name Gol Goatha, means ‘mount of execution’, The ‘place of the skull’ is Gulgalta. Why insist on a mistranslation? The site is probably Goatha mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (31:39) where he describes it towards the east, outside the city wall.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is claimed by Constantine’s mother to be on the crucifixion site, but this is clearly a mistake and the mistranslation is to conceal this.

what the Bible says when King Solomon wrote to King Hiram: 

“I intend to build a temple for the Name of the Lord. So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.” (1 Kings 5–6) 

Solomon obviously doesn’t trust Israeli carpenters. 

Hiram sent word back: 

“My men will haul cedar and juniper logs down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean, and float them as rafts…, and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat, and twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year.’   (1 Kings 5). 

The Gospels all agree that Jesus died on a Friday during Passover on the Day of Preparation for the Sabbath (cf. Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:42), that he shared a “last supper” with his disciples, and was crucified in the reign of Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea (AD 26–36); Caiaphas, high priest in Jerusalem (AD 18–36); and Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee (circa 4 BC–AD 39) (Tacitus, Annals, XV.44; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII.2.2, XVII.8.1; Luke 3:1-2).

But there is disagreement as to whether Jesus died before or after this last supper and whether it truly was a Passover meal. In the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke; so named because they share a similar narrative when “seen together”), Jesus is said to have been crucified and died after the Passover meal on Passover day. In the Gospel of John, he died before the Passover meal on its Day of Preparation.

Mark was the first Gospel to be written, probably about AD 70 when, on Passover that year, the Romans had laid siege to Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple four months later (Josephus, The Jewish War, V.3.1, VI.4.8; cf. Mark 13:2, “there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down”). He recounts that, on “the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover [lamb],” the disciples asked Jesus where they were to prepare the meal “that thou mayest eat the passover” (14:12; also Matthew 26:17; Luke 22:15, “I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer”). Preparations were duly made and that evening Jesus took the bread and broke it (as his own body would be broken) and then the wine, signifying the shedding of his own blood. Afterwards, they went into the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was betrayed and arrested that night. Tried and found guilty by Pontius Pilate, he was crucified the next morning at “the third hour” (9 a.m.) on Passover day (Mark 15:25).

John was the last Gospel to be written, about twenty-five years later. He relates that Jesus died “before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father” (13:1). There was no preparation for a Passover meal nor mention of a communion; rather, “supper being ended,” Jesus washed the feet of his disciples (13:2, 5) and, echoing Moses, gave them a new commandment: to love one another (13:34). That night (as the Day of Preparation began), Jesus was arrested and, early the next morning, taken from the house of Caiaphas to the praetorium of Pilate. The Jewish authorities refused to enter the building, however, “lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover” that evening (18:28), obliging Pilate, somewhat incongruously, to pass to and from his own palace as he questioned Jesus and his accusers. Finally brought outside for judgment, Jesus was led away to be crucified. “It was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour” (noontime) (19:14, 16).

Mark and John agree that Jesus died on a Friday. In Mark, this was the Day of Passover (15 Nisan), the morning after the Passover meal of the evening before. Arrested and interrogated by Caiaphas and Pilate that night, Jesus was tried and crucified the next morning at 9 a.m. on Passover day. In John, Jesus died on the Day of Preparation (14 Nisan), the day before the Passover meal, sometime after noon but before sunset later that evening. According to Josephus, this would have been “from the ninth hour till the eleventh” (3 p.m. to 5 p.m.) (The Jewish War, VI.9.3). Having had a last supper the night before, Jesus does not partake of the Passover meal but is sentenced and crucified while it still was being prepared.

In John, Passover day fell on a Saturday, thereby coinciding with the weekly Sabbath. “That sabbath day was an high day” (19:31), in which the two festivals were celebrated on the same day, and Friday was the Day of Preparation for them both. The death of Jesus on the Day of Preparation then would be at the same time that the lambs were being prepared for the Passover feast later that evening, at the beginning of Passover Day. Jesus himself has become the sacrificial lamb or, in the words of John the Baptist, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36), dying at the same time as the paschal lambs were being ritually slaughtered in the Temple—as prefigured by I Corinthians “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (5:7).

And, “because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day” (John 19:31), Jesus has to die before sunset—before the beginning of the Sabbath, when capital punishment was prohibited by Jewish law, as were decisions regarding criminal cases being made at night (Sanhedrin, Mishnah IV.1; cf. Deuteronomy 21:23, “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree”). In the synoptic accounts, Jesus does die on Passover, a Sabbath day. This is why John alone speaks of the legs of the two thieves being broken so that they not remain alive on the cross (cf. Cicero, Philippics, XIII.27, “it is quite impossible for him to die unless his legs are broken,” a proverbial remark said of Titus Plancus, whose shifting political alliances allowed him to survive; for him, even though “They are broken, and still he lives”). Unable to lift themselves to breathe, suffocation would come all the more readily and death hastened—before the start of the Sabbath (and Passover) that evening, only hours later. The legs of Jesus no doubt would have been broken as well, had he not already died (as confirmed by the thrust of a spear), thus fulfilling God’s command that “neither shall ye break a bone thereof” of the paschal lamb (Exodus 12:46, John 19:33-34).

Although the Gospels suggest the day on which Jesus died, they do not specify a year—other than it occurred during the reign of Pontius Pilate. Using astronomical data, Humphreys and Waddington have calculated that, when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judaea (AD 26–36), the celebration of a Friday Passover on 14 Nisan would have to be either April 7, AD 30 or April 3, AD 33. A Passover on 15 Nisan during that decade would be in the year AD 27 or AD 34, which almost certainly is too early or too late.

Interestingly, the mixed multitude is identified in another zoharic RM passage with the figure of Jesus (and Muhammed):

From the side of idolatry Šābtai (Saturn) is called Lilith, mixed dung, on account of the filth mixed from all kinds of dirt and worms, into which they throw dead dogs and dead asses, the sons of Esau and Ishmael, in her (and there) Jesus and Mohammed, who are dead dogs, are buried among them. She (Lilith) is the grave of idolatry, where they bury the uncircumcised, (who are) dead dogs, an abomination and a bad smell, soiled and fetid, a bad family. She (Lilith) is the ligament, which holds fast the “mixed multitude” (Ex. xii. 38), which is mixed among Israel, and which holds fast bone and flesh, that is, the sons of Esau and Ishmael, dead bone and unclean flesh torn of beasts in the field, of which it is said (Ex. xxii. 31): “Ye shall cast it to the dogs.”

As mentioned above, the magical use of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is found already in Greek magical papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt. In rabbinic literature, aside from the descriptions of Jesus using (Egyptian) magical powers, a censored passage in b. Sanh. 106a might hint to Jesus using the power of the Holy Name (through an interpretation of the words of Balaam): “‘Alas, who shall live when God does this! (Num 24:23),’ [R. Simeon ben Lakish said: Woe unto him who makes himself alive by the name of God].” In our context it should be mentioned that, similarly to the blasphemer, Balaam functions in some rabbinic sources as sort of a (counter) pre-figuration of Jesus. In a censored version of a passage in Tikunei Zohar, the name of Balaam replaces Jesus’s name, which appeared in the first editions of the Zohar. Balaam is even described, in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (est. 8–9th cent. Palestine), similarly to the way in which Jesus is described in the Aramaic texts of TY. However, in the Aramaic texts of TY Jesus has no knowledge of the Holy Name. He simply uses “words of magic” (אישרחד ןילימ), while only R. Yehuda is described as using the power of the Holy Name against Jesus.

In his Maftēaḥ haŠēmot (The Key of Names) written toward the end of 1280, Rabbi Abraham Abulafia draws an analogy between Pharaoh and Jesus, who both pretended to be Gods. Abulafia explains that the true Messiah (who, according to Abulafia, is referred to by the Christians as the “anti-Christ”) will stand up against all Christians and declare:

What he [Jesus] had said to the Christians, that he is a God and the son of God, is a complete lie. He did not receive his power from the unique (Holy) Name, as all his power is dependent (יולת) upon the image of the Teli (ילתה תומדב), because he was hanged (יולת) on the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A Muslim anti-Jewish polemical work (12th cent.) by al-Samawʼal ibn Yaḥyá Maghribī, Ifhām al-yahūd (Silencing the Jews), is probably one of the earliest sources mentioning Jesus as using the power of the Holy Name in a polemical context similar to TY. The book quotes the Jewish anti-Christian tradition against Jesus:

We say to them [the Jews]: What say you about Jesus the son of Mary? They will say: The son of Joseph the carpenter by fornication; he learned God’s great name and with its help used to impose his will upon many things. . . . We say to them: If Moses also performed miracles by invoking the names of God, why do you believe in his prophet-hood and reject that of Jesus? They will say: Because God Almighty taught Moses the divine names, whilst Jesus learned them not by inspiration but from the walls of the Temple.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s