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Jesus (continued)

[page 170]


Dilling Exhibit 277

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Graetz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 281-414; F. Nork, Rabbinische Quellen Neu-Testamentlischer Stellen, Leipsic, 1839; August Wuensche, Neue Beitraege zur Erlaeuterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midrasch, Goettingen, 1872.

—In Jewish Legend: The Jewish legends in regard to Jesus are found in three sources, each independent of the others—(1) in New Testament apocrypha and Christian polemical works, (2) in the Talmud and the Midrash, and (3) in the Life of Jesus (“Toledot Yeshu‘”) that originated in the Middle Ages. It is the tendency of all these sources to belittle the person of Jesus by ascribing to him illegitimate birth, magic, and a shameful death. In view of their general character they are called indiscriminately legends. Some of the statements, as that referring to magic, are found among pagan writers and Christian heretics; and as the Ebionites, or Judeo-Christians, who for a long time lived together with the Jews, are also classed as heretics, conclusions may he drawn from this as to the origin of these legends.

It ought also to be added that many of the legends have a theological background. For polemical purposes, it was necessary for the Jews to insist on the illegitimacy of Jesus as against the Davidic descent claimed by the Christian Church. Magic may have been ascribed him over against the miracles recorded in the Gospels; and the degrading fate both on earth and hereafter of which the legends speak may be simply directed against the ideas of the assumption and the resurrection of Jesus. The Jewish legends relating to Jesus appear less inimical in character when compared with the parallel passages which are found in pagan authors and Christian sources, more especially as such legends are fixed and frequently occurring themes of folk-lore: and imaginations must have been especially excited by the historical importance which the figure of Jesus came to have for the Jews.

The earliest authenticated passage ascribing illegitimate birth to Jesus is that in Yeb. iv. 3. The mysterious phrase (“that man”) cited in this passage as occurring in a family register which B. Simeon ben Azza is said to have found seems to indicate that it refers to Jesus (see Derenbourg in “R.E. J.” i. 293), and here occur also the two expressions so often applied to Jesus in later literature—[Hebr.] (= “that anonymous one,” the name of Jesus being avoided) and [Hebr.] (= “bastard”: for which in later times [Hebr.] was used). Such a family register may have been preserved at Jerusalem in the Judeo-Christian community.

The Jews, who are represented as inimical to Jesus in the canonical Gospels also, took him to be legitimate and born in an entirely natural manner. A contrary statement as to their attitude is expressed for the first time in the “Acts of Pilate” (“Gospel of Nicodemus,” ed. Thilo, in “Codex Apoc. Novi Testamenti,” i. 526, Leipsic, 1832: comp. Origen, “Contra Celsum,“ i. 28).

Birth of Jesus.

Celsus makes the same statement in another passage, where he refers even to a written source, adding that the seducer was a soldier by the name of Panthera (l.c. i. 32). The name “Panthera” occurs here for the first time; two centuries later it occurs in Epiphanius (“Haeres,” lxxviii. 7), who ascribes the surname “Panther” to Jacob, an ancestor of Jesus; and John of Damascus (“De Orthod. Fide.” iv., §1.5) includes the names “Panther” and “Barpanther” in the genealogy of Mary. It is certain, in any case, that the rabbinical sources also regard Jesus as the “son of Pandera” [Hebr.], although it is noteworthy that he is called also “Ben Stada” [Hebr.] (Shab. 104b; Sanh. 67a).

It appears from this passage that, aside from Pandera and Stada, the couple Pappus b. Judah and Miriam the hairdresser were taken to be the parents of Jesus. Pappus has nothing to do with the story of Jesus, and was only connected with it because his wife happened to be called “Miriam” (= “Mary”), and was known to be an adulteress.

The one statement in which all these confused legends agree is that relating to the birth of Jesus. Although this is ascribed only to the Jews, even in Celsus, the Jews need not necessarily be regarded as its authors, for it is possible that it originated among heretics inimical to Jesus, as the Ophites and Cainites, of whom Origen says, “they uttered such hateful accusations against Jesus as Celsus himself did (“Contra Celsum,” iii. 13). It is probable, furthermore, that the accusation of illegitimacy was not originally considered so serious; it was ascribed to the most prominent personages, and is a standing motive in folk-lore (Krauss, “Leben Jesu,” p. 214).

The incident of Jesus concerning the dispute with the Scribes was copied by the rabbinical sources (Kallah 18b [ed. Venice, 1528, fol. 41c]: comp. N. Coronel, “Comment. Quinque,” p. 3b, Vienna, 1864, and “Batte Midrashot,”ed. Wertheimer, iii. 23, Jerusalem, 1895). All the ‘Toledot” editions contain a similar story of a dispute which Jesus carried on with the Scribes, who, on the ground of that dispute, declared him to be a bastard. Analogous to this story are numerous tales of predictions by precocious boys.

The sojourn of Jesus in Egypt is an essential part of the story of his youth. According to the Gospels he was in that

Sojourn in Egypt.

country in his early infancy, but Celsus says that he was in service there and learned magic; hence he was there in early manhood. This assumption may serve to throw more light on the obscure history of Jesus than the account found in the Gospels. The Talmud also says that Jesus was in Egypt in early manhood. R. Joshua b. Perahyah is said to have fled with his pupil Jesus to Alexandria in order to escape the persecutions of the Jewish king Yannai (103 - 76 BC); on their return Jesus made a remark on the not faultless beauty of their hostess, whereupon R. Joshua excommunicated him; and when Jesus approached him again and was not received he set up a brick for his god, and led all Israel into apostasy (Sanh. 107b; Sotah 47a; Yer. Hag. 77d). This account is supplemented by the statement, made on the assumption that Ben Stada is identical with Ben Pandera, that Ben Stada brought magic from Egypt (Shab. 104b). The story that Joshua b. Perahyah, a contemporary of Simeon b. Shetah, was the teacher of Jesus, is not clearly stated in the various “Toledot”; it is said


Dilling Exhibit 278

[page 171] merely that Jesus was named after this brother of his mother. The assumption that Joshua b. Perahyah was the uncle of Jesus is confirmed by Kirkisani, who wrote about 987 a history of Jewish sects (ed. Harkavy, § 1, St. Petersburg, 1894; comp. “J.Q.R.” vii. 687). The references to Yannai, Salome Alexandra, and Joshua b. Pcrahyah indicate that according to the Jewish legends the advent of Jesus took place just one century before the actual historical date; and some medieval apologists for Judaism, as Nahmanides and Salman Zebi, based on this fact their assertion that the “Yeshu“ mentioned in the Talmud was not identical with Jesus; this, however, is merely a subterfuge.

According to Celsus (in Origen, “Contra Celsum,” i. 28) and to the Talmud (Shab. 104b), Jesus learned magic in Egypt and performed his miracles by means of it; the latter work, in addition, states that he

Jesus as Magician.

cut the magic formulas into his skin. It does not mention, however, the nature of his magic performances (Tosef., Shab. xi. 4; Yer. Shab. 18d); but as it states that the disciples of Jesus healed the sick “in the name of Jesus Pandera” (Yer. Shab. 14d; Ab. Zarah 27b; Eccl. R. i. 8) it may be assumed that its author held the miracles of Jesus also to have been miraculous cures. Different in nature is the witchcraft attributed to Jesus in the “Toledot.” When Jesus was expelled from the circle of scholars, he is said to have returned secretly from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he inserted a parchment containing the “declared name of God” (“Shem ha-Meforash”), which was guarded in the Temple, into his skin, carried it away, and then, taking it out of his skin, he performed his miracles by its means. This magic formula then had to be recovered from him, and Judah the Gardener (a personage of the “Toledot” corresponding to Judas Iscariot) offered to do it; he and Jesus then engaged in an aerial battle (borrowed from the legend of SIMON MAGUS), in which Judah remained victor and Jesus fled.

The accusation of magic is frequently brought against Jesus. Jerome mentions it, quoting the Jews: “Magum vocant et Judaei Dominum meum” (“Ep. 1v., ad Ascellam,” i. 196, ed. Vallarsi); Marcus, of the sect of the Valentinians, was, according to Jerome, a native of Egypt, and was accused of being, like Jesus, a magician (Hilgenfeld, “Ketzergesch.” p. 870, Leipsic, 1884). There were even Christian heretics who looked upon the founder of their religion as a magician (Fabricius, in “Codex Apocr. Novi Testamenti,” iii. 896), and public opinion at Rome accused all Christians of magic (W.M. Ramsay, “The Church in the Roman Empire Before AD. 170,” pp. 286, 392, London, 1897). The Apostles were regarded in the same light (“Acta Petri et Andreae,” ed. Bonnet, § 8). Neither this accusation nor that concerning the birth of Jesus is found in the canonical Gospels, but it occurs in the apocryphal accounts; e.g.. “Gesta Pilati,” ii. 1: “Acta Pilati,” version B, ii. 8, iii. 1; ib. i. 1 (0n~/a/; comp. ydeç WTIV - “he is a magician”); ib. in ed. Tischendorf. 2d ed., p. 216, “maleficus est”: ib. p. 338 (“Zeit. für die Neutest. Wissenschaft,” 1901, iii. 94), with which comp. “veneficus” “poisoner” (“Evang. Infantiae Arab.” ed. Thilo, § 36). Somewhat different is the accusation that Jesus imposed upon the people and led them astray (comp. Bischoff, Ein Judisch Deutsches Leben Jesu,” p. 20, Leipsic, 1895: [Hebr.] often also [Hebr.] and in the Greek texts [Gr.], [Gr]; comp. [Gr.] = “he deceives the people,”; John vii. 12). As Balaam the magician and, according to the derivation of his name, “destroyer of the people”, was from both of these points of view a good prototype of Jesus, the latter was also called “Balaam.”

Celsus (i. 62) says there were ten or eleven apostles. A passage of the Talmud (Sanh. 48a) ascribes five disciples to Jesus: “Matthai “ (Matthew), “Nakai” (Luke), “Nezer” (Nazarene, a general designation for Christian in antiquity),

The Disci-
ples of Jesus.

Boni” (probably the Nicodemus mentioned by John), and “Thoda” (Thaddaeus). The following are mentioned in the Toledot (Huldricus, p. 35): “Simeon” (Peter), “Matthia” (Matthew), “Elikum” (Luke), “Mordecai” (Mark), “Thoda” (Thaddaeus), and “Johannos” (John)—that is, the four evangelists plus Peter and Thaddaeus. Paul is mentioned in another connection, and (p. 48) Judas “the betrayer”: it is to be noted that the last-named does not occur at all in Talmudic legends. The Twelve Apostles are mentioned in other versions of the “Toledot” (ed. Wagenaeil, p. 19: ed. Bischoff, p. 21), while still other versions frequently mention a following of 300, 310, 320, 330 men. It is especially striking that all these disciples are described as eminently wise and learned, while according to Celsus (i. 63, ii. 46) the disciples of Jesus were common men, tollkeepers and seamen, an assumption that agrees to some extent with the canonical Gospels.

In all the editions of the “Toledot” the doctrine of Jesus is summed up in the statements that he was the son of God, born of a virgin mother, a descendant of David and the promised Messiah; this he proved from passages of Scripture, in the rabbinic-Talmudic manner. In connection with these statements

The Doctrines of Jesus.

he is also represented as engaging in disputations with Jewish scholars. The only specifically Christian doctrine mentioned by the Talmud is (Shab. 116a, b) that the law of Moses has been annulled and the Gospels put in its place- the well-known Christian doctrine of the abrogation of the Law; the saying of Jesus, “I have not come to take away the law of Moses, but to add to it,” is also cited (ib). In the Toledot “ the doctrine of abrogation is put into the mouth of Peter, and the latter, secretly intending to separate the Christians from the community in the interest of the Jews, promulgates the following tenets: Jesus suffered the pain and punishment of death in order to redeem from hell those that believe in him (comp. I Cor. xv. 26, 55); believers shall not hurt the Jews (comp. Acts iii. 26); one who deserves to be accompanied one mile only shall be accompanied two miles; both cheeks shall be offered if one cheek has been struck (comp. Matt. v. 39-41); instead of the Sabbath, Sunday shall be kept holy; Easter shall be celebrated instead of the Passover, Pentecost instead of the Feast of Weeks, etc.; circumcision is abrogated, and the dietary laws annulled. All these doctrines


Dilling Exhibit 279

[page 172] are merely external, while the essential points of the teachings of Jesus are hardly alluded to.

Jesus performed all his miracles by means of magic, as stated above. These miracles are not specified in the Talmud, but they are in the “Toledot”; they are partly such as are mentioned in the Gospels, as the healing of the halt, blind, and leprous, and are somewhat different in nature, though based on the Gospels, as the story of Jesus walking on the sea on a heavy millstone (“Toledot “- ed. Wagenseil. p. 14; ed. Huldricus, p. 43; ed. Bischoff, p. 25; MS. Adler, in Krause, “Leben Jesu,” p. 119; comp. Matt. xiv. 25, xviii. 6). Other miracles are derived from apocryphal accounts, as the story that Jesus fashioned birds from clay or marble and put life into them: this occurs also in the “Gospel of Thomas,” in ‘Evang. Infantiae Arab.” §36 (Thilo, ib. i. 111), and in the Koran. These legends are much amplified in the later “Toledot,” although the substance remains the same.

The Talmudic account of the manner of executing a person guilty of leading the people astray (Sanh. 67a) would be of signal historical importance if it were certain that it referred to Jesus. The proceeding against one who incites others to deny the

Trial and Death of Jesus.

religion of their fathers consists in convicting him of his guilt by means of concealed witnesses, as follows: The accused is placed in an inner room with a light, so that witnesses unknown to him and watching him from an outer room can see and hear him clearly. Then a companion says to him: ‘Tell me again what you told me in confidence [in regard to renouncing our religion].” If he does so, the other replies: “How could we leave our God in heaven and serve idols?” If he recants now, it is well; but if he says, “It is our duty and we must do it,” then the witnesses outside take him into court and he is stoned. “Thus they did with Ben Stada at Lydda, who was hanged on the eve of the Passover.” This passage refers to Jesus only if he is regarded as identical with Ben Stada; this can hardly be assumed in view of the reference to Lydda. The frequently repeated statement that Jesus was condemned for inciting to apostasy [Hebr.] is based on Sanh. 43a; there is added the entirely improbable statement that forty days before the condemnation of Jesus a herald called upon any one who could say anything in his favor to come forward and testify, but that no one appeared.

The proceeding is related very differently in the “Toledot”; although the several editions of the same differ in detail they agree in substance. The following account is found in a rather old edition (see Krauss, l.c. pp. 43 et seq.). The scholars of Israel took Jesus into the synagogue of Tiberias and bound him to a pillar; when his followers came to liberate him, a battle occurred in which the Jewish party was worsted and his disciples took him to Antiochia. On the eve of Passover he entered Jerusalem riding on an ass (comp. Matt. xxi. 4-17), disguised - according to several editions-so that his former disciple Judas had to betray him in order to secure his seizure. He was executed on the eve of the Passover festival, which was also the eve of the Sabbath. The executioners were not able to hang him upon a tree, for he bad conjured all trees, by means of the name of God, not to receive him, and therefore they all broke; he was finally received by a large cabbage-stalk (comp. Targ. Sheni to Esth. vii. 9). He was buried on the same day, in conformity with the Law, and the apostates, his disciples, wept at his tomb.

According to the “Toledot” his disciples sought for his body in the tomb, but being unable to find it they used the incident as proof before Queen Helena that he who had been slain had ascended into heaven. It then appeared that a man—sometimes called “Judas the Gardener” (Judas Iscariot), sometimes, indefinitely, the “master of the garden “—had taken the body out of the grave, used it as a dam to keep the water out of his garden, and had flooded the tomb. Then there was joy again in Israel: the body was taken before the queen at Jerusalem, and the Christians were shamed. Three points deserve notice in this account: (1) The fact that the body was stolen. According to Matt. xxvii. 64, the Pharisees asked Pilate to guard the tomb so that the disciples might not steal the body and say that Jesus had ascended into heaven; but when the report was nevertheless circulated that Jesus had ascended, the Pharisees bribed the soldiers to say that the body had been stolen by the disciples (Matt. xxviii. 13). The “Gospel of Nikodemus,” § 13 (Thilo, ib. i. 616), adds that the Jews still persisted in this statement. A similar story is known to Justin (“Dial. cum Tryph.” § 108; comp. § 17) and Eusebius (“Hist. Eccl.” ch. iv. 18), while in the pseudo-Clementine” Recognitiones” (i., § 42) this assertion is ascribed to “others” (probably the Jews). (2) The statement of the theft of the body and the statement of the gardener who was afraid that the multitude of disciples might destroy his lettuce-beds were both known to Tertullian (“De Spectaculis,” § 80). (8) The insult offered to the body in the streets of Jerusalem is alluded to in the Koran (see below).

It is clear, therefore, that the Jewish legends deny the resurrection of Jesus; the halakic assertion that Balaam (i.e., the prototype of Jesus) had no part in the future life must also be especially noted (Sanh. x. 2). It is further said: “The pupils of the recreant Balaam inherit hell” (Abot v. 19). Jesus is accordingly,

The Resur-rection.

in the following curious Talmudic legend, thought to sojourn in hell. A certain Onkelos b. Kalonikos, son of Titus’ sister, desired to embrace Judaism, and called up from hell by magic first Titus, then Balaam, and finally Jesus, who are here taken together as the worst enemies of Judaism. He asked Jesus: ‘ Who is esteemed in that world?” Jesus said: “Israel.” “Shall one join them?” Jesus said to him: “Further their well-being: do nothing to their detriment: whoever touches them touches even the apple of His eye.” Onkelos then asked the nature of his punishment, and was told that it was the degrading fate of those who mock the wise (Git., 56b-57a). This most revolting passage was applied in the Middle Ages to another Jesus (e.g., by H. Jehiel, in the Paris disputation; “Wikkuah,” p. 4, Thorn, 1873). A parallel to the story is found in the statement of the “Toledot” that when Judas found he could not touch Jesus in any way in the [page 173] aerial battle, he defiled him. This feature naturally especially angered Christians (see Wagenseil, “Tela Ignea Satanae,” p. 77). According to a passage in the Zohar (Steinschneider, “Polemische Litteratur,” p. 362) the same degrading fate is meted out to both Jesus and Mohammed.

Legends regarding Jesus are found in Mohammedan folk-lore. Although the innocence of Mary is most emphatically asserted, there are such striking parallels to Jewish legends that this material must certainly have been taken from Judaism into the Koran. In that work, also, it is stated that Jesus formed birds out of clay and endowed them with life (sura iii. 43); both the Koran and Jalal al-Din (in Maracci, “Refutatio Alcorani,” fol. 114b, Patavii, 1698) refer to the peculiar clothing worn by the disciples of Jesus: and in Ibn Said (Maracci, l.c. fol. 113b) is found the statement that the body of Jesus was dragged with ropes through the streets.

The cardinal point in the Jewish legends concerns the birth of Jesus. This question is discussed by both the Samaritans (“Chronique Samaritaine,” ed. Keubauer, p. 18, Paris, 1873) and the Karaites, as may be seen in a recently published passage from the work of the Karaite Judah Hadassi (“J. Q. R.” vii. 440). Other essential points are that Jesus performed his miracles by conjuring with the name of God (ib. viii. 436), and the legend appended to the “Toledot” editions regarding the finding of the cross (ib. viii. 438). The Karaites, however, had their own “Toledot.” Meswi al-‘Akkbari, the founder of a Karaite sect, engaged in similar polemics against the Christian doctrines (“R. E. J.” xxxiv. 182).

The Jewish legends referring to Jesus can not be regarded as originally purely Jewish, because the Christian Antichrist legends also make use of them. The Antichrist is born of a wandering virgin, the latter being, according to one version, a Danitic, hence Jewish, woman, while the father belongs to the Latin race (corresponding to the Roman soldier Panthera). Similar details are found in the ARMILUS legend (Bousset, “Der Antichrist,” p. 99, Göttingen, 1895; Krause, “Das Leben Jesu,” p. 216).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mehlfuhrer, Jesus in Talrnude. Altorf. 1699; Andr. Oonr. Werner, Jesus in Talmude.Stade, 1738; D’Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, ii. 349; Wagenseil, Tela Ignea Satanae, Altorf. 1681 (where the Confutatio of the Toledot is separately paged); Eiseninenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, i. 105, 133, 249, passim; von der Alm, Die Urtheile Heidnischer Und Jüdischer Schriftsteller uber Jesus, Leipsic, 1864; Hoffmann, Das Lcben Jesu nach den Apokryphen, ib. 1851; G. Rosch, Jesusmythen, in Theologische Studien und Kritiken, 1873, pp. 77-115; Jüdische Sagen uber das Leben Jesu, by Conard, in Noue Kirchliche Zeitschrift, pp. 164-176, Erlangen and Leipsic, 1901; Baring-Gould, Lost and Hostile Gospels, 1875; Laible, Jesus Christus im Tamud (with Appendix—Die Talmudischen Text, by G. Dalman, Berlin, 1891 (has been translated into English); Krauss, Das Leben Jesu nach Jüdischen Quellen, Berlin, 1902; R. Travers Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, pp. 1-96, London 1903.


S. K.R.