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The Life Story of Jesus-jewish version


Toledot Yeshu (The Life Story of Jesus) Revisited: A Princeton Conference (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism / Texte Und Studien Zum Antiken Judentum)

by Yaacov Deutsch (Author, Editor), Michael Meerson (Editor), Peter Schäfer (Editor)

 

One of the most controversial books in history, Toledot Yeshu recounts the life story of Jesus from a negative and anti-Christian perspective. It ascribes to Jesus an illegitimate birth, a theft of the Ineffable Name of God, heretical activities, and, finally, a disgraceful death. Perhaps for centuries, the Toledot Yeshu circulated orally until it coalesced into various literary forms. Although the dates of these written compositions remain obscure, some early hints of a Jewish counter-history of Jesus can be found in the works of pagan and Christian authors of Late Antiquity, such as Celsus, Justin, and Tertullian. In the Middle Ages, the book became the object and tool of a most acrimonious controversy. Jews, Christians, and atheists – such as Ibn Shaprut, Luther, and Voltaire – quoted and commented on Toledot Yeshu , trying to disprove the beliefs of their opponents and revealing their own prejudices. Due to the offensive nature of the book, scholars have until recently paid little attention to Toledot Yeshu .

In 2007, Peter Schafer launched a project at Princeton University to prepare a scholarly edition with translation and commentary based on all the available manuscripts (about 150). Along with this project, Peter Schafer, Michael Meerson, and Yaacov Deutsch organized an international conference, attended by the leading scholars of the subject, to discuss the present state of research. The conference contributions, published in this volume, mark a new stage in Toledot Yeshu research.

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Book review by Jan Peczkis

Venomous Jewish “Counter-Gospel”: It Led to Martin Luther’s Retaliatory Venom Against Jews. (Why is Only Luther Blamed Today??)

 

This work contains numerous scholarly articles on TOLEDOT YESHU, and includes historical background on Jewish-Christian relations. For instance, Ora Limor and Israel Jacob Yuval discuss the massacre of Christians by Jews during the conquest of Jerusalem by the Sassanian Persians in the year 614 A. D. The number of Christians killed by Jews is estimated at between 4,000 and 90,000. (p. 207).

In my review, I use the information contained in this book to refute the exculpations that posit that: 1) TOLEDOT YESHU was not about Jesus Christ; 2) TOLEDOT YESHU was anti-Jewish disinformation propaganda written by Jewish converts to Christianity; 3) TOLEDOT YESHU had no standing in Jewish thinking; 4) TOLEDOT YESHU came about because of Christian persecutions of Jews.

TOLEDOT YESHU—UNAMBIGUOUSLY ANTI-CHRISTIAN

Some commentators would have us believe that the TOLEDOT YESHU does not refer to Jesus Christ, and that it has nothing to do with Christianity. It most certainly does.

Philip Alexander comments, (quote) And, of course, if the TOLEDOT YESHU originated in some shape or form in late antiquity, as many would argue it did, then it is relevant to the question, because it has clear anti-Christian intent. (unquote). (p. 141. See also p. 137).

Sarit Kattan Gribetz quips, (quote) Like the Book of Esther, which interweaves history with parody, TOLEDOT YESHU might best be understood as straddling these two genres, presenting the historical story of Jesus’ life as worthy of mockery and ridicule. (unquote). (p. 180).

Most forceful of all is Paola Tartakoff, who points out that, (quote) Like any kind of anti-Christian blasphemy, the TOLEDOT YESHU would have embarrassed apostates by mocking the tenets to which they had subscribed. (unquote). (p. 305).

TOLEDOT YESHU WRITTEN BY JEWS, AND NOT BY JEWISH CONVERTS

Some commentators have made the exculpatory conjecture that Jews converting to Christianity fabricated the TOLEDOT YESHU—and did so in order to hopefully incite Christian persecution of Jews. Adina M. Yoffie points out that this argument is totally without basis. She writes, (quote) While converts were involved in the transmission, and likely to some degree in the composition, of some manuscripts of the TOLEDOT YESHU, there is no reason not to see the TOLEDOT as an internal Jewish response to the Gospels and to Christianity. (unquote). (p. 64).

TOLEDOT YESHU MORE IMPORTANT IN JEWISH THINKING THAN APPARENT

Finally, some commentators have argued that TOLEDOT YESHU was insignificant in Jewish thinking, as it was hardly discussed in Jewish writings. However, Jews, for obvious reasons, were afraid to speak up too strongly and explicitly in a Christian world. (Philip Alexander, p. 142; Yaacov Deutsch, p. 291). In addition, the genre of TOLEDOT YESHU did not favor a prominent visible presence in Jewish thinking. Yaacov Deutsch comments, “Nonetheless, the paucity of references to TOLEDOT YESHU in Jewish sources is not necessarily a sign that it was not known to Jews in the Middle Ages and the early modern period, but a result of its folkloric nature and, also, of the fact that its transmission was mainly through oral venues.” (p. 292).

WHEN WAS TOLEDOT YESHU WRITTEN?

The TOLEDOT YESHU itself was most likely written in the 8th century. (Eli Yassif, p. 102). [Note that it could not have been a reaction to significant Christian persecutions of Jews, such as the Crusade-related massacres (11th century) and the first expulsions of Jews (13th century), as these happened later].

THE TALMUDIC FOUNDATIONS OF TOLEDOT YESHU

When exactly the TOLEDOT YESHU was first written is relatively unimportant, as the anti-Christian motifs within it go back at least to the time of the Babylonian Talmud—[BTW, to a time and place (Sassanid and later Islamic Iraq), where Christians were in no position to persecute Jews: Eli Yassif, p. 103. Note that this refutes the exculpatory argument that Jewish polemics against Christianity only developed when Christians were persecuting Jews. Clearly, this was not the case.]

Yaacov Deutsch adds that, “Already in the writings of the Church Fathers we can find testimonies about Jewish traditions against Jesus that resemble some of the ideas that will later appear in TOLEDOT YESHU…These traditions do not include elements that are unique to TOLEDOT YESHU, but show that, already at a very early stage, Jews propagated rancorous opinions about Jesus and the holy family [Holy Family].” (p. 285).

Let us touch on some Talmudic themes in TOLEDOT YESHU:

Bavli Shabbat 104b—Jesus, the sorcerer, the son of Miriam (a hairdresser and adulterous woman), and Jesus the illegitimate Son of Pandera (Ben Pandera). (Adina M. Yoffie, pp. 72-73; Sarit Kattan Gribetz, p. 155; Yaacov Deutsch, p. 292). [The story of Jesus as the offspring of Ben Pandera also goes back to Celsus, who attributed to a Jew: William Horbury, p. 59; See also Yaacov Deutsch, p. 285].

Bavli Sanhedrin 43a—the death of Jesus Christ, vicariously by stoning, at the hands of the Jews. (Adina M. Yoffie, p. 64).

Bavli Gittin 56b-57a—Jesus is forced to spend eternity in hell in boiling excrement. (Adina M. Yoffie, p. 73; Michael Meerson, p. 192; Ora Limor and Israel Jacob Yuval, p. 203).

IMPLICATIONS FOR MARTIN LUTHER’S SELECTIVELY-CONDEMNED COMMENTS

Widespread Christian awareness of the TOLEDOT YESHU did not develop until the 14th and 15th centuries (Yaacov Deutsch, p. 289), even though it had been written centuries earlier. Martin Luther became cognizant of the TOLEDOT YESHU owing to a copy of Martinus’s text of it, which was located in the work of Porchetus Salvaticus. (Yaacov Deutsch, p. 289).

Let us now consider the implications, which are not discussed in this book. Martin Luther, in his ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES, inveighs against the Jews and their blasphemies against Jesus and Mary. Luther has been constantly excoriated for this, and has even been enlisted as some kind of inspiration for Hitler. In reality, Luther’s statements, however ugly, about Jews, had nothing to do with Nazism, and were nothing more than a reaction to the equally-ugly statements in TOLEDOT YESHU. One marvels at the anti-Christian spirit in academia for refusing to be objective about this matter.

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http://www.amazon.com/Toledot-Yeshu-Story-Jesus-Revisited/dp/316150948X?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

 

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Jesus Christ said to the Jews: “You belong to your father, the devil and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44)

 

Related article:

http://www.jewworldorder.org/satans-chosen-people-the-jews/

 

 

Jewish nature

Exposed

 

 

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