Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity–Pt. 7: Not of the world

Talmudic records relate, as we have seen, that the nasi Joshua ben Perachiah excommunicated Yeshu ha-Notsri (literally, “Jesus the Nazarene”) on their way back from exile in Alexandria, Egypt, probably in 76 BCE, the year that the anti-Pharisee King Janneus died and his pro-Pharisee wife Salome Alexandra ascended to the throne. If we combine Ibn Daud’s chronology with what we learn from Talmudic passages, it appears that Yeshu was twenty-four years old at the time. Yeshu would not have been able to return to Israel with impunity. After all, excommunication is not merely a ban from pharisaism—it is the final, complete, and irrevocable expulsion from Judaism. For a young man raised in the entourage of the Sanhedrin (his association with … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity–Pt. 6: The flight to Alexandria

      Our rabbis teach, ‘Ever let the left hand repel and the right hand invite, not like Elisha who repulsed Gehazi with both hands, and not like R. Yehoshua ben Perachiah who repulsed Yeshu ha-Notsri with both hands…      What of R. Jehoshua ben Perachiah? When Jannai the king killed our rabbis, R. Jehoshua ben Perachiah and Yeshu fled to Alexandria of Egypt. When there was peace, Shimon ben Shetach sent to him [i.e. Perachiah], “From me the city of holiness, to thee Alexandria of Egypt. My husband stays in thy midst and I sit forsaken.”      Rabbi Perachiah came, and found himself at a certain inn; they showed him great honor. He said, “How beautiful is this Acsania!” [“Acsania” denotes both … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity–Pt. 5: The young prophet

NOTE:     In the preceding post we began to construct a biography of the early first century BCE prophet Yeshu ha-Notsri from Jewish rabbinical records. Though Jewish/Talmudic references to Yeshu are few, when viewed together they permit one to construct the outline of a radical, courageous, and successful prophet in Judea who was so hated and feared by the Jewish religious authorities that they arrested him, tried him for apostasy, and executed him.      Parallels with the later Jesus of Nazareth of the New Testament are obvious. Not only did Yeshu’s biography certainly influence the canonical storyline, it may also surprise readers that the names are identical: Yeshu ha-Notsri translates directly to “Jesus the Nazarene,” as I explain here.      This post continues to … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity–Pt. 4: The ancient Jewish evidence

Note: It is no coincidence that the Mishna and Talmud preserve most of the information we have about Yeshu ha-Notsri (correctly translated “Jesus the Nazarene”!), for the prophet’s entire life was intimately enmeshed with the Jewish religious establishment of the early first century BCE. He grew up a highly-educated Pharisee groomed for the Sanhedrin, but astonishingly repudiated his Jewish heritage as a young man in Egyptian exile in favor of a foreign (some would say ‘Buddhist’) form of gnosticism. Yeshu then returned to Israel and preached with alarming success, was excommunicated by the Sanhedrin, arrested, tried, and executed for apostasy according to rigorous stipulations of Jewish religious law. All of these elements are attested in Talmudic records.      As we have … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as founder of Christianity, Pt. 3: The strange witness of Epiphanius

     For at Christ’s arrival the rulers in succession from Judah came to an end. Until his time the rulers were anointed priests, but after his birth in Bethlehem of Judea the order ended and changed with Alexander, a ruler of priestly and kingly stock. After Alexander this heritage from the time of Salina—also known as Alexandra—died out under King Herod and the Roman Emperor Augustus.      (Epiphanius, Panarion 29.3.3, Williams edition.) Scholars have ever found this passage inexplicable. Epiphanius wrote his Panarion about 375 CE, and it is entirely bizarre that the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus would date Jesus to the time of Alexander Janneus. Epiphanius writes that after Jesus’ “birth in Bethlehem of Judea the order ended and changed … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as the founder of Christianity, Pt. 2: The witness of ibn Daud

     The historical works of the Jews state that this Joshua b. Perachiah was the teacher of Jesus the Nazarene [ישׂו הנצרי]. If this is so, it follows that he lived in the time of King Janneus. However, the historical works of the gentiles state that he was born in the days of Herod and crucified in the days of his son Archelaus. Now this is a significant difference of opinion, for there is a discrepancy between them of more than 110 years… [The gentile historians] argue this point so vehemently in order to prove that the Temple and kingdom of Israel endured for but a short while after his crucifixion. However, we have it as an authentic tradition from the Mishna … Continue reading

Yeshu ha-Notsri as the actual founder of Christianity–Pt. 1: Introduction

Readers who have followed my writings over the last decade or so are aware—from the book NazarethGate (final chapter) and on this website—of my thesis that Yeshu ha-Notsri was the historical founder of Christianity (e.g., see here). Yeshu lived in the early decades of the first century BCE (not CE!), thus exactly one century before the putative Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike Jesus of Nazareth, however, Yeshu is a prophet known to non-Christian literary records dating back to antiquity. That datum is critical, for the same cannot be said for Jesus of Nazareth. Over the last century, Jesus mythicists have scientifically shown that early attestations for the man from Nazareth are, without exception, either Christian forgeries or late Christian interpolations. The … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chp. 77

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         Jesus’ explanations related to The Parable of the Three Vinedressers 44a. [Jesus said] “Truly I say to you, that on the day of judgement many will say to God, ‘Lord, we have preached and taught according to Your law.’ Against them even the stones will cry out, saying ‘When you preached to others, with your own tongue you condemned yourselves, O workers of iniquity.’      “As God lives,” continued Jesus, “he who knows the truth and yet works the contrary will be punished with such grievous penalty that Satan himself will be moved with compassion for him. Tell me, now, has our God given us the law for knowing or for … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chp. 76

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         The Parable of the Three Vinedressers 43. [Jesus said] “I will give you an example. There was a man who had three vineyards which he let out to three vinedressers. Now, the first vinedresser did not even know how to cultivate a vineyard, and it brought forth nothing more than leaves.      “The second vinedresser taught the third how the vines ought to be cultivated. And the third vinedresser carefully listened and cultivated his vineyard as he was instructed, so that his vineyard bore much fruit.      “Now, though the second vinedresser instructed the third, he left his own vineyard uncultivated, spending his time solely in talking.      “When the time came to … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 73–75

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         36. “The flesh of man loves sin as he who has fever loves water.”        [LXXIII:75a, p. 169] COMMENT: An encratite saying (< Gk. egkrates, “continence”). Encratism does not exist in noarmative Judaism, as defined by the writings in the Tanakh (the “Old Testament,” in which the enjoyment of all of God’s creation—including of the body and of sexuality—is celebrated). However, encratism came to the Levant about the turn of the era and, indeed, it arrived at about the same time as the origins of Christianity. To understand the roots of encratism is most instructive, for those roots are clearly in far distant Buddhism. After all, nothing in the Levant—neither Judaism nor … Continue reading