Ancient Jewish Views of Jesus
Following are some ancient Jewish views of Jesus.
Celsus on Jesus
Celsus lived in during the 2nd century, CE. Origen is refuting him in the 3rd
century. Celsus' writings no longer survive in tact, but we have access to some
of his work when Origen quotes passages for the purpose of refutation. The
following is one such passage. [AH]
Origen, Contra Celsum 1.28
Translation, quoted from Mead.
Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who
gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out
of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of
adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her
husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard.
Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he
acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on
possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on
the strength of them gave himself out to be a god.
Josephus on Jesus
The so called Testimonium Flavianum. This is the only direct discussion of Jesus
to be found in the writings of Josephus. Unfortunately, the text as we have it
in extant copies of Josephus' Antiquities appears to have been dramatically
re-written from a Christian point of view. (The writings of Josephus were
brought down to us from antiquity not by the Jewish community, but by the
Christians). The second column contains an Arabic quotation of the Josephus
passage that has a much less Christian flavor. Some scholars have argued that
the Arabic version has a more likely claim to originality.
Although that is a strong possibility, it should be noted that even the Arabic
version is a good deal kinder to Jesus than Josephus usually is to messianic
claimants. In addition it is harder to see why the Christian scribe would feel
so compelled to change it. It is possible that the original may have been much
more insulting, in keeping with Josephus' normal pattern, and that the Greek and
Arabic versions are simply two different recensions of a Christian rewrite. R.
Eisler has made an effort to reconstruct an 'original' that might have, given
Christian revision, served as a base for the version that survives in Greek. It
is, of course, entirely hypothetical, and no textual evidence exists to support
it, but it does fit in better with Josephus' usual pattern and language, as well
as the general context of the passage.
On the other hand, it may be possible to 'save' the Arabic version. Particularly
if we remove the last sentence (accordingly ...wonders) as a pious expansion, we
are left with a non-committal report on the martyrdom at Roman hands of a pious
Jew. This would not be at all inconsistent with Josephus' style, particularly if
he discounted as later followers' embellishments the claims made by Christians
that Jesus was the Messiah. This last suggestion is to some extent crippled by
the less controversial reference in Antiquities 20 if it is genuine (see below).
Arabic summary, presumably of Antiquities 18.63. From Agapios' Kitab al-'Unwan
("Book of the Title," 10th c.).
The translation belongs to Shlomo Pines. See also James H. Charlesworth, Jesus
Similarly Josephus the Hebrew. For he says in the treatises that he has written
on the governance of the Jews:
At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was
good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and
the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and
to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship.
They reported that he had appeared to themafter his crucifixion and that he was
alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have
Tertullian Mocks Jewish 'Slanders'
Tertullian wrote this passage late in the 2nd century, CE. In the context he is
imagining himself, after Jesus' triumphant return, mocking the now damned Jews
for their perversions of of the truth about Jesus (from his point of view). Much
of what he accuses the Jews of saying/doing is straight out of the canonical
gospels, but some, especially the last phrase, seems to reflect some of the
traditions that will later be brought together in the Toldoth Yeshu. [AH]
Tertullian, De Spetaculis 100.30
Translation, quoted from Mead, p. 133.
This is your carpenter's son, your harlot's son; your Sabbath-breaker, your
Samaritan, your demon-possessed! This is he whom you bought from Judas. This
is he who was struck with reeds and fists, dishonored with spittle, and given a
draught of gall and vinegar! This is he whom his disciples have stolen secretly,
that it may be said, 'He has risen', or the gardener abstracted that his
lettuces might not be damaged by the crowds of visitors!
 The 'harlot's son' accusation is doubtless a commonplace. It is directly
connected with Christian claims of virgin birth, but there is something of a
chicken-egg problem. It is easy to imagine such a rebuttal to Christian claims,
but it is also quite conceivable that the Christian version is a response to
Jewish slanders about his origins. I am inclined toward the former explanation,
but arguments can be made for either.
 Samaritan. Thanks to Mike Sassanian for reminding me of John 8:48 where
Jesus is called a Samaritan and accused of being demon posessed.
 Presumably, in this version a gardener who grows cabbages near the grounds
of the sepulcher is irritated by the large numbers of disciples who are
trampling his crops when they come to visit the tomb. He solves the problem by
moving the body, which gives rise to Christian claims of resurrection. The
gardener parallel to the Toledoth tradition is clear enough, although not
identical, particularly in motive. What is interesting is the peculiar detail of
the cabbage. I am not aware of the Toledoth stories mentioning this, but they do
often have Jesus being crucified on a cabbage. While the context is different,
the wild improbability of the recurring vegetable seems too peculiar to be
coincidence. There may also be a connection between this gardener and the story
in John 20.14-16 where Mary Magdalene, on seeing the resurrected Jesus, fails to
recognize him, taking him to be the gardener.
Yeshu and Joshua b. Perachiah
This story cannot be directly connected with any of the traditional events in
the life of Jesus, and it is set about 100 years before Jesus presumably lived.
Yeshu/Yeshua is not an uncommon name, and it may be that we simply have a story
about a Jewish 'bad boy' whose name happens to be the same as Jesus'. But as the
last sentence (only in the Sanhedrin version) demonstrates, whatever the
original intent of the story, it came to be connected with the Yeshu/Jesus
traditions in the early medieval period. Even the historical setting -- the
reign of Jannai (Alexander Jannaeus, reigned 103-76 BC) -- seems to have stuck,
and is clearly embedded in the Toldoth traditions.
Sanhedrin 107b || Sota 47a (except for the last sentence)
This is mostly a somewhat modernized version of A.M. Streane's translation,
quoted in Mead, pp. 137f. My modernization has been informed by Goldstein's
translation of the same text (pp. 73f)
The Rabbis taught: The left should always be used to push away, and the right,
on the other hand to draw nearer. But one should not do it as Elisha who pushed
Gehazi away, nor as R. Joshua ben Perachiah, who pushed away Yeshu with both
hands. What was the problem with R. Joshua ben Perachiah? When King Jannai
ordered the extermination of the Rabbis, R. Joshua ben Perachiah and Yeshu fled
to Alexandria. When it was safe to return, Rabbi Simeon ben Shetach sent him a
From me, Jerusalem the holy city, to the Alexandria in Egypt, my sister. My
spouse tarries in your midst, and I sit desolate.
Joshua set off at once. During the trip they happened upon an inn in which they
treated him with great respect. Joshua commented, "How fair is this inn."
Yeshu replied, "But Rabbi, she has unattractive eyes." Joshua replied,
"You godless person, do you fill your mind with such things?" Then he had 400
trumpets sounded and anathematized him. Yeshu often came and said to him,
"Receive me back." Joshua paid no attention. One day, while Joshua was reciting
the Shema, Yeshu came to him, hoping for a reprieve. Joshua made a sign to him
with his hand.  Yeshu misunderstood, thinking he had been repulsed, so he
went away set up a brick and worshipped it. Joshua said to him, "Repent!" Yeshu
replied, "I learned this from you: 'Anyone who sins and causes the people to
sin, is not allowed the possibility of repentance.'"
[The Teacher said: "Yeshu practiced sorcery and corrupted and misled Israel."]
 akhsanya can mean either 'inn' or 'hostess'. Joshua intends one meaning,
Yeshu hears another. On the subject of word plays, it may not be accidental in
this story that 'Yeshu' is a diminutive form of 'Joshua'.
 Or perhaps "she is near-sighted".
 Presumably the hand sign meant that Yeshu should wait until Joshua had
finished the Shema.
Simeon b. Azzai finds a Genealogy
This brief passage is the only presumed reference to Jesus in the Mishna. That
it refers to Jesus depends on the supposition that peloni, 'so and so,' is a
veiled reference to Jesus. There is reasonable evidence that in later Talmudic
literature this is often, perhaps exclusively, the case. It is problematic in
this case, though. In the later literature the Rabbinic authors may have had
good reason to be careful about overt negative references to Jesus, but no such
constraint hindered the compilers of the Mishna. There is, of course, the
possibility that the text was originally explicit, and that peloni was
substituted for yeshu when it became politically expedient. It seems more likely
however that the referent was someone with more political clout on whom the
Rabbis take a subtle delight in finding 'dirt'. See Goldstein for a fuller
B. Yebamoth 49a, M. Yebamoth 4.13
Translation, quoted from Mead.
Simeon ben Azzai has said: I found in Jerusalem a book of genealogies; therein
was written: That so and so is a bastard son of a married woman.
Evidence of Innocence Sought in Vain
This is one of the (few early) passages that Goldstein judges to be a possibly
authentic reference to Jesus. He identifies two difficulties: the details do not
fit well with the gospel accounts, and Yeshu / Yeshua / Yeshoshua (all forms of
the same name) was an extremely common name. In its favor, the fact that this
Yeshu is executed around Passover, as was Jesus, makes it less likely that it
intends some other Yeshu/a. Differences in detail probably simply reflect a
tradition widely divergent from the Christian gospels. There is, as with many of
these stories, the strong possibility that stories about other Yeshu/as or
accused magicians have mingled with authentic Jesus traditions to create a new
story. The story is hard to date with any confidence, but it cannot be later
than about 220, CE (Goldstein:29). The italicized section is Amoraic, 4th c. at
the earliest. [AH]
Baraitha Bab. Sanhedrin 43a
The translation is informed by both Goldstein:22,109ff and Mead:178f,210f.
There is a tradition (in a Barraitha): They hanged Yeshu on the Sabbath of the
Passover. But for forty days before that a herald went in front of him
(crying), "Yeshu is to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and seduced Israel
and lead them away from God. Anyone who can provide evidence on his behalf
should come forward to defend him." When, however, nothing favorable about him
was found, he was hanged on the Sabbath of the Passover.
Ulla commented: "Do you think that he belongs among those for whom redeeming
evidence is sought? Rather, he was a seducer [of whom] the All-merciful has
said: 'Show them no pity... and do not shield them.' (Deut 13.8b NRSV) In
Yeshu's case, however, an exception was made because he was close to those who
held [political/religious] authority."
This is in the same larger context. Who, exactly, these disciples are is not
clear. Mattai is likely to be Matthew. For the others scholarship has resorted
to what is, at best, educated speculation. The fact that there are five rather
than twelve suggests that we look elsewhere than Christian tradition to solve
the problem. It may not be coincidence that both Yohanan b. Zakkai and Akiba
each have five students (Goldstein:32). The italicized section is Amoraic, and,
incidentally, contains several bad etymologies (Mattai/mathai, Nakki/naki,
There is a tradition (in a Barraitha): Yeshu had five students: Mattai,
Nakkai, Netzer, Buni, and Todah.
When Mattai was brought to trial, he said to the judges, "Should Mattai be
executed? But scripture says, 'When [mathai] shall I come and behold the face of
God?'" (Ps 42.2b RSV) They replied, "Yes, Mattai should be executed, for
scripture says, 'When will he die, and his name perish?'" (Ps 41.5b RSV)
When Nakkai was brought, he said to them, "Should Nakkai be executed? But
scripture says, 'Do not slay the innocent[naki] and righteous.'" (Ex 23.7b RSV)
They replied, "Yes, Nakkai should be executed, for scripture says, 'in hiding
places he murders the innocent.'" (Ps 10.8b RSV)
When Netzer was brought, he said to them, "Should Netzer be executed? But
scripture says, 'a branch[netzer] shall grow out of his roots.'" (Is 11.1b RSV)
They replied, "Yes, Netzer should be executed, for scripture says, 'you are cast
out, away from your sepulchre, like a loathed branch.'" (Is 14.19a RSV)
When Bunni was brought, he said to them, "Should Bunni be executed? But
scripture says, 'Israel is my firstborn son[beni].'" (Ex 4.22b RSV) They
replied, "Yes, Bunni should be executed, for scripture says, 'behold, I will
slay your firstborn son[benkha].'" (Ex 4.23b RSV)
When Todah was brought, he said to them, "Should Todah be executed? But
scripture says, 'A psalm for Thanksgiving [todah].'" (Ps 100.heading RSV) They
replied, "Yes, Todah should be executed, for scripture says, 'He who brings
thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me.'" (Ps 50.23a RSV)
 'Sabbath of the Passover'. alt: 'on the eve of the Passover.' One ms.
reads "on the Sabbath on the eve of Passover.'
 See the same charge in Sanhedrin 107b and Sota 47a.
 Ulla. Late 3rd / early 4th c. CE (Goldstein:109).
 Deuteronomy 13.6-9 command that those who lead Israel to worship other
gods are to be executed:
If anyone secretly entices you... saying, "Let us worship other
gods",... you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or
compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them; your own hand
shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the
 'Students': or 'disciples'. Heb: talmidim. See the discussion in the
This is a derogatory version of the life of Jesus, growing out of the response
of the Jewish community to Christianity. The tradition presented here is most
commonly dated to approximately the 6th century CE. The text it self is closer
to the 14th c. There is no scholarly consensus on to what extent the text might
be a direct parody of a now lost gospel. H.J. Schonfield argued that it was so
closely connected to the Gospel of the Hebrews that he attempted to reconstruct
that lost work from the
Text from Goldstein, Jesus in the Jewish Tradition, pp. 148-154. Most of the
notes are mine, but they are clearly marked ([G] = Goldstein, [AH] = me)
Toldot. There is not just one version of the story, and I have not found
Goldstein vorlage on line, but there seems to be a version in Hebrew here.
In the year 3671 in the days of King Jannaeus, a great misfortune befell
Israel, when there arose a certain disreputable man of the tribe of Judah, whose
name was Joseph Pandera. He lived at Bethlehem, in Judah.
Near his house dwelt a widow and her lovely and chaste daughter named Miriam.
Miriam was betrothed to Yohanan, of the royal house of David, a man learned in
the Torah and God-fearing.
At the close of a certain Sabbath, Joseph Pandera, attractive and like a warrior
in appearance, having gazed lustfully upon Miriam, knocked upon the door of her
room and betrayed her by pretending that he was her betrothed husband, Yohanan.
Even so, she was amazed at this improper conduct and submitted only against her
Thereafter, when Yohanan came to her, Miriam expressed astonishment at behavior
so foreign to his character. It was thus that they both came to know the crime
of Joseph Pandera and the terrible mistake on the part of Miriam. Whereupon
Yohanan went to Rabban Shimeon ben Shetah and related to him the tragic
seduction. Lacking witnesses required for the punishment of Joseph Pandera, and
Miriam being with child, Yohanan left for Babylonia.
Miriam gave birth to a son and named him Yehoshua, after her brother. This name
later deteriorated to Yeshu. On the eighth day he was circumcised. When he was
old enough the lad was taken by Miriam to the house of study to be instructed in
the Jewish tradition.
One day Yeshu walked in front of the Sages with his head uncovered, showing
shameful disrespect. At this, the discussion arose as to whether this behavior
did not truly indicate that Yeshu was an illegitimate child and the son of a
niddah. Moreover, the story tells that while the rabbis were discussing the
Tractate Nezikin, he gave his own impudent interpretation of the law and in an
ensuing debate he held that Moses could not be the greatest of the prophets if
he had to receive counsel from Jethro. This led to further inquiry as to the
antecedents of Yeshu, and it was discovered through Rabban Shimeon ben Shetah
that he was the illegitimate son of Joseph Pandera. Miriam admitted it. After
this became known, it was necessary for Yeshu to flee to Upper Galilee.
After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene ruled over all Israel. In the Temple was
to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraved the letters of God's
Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able
to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the Sages took measures so that no one
should gain this knowledge. Lions of brass were bound to two iron pillars at the
gate of the place of burnt offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name,
when he left the lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret
would be forgotten.
Yeshu came and learned the letters of the Name; he wrote them upon the parchment
which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the flesh over the
parchment. As he left, the lions roared and he forgot the secret. But when he
came to his house he reopened the cut in his flesh with a knife an lifted out
the writing. Then he remembered and obtained the use of the letters.
He gathered about himself three hundred and ten young men of Israel and accused
those who spoke ill of his birth of being people who desired greatness and power
for themselves. Yeshu proclaimed, "I am the Messiah; and concerning me Isaiah
prophesied and said, 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall
call his name Immanuel.'" He quoted other messianic texts, insisting, "David my
ancestor prophesied concerning me: 'The Lord said to me, thou art my son, this
day have I begotten thee.'"
The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu was the Messiah he should give
them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man, who had never
walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the Ineffable Name, and the
leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshipped him as the Messiah, Son of the
When word of these happenings came to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin decided to bring
about the capture of Yeshu. They sent messengers, Annanui and Ahaziah, who,
pretending to be his disciples, said that they brought him an invitation from
the leaders of Jerusalem to visit them. Yeshu consented on condition the members
of the Sanhedrin receive him as a lord. He started out toward Jerusalem and,
arriving at Knob, acquired an ass on which he rode into Jerusalem, as a
fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah.
The Sages bound him and led him before Queen Helene, with the accusation: "This
man is a sorcerer and entices everyone." Yeshu replied, "The prophets long ago
prophesied my coming: 'And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of
Jesse,' and I am he; but as for them, Scripture says 'Blessed is the man that
walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.'"
Queen Helene asked the Sages: "What he says, is it in your Torah?" They replied:
"It is in our Torah, but it is not applicable to him, for it is in Scripture:
'And that prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have
not commanded him to speak or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even
that prophet shall die.' He has not fulfilled the signs and conditions of the
Yeshu spoke up: "Madam, I am the Messiah and I revive the dead." A dead body was
brought in; he pronounced the letters of the Ineffable Name and the corpse came
to life. The Queen was greatly moved and said: "This is a true sign." She
reprimanded the Sages and sent them humiliated from her presence. Yeshu's
dissident followers increased and there was controversy in Israel.
Yeshu went to Upper Galilee. the Sages came before the Queen, complaining that
Yeshu practiced sorcery and was leading everyone astray. Therefore she sent
Annanui and Ahaziah to fetch him.
The found him in Upper Galilee, proclaiming himself the Son of God. When they
tried to take him there was a struggle, but Yeshu said to the men of Upper
Galilee: "Wage no battle." He would prove himself by the power which came to him
from his Father in heaven. He spoke the Ineffable Name over the birds of clay
and they flew into the air. He spoke the same letters over a millstone that had
been placed upon the waters. He sat in it and it floated like a boat. When they
saw this the people marveled. At the behest of Yeshu, the emissaries departed
and reported these wonders to the Queen. She trembled with astonishment.
Then the Sages selected a man named Judah Iskarioto and brought him to the
Sanctuary where he learned the letters of the Ineffable Name as Yeshu had done.
When Yeshu was summoned before the queen, this time there were present also the
Sages and Judah Iskarioto. Yeshu said: "It is spoken of me, 'I will ascend into
heaven.'" He lifted his arms like the wings of an eagle and he flew between
heaven and earth, to the amazement of everyone.
The elders asked Iskarioto to do likewise. He did, and flew toward heaven.
Iskarioto attempted to force Yeshu down to earth but neither one of the two
could prevail against the other for both had the use of the Ineffable Name.
However, Iskarioto defiled Yeshu, so that they both lost their power and fell
down to the earth, and in their condition of defilement the letters of the
Ineffable Name escaped from them. Because of this deed of Judah they weep on the
eve of the birth of Yeshu.
Yeshu was seized. His head was covered with a garment and he was smitten with
pomegranate staves; but he could do nothing, for he no longer had the Ineffable
Yeshu was taken prisoner to the synagogue of Tiberias, and they bound him to a
pillar. To allay his thirst they gave him vinegar to drink. On his head they set
a crown of thorns. There was strife and wrangling between the elders and the
unrestrained followers of Yeshu, as a result of which the followers escaped with
Yeshu to the region of Antioch; there Yeshu remained until the eve of the
 Yeshu then resolved to go the Temple to acquire again the secret of the
Name. That year the Passover came on a Sabbath day. On the eve of the Passover,
Yeshu, accompanied by his disciples, came to Jerusalem riding upon an ass. Many
bowed down before him. He entered the Temple with his three hundred and ten
followers. One of them, Judah Iskarioto apprised the Sages that Yeshu was to
be found in the Temple, that the disciples had taken a vow by the Ten
Commandments not to reveal his identity but that he would point him out by
bowing to him. So it was done and Yeshu was seized. Asked his name, he replied
to the question by several times giving the names Mattai, Nakki, Buni, Netzer,
each time with a verse quoted by him and a counter-verse by the Sages.
Yeshu was put to death on the sixth hour on the eve of the Passover and of the
Sabbath. When they tried to hang him on a tree it broke, for when he had
possessed the power he had pronounced by the Ineffable Name that no tree should
hold him. He had failed to pronounce the prohibition over the carob-stalk,
for it was a plant more than a tree, and on it he was hanged until the hour for
afternoon prayer, for it is written in Scripture, "His body shall not remain all
night upon the tree." They buried him outside the city.
On the first day of the week his bold followers came to Queen Helene with the
report that he who was slain was truly the Messiah and that he was not in his
grave; he had ascended to heaven as he prophesied. Diligent search was made and
he was not found in the grave where he had been buried. A gardener had taken him
from the grave and had brought him into his garden and buried him in the sand
over which the waters flowed into the garden.
Queen Helene demanded, on threat of a severe penalty, that the body of Yeshu be
shown to her within a period of three days. There was a great distress. When the
keeper of the garden saw Rabbi Tanhuma walking in the field and lamenting over
the ultimatum of the Queen, the gardener related what he had done, in order that
Yeshu's followers should not steal the body and then claim that he had ascended
into heaven. The Sages removed the body, tied it to the tail of a horse and
transported it to the Queen, with the words, "This is Yeshu who is said to have
ascended to heaven." Realizing that Yeshu was a false prophet who enticed the
people and led them astray, she mocked the followers but praised the Sages.
The disciples went out among the nations--three went to the mountains of Ararat,
three to Armenia, three to Rome and three to the kingdoms buy the sea, They
deluded the people, but ultimately they were slain.
The erring followers amongst Israel said: "You have slain the Messiah of the
Lord." The Israelites answered: "You have believed in a false prophet." There
was endless strife and discord for thirty years.
The Sages desired to separate from Israel those who continued to claim Yeshu as
the Messiah, and they called upon a greatly learned man, Simeon Kepha, for help.
Simeon went to Antioch, main city of the Nazarenes and proclaimed toe them: "I
am the disciple of Yeshu. He has sent me to show you the way. I will give you a
sign as Yeshu has done."
Simeon, having gained the secret of the Ineffable Name, healed a leper and a
lame man by means of it and thus found acceptance as a true disciple. He told
them that Yeshu was in heaven, at the right hand of his Father, in fulfillment
of Psalm 110:1. He added that Yeshu desired that they separate themselves from
the Jews and no longer follow their practices, as Isaiah had said, "Your new
moons and your feasts my soul abhorreth." They were now to observe the first day
of the week instead of the seventh, the Resurrection instead of the Passover,
the Ascension into Heaven instead of the Feast of Weeks, the finding of the
Cross instead of the New Year, the Feast of the Circumcision instead of the Day
of Atonement, the New Year instead of Chanukah; they were to be indifferent with
regard to circumcision and the dietary laws. Also they were to follow the
teaching of turning the right if smitten on the left and the meek acceptance of
suffering. All these new ordinances which Simeon Kepha (or Paul, as he was known
to the Nazarenes) taught them were really meant to separate these Nazarenes from
the people of Israel and to bring the internal strife to an end.
 About 90, BC. [G]
 Some traditions say 'Egypt'. [AH]
 Sexual impurity (incest, adultery, prostitution, etc.). [AH]
 In one version of this admission, she confesses that not only is Yeshu the
product of an illicit union, but she was ritually unclean from menstruation at
the time as well (Sexual contact even with a woman's husband is not lawful
during, or, in Rabbinic law, for some time after, menstruation). [AH]
 Salome Alexandra. [G]
 Consistent, apparently, with the general tenor of Jewish criticism of Jesus'
miracles going at least as far back as Celsus (2nd c.) this tradition does not
deny Jesus' ability to perform miracles, accusing him instead of practicing
magic. This version even accepts the divine origin of the miracles, attributing
them to his misuse of the divine name, with its inherent powers. In the Alphabet
of Ben Sira, Lilith is accused of the same crime, using the power of the name to
escape from the Garden of Eden. [AH]
 Some traditions say 'Egypt'. [G]
 In a variation on the story, Judah is able to out-miracle Yeshu in the sign
contest without defiling him. Yeshu is discredited and arrested, and, as in this
story, his followers are able to break him free, but he still remembers the
Ineffable Name. He escapes to Egypt in hopes of learning Egyptian magic as well
(regarded as the best magic in the world). Judah comes to Egypt and infiltrates
the disciples, posing as one himself. It is from this vantage point that he is
able to cause Yeshu to forget the magical Name, resulting in the later's desire
to return to Jerusalem and relearn it. Judah sends warning to the Sages, along
with his plan to arrest him. [AH]
 Aramaic: Ga'isa. [G]
 Or cabbage stalk. [AH]n
Copyright 2008 Maiden of Light Holy Orthodox Temple