Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Gospel According to the Pharisees, Part 3

Jewish date: 22 Tammuz 5771 (Parashath Mas‘e).

Today’s holidays: The Three Weeks (Judaism), Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Sylvester Graham (Church of the SubGenius).

Upcoming events:
  • The group protesting for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and against the Waqf’s destruction of everything Jewish up there (myself included) will be at the Shuq in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) this Thursday (28 July 2011), probably around 7:00 PM, in an educational capacity.
  • One of the people at the last protest (this past Thursday) was handing out pamphlets promoting Jews visiting the Temple Mount on Ro’sh Ḥodhesh ’Av (1 August 2011). Visiting hours for Jews are 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM. One should visit a miqweh, wear non-leather shoes, and bring a one’s identity card. See “The Temple Mount: Bird's Eye Guide to the Temple Mount” and “Ascending the Temple Mount: An Introduction and Brief Guide” and consult a competent Orthodox rav for more information. Remember: The more Jews who show up, the more the police and the politicians know that the Temple Mount matters to Jews and will be less likely to pander to Muslim discrimination.

Dispute of Jesus and the Pharisees over tribut...Image of Jesus making himself look like an ignoramus in front of Pharisees via Wikipedia
As intended, I am continuing my series on Jesus in the Talmudh. (See “The Gospel According to the Pharisees” and “The Gospel According to the Pharisees, part 2”.) Today’s installment (in what looks like it is going to drag out to at least five installments) deals with what the Rabbis thought about Yeshu the Noṣri, who may well be Jesus of Nazareth.

Talmudh Bavli, Berakhoth 17b:
[In a discussion of the eulogies of great scholars which ends up as exegesis of Psalms 144:14, giving examples of bad students:] “In our streets”—that we should not have a son or student that spoils his dish [i.e., disgraces his learning] in public, e.g., Yeshu the Noṣri.
This passage indicates that the Pharisees thought about as highly of Yeshu’s learning as he did of theirs.

Talmudh Bavli, Giṭṭin 56b-57a:
’Unqelos bar Qaloniqos [author of the canonical translation of the Torah into Aramaic] was the son of the sister of Ṭiṭus [Titus, emperor of Rome]; he wanted to convert.

[[’Unqelos raises up Titus and Bil‘am and questions them about who is important in the World to Come.]]

[’Unqelos] went [and] raised up with necromancy Yeshu the Noṣri. He said to him, “Who is important in that world?”

[Yeshu] said to him, “Yisra’el [Israel].”

[’Unqelos asked,] “What about to be joined to them?”

[Yeshu] said to him, “Inquire about their grace; do not inquire about their tragedy. Whoever touches them, it is as if he touches the pupil [better: cornea] of his eye.”

[’Unqelos] said to him, “The judgement of ‘that man’ [i.e., Yeshu] is in what?”

[Yeshu] said to him, “In boiling excrement.”
Your humble blogger finds it difficult to see this as an actual historical event. At best, it could reflect some meditative or drug-induced experience. What is obvious what whoever wrote it thought about Yeshu the Noṣri.

Both of these passages demonstrate a very negative view of Yeshu the Noṣri, which is in complete agreement with the passages I have already written about. They also reflect the negative attitudes of the Pharisees towards Jesus depicted in the New Testament, the big difference being that here Jesus is the bad guy. Note that while Jesus in the Gospels gets the upper hand in arguments (probably through omission of the Pharisees’ rebuttals of anything Jesus has to say, if these arguments ever took place at all), here he is not even given the opportunity to make a case.

Thus ends what I have managed to find on Yeshu the Noṣri in the Talmudh. Up next are passages on Ben Seṭadha’, which resemble the stories of Jesus and Yeshu and may—or may not—be the same person.


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