If, as is possible, it may have been suggested by the story in Luke ii. 41 fol., it can in no case be evidence for opinion concerning Jesus in those centuries with which we are concerned. And my chief reason for inserting it is that I do not wish to leave out any passage to which reference has been made as having a supposed bearing on the subject. At the same time, the fact that use has been made of the story in the book called the ToFdOth JSshU (ed. Huldreich, p. 22, ed. Wagenseil, p. 12), shows that it was regarded as having reference to Jesus. In the work "J. C. im Talmud," p. 84 fol., Laible argues that the original author of the passage had no thought of Jesus in his mind. It is possible that the story is a free invention to explain the words of Shim'on b. 'Azai (quoted above, p. 48), which refer to a • certain person' ^ as having been 4 spurius et men-struae Alius.' If so, Laible would be justified in saying that while the original author of the story had no thought of Jesus in his mind, nevertheless the peal reference was to Jesus.
(7) b. Sanh. 107b.—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. Jehoshua ben Perahjah, who repulsed Jeshu (the Nazarene) with both hands. Gehazi, as it is written . . .
1 The pawage referring to Gehazi will be dealt with under another head.
What of R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah ? When Jannai the king killed our Rabbis, R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah [and Jesus] fled to Alexandria of Egypt. When there was peace, Shim'on ben Shetah sent to him, "From me [Jerusalem] the city of holiness, to thee Alexandria of Egypt [my sister]. My husband stays in thy midst and I sit forsaken." He came, and found himself at a certain inn; they showed him great honour. He said, ' How beautiful is this Acsania!'1 (Jesus) said to him,' Rabbi, she has narrow eyes.' He said, ' Wretch, dost thou employ thyself thus ?' He sent out four hundred trumpets and excommunicated him. He [i.e. Jesus] came before him many times and said to him, ' Receive me.' But he would not notice him. One day he [i.e. R. Jeh.] was reciting the Shema', he [i.e. Jesus] came before him. He was minded to receive him, and made a sign to him. He [i.e. Jesus] thought that he repelled him. He went and hung up a tile and worshipped it. He [R. Jeh.] said to him, ' Return.' He replied, ' Thus I have received from thee, that every one who sins and causes the multitude to sin, they give him not the chance to repent.' And a teacher has said, ' Jesus the Nazarene practised magic and led astray and deceived Israel.'
Commentary.—The above passage occurs in almost exactly the same words in b. Sotah. 47% and the incident of the escape to Alexandria and the letter
1 denotes both inn and innkeeper. S. Jeh. uses it in the first sense ; the answering remark implies the second meaning,' hostess.'
from Jerusalem is mentioned in j. Hag. ii. 2; j. Sanh. vi. 9.1 The passage j. Hag. ii. 2 gives a very brief account of the dissension between the Rabbi and " one of his disciples," but does not give the name of the latter. This is probably the basis of what was afterwards expanded in the Babylonian Gemara.
The passage before us is the locus classicus for the second Talmudic theory as to the time when Jesus lived. ' Jannai the king' is Alexander Jannaeus, who reigned from 104 to 78 b.c., thus a full century before Jesus lived. Shim'on b. Shetah, the king's brother-in-law, and Jehoshua b. Perahjah (as also Jehudah b. Tabbai of the Palestinian version) were leading Pharisees of the time; and the massacre of the Rabbis, which led to the escape of one of them to Alexandria, is a historical event. The question is, how did the name of Jesus come to be introduced into a story referring to a time so long before his own?2 Bearing in mind that the Rabbis had
1 Where, however, the fugitive is not Jehoshua ben Perahjah but Jehudah ben Tabbai.
* The name oi Jesus is found in this passage in the codices of Munich, Florence, and Carlsruhe, used by Rabbinowicz, also in all the older editions of the Talmud. In the edition of Basel, 1578-81, and in all later ones, the censor of the press has expunged it. See Rabbinowicz Varia Lectiones, Sanh. ad loc. Here is perhaps the best place to refer to the epithet ha-Ndtzri (HV13H) as applied to Jesus. It is well known that the name of Nazareth does not occur in the Talmud, and indeed first appears in Jewish writings so late as the hymns of Qalir (a.d. 900 circa), in the form Natzerath. This is probably the correct Hebrew form; but there must have been another form, Notzerath, or Ndtzerah, to account for the adjective Notzri. Perhaps Notzerah was the local pronunciation in the dialect of Galilee, where the sound o or u frequently represents the & or & of new Hebrew; thus, 'Dip for ^Dj?, tOTIV for pT (Jordan), t6"IJ1D for K^naD (Magdala). With this corresponds the fact that the Syriac gives Ndtz&rath and NdtzSrojo for the name of the town and of its inhabitants. That from Notzerath or Ndtzerah could be formed an adjective Notzri is shown by the examples extremely vague ideas of the chronology of past times, we may perhaps find the origin of the story in its Babylonian form in a desire to explain the connexion of Jesus (Ben Stada, see above, No. 1), with Egypt. The connecting link may, perhaps, be found in the fact of a flight into Egypt to escape the anger of a king. This was known in regard to R. Jehoshua ben Perahjah, and the Gospel (Matt. ii. 13 fol.) records a similar event in regard to Jesus. The short Palestinian story in j. Hag. vi. 2 shows that there was a tradition that the Rabbi had excommunicated a rebellious disciple, whose name is not given. As the story now stands in the Babylonian version, there are several details in it which appear to have reference to Jesus, and which probably were due to some confused remembrance of tradition about him. In addition to the flight into Egypt, there is the fact that Jesus was known to have set himself against the authority of the Rabbis, and to have been the founder of a false religion. And the rebuke, " Dost thou thus employ thyself," i.e. with thinking whether a woman is beautiful, may be based on a gross distortion of the fact that the Gospel tradition gives a prominent place to women as followers of Jesus. Moreover the final answer of the banished disciple in the story, that ' one who sins and causes the multitude to sin is allowed no chance to repent,' points
Timni from Timnah, Jehudi from Jehudah. The adjective Nafcpcuos (Acts xxviii. 22) would seem to imply an alternative form Natzara, the second a being replaced by o in the Galilean dialect, as in Notzri for Natzri. The form Natzara indeed is adopted by Keim as the more correct; but I do not see how to avoid recognising both Notzerah (Nazerah) and Natzara as equally legitimate, that is as representing variations in the pronunciation, not original difference in the formation of the name.
clearly to the historical Jesus; for the simple act of idolatry mentioned in the story cannot be called a 'causing of the multitude to sin.' What the point may be of the statement that Jesus hung up a tile, a burnt brick, and worshipped it, I cannot explain.
This passage is found in its full extent only in the Babylonian Gemara, and is probably of very late date. It is introduced as an illustration of the saying, " Let the left hand repel and the right hand invite." But there was already an illustration of that saying in the case of Elisha and Gehazi, and the whole passage is brought in, where it occurs in the tractate San-hedrin, as belonging to the subject of Gehazi. I suggest that the mention of R. Jehoshua and Jesus was an addition founded on the Palestinian tradition and prompted by the mention of Elisha and Gehazi; and further that this addition was made in the schools of Babylonia, upon uncertain authority. It is not cited under the name of any Rabbi; and the last sentence of it, which distinctly refers it to Jesus, only does so on the authority of' a teacher,' whose name, presumably, was not known. The glaring anachronism, of making Jesus contemporary with R. Jehoshua b. Perahjah, is more easy to understand on this theory, than if we suppose the story to have originated in Palestine at a time nearer to that when Jesus actually lived.1
(8) T. Shabb. xi. 15.—' He that cuts marks on his flesh '; R. Eliezer condemns, the wise permit.
1 As to the other anachronism, which makes Jesus contemporary with R. Aqiba, a century after his own time, see above, p. 40.
He said to them, 'And did not Ben Stada learn only in this way ?' They said to him, Because of one fool are we to destroy all discerning people ?'
Commentary.—The extract (1) above, and the parallel passage j. Shabb. 13d, contain almost the same words. I repeat them here because of their reference to the character of Jesus as a magician. In the earlier quotation the main reference of the passage was to the parentage of Jesus.
It has already been shown that Ben Stada denotes Jesus. (See above, p. 37 fol.) What is the meaning of the statement that he brought magical charms from Egypt concealed in an incision in his flesh ? I do not know of anything related about Jesus which could have given rise to the detail about the cutting of his flesh. The charge that he was a magician is no doubt based on the belief that he did many miracles, a belief which found ample support in the Gospel records. We shall see later on that miracles, whether done by Jews or Christians, were ascribed to magic, and were not on that account despised. Now Egypt was regarded as the especial home of magic, an opinion expressed in the Talmud, b. Qidd. 49b:— " Ten measures of sorcery descended into the world, Egypt received nine, the rest of the world one." To say that Jesus learnt magic in Egypt is to say that he was a great magician, more powerful than others. And as we have seen in the preceding extract (7) there was a tradition that he had had something to do with Egypt. As to the manner in which he is alleged to have brought away with him Egyptian magic, a curious explanation is given by Rashi (h.
Shabb. 104b) to the effect that the Egyptian magicians did not allow anyone to carry away magical charms from their country; and therefore, since Jesus could not take them away in writing, he concealed them in the manner described, or perhaps tattooed magical signs on his flesh. Whether Rashi had any authority for his statement, or whether he only devised it to explain the passage before him, I do not know. The date of the passage under consideration is to some extent determined by the fact that it is taken from the Tosephta (see above, p. 21), a collection which represents an earlier stratum of tradition than that embodied in the Gemara. The Eliezer who is mentioned is of course the same as the one mentioned in (1) above, and we may take it that the reference there, p. 36, to a ' Baraitha,' is a reference to the present passage. The answer, that 'Ben Stada was a fool,' does not perhaps imply any censure on Jesus, but merely that any one would be foolish who should act as Ben Stada was said to have done.1
Jesus ' Burns His Food '
(9) b. Sanh. 103a.—For Rab Hisda said that Rab Jeremiah bar Abba said, ' What is that which is written: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling
[Ps. xci. 10] Another explanation:
There shall no evil befall thee, [means], ' that evil dreams and evil thoughts may tempt thee not,' and neither shall any plague come nigh
1 Bat see below, p. 345 n., for a possible alternative to the foregoing explanation.
thy dwelling [means] 'that thou mayst not have a son or a disciple who burns his food in public like Jeshu the Nazarene.'
[The concluding phrase is found in another connexion, b. Ber. 17b, see below, p. 61.] Commentary.—This passage is Gemara, and the R. Hisda who cites the exposition of the Psalm is the same as the one mentioned in (1) above. He was a Babylonian, and lived a.d. 217-309. R. Jeremiah bar Abba, from whom he quoted, was his contemporary, and apparently of much about the same age.
The point of interest in the above extract is the phrase which I have translated literally, ' burns his food, like Jesus the Nazarene.' What did Jesus do that could be so described? It is clear that as applied to him, it must have a figurative meaning. It is sometimes, however, intended quite literally. Thus, b. Betz. 29a: " The cook measures spices and puts them into his dish, that they may not burn [i.e. spoil] his food." This is evidently literal, except that in English we should not use the word ' burn' in this connexion. The phrase occurs in the Mishnah, Gitt. ix. 10, and the question has often been discussed, whether there it is intended literally or figuratively. The words are, "The School of Shammai say that a man may not divorce his wife unless he find in her a matter of shame, for it is said [Deut. xxiv. 1], because he hath found in her a shameful matter. The School of Hillel say [he may divorce her] even if she burn his food, for it is said, and R. Aqiba says, Even if he have found another [woman] more beautiful than she, for it is said, Ij she shall not find favour in thine eyes." This passage has often been cited as showing the laxity of the Rabbinical views on the question of divorce, especially as held by the school of Hillel. And the charge has been met by maintaining that the phrase ' burns his food' means, ' brings dishonour upon him,' ' brings his name into disrepute.' Whether or not the phrase may have some such figurative meaning, there is good ground for taking it literally in this famous passage of the Mishnah. It has been well shown in a recent work,1 by Amram, that Hillel and Aqiba, and the school in general who sided with them, were declaring not what was their ethical ideal, but what in their view the law permitted. They had to declare the law, not to make it; and the reason why they did not—as they probably could have done—lay down an interpretation of the law more in accordance with their own ethical view, was that the ancient custom of Israel assumed the absolute liberty of a man to divorce his wife at his will, and without giving reasons for his action. The law could not attempt more than slightly to restrict that liberty, except at the cost of remaining a mere dead letter. Hillel, in this passage, declares that, as a matter of fact, the law, in his opinion, does allow a man to divorce his wife, even for such a trivial offence as burning his food. But Hillel and his school, did not, on that account, approve of such liberty of divorce. On the very same page of the Gemara, where this Mishnah is explained, b. Gitt. 90b, a Rabbi of the school of Hillel says, " He who divorces his first wife, the altar of God sheds tears thereat." To the above argument in favour of the
1 The Jewish Law of Divorce. London, 1897, p. 33 fol.
literal meaning of the phrase ' burns his food' in this disputed Mishnah, may be added that Rashi and other Jewish commentators interpret it quite literally, and give not the slightest hint of a figurative meaning. Also the fact that, whatever Hillel may have meant, Aqiba's dictum is evidently literal,1 so that it is unlikely that Hillel's words were figurative.
But while this is quite true, it is also true that the literal meaning of the phrase will not apply in all cases where it occurs. When it is said, as in the extract from b. Sanh. 103®, under consideration, and also in b. Ber. 17b, " that there may not be a son or a disciple who burns his food in public," something much more serious must be intended than a literal ' burning of food.' The clue to this figurative meaning is given in the Talmud itself, b. Berach. 34a. The Gemara in this place is commenting on the following words of the Mishnah: " He who says ' The good shall bless thee,' lo, this is the way of heresy. He who goes before the Ark, if he makes a mistake, another shall go in his stead, and let there be no refusal at such a time." To ' go before the Ark' is to stand at the lectern to recite the prayers in the Synagogue. And the Mishnah has just remarked that some liturgical phrases are signs of heresy in the reader. Therefore the Mishnah directs what is to be done when a reader makes a mistake. Another man is to take his place and there must be no refusal on the part of the second man. That is the Mishnah. The Gemara says : " Our Rabbis have taught' He who goes before the Ark ought [at first]
1 See Edersheim, " L. and T. of J. the M.," ii. 333 ns, where he successfully proves the literalness of the phrase in Gitt. ix. 10.
to refuse. He who does not refuse is like food without salt. He who refuses too much is like food of which the salt has burnt (or spoiled) it."' The meaning of this is clear. One who refuses too much is open to the suspicion of heresy, and he is like food that is spoiled or burnt by too much salt. The point of the comparison may perhaps be that as too much salt spoils good food, so the disciple, by too much self-will and conceit in his own wisdom, spoils the sound teaching that is given to him, which would have been his mental food.1 When, therefore, it is said " a son or disciple who burns his food," that means " one who is open to the suspicion of heresy." It has already been mentioned that the phrase, ' a son or disciple who burns his food' occurs in two passages, b. Ber. 17b, and b. Sanh. 103a (translated above). In the former, the Gemara, in an exposition of Ps. cxliv. 14: ' There is no breaking in and no going forth, and no outcry in the streets,' says: ' There is no breaking in,' that our company be not as the company of David from which Ahitophel went out, and ' there is no going forth' that our company be not as the company of Saul, from which Doeg, the Edomite, went forth, and ' no outcry,' that our company be not as the company of Elisha from which Gehazi went out, and ' in our streets' that there be not to us a son or disciple who bums his food in public like Jeshu the Nazarene.2 Now we shall see,
1 With this figurative meaning of 'salt,' denoting 'independence of mind,' may be compared Mark ix. 49, 50, " For every one shall be salted mthfire. . . . Have salt in yourselves. . .
2 The printed text does not mention ' Jeshu ha-Notzri.' The reading, however, is found in all the older editions and the MSS. See Rabbinowicz on the passage. Note that this exposition of the Psalm is said to have been hereafter, that Ahitophel, Doeg and Gehazi, are all, in the view of the Talmud, tainted with heresy (Minuth). These three, along with Balaam, the chief infidel, are said in the Mishnah, Sanh. x. 1, to have no part in the world to come. And the same Mishnah makes a similar declaration in regard to Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh. The passage in b. Ber. 17b, as quoted in the Aruch (s.v. mp) reads thus, "burns his food in public, like Manasseh." And this has probably led the author of that work to explain the meaning of ' burns his food in public ' by ' sets up idols in public,' establishes false worships. But, as Rabbinowicz has shown, not " Manasseh," but " Jeshu ha-Notzri," is the original reading; and this fact is conclusive against the explanation of the author of the Aruch. It is absurd to say of Jesus that he set up idols. I conclude, therefore, that in the passage before us the reference to Jesus is intended as an example of one who inclined to heresy.1
It is worthy of note that the Palestinian Gemara does not make the reference to Jesus, either in Ber. or Sanh., nor does it use the phrase ' burns his food'
spoken by the disciples of R. Hisda (or, according to another tradition, R. Shemuel b. Nahmani), when they left the lecture room. This tends to confirm the connexion of the phrase under discussion with R. Hisda.
1 Jost, " Gesch. d. Judentums u s. Sekten," i. p. 264 n., says, speaking of the literal interpretation of ' burns his food,' " sie wird, aber, genügend widerlegt durch die in jener Zeit bekannte Bedeutung des Wortes, I^EOn mpö, b. Ber. 17b, b. Sanh. 103a, wo es geradezu in dem Sinne: den eigenen oder des Hauses guten Ruf preisgeben, angewendet wird,—wie schon Zipser, Orient 1850, s. 316 nachgewiesen hat." I do not know on what authority he says that the phrase was so understood at the time, in view of the quite different interpretation given by the Talmud itself in b. Ber. 34*.
in either passage. The same is true of the Tosephta, so far as I can observe. We may, perhaps, infer that the figurative use of the phrase originated in the Babylonian schools, where, as we have already seen (see above (1) (2) (7)), the Rabbis speculated a good deal about Jesus. Possibly R. Jeremiah bar Abba, who used the phrase in the passage we have been studying, was himself the author of the figurative application of it, and also of the explanation of its meaning, b. Ber. 34a. He and R. Hisda were contemporaries and friends, and the latter claimed (p. 37 above) to know something about Jesus. To one or other of them the origin of the phrase as denoting a tendency to heresy may with great probability be ascribed.
(10) j. Taanith 65b.—R. Abahu said: If a man say to thee ' I am God,' he is a liar ; if [he says, ' I am] the son of man,' in the end people will laugh at him; if [he says] ' I will go up to heaven,' he saith, but shall not perform it.
Commentary.—So far as I know, this saying occurs only here. That it refers to Jesus there can be no possibility of doubt. R. Abahu, the speaker, was a very well-known Rabbi, who lived in Caesarea, at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth cefitury ; and we shall see hereafter that he had a great deal of intercourse, friendly and also polemical, with heretics, who, in some instances at all events, were certainly Christians. It is not necessary to assume an acquaintance with any of the Gospels to account for the phrases used by R. Abahu. The first and third do indeed suggest the Gospel of John, but it is enough to admit a general knowledge of what Christians alleged concerning Jesus from the Rabbi's own discussions with them.
The saying is based upon Num. xxiii. 19 : God is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said and shall he not do it ? or hath he spoken and shall he not make it good ? Various interpretations of these words, by Rabbis of Babylonia, are given, and then follows the sarcastic application of the text by Abahu.
Although this saying is not quoted elsewhere, nor even referred to, so far as I know, yet it belongs to a somewhat extensive group of Haggadic passages, of which the common foundation is the story of Balaam, Num. xxii.-xxiv. It will be shown presently that in the Talmud Balaam is regarded as a type of Jesus. We thus have an additional reason, beside the internal evidence furnished by the words themselves, for regarding the saying of Abahu as an anti-Christian polemic. Here may be best introduced a passage in the Jalqut Shim'oni, in which is found an amplification of Abahu's words. I give it according to the Salonica edition, as it is expunged from the later ones.
(11) Jalq. Shim. § 766.—R. El'azar ha-Qappar says, God gave strength to his [Balaam's] voice, so that it went from one end of the world to the other, because he looked forth and beheld the peoples that bow down to the sun and moon and stars and to wood and stone, and he looked forth and beheld that there was a man, son of a woman, who should rise up and seek to make himself God, and to cause the whole world to go astray. Therefore God gave power to his voice that all the peoples of the world might hear, and thus he spake, ' Give heed that ye go not astray after that man, for it is written (Num. xxiii. 19), God is not man that he should lie, and if he says that he is God he is a liar, and he will deceive and say that he departeth and cometh again in the end, he saith and he shall not perform. See what is written (Num. xxiv. 23): And he took up Ms parable and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this. Balaam said, 'Alas, who shall live, of that nation which heareth that man who hath made himself God.'
R. El'azar ha-Qappar, who is reported to have said all this, was earlier than Abahu, for he died about 260 a.d. Bacher (Ag. d. Tann. ii. 506 n.2) shows that only the first clause of the passage in Jalqut is to be ascribed to El'azar ha-Qappar, i.e. the statement that the voice of Balaam resounded from one end of the world to the other. All the rest is probably of much later date ; but it may very well have been suggested by Abahu's words. It will be observed that Balaam is not identified with Jesus, but is made to prophesy his coming. That, however, Jesus is referred to is even more evident than in the shorter saying of Abahu. It is curious that this later Haggadah is attached to the words not of Abahu but of El'azar ha-Qappar.
Jesus and Balaam
(12) M. Sanh. x. 2.—Three kings and four private men have no part in the world to come; the three kings are Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh
the four private men are Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel and Gehazi.
Commentary.—The famous chapter of the Mishnah from which these words are taken begins by saying that, ' All Israel have part in the world to come,' and then enumerates the exceptions. The three kings, Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh are all mentioned in the O.T. as having introduced idolatry, perverted the true religion. And, as the four private men are named in close connexion with the kings, it is reasonable to infer that they were condemned for the same offence. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact that the preceding paragraph of the Mishnah in this chapter excepts from the privilege of the world to come,' those who say the resurrection of the dead is not proved from the Torah, and that the Torah is not from heaven, also the Epicuros. It. Aqiba says, He who reads in external books, also he who whispers over a wound, and says, None of the diseases which I sent in Egypt will I lay upon thee, I the Lord am thy healer. Abba Shaul says, He that pronounces the Name according to its letters.' These are all, unless perhaps the last, aimed at heretics who can hardly be other than Christians. For it will be seen hereafter that the opinions and practices here condemned were the subject of dispute between Jews and heretics (Minim). Therefore we naturally expect that the four private men, who are singled out for exclusion from the world to come, are condemned on account not merely of heresy but of actively promoting heresy. Now this is not true in any especial sense of any one of the four. Balaam, certainly, according to the story in Num. xxii.-xxiv.
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