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B.A., M.R.A.S. 

" Where are divers opinions, they may be all false; there can be 
but one true : and that one truth ofttimes must be fetched by 
piece-meal out of divers branches of contrary opinions. For, it 
falls out not seldom, that truth is, through ignorance or rash 
vehemence, scattered into sundry parts ; and like to a little silver 
melted among ruins of a burnt house, must be tried out from heaps 
of much superfluous ashes. There is much pains in the search 
of it, much skill in rinding it ; the value of it, once found, requites 
the cost of both." BISHOP HALL. 





Christ and Criticism 1 

Brahman and Jew ....... 2 

The Christian and the Torah 3 

The Jew and the Gospel 4 

The New Humanism ...... 6 

Theology the Divider 7 

An Appeal to Humanists 8 

The New Jewish Encyclopaedia ..... 9 

The Talmud 11 

History and Dogma . . . . . . . 11 

The Womb of Christianity 12 

The Interest of our Enquiry ..... 13 

The Main Object of Search 14 

The Problem 15 

The Need of its Definition 15 

The Resultant Dilemma ...... 16 

" Occult " Research 18 

Its Possible Validity 20 

Some Verified Results ...... 22 

The Sane Attitude of the Layman .... 23 

The Scope of our Enquiry 25 


Ultra-Scepticism ....... 28 

Criticism ......... 29 

The Position of the Layman 30 

Encyclopaedias ignore our Problem .... 32 

Recent Research on the Date of the Nativity . . 33 

The Pilate Date 35 

In the Acts 36 

In the Pastoral Epistles 37 

Van Manen on Pauline Literature .... 38 

The Pilate Tradition in the Gospels . . . . 41 

The "Oldest" Written Gospel 43 

The Date of the "Common Document" ... 45 

The Strength of the Tradition 46 



The Absence of Evidence in the First Century . . 48 

Pliny the Younger 50 

Suetonius. ........ 50 

The "Christian!" . 52 

Tacitus 53 

Is it a Christian Formula ! ..... 55 

Is it an Interpolation ?...... 56 

Josephus ......... 58 

The Spurious Passage 60 

The Jacobus Passage 61 

The Silence of Josephus ...... 61 

The " Book of James " 62 

The " Gospel of Peter " 64 

The "Acts of Pilate" 65 


The Real Conditioning of Jewry .... 68 

The Psychological Moment ..... 69 

The Study of the Law 70 

The Need of it 71 

The Fathers of Orthodoxy 72 

The Great Heresy 73 

The Evolution of Tradition 74 

A Glimpse behind the Scenes ..... 75 

The Evidence of the Book of Jubilees " . . . 76 

The Oral Law and its Heredity .... 77 

Objections to the Traditional View .... 78 

The Tradition of the " Esotericists " . . . . 79 

Mysticism and Orthodoxy ..... 81 

The Writing of the Oral Tradition .... 81 

The Main Interest of the Talmud for Christians . 84 


Justinian s Novella ....... 86 

The Crusades 87 

The Inquisition 88 

The Paris Trial 89 

Persecution in Spain . . . . . . . 90 

In England 90 

One Sensible Pope 91 

Spanish Apostates ....... 91 

Even the Prayers of the Jews fall under the Ban . 92 



" A History of Apostates " 

Pfefferkorn 94 

Reuchlin 94 

The Germ of the Index 95 

The Talmud-Fires Relighted 96 

The Censor 97 

His Absurdities 98 

Imnianuel Deutsch 99 


Anti-Semitism 102 

Odium Theologicum ....... 103 


The Need of Preliminaries 104 

The Manhood of the Soul 105 

Of the Talmud in General . 106 

Its Forms and Languages . . . . .106 

The Talmuds of Palestine and Babylonia . . .107 

Statistics 108 

No Complete Translation 109 

The General Ignorance on the Subject . . . 110 
Translations in Progress . . . . . .111 

An Unsatisfactory State of Affairs . . . .113 

Internal Difficulties 114 


The Earliest Persecution of the Christians by the Jews 116 

The Testimony of Paul .117 

Of the Acts 118 

The Terminus a quo 119 

The Probable Origin of the Mamzer Stories . . 120 

Justin Martyr 121 

Bar Kochba s Persecution . . . . . .122 

General Charges 124 

The Proclamation and the Curse .... 124 

Estimate of the Evidence ...... 126 

Celsus 127 

The Virgin Birth Dogma 128 

BenPandera 129 

John the Baptist 130 

Frequent Remodelling of the Gospel Story . . 131 

Value of the Evidence 132 

Tertullian 132 




The Translation of the Censured Passages . . . 135 

The Name " Jeschu " 136 

The Ben Perachiah Story 137 

King Jannai ........ 138 

Queen Salome and the " Golden Age " . .140 

Joshua ben Perachiah . . . . . .141 

Jesus a Learned Man . . . . . .141 

The Murder of the Innocents ..... 142 

The "Little Ones" 143 

Was Herod Guilty ? 145 

The " Inn " and the " Horns " .... 146 
The Excommunication of Jesus .... 146 

The "Brickbat" 147 

The Jehuda ben Tabbai Story 148 

Is it the Original Form of the Jesus Story ? . . 149 
The Problem Restated 150 


The Mary Stories Unhistorical . . . . .152 

The "Book of Genealogies" 153 

Ben Stada and Ben Pandera ..... 154 

The Lud Stories 155 

A Famous Discussion on Bastardy . . . .156 

Criticism thereon . . . . . . .157 

How it became a Mary Story . . . . .158 

The Story of Paphos ben Jehudah . . . .160 

How it became a Mary Story . . . . .160 

The Vision of Rab Bibi 161 

A Commentary thereon ...... 162 

The Story of Miriam in Hell . . 163 

The " Hinge of Hell s Gate " 164 

Miriam and the Soldier . . . . . .165 


The Bringing of Magic out of Egypt . . . . 167 

The Writing on the Skin 168 

The Evolution of Legend 168 

The Hiding of the Parchment 169 

The Circumcision of the Heart ..... 170 

The Rabbis puzzled by their own Creations . . 171 

A Mediaeval Commentator ..... 172 

Rabbi Tarn 173 

Miriam Megaddela . . . . . . .174 



The Magdalene and the Sophia 174 

The Mystic Element 175 

Concerning the Enticer to Idolatry .... 176 

The Stoning of Jesus 176 

The Hanging of Jesus 177 

"Lud" Traditions 178 

The Forty Days Proclamation before Jesus f was 

Hanged 178 

No Knowledge of Crucifixion . . . . .179 

Jesus " near those in Power " 180 


Bileam-Jeschu ........ 181 

The Balaam Midrash 181 

Comments thereon . . . . . . .182 

Resh Lakish and Rashi 183 

Abbahu 184 

Chia bar Abba 185 

Torah v. Gospel 185 

Balaam- Jeschu a Prophet . . . . . .186 

A Hypothesis 187 

Balaam-Nicolaos 187 

" Burning One s Food Publicly " .... 189 

An Apology for the Nicolaitans .... 189 

A Suggested Explanation 190 

On the " Going out" from a " Company " . . 191 

Doeg, Ahitophel, Gehazi 192 

" Those who have no Part in the World to come " . 193 

Siphre Minim 194 

Exegesis ... ...... 195 

Gehazi-Paul . 196 

"Elisha" 197 

The Disciples of Balaam inherit Gehenna . . . 198 

The Age of Balaam-Jeschu ..... 199 

A Chronicle of Balaam ...... 200 

Phineas-Listaa . . ..... 200 

Balaam the Lame Man . . . . . .201 

The Necromancy of Onkelos ..... 202 

Onkelos-Aquila ....... 203 

Exegesis ......... 204 

Boiling Filth 205 

The Lecture Room of Ben Pandera .... 207 

Haman-Jeschu ........ 208 




The Minim Passages 210 

The Five Disciples of Jesus 210 

The Crucifixion 211 

The Number Five 212 

The " Proof from Scripture " 213 

The Puzzle of the Names 213 

Todah 213 

Bunni 215 

Netzer 215 

Are the Names Genuine ? . . . . . . 215 

Jacob 216 

The Heresy of R. Eliezer 216 

AHalachaof Jeschu ... . 217 

A Variant of the Story 218 

Eliezer s Connection with Christianity . . . 219 

In Search of Dates 220 

Ben Dama and the Serpent ..... 220 

A Variant 221 

The Story of James and the Viper .... 222 
An Early Christian Mode of Healing . . .223 

James the " Brother of the Lord " . . . 224 

James the Ascetic 224 

The "Shrines" 225 

James the Disciple not James the Just . . . 226 

The Testimony of Paul 226 

Some Difficulties 227 

The "Brother of the Lord" 228 

A Probable Solution 229 

Olbias 230 

The Talmud Jacob 230 

The Story of the Bribed " Philosopher " . . .231 
Date Indications . . . . . . .231 

A Saying from the Gospel 232 

The Personified Gospel . .232 

Some More Minim Passages ..... 234 

The Curse on the Minim 234 

Minoth 235 

The Answer of the Rabbis to the Minim . . .236 

The Books of the Minim ... . 236 

They are to be Destroyed .... . 237 

Friedlander on " Minim " ..... 237 

Weinstein on " Minim " ...... 238 

Boycott of Minim 239 



Impurity of Minim 239 

Minim compared with Tax-gatherers . . . 240 

The Rolls of the Law written by Minim to be Destroyed 240 

The Shema and the Minim 241 

The Minim and the Eastward Direction . . . 241 
The Importance of the Talmud for the Study of 

Christian Origins ....... 242 


Causes of Hatred 243 

The Inquisition knows little of the Toldoth . . 244 

Suggested Keasons for this Silence .... 245 

The Paucity of Material 245 

Recent Publication of New Material . . 246 

Krauss "Leben" 247 

His Estimate of the Toldoth 248 

" Good Christian Sources " 248 

Bischoii s View 249 

Only One Source of Information in English . . 250 

General Literature ....... 2f>l 

Extent of New Material . 

Bischoff s Classification 252 

Printed Texts . 253 

Krauss New Texts 254 

Language ..... . 255 

Titles . 255 

The Name "Jeschu" ... . 256 


The Seduction .258 

How the Bastardy of Jeschu was made Public . . 259 

The Robbing of the Shem 261 

Jeschu claims to be Messiah and works Miracles 

with the Shem .... .262 

Jeschu and Queen Helene . . . 263 

Jesclm s Miracles in Galilee 264 

The Magic Contest with Judas .... 265 

Jeschu is Condemned to Death .... 266 

Jeschu is rescued by his Disciples . . . 267 
The Betrayal of Jeschu .... .268 
Proofs from Scripture 

Jeschu is Hanged on a Cabbage-Stalk . . . 270 

The Body is Stolen from the Grave . . 271 
The Proclamation of the Queen ... ,272 



The Body is Recovered 273 

The Disciples of Jeschu make Strife in Israel . . 273 

How Elijahu removed them from Israel . . . 274 

The Commandments of Jeschu .... 275 

The Heresy of Nestorius 276 

Shimeon Kepha 277 

The Scriptures of Shimeon ..... 279 


Toldoth as distinguished from Talmud Stories . . 281 

Tertullian 281 

Does he refer to a Jesus Story ? 282 

Jesus is Stoned ....... 283 

The Clementines 283 

Pagan Writers ....... 284 

Porphyry 284 

Hierocles 285 

Julian the Emperor ....... 285 

The " Chi est" John 286 

The Acts of Pionius 286 

Arnobius ........ 287 

Ephrem Syrus 287 

Jerome 288 

Epiphanius 288 

John Chrysostom 289 

Gregontius 289 

John of Damascus 289 

Agobard 290 

Hrabanus Maurus 292 

Ussum ha-Mizri 293 

Suidas 293 

Peter Alphonsi 294 

Raymund Martini ....... 295 

The Cabbage-Stalk 296 

Luther 296 

Schemtob ibn Schaprut 297 

History of Jeschu ha-Notzri 297 

History of Jeschu ben Pandera . 298 

Value of Schemtob s Evidence 299 

Aramaic Toldoth Forms . 300 


Value of Toldoth for our Enquiry .... 302 
Impossibility of Tracing accurately the Evolution of 

the Toldoth . 302 



Genesis of the Toldoth 303 

The Oldest Oral Sources 304 

The Oldest Toldoth Elements 305 

A New Date Indication in the Toldoth . . . 305 
The Jungle of Dates . . . . . .306 

Queen Helene 307 

Krauss Unsatisfactory Theory .... 308 

The Helene Element very old 309 

Oleina 309 

Helen of Adiabene 309 

Is "Monobaz" a Gloss ? 310 

Helene- Salome 311 

Helene-Selene 312 

The Simon Magus Legend . . . . .312 
Pros and Cons of the Argument . . . .313 

The Date according to the Jewish History-writers . 315 

The Date according to the Earliest Toldoth-writers . 315 

The Ben Perachiah Date is probably the Earliest . 316 

The Exoneration of Miriam 317 

Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah ? . . .317 

The Shem 319 

Mystic Masonry 319 

YHWH 320 

The Evolution of Mystery 320 

The Shem Story a Later Development . . . 321 

The Fight in the Air 322 

The Hanging on the Cabbage-Stalk . . .322 

The "Canal" 323 


The Origin of the Name " Christian " . . .324 

Its use in the " Acts" 324 

In "I. Peter" 325 

A Pagan Designation 325 

Date of Origin 326 

TheNotzrim 326 

The Meaning of Nazareth ..... 328 

Bethlehem-Nazareth ...... 328 

Nazareth = Galilee 329 

The Galileans 330 

The " Nazoraeans or Christians " .... 330 

The Jessseans 331 

Value of Epiphanius 332 

The Therapeuts 333 

The Name "Essene" 334 



The Mind of Epiphanius 335 

The Isseei of Nilus 336 

The " Therapeut = Christian " Controversy . . 336 

The Therapeut Dilemma 337 

The Name-Juggling of Epiphanius .... 338 

The Osseni 339 

The Nazora?i ........ 340 

The Flight to Pella 341 

Towards the Facts of the Case 342 

Nazorsean Scriptures ...... 343 

The Hebrew Gospel 343 

Ancient Readings ....... 344 

The Nazinei 345 

The Nazirs 346 

The Neo-Nazirs 347 

The Rechabites 347 

The Sampsaeans ....... 348 

"Sun-worshippers" ... ... 349 

Their Mystic Doctrine 349 

The Ebionites 350 

The "Poor" 351 

The Riddle of the Name 351 

The Twofold Ebionism Hypothesis .... 352 

The Early Date of Gnosticism ..... 353 

Paul and the Gnosis 354 

The " Abortion " .... . 355 

The Puzzle of the Pauline Communities . . . 356 

Ebionite Christology 356 

The Doctrine of Election 357 

The " Shepherd of Hernias" on Election . . . 358 

The Heresy of all Heresies 358 

Necessity for a New Definition of Ebionism . . 359 

The Samaritans ,. .360 

Samaritan Sects 360 

Dositheans 361 

The Importance of Dositheus ..... 361 

Some Curious Legends 362 

Dositheus and the 100 Years B.C. Date . . .363 

The Conflation of Traditions .... 363 


The " Shepherd of Hennas " 365 

Hermas a Composite Document .... 366 

Date Indications 367 

The Church Fathers and the " Book of Elxai " 368 



The Date of the Book 369 

The " Three Years of Trajan " 369 

The Book older than the Prophecy .... 370 

Who was Elxai? 371 

Elxai- Sophia 372 

lexai-Christos 373 

Jexai-Jesus ........ 374 

Sobiai-Sophia 374 

Marthus arid Marthana ...... 375 

Our Lady Martha 375 

The Sophia and her Twin Daughters . . . 375 

The " Impure " and the " Virgin " Wombs . . 376 

Mary and Martha 377 

The Merinthians 378 

The Christology of the Book of Elxai " . . . 379 

Many Manifestations of the Christ .... 379 

The Twice-born 380 

A Further Date Indication ..... 381 

Fire and Water 381 

Ichthus 382 

The Autun Inscription 383 

From "The Descent into Hades" . . 384 

Fish and the Eucharist 384 

The Antiquity of the Elxai Tradition . . . 385 

The Mogtasilah 385 

The Schinmn of Elxai 386 

Elcesei-Cephar-naum ...... 386 


The Over-confidence of Epiphanius . . . . 388 

Epiphanius and the Jannai Date .... 388 

The Character of Epiphanius ..... 389 

The Value of Epiphanius as a Hseresiologist . . 390 
The Riddle of Epiphanius . ... . .391 

The Most Remarkable Passage in Patristic Literature 393 

Patent Errors therein 394 

The Silence of the Commentators .... 394 

Epiphanius on the Canonical Date .... 395 

Mystically necessitated Numbers .... 396 

Epiphanius repeats his Riddle .... 396 

In Order that it might be Fulfilled as it is Written " 397 

Drummond on Criticism 398 

The " Harmonizing" Industry of Epiphanius . . 399 

His Magnificent Inconsistency .... 400 

The Bete Noire of Epiphanius .... 401 



Epiphanius and the Histories " 402 

The Succession from the Tradition of the Jews " . 403 

The Children of Joseph 404 

James 404 

The Names of the Sisters of Jesus .... 405 

Salome and Maria ....... 405 

Salome and Miriam 406 

Epiphanius a Converted Jew ..... 406 

The Living Oral Tradition of Jewry . . . 407 

The Birthday of the Christ 408 

The Crucifixion and Resurrection Mystery Rite . 409 

" Plagiarism by Anticipation " .... 410 

Farewell to Epiphanius 411 

Was Jesus in Egypt prior to 30 B.C. ? 412 


A Retrospect 413 

A Legitimate Subject of Criticism .... 414 
A Question for Jewish Scholarship . . . .414 
Its Importance for Jewish Apologetics . . .415 

The Bona Fides of the Talmud .... 416 

A Line of Defence 417 

The Method of Haggada 417 

The Jannai Puzzle 418 

Its Apparent Senselessness ..... 419 
The Seeming Silence of the Rabbis . . . .419 
The Strength of the Christian Tradition . . .421 

A Suggested Genesis of the " Common Document" . 422 

The Pilate Date from a New Point of View . . 422 

"Pontius Pilate "a Name-change .... 423 

Review of this Suggestion ..... 424 

The Making of "History" 425 

The " Secret Sermon on the Mountain " . . . 426 

The Son of God " and " Virgin Birth " . . . 428 

The " Suppliant," the " World " and the " Fullness " 429 

The "Mind" 430 

The "Mind" and the "Man" .... 431 

The " Memory " of the "Race "[of the Logos . . 431 

The Mind and the Senses 432 

Virtue and Vice 433 

The Root of Humanity 433 

The Christ 434 

The Ground of Reconciliation between Jew and Christian 435 

A Humble Petition 435 




WHEN some five and a half centuries before the Christian Christ and 
era the Buddha arose in ancient Aryavarta to substitute 
actuality for tradition, to break down the barriers of 
convention, and throw open the Way of Righteousness 
to all, irrespective of race or birth, we are told that He 
set aside the ancestral scriptures of His race and times, 
and preached a Gospel of self-reliance and a freedom 
from bibliolatry that will ever keep His memory green 
among the independent thinkers of the world. 

When the Christ arose in Judaea, once more to break 
down the barriers of exclusiveness, and preach the Way 
to the Amme ha-aretz, the rejected of the ceremoni- 
alists and legal purists, we are told that He extended the 
aegis of His great authority over the ancient writings 
of His fellow-countrymen, and cited the Torah as the 
very Law of God Himself. 

We are assured by Traditionalists that the Incar 
nation of Deity Itself, the very Giver of that Law, ex 
plicitly attested the genuineness of the Five Books ; He, 
with His inerrant wisdom, asserted that Moses wrote 

them, just as it was believed by the people of His day. 


2 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Whereas, if there be anything certain in the whole field 
of Biblical research, it is that this cannot be the whole 
truth of the matter. 

It has been said in excuse that the Christ did not 
come on earth to teach His disciples the " higher criti 
cism." This may well be so, and yet it is a fact of pro 
found significance that, as we shall see in the course of 
the present enquiry, even in His day this very Torah, 
and much more the Prophets and Sacred Writings, 
were called into serious question by many. 

Brahman and If, however, the Christ actually used the words as 
cribed to Him in this matter, it is difficult to under 
stand why a plan so different in this respect was adopted 
in the West from the apparently far more drastic attempt 
that was made so many years before in the East. It 
may, however, have been found that the effect of a so 
abrupt departure from tradition had not proved so 
successful as had been anticipated, for the Brahman, 
instead of giving of his best, and allowing himself to 
become the channel of a great spiritual outpouring for 
the benefit of the world, quickly resumed his ancient 
position of exclusiveness and spiritual isolation. 

So in the case of the Jew, who was, as it were, a like 
channel ready to hand for the West, whereby the new 
spiritual forces could most efficaciously be liberated, it 
may have been thought that if the traditional prejudices 
of that "chosen" and "peculiar" people were more 
gently treated perhaps greater results would follow. 
But even so the separative forces in human nature were 
too strong, and the Jew, like the Brahman, fell back 
into a more rigid exclusiveness than ever. But the 
Wisdom behind Her Servants doubtless knew that this 


would be, and reserved both Brahman and Jew for some 
future opportunity of greater promise, while She tem 
porarily utilized them, in spite of themselves, and in 
spite of the mistakes of their Buddhist and Christian 
brethren; for all of us, Brahmans and Buddhists, Hebrews 
and Christians, are of like passions, and struggling in 
the bonds of our self-limitations and ignorance ; we are 
all children of one Mother, our common human nature, 
and of one Father, the divine source of our being. 

It may have been that in the first place the great 
Teacher of the West made His appeal to the " Brahmans * 
of Jewry, and only when He found that no impression 
could be made upon their rigid adherence to rules and 
customs, did he go to the people. There are many Say 
ings strongly opposed to Legalism, as understood by 
subsequent Kabbinical orthodoxy, and, as we shall see, 
there were many mystic circles in the early days, even 
on what was considered " the ground of Judaism," which 
not only rejected the authority of the Prophets and 
Sacred Writings, but even called into question the Torah 
proper in much of its contents. Moreover, we find that 
Jesus was, among other things, called by the adherents 
of orthodox Eabbinism a "Samaritan," a name which 
connoted " heresy " in general for the strict Jew, but 
which, as we shall see, seems to the student of history 
sometimes to stand merely for one who held less exclu 
sive views. 

However all this may be, and whatever was attempted The Christian 
or hoped for at the beginning, the outcome was that 
until about the end of the first century the Christians 
regarded the documents of the Palestinian canon as 
their only Holy Scripture, and when they began to add 

4 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

to this their own sacred writings, they still clung to the 
" Books " of Jewry, and regarded them with the same 
enthusiastic reverence as the Eabbis themselves. The 
good of it was that a strong link of East with West was 
thus forged ; the evil, that the authority of this library 
of heterogeneous legends and myths, histories and ordi 
nances, the literature of a peculiar people, and the record 
of their special evolution, was taken indiscriminately 
as being of equal weight with the more liberal and, so 
to speak, universalizing views of the new movement. 
Moreover, every moment of the evolution of the idea of 
God in Jewry was taken as a full revelation, and the 
crude and revengeful Yahweh of a semi-barbarous stage 
equated with the evolved Yahweh of the mystic and 

For good or ill Christianity has to this day been 
bound up with this record of ancient Judaism. The 
Ancestors of the Jew have become for the Christian the 
glorified Patriarchs of humanity, who beyond all other 
men walked with God. The Biblical history of the Jew 
is regarded as the making straight in the desert of 
human immorality and paganism of a highway for the 
Lord of the Christians. Jesus, who is worshipped by 
the Christians as God, so much so that the cult of the 
Father has from the second century been relegated to 
an entirely subordinate position Jeschu ha-Notzri 
was a Jew. 

The Jew and On the other hand we have to-day before us in the Jews 

the Gospel. ^ s ^ rail g e an( j profoundly interesting phenomenon 

of a nation without a country, scattered throughout 

the world, planted in the midst of every Christian 

nation, and yet strenuously rejecting the faith which 


Christendom holds to be the saving grace of humanity. 
Even as the Brahmanists were the means of sending forth 
Buddhism into the world, arid then, by building up 
round themselves a stronger wall of separation than 
ever, cut themselves off from the new endeavour, so 
were the Jews the means of launching Christianity into 
the world, and then, by hedging themselves round with 
an impermeable legal fence, shut themselves entirely 
from the new movement. In both cases the ancient 
blood-tie and the idea of a religion for a nation 
triumphed over time and every other modifying force. 

What, then, can be of profounder interest than to 
learn what the Jews have said concerning Jesus and 
Christianity ? And yet how few Christians to-day know 
anything of this subject ; how few have the remotest 
conception of the traditions of Jewry concerning the 
founder of their faith ! For so many centuries have 
they regarded Jesus as God, and everything concerning 
Him, as set apart in the history of the world, as unique 
and miraculous, that to find Him treated of as a simple 
man, and that too as one who misled the children of His 
people, appears to the believer as the rankest blasphemy. 
Least of all can such a mind realize even faintly that 
the claims of the Church on behalf of Jesus have ever 
been thought, and are still thought, by the followers of 
the Torah to be equally the extreme of blasphemy, most 
solemnly condemned by the first and foremost of the 
commandments which the pious Jew must perforce 
believe came straight from God Himself. 

Astonishing, therefore, as it appears, though Jew 
and Christian use the same Scripture in common, with 
regard to their fundamental beliefs they stand over 

6 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

against each other in widest opposition ; and the man 
who sincerely loves his fellows, who feels his kinship 
with man as man, irrespective of creed, caste, or race, 
stands aghast at the contradictions revealed by the 
warring elements in our common human nature, and 
is dismayed at the infinite opposition of the powers he 
sees displayed in his brethren and feels potential in 

The New But, thank God, to-day we are in the early years of 

the twentieth century, when a deeper sense of human 
kinship is dawning on the world, when the general idea 
of God is so evolved that we dare no longer clothe 
Him in the tawdry rags of human passions, or create 
Him in the image of our ignorance, as has been mostly 
the case for so many sorrowful centuries. We are at 
last beginning to learn that God is at least as highly 
developed as a wise and just mortal; we refuse 
to ascribe to Deity a fanaticism and jealousy, an 
inhumanity and mercilessness, of which we should be 
heartily ashamed in ourselves. There are many to-day 
who would think themselves traitors to their humanity, 
much more to the divinity latent within them, were 
they to make distinctions between Jew or Christian, 
Brahman or Buddhist, or between all or any of these 
and the Confucian, or Mohammedan, or Zoroastrian. 
They are all our brethren, children of a common parent, 
these say. Let the dead past bury its dead, and let us 
follow the true humanity hidden in the hearts of 

But how to do this so long as records exist ? How 
to do this while we each glory in the heredity of our 
bodies, and imagine that it is the spiritual ancestry of 


our souls ? What is it that makes a man cling to the 
story of his " fathers," fight for it, and identify himself 
with all its natural imperfections and limitations ? Are 
not these rather, at any rate on the ground of religion, 
in some fashion the " parents " we are to think little of, 
to " hate," as one of the " dark sayings " ascribed to the 
Christ has it ? 

Why should a Jew of to-day, why should a* Christian 
of the early years of the twentieth century, identify 
himself with the hates of years gone by ? What have 
we to do with the bitter controversies of Church Fathers 
and Talmudic Eabbis; what have we to do with the 
fierce inhumanity of mediaeval inquisitors, or the 
retorts of the hate of persecuted Jewry ? Why can we 
not at last forgive and forget in the light of the new 
humanism which education and mutual intercourse is 
shedding on the world? 

Wise indeed are the words : " He that loveth not his Theology the 
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom 
he hath not seen ? " And yet in theology all the 
trouble is about this God whom we have not seen. 
Theology, which ought to be a help and a comfort, be 
comes the greatest scourge of humanity, for in theology 
we do not say this or that is true because the present 
facts of nature and human consciousness testify to its 
truth, but this is true because many years ago God 
declared it was so a thing we can never know on the 
plane of our present humanity, and a declaration which, 
as history proves, has led to the bitterest strife and 
discord in the past, and which is still to-day a serious 
obstacle to all progress in religion. 

When, then, we take pen in hand to review part of 


the history of this great strife between Christian and 
Jew in days gone by, we do so because we have greater 
faith in present-day humanity than in the inhumanity 
of the past. Let us agree to seek an explanation, to 
confer together, to sink our pride in our own opinion, 
and discover why we are enemies, one of another, in 
things theological, while we are friends perchance in 
things scientific and philosophic. 
An Appeal to But this book is not intended for the man whose 

Humanists. ., ~. . ,. . A . ,. . . . 

" Christianity is greater than his humanity, nor for 
him whose "Judaism" is stronger than his love of 
human kind; it is not meant for the theologian who 
loves his preconceptions more than truth, or for the 
fanatic who thinks he is the only chosen of God. It is a 
book for men and women who have experience of life 
and human nature, who have the courage to face things 
as they are ; who know that on the one hand the 
Churches of to-day, no matter how they strive carefully 
to disguise the fact, are confronted by the gravest 
possible difficulties as to doctrine, while many of the 
clergy, owing to a total lack of wise guidance by those 
in authority, are becoming a law unto themselves, or, 
because of the terrorism of ecclesiastical laymen, are 
forced to be hypocrites in the pulpit ; and, on the other 
hand, that Judaism cannot continue in its traditional 
mould without doing the utmost violence to its intelli 

Traditional theology, traditional history, traditional 
views in general are being questioned on all hands, and 
there is an ever-growing conviction that the conscious 
ness and conscience of a Church, whether that Church 
be the Congregation of Christendom or the Dispersion of 


Israel, evolve from century to century; that religion 
is not an exception to the law which is seen to be 
operative in every department of nature and human 
activity ; and that, therefore, it is incumbent upon all 
who have the best interests of religion at heart " to 
maintain the right and duty of [any] Church to 
restate her belief from time to time, as required by the 
progressive revelation of the Holy Spirit," as one of the 
objects of the Churchmen s Union declares. 

To-day, in thinking and progressive Christendom, we 
have before us the spectacle of the mind and heart of 
the earnest seeker after truth torn and lacerated by 
the contradictions and manifest absurdities of much in 
the tradition of the Faith. The only relief from this 
most painful state of affairs is to be found in the . 
courageous recognition, that in the early days the 
marvellous mysteries of the inner life and the inner 
nature of man were objectivized and historic! zed by 
those who either did not understand their true spiritual 
import, or who deliberately used this method for the 
instruction of the many who were unable to grasp in 
their proper terms the spiritual verities of man in his 
perfectioning. To this we will return at the end of our 
present enquiry and endeavour to show how even Jew 
and Christian can learn to understand and respect 
each other even on the ground of religion. 

And, indeed, the time is very opportune, for some of The New 
the preliminary conditions for a better understanding clo^ledia " ( 
are being prepared To-day there is being given to the 
world for the first time what purports to be " a faithful 
record of the multifarious activity" of the Jewish 
people. The Israelite has been a mystery to the 

10 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Christian, a mystery to humanity, from generation to 
generation ; he has lived in our midst, and we have not 
known him, nay, we have been content to believe any 
thing of him, while he for the most part has been 
inarticulate as to himself, his hopes, and his fears. The 
Jewish Encyclopaedia l is to remedy this evil, for it sets 
before itself the endeavour " to give, in systematized, 
comprehensive, and yet succinct form, a full and 
accurate account of the history and literature, the 
social and intellectual life of the Jewish people, of their 
ethical and religious views, their customs, rites, and 
traditions in all ages and in all lands." 

Such a work is an undertaking of the most profound 
interest and importance, and we look forward to its 
publication with the liveliest anticipation, asking our 
selves the questions : What will the Jew in this compre 
hensive Encyclopaedia have to tell us of Christianity ? 
How will he treat the traditions of his fathers concerning 
Jesus ? To-day we can no longer burn or torture him 
or confiscate his goods. 2 His account of himself, more 
over, is to be given by the best intelligence in him. 
What, then, will he say concerning Jesus and the long 
centuries of bitter strife between the Christians and 
his own people ? 

From the three volumes which have so far appeared 
it is not possible to answer this question ; but that it 
is the question of all questions in Jewish affairs that 
demands a wise answer, will be seen from our present 

1 Three of its twelve volumes only have so far appeared. (New 
York : Funk & Wagnalls ; 1901, in progress.) 

2 Though the East of Europe is not yet quite powerless in this 


enquiry. To ignore it, or merely to confine it to vague 
generalities, is of no advantage to the world. 

As the New Testament was added to the Old The Talmud. 
Covenant Bible by the Church Fathers, and formed the 
basis of their exegesis, so was the Talmud added to the 
Torah by the Eabbis, and formed the special study of 
later Jewry. The Talmud covers the whole period of 
the early Christian centuries. What has the Talmud 
to say of Christianity ? For as the editors of the 
Encyclopaedia well say : 

" The Talmud is a world of its own, awaiting the 
attention of the modern reader. In its encyclopaedic 
compass it comprises all the variety of thought and 
opinions, of doctrine and science, accumulated by the 
Jewish people in the course of more than seven centuries, 
and formulated for the most part by their teachers. 
Full of the loftiest spiritual truths and of fantastic 
imagery, of close and learned legal disquisitions and of 
extravagant exegesis, of earnest doctrine and of minute 
casuistry, of accurate * knowledge and of popular con 
ceptions, it invites the world of to-day to a closer ac 
quaintance with its voluminous contents." 

To-day it is becoming a canon of historical research History and 
that the study of ancient history can hardly ever 
reward us by the attainment of incontrovertible fact ; 
it can at best only tell us what the opinions of certain 
writers were about the facts of which we are in search. 
Many years of study of Christian origins have con 
vinced some of us that it is impossible to be absolutely 
certain historically of any objective fact relating to the 
life of Jesus as handed on by tradition. We can only 
say that this or that seems more likely to have occurred ; 

12 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

and here again our preference, if we trace it deep 
enough, will be found to depend entirely on subjec 
tive considerations. Canonical Christianity gradually 
evolved the mind-bewildering dogma that Jesus was in 
deed and truth very God of very God, unique and 
miraculous in every possible respect; and the Church 
for some seventeen or eighteen centuries has boldly 
thrown down this challenge to the intellect and 
experience of humanity. Strong in the strength of her 
faith in miracle she has triumphed in her theology, and 
imposed it on the West even until the present day ; but 
at last she has herself developed an intellect which can 
no longer fully believe in this. A new spirit is at work 
in her children, who are busily trying to convince their 
mother that she has been mistaken in many things, and 
has often misundertood the wisdom of the Master. 
The Womb of It is because of this stupendous claim on behalf of 
111 y Jesus, a claim which has perhaps astonished none more 
than Himself, that the Church has brought upon herself 
a scrutiny into the history of her origins that it is 
totally unable to bear. Every single assertion about 
her great Teacher is scrutinized with a minuteness that 
is not demanded in the case of any other historical 
problem, and the lay student who follows the re 
searches of specialists meets with so many contra 
dictions in the analysis of the traditional data, and is 
brought face to face with so many warring opinions, 
that he is in despair of arriving at any patent historic 
certainty on any single point in the Evangelical 
record. Nevertheless he is confronted by the unavoid 
able fact that a great religion came to birth ; and, if 
he be not an out and out five-sense rationalist, his 


only relief lies in the belief that the secret of this 
birth must have been hidden in a psychic womb, and 
the real history of the movement must therefore be 
sought in some great drama that was enacted in the 
unseen world. 

But the interest in the problem is by no means The Interest 
lessened because of the historical uncertainty ; on the 
contrary it is a thousand-fold increased. The subject can 
never be made solely a matter of dry historical research ; 
it will always be involved in the most profoundly in 
structive psychological phenomena, and that too not 
only in the study of the minds of the ancient writers, but 
also in the appreciation of the preconceptions of their 
modern critics. Hence it is that any book dealing with 
the question of Christian origins is before all others a 
human document from which, no matter what view a 
man may take, there is always something to be learned 
of our complex human nature. 

And with regard to our present enquiry, what can 
be of greater interest than to observe how that from 
the same facts, whatever those facts may have been, 
on the one hand, under the expansive influence of love, 
wonder, credulity, and intense religious enthusiasm, 
there was evolved the story of God Himself uniquely 
incarnate in man ; while on the other, from feelings of 
annoyance, of surprise, and disbelief, and, later, of hate, 
bred of an equal enthusiasm for religion, there was built 
up the story of a deceiver of Israel ? Here we see 
evolved, generation by generation, and side by side, 
absolutely contradictory representations purporting to 
be the accounts of the doings and sayings of one and 
the same person. 

14 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

The philosophic mind can thus derive much food for 
reflexion by a comparison of the Christian and Jewish 
traditions concerning Jesus, and his studies will lead 
him to understand how that a thing which may be 
perfectly true psychically or spiritually, and of great 
help to the religious life, can, when taken out of its 
proper sphere, and aggressively asserted as a purely 
physical and historical fact, be turned into a subject of 
grossest material controversy. Thus it may be that 
we shall be able to estimate, at their just values, some 
things which cannot but appear extremely shocking to 
conventional religious minds, and be able to under 
stand how what was regarded by the one side as a 
saving truth, could be regarded by the other as a 
mischievous error; how what was declared by the 
Christians to be the highest honour, could be regarded by 
the Jew as a proof of dishonour ; how what was believed 
in by the former as the historic facts of a unique divine 
revelation, could be treated disparagingly, or with 
mockery and even humour, by those who held to the 
tradition of what they believed to have been equally a 
unique revelation of the Divine. 

The Main But it is not the doctrinal quarrels which chiefly 

Search. interest us in studying these traditions of Jewry. What, 
in our opinion, is of far greater interest is that the 
Jewish traditions, in spite of some gross contradictions, 
in the main assign a date to Jesus which widely differs 
from that of Christian tradition. The main object of 
this enquiry is to state this problem, to show that in 
moderate probability for many centuries this was the 
Jewish tradition as to the date of Jesus, not to attack 
or defend it. Moreover, we have taken up this subject 


not only on general grounds of interest, but also for a 
special reason. 

For this problem, though not as yet even heard of by 
the general public, is, nevertheless, of great interest to 
many students of Theosophy, and, therefore, it seems to 
press, not for solution for of that there are no im 
mediate hopes but for a more satisfactory definition 
than has been as yet accorded to it. 

The problem, then, we are about to attempt more The Problem, 
clearly to define is not a metaphysical riddle, not a 
spiritual enigma, not some moral puzzle (though all of 
these factors may be made to inhere in it), but a 
problem of physical fact, well within the middle 
distance of what is called the historic period. It is 
none the less on this account of immense importance 
and interest generally, and especially to thoughtful 
students of "origins," for it raises no less a question 
than that of an error in the date of the life of the 
Founder of Christianity; and that, too, not by the 
comparatively narrow margin of some seven or eight 
years (as many have already argued on the sole basis of 
generally accepted traditional data), but by no less a 
difference than the (in such a connection) enormous 
time-gulf of a full century. Briefly, the problem may 
be popularly summed up in the startling and apparently 
ludicrous question: Did Jesus live 100 B.C. ? 

Now, had all such questioning been confined to a The Need of 
small circle of first-hand investigators of the hidden its Detinition> 
side of things, or, if we may say so, of the noumena of 
things historic underlying the blurred records of 
phenomena handed down to us by tradition, there would 
be no immediate necessity for the present enquiry; 

16 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

but of late years very positive statements on this 
matter, based on such methods of research, have been 
printed and circulated among those interested in such 
questions ; and what, in the opinion of the writer, 
makes the matter even more pressing, is that these 
statements are being readily accepted by ever-growing 
numbers. Now, it goes without saying, that the 
majority of those who have accepted such statements 
have done so either for subjective reasons satisfactory 
to themselves, or from some inner feeling or impression 
which they have not been at pains to analyse. The 
state of affairs, then, seems clearly to demand, that as 
they have heard a little of the matter, they should now 
hear more, and that the question should be taken out 
of the primitive crudeness of a choice between two sets 
of mutually contradictory assertions, and advanced a 
stage into the subtler regions of critical research. 
The Resultant As far as the vast majority of the general public who 
may chance to stumble on the amazing question which 
heads our enquiry, is concerned, it is only to be expected 
that they will answer it offhand not only with an angry 
No, but with the further reflection that the very 
formulating of such a query betokens the vagaries of a 
seriously disordered mind ; indeed, at the outset of our 
investigations we were also ourselves decidedly of the 
opinion that no mind trained in historic research, even 
the most cautious, would hesitate for a moment to sum 
up the probabilities of the accessible evidence as point 
ing to a distinct negative. But when all is said and 
done, we find ourselves in a position of doubt between, 
on the one hand, the seeming impossibility of impugning 
the genuineness of the Pilate date, and on the other, an 


uncomfortable feeling that the nature of the inconsis 
tencies of the Hebrew tradition rather strengthens 
than diminishes the possibility that there may be some 
thing after all in what appears to be its most in 
sistent factor namely, that Jesus lived in the days 
of Jannai. 

It is not, then, with any hopes of definitely solving 
the problem that these pages are written, but rather 
with the object of pointing out the difficulties which 
have to be surmounted by an unprejudiced historian, 
before on the one hand he can rule such a question en 
tirely out of court, or on the other can permit himself to 
give even a qualified recognition to such a revolutionary 
proposition in the domain of Christian origins ; and 
further, of trying to indicate by an object lesson what 
appears to me to be the sane attitude of mind with 
regard to similar problems, which those of us who have 
had some experience of the possibilities of so-called 
occult research, but who have not the ability to study 
such matters at first-hand, should endeavour to hold. 

In what is set forth in this essay, then, I hope most 
honestly to endeavour to treat the matter without 
prejudice, save for this general prepossession, that I 
consider it saner for the only normally endowed indi 
vidual to hold the mind in suspense over all categorical 
statements which savour in any way of the nature of 
"revelation," by whomsoever made, than to believe 
either on the one hand without investigation, or on the 
other in despair of arriving at any real bed-rock of 
facts in the unsubstantial material commonly believed 
in as history, and thus in either case to crystallise one s 
mind anew into some "historic" form, on lines of 

18 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

evidence concerning the nature of which we are as yet 
almost entirely ignorant. 

"Occult" And, first of all, let me further set forth very briefly 

some of the considerations which render it impossible 
for me to assume either a decidedly negative, or even a 
purely agnostic, attitude with regard to possibilities of 
research other than those open to normal ability and 
industry; for if a man would honestly endeavour, in 
any fashion really satisfactory to himself, to interpret 
the observed phenomena of life, he is compelled by 
a necessity greater than himself to take into considera 
tion all the facts of at least his personal experience, 
no matter how sceptical he may be as to the validity of 
the experiences of others, or how critical he may be 
concerning his own. On the other hand, I most freely 
admit that those who have not had experiences similar 
to my own, are quite justified in assuming an agnostic 
attitude with regard to my declarations, but I doubt 
that it can be considered the nature of a truly scientific 
mind to deny a priori the possibility of my experience, 
or merely contemptuously to dismiss the matter without 
any attempt at investigation. 

It has been my good fortune for so I regard it to 
know a number of people who have their subtler senses, 
to a greater or less degree, more fully developed than is 
normally the case, and also to be intimate with a few 
whose power of response to extra-normal ranges of im 
pression, vibration, or stimulation (or whatever may be 
the more correct term) may be said to be, as far as my 
experience goes, highly developed. These latter are my 
personal friends, whom I have known for many years, 
and with whom I have been most closely associated. 


From long knowledge of their characters, often under 
very trying circumstances, I have no reason to believe 
they are trying to deceive me, and every reason to 
believe in their good faith. They certainly would have 
nothing to gain by practising, if it were possible, any 
concerted imposition upon me, and everything to lose. 
For, on the one hand, my devotion to the studies I 
pursue, and the work upon which I am engaged, is 
entirely independent of individuals and their pronounce 
ments, and, on the other, my feeling of responsibility 
to humanity in general is such, that I should not have 
the slightest hesitation in openly proclaiming a fraud, 
were I to discover any attempt at it, especially in 
matters which I hold to be more than ordinarily sacred 
for all who profess to be lovers of truth and labourers 
for our common welfare. Nor again is there any 
question here of their trying to influence some pro 
spective "follower," either of themselves, or of some 
particular sect, for we are more or less contemporaries 
in similar studies, and one of our common ideals is the 
desirability of breaking down the boundary walls of 

Now, this handful of friends of mine who are endowed 
in this special fashion are unanimous in declaring that 
" Jeschu," the historical Jesus, lived a century before 
the traditional date. They, one and all, claim that, if 
they turn their attention to the matter, they can see 
the events of those far-off days passing before their 
mind s eye, or, rather, that for the time being they seem 
to be in the midst of them, even as we ordinarily 
observe events in actual life. They state that not only 
do their individual researches as to this date work out 

20 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

to one and the same result, but that also when several 
of them have worked together, checking one another, 
the result has been still the same. 

Its Possible Familiar as I am with the hypotheses of " collec 
tive hallucination," "honest self-deception," and "sub 
jectivism " of all kinds, I have been unable to satisfy 
myself that any one of these, or any combination of 
them, will satisfactorily explain the matter. For 
instance, even granting that certain of the Jewish 
Jesus stories may have been previously known to 
some of my colleagues, and that it might be reasonably 
supposed that this curious tradition had so fascinated 
their imagination as to become the determining factor 
in what might be called their subjective dramatising 
faculty there are two considerations which, in my 
opinion, based on my own knowledge and experience, 
considerably weaken the strength of this sceptical and 
otherwise apparently reasonable supposition. 

First, the general consideration that my friends differ 
widely from each other in temperament; they are 
mostly of different nationalities, and all vary consider 
ably in their objective knowledge of Christian origins, 
and in their special views of external Christianity. 
Moreover though they all sincerely endeavour to be 
impartial on so important a matter, seeing that it 
touches the life of a Master for whom they have in a 
very real sense the deepest reverence while some of 
them do not happen to be special followers of this 
particular Teacher, others, on the contrary, are specially 
attracted by this Way, and might, therefore, be 
naturally expected to counteract in the interest of 
received tradition any tendency to apparent extrava- 


gance, which was not justified by repeated subjective 
experiences of such a nature as to outweigh their 
objective training and natural preconceptions. 

Second, the very special consideration, that I have 
had the opportunity on many occasions of testing the 
accuracy of some of my colleagues with regard to 
statements either of a similar nature or of a more 
personal character. And lest my evidence on this 
point should be too hastily put out of court by some 
impatient reader, let me briefly refer to the nature of 
such verification. 

But before doing so, it would be as well to have it 
understood that the method of investigation to which 
I am referring does not bring into consideration any 
question of trance, either self-induced, or mesmerically 
or hypnotically effected. As far as I can judge, my 
colleagues are to all outward seeming in quite their 
normal state. They go through no outward ceremonies, 
or internal ones for that matter, nor even any outward 
preparation but that of assuming a comfortable posi 
tion ; moreover, they not only describe, as each normally 
has the power of description, what is passing before 
their inner vision in precisely the same fashion as one 
would describe some objective scene, but they are 
frequently as surprised as their auditors that the 
scenes or events they are attempting to explain are not 
at all as they expected to see them, and remark on 
them as critically, and frequently as sceptically, as 
tliose who cannot " see " for themselves, but whose 
knowledge of the subject from objective study may be 
greater than theirs. 

Now, although it is true that in the majority of 

22 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Some Verified cases I have not been able to check their statements, 
and doubt whether it will ever be possible to do so 
owing to the lack of objective material, nevertheless, 
in a number of instances, few when compared with the 
mass of statements made, but numerous enough in 
themselves, I have been able to do so. It can, of 
course, be argued, as has been done in somewhat 
similar cases, that all of this is merely the bringing 
into subjective objectivity the imaginative dramatisa 
tion of facts which have been normally heard or 
read, or even momentarily glanced at, and which have 
sunk beneath the threshold of consciousness, either of 
that of the seers themselves or of one or other of their 
auditors, or even some permutation or combination of 
these. But such an explanation seems somewhat 
feeble to one who, like myself, has taken down labori 
ously dictated passages from MSS., described, for 
instance, as written in archaic Greek uncials MSS., 
the contents of which, as far as I am aware, are not 
known to exist passages laboriously dictated letter by 
letter, by a friend whose knowledge of the language 
extended hardly beyond the alphabet. Occasionally 
gaps had to be left for certain forms of letters, with 
which not only my colleague, but also myself, were 
previously entirely unacquainted ; these gaps had to be 
filled up afterwards, when the matter was transcribed 
and broken up into words and sentences, which turned 
out to be in good construable Greek, the original or 
copy of which, I am as sure as I can be of anything, 
neither my colleague nor myself had ever seen 
physically. Moreover, I have had dates and informa 
tion given by these methods which I could only verify 


afterwards by long and patient research, and which, I 
am convinced, no one but a widely read scholar of 
classical antiquity could have come across. 

This briefly is the nature of some of the facts of my 
personal experience in this connection, and while others 
who have not had such experience may permissibly put 
it aside, I am unable to do so; and not only am I 
unable to do so personally, but I further consider it 
more honest to my readers to admit them to my 
privacy in this respect, in order that they may be in a 
better position to estimate the strength or weakness of 
my preconceptions or prejudices in the treatment of 
the exceedingly interesting problem which we are about 
to consider. 

It will thus be seen at the outset that I am unable The Sane 

,. ,., ,, , ,^ Attitude of 

a priori to refuse any validity to these so-called occult the Layman, 
methods of research ; the ghost of my repeated experi 
ence rises up before me and refuses to be laid by an 
impatient " pshaw." But it by no means follows that, 
because in some instances I have been enabled to verify 
the truth of my colleagues 1 statements, I am therefore 
justified in accepting the remainder on trust. Of their 
good faith I have no question, but of the nature of the 
modus of their " seeing " I am in almost complete 
ignorance. That it is of a more subtle nature than 
ordinary sight, or memory, or even imagination, I am 
very well assured : but that there should be entrusted 
to an apparently favoured few, and that, too, compara 
tively suddenly, a means of inerrant knowledge which 
seemingly reduces the results of the unwearied toil of 
the most laborious scholars and historians to the most 
beggarly proportions, I am not prepared at present to 

24 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

accept. It would rather seern more scientific to 
suppose that in exact proportion to the startling 
degree of accuracy that may at times be attained by 
these subtle methods of research, the errors that may 
arise can be equally appalling. 

And, indeed, this is borne out not only by the 
perusal of the little studied, but enormous, literature 
on such subjects, both of antiquity and of the present 
day, but also by the repeated declarations of those of 
my colleagues themselves who have endeavoured to fit 
themselves for a truly scientific use of such faculties. 
They all declare that their great aim is to eliminate as 
far as possible the personal factor ; for if, so to say, 
the glass of their mind- stuff, through which they have 
to see, is not most accurately polished and adjusted, 
the things seen are all blurred, or distorted into the 
most fantastic shapes. This " glass " is in itself of a 
most subtle nature, most plastic and protean; it 
changes with every desire, with every hope and fear, 
with every prejudice and prepossession, with every 
love and hate. 

Such factors, then, are not unthought of by my 
colleagues; rather are they most carefully considered. 
But this being so, it is plain that it is very difficult to 
discover a sure criterion of accuracy in such subtle 
research, even for the practised seer, or seeress, who is 
willing to submit himself to the strictest discipline; 
while for those of us who have not developed these 
distinct inner senses, but who desire eventually to 
arrive at some certain criterion of truth, and who 
further believe that this is a thing beyond all sensation, 
we must be content to develop our critical faculties on 


the material accessible to us, and do all we can with it 
before we abandon the subject to " revelation." 

Nor is this latter attitude of mind opposed to the 
best interests of religion ; for, if we are in any way 
right in our belief, we hold that the workman is only 
expected to work with his own tools. To use in an 
expanded sense a phrase of the " Gita," there should be 
no " confusion of castes " ; or to employ the language of 
one of the Gospel parables, a man should lay out the 
" talent " entrusted to him to the best advantage, and 
if he do this, no more for the moment, we may believe, 
is expected of him. We have all, each in our own way, 
to labour for the common good ; but a workman whose 
trade is that of objective historical research is rarely 
trusted with the tools of seership as well, while the 
seer presumably is not expected to devote his life to 
historical criticism. Doubtless there may be some who 
are entrusted with two or more talents of different 
natures, but so far we have not as yet in our own times 
come across the desirable blend of a competent seer and 
a historical critic. 

We must, then, each of us in his own way, work to 
gether for righteousness ; hoping that if in the present 
we employ our single talents rightly, and prove our 
selves profitable servants, we may in the future become 
masters of two or even more "cities," and thus (to 
adapt the wording of a famous agraphon) having proved 
ourselves trustworthy in the " lesser," be accorded the 
opportunity of showing ourselves faithful in the 
" greater (mysteries)." 

Having, then, prefaced our enquiry by these brief The Scope of 
remarks on the nature of the methods of research em- r n( * uiry> 

26 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

ployed by those whose statements have lately brought 
this question into prominence in certain circles, we 
proceed to enumerate the various deposits of objective 
material which have to be surveyed and analysed, 
before a mind accustomed to historical study and the 
weighing of evidence can feel in a position to estimate 
even approximately the comparative values of the 
various traditions. 

We have, then, in the first place to consider the 
Christian tradition that Jesus was born in the reign of 
Herod, and was put to death under Pontius Pilate, and 
further, to glance at the material from Pagan sources 
claimed to substantiate this tradition; in the second 
to acquaint ourselves with the Talmud Jeschu stories 
which purport to preserve traditions of the life and 
date of Jeschu totally at variance on almost every point 
with the Christian account ; further to investigate the 
Toldoth Jeschu or mediaeval Jewish Jesus legends ; and 
lastly to consider some very curious passages in the 
writings of the Church Father Epiphanius of Salamis. 

That there are many better equipped and more com 
petent than myself to discuss these difficult subjects, 
no one is more keenly aware than I am. But seeing 
that there are no books on the subject readily accessible 
to the general reader, I may be excused for coming 
forward, not with the pretension of discovering any facts 
previously unknown to specialists, but with the very 
modest ambition of attempting some new combinations 
of some of the best-known of such facts, while generally 
indicating some of the outlines of the question for 
those who cannot find the information for themselves, 
and of pointing to a few of the difficulties which con- 


front a student of the labours of these specialists, in 
the hope that some greater mind may at no distant date 
be induced to throw further light on the matter. 

Finally, seeing that in the treatment of the Jewish 
Jeschu stories many things exceedingly distasteful to 
lovers of Jesus will have to be referred to, and that 
generally, in the whole enquiry, many points involved 
in the most violent controversy will have to be 
considered, let me say that I would most gladly have 
avoided them if it were possible. But a greater 
necessity than personal likes or dislikes compels the 
setting forth of the whole matter as it is found. We 
are told that the truth alone shall make us free ; and 
the love of it compels us sometimes to deal with most 
distasteful matters. Few things can be more unpleas- 
ing than to be even the indirect means of giving pain 
to the sincere lovers of a great Teacher, but the 
necessities of the enquiry into the question : Did 
Jesus live 100 B.C. ? primarily involves a discussion 
of the Jewish Jeschu stories, and it is therefore 
impossible to omit them. 


Ultra- THOSE who are familiar with the history of the 

innumerable controversies which have raged round 
the question of Christian origins, are aware that some 
of the disputants, appalled by the mass of mythic 
and mystic elements in the Gospel narratives, and 
dismayed at the contradictions in the apparently most 
simple data furnished by the evangelists, have not 
only not hesitated to reject the whole account as devoid 
of the slightest historical value, but have even gone so 
far as to deny that Jesus of Nazareth ever existed. 1 
Most of these writers had presumably devoted 
much labour and thought to the subject before they 
reached a so startling conclusion ; but I am inclined 
to think that their minds were of such a type that, 
even had they found less contradiction in the purely 
objective data of the Gospel documents, they would 
probably have still held the same opinion. Not only 
was their historic sense so distressed by the vast 
subjective element with which it was confronted 

1 See, for instance, Ganeval (L.), " Jesus devant 1 Histoire n a 
jamais Veen : Reponse d un Libre Penseur a M. 1 s Abbe Loyson " 
(Geneva ; pt. i., 1874, pt. ii., 1875). There is also a pt. iii., but of 
this I have not been able to procure a copy. 


that it could find relief only in the most strenuous 
efforts to reduce the historic validity of the residue to 
zero, but it found itself strongly confirmed in this 
determination by the fact that it could discover no 
scrap of unassailable external evidence , either in 
presumed contemporary literature, or even in the 
literature of the next two generations, whereby not 
merely the soberest incidents recounted by the Gospel 
writers, but even the very existence of Jesus, could 
be substantiated. 

Though this extreme view, that Jesus of Nazareth Criticism, 
never existed, has perhaps to-day fewer adherents 
than it had some twenty years ago, the numbers of 
those who hold that the ideal picture of Jesus painted 
by the Gospel writers bears but a remote resemblance 
to its historical original, not only as to the doings, 
but also to a lesser extent as to the sayings, have 
increased so enormously that they can no longer be 
classed merely as a school, but must rather be 
considered as expressing a vast volume of educated 
opinion strongly influencing the thought of the times. 

True, there is still a wide divergence of opinion on 
innumerable other points which are continually issuing 
into greater and greater prominence as the evolution 
of criticism proceeds. There is, however, no longer 
any necessity for the unfortunate student to make up 
his mind between what appeared to be the devil of 
undisguised antagonism on the one side and the deep 
sea of inerrant orthodox traditionalism on the other. 

The problem is far more complex, far more subtle, 
and far greater numbers are interested in it. Whereas 
in the old days a mere handful, comparatively, had the 

30 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

hardihood to venture between the seeming devil and 
the deep, to-day not only every theological student, 
but every intelligent enquirer, is forced to seek his 
information in the most recent books of reference 
available books in which he finds that not only are 
innumerable questions raised on all sides concerning 
matters which were previously regarded as settled for 
all time, but also that opposing views are frankly 
and freely discussed. 

The devil and the deep have almost faded away, 
and none but minds strongly prejudiced by anachron 
istic methods of training can discern the ancient 
crudity of their lineaments with any great distinctness. 
Concessions have been made on all sides ; there is a 
studied moderation of language and a courtesy in 
treating the views of opponents which remove con 
troversy from the cockpit of theological invective into 
the serener air of impersonal debate. 

The Position But how fares it with the thoughtful layman who is 
man! 6 * not sufficiently skilled in scholarly fence to appreciate 
the niceties of the sword-play of those who are pre 
sumably on either side seeking indirectly to win his 
applause ? He is naturally exceedingly confused 
amid all the detail, and for the most part presumably 
applauds the view which best suits his preconceptions. 
But this much he gleans on all sides a general 
impression that the ancient tyranny of an inerrant 
traditionalism is on its death-bed ; he is assured that 
many of its bonds have been already struck from his 
limbs, and he lives in hope that before long he will be 
entirely free to try to realise what the worshipping of 
God in spirit and in truth may mean. 


If he take up such recent works as the " Dictionary 
of the Bible," the "Encyclopaedia Biblica," and the 
" Jewish Encyclopaedia," he finds that, although in Old 
Testament subjects tradition has to all intents and pur 
poses been practically almost abandoned by all scholars, 
in the treatment of New Covenant documents his autho 
rities in the two former works still display a marked 
difference. The tendency of the contributors to the first 
above-mentioned work is still on fundamental points, 
as might very well be expected, conservative and largely 
apologetic of tradition (though by no means so aggres 
sively so as has been the case in the past), while that of 
the essayists of the second is emphatically advanced, that 
is to say, departs widely from tradition, and in most 
cases breaks with it so entirely that even a reader who 
has not the slighest theological timidity is surprised at 
their hardihood. 

The non-specialist is thus for the first time enabled 
to hear both sides distinctly on all points, and so to 
gain an intimate acquaintance with the arguments for 
and against traditionalism. And though he may not 
be able positively to decide on any special view as to 
details, or even as to the main fundamental points, he 
cannot fail to be vastly instructed and greatly relieved. 
For whatever may be the exact truth of the matter, 
this much he learns from the general tone of all the 
writers, that he is no longer thought to be in danger of 
losing his immortal soul if he find it impossible to 
believe in the inerrancy of tradition. 

It results, then, that the ordinary reader is left with 
out any certain guide in these matters ; the old style 
of Bible repository which told you exactly what to 

32 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

believe, and whose end was edification, is entirely 
foreign to the spirit of our latest books of reference. 
But though the reader is left without a guide (if ex 
ternal authority selected to suit a pre-conceived view 
can ever be a truly spiritual guide), he is inevitably 
thrown back on himself and made to think, and that 
is the beginning of a new era in general Christian 

Such, then, is the general state of affairs brought 
about by the pronouncements of the occupants of the 
principal teaching chairs in Protestant Christendom ; 
and it is very evident that among their manifold pro 
nouncements a man can find learned authority for 
almost any view he may choose to hold. He may, for 
instance, so select his authorities that he can arrive at 
the general conclusion that there is not a single docu 
ment in the New Testament collection which is genuine 
in the old sense of the word ; he may even go further 
and refuse to be tied down to any particular " source " 
as genuine, seeing that there is such a diversity of 
opinion as to what are the precise sources. But if, 
while taking this critical attitude with regard to the 
canonical contents of Christian tradition, he would 
adopt a positive view on a point entirely negatived by 
that tradition, to retain his consistency he is bound to 
try to discover some strong ground for so doing. 
Encyclo- Now, if we search the two great works to which we 

paedias ignore , . n . ,, ., ,, ,, 

our Problem, have referred for any authority in support of the 
hypothesis of the 100 years B.C. date of Jesus, we shall 
find none. Indeed, we cannot find even a reference to 
the subject. Moreover, in the very few encyclopaedias 
of earlier date which make reference to the Talmud 


Jeschu stories, we shall find that no Christian scholar 
has even dreamed of entertaining the possibility of such 
a hypothesis. In the older books of reference this 
universal abiding by tradition was to be expected, but 
in the most recent works, where tradition is so often 
set at naught and the most out-of-the-way material 
sifted for the smallest scrap of usable evidence, it seems 
at first sight somewhat strange, not only that there is 
no one courageous enough to suggest the possibility of 
there being some small grain of probability at the 
bottom of some of the Jewish legends, but that there is 
no notice whatever taken of them by any writer. It 
would -appear that they are regarded either as being of 
a so utterly apocryphal nature as to deserve no mention, 
or as falling outside the scope of the undertaking. 

But before we abandon our two dictionaries and 
search elsewhere, let us see what conclusions our most 
recent authorities come to concerning the traditional 
chronological data supplied by the evangelists. 

As is well known, or ought to be known, it is to Recent Re- 
Dionysius Exiguus, who flourished in the sixth century, j)*^ ^ h g e 
that we owe the custom of dating events from the sup 
posed year of the birth of Jesus. Dionysius based him 
self on an artificial period which he borrowed from 
Victorius of Aquitaine, who flourished about a cen 
tury before himself, and who is said to have been its 
inventor. It is hardly necessary to add that there is 
no scholar of repute nowadays who accepts the A.D. of 
Dionysius as coincident with the first year of the life 
of Jesus. 

Turner, of Oxford, in his article on the " Chronology 

of the New Testament," in Hastings " Dictionary of the 


34 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Bible," sums up his conclusions somewhat positively as 
follows : 

" The Nativity in B.C. 7-6. 

"The age of our Lord at the Baptism, thirty years 
more or less. 

"The Baptism in A.D. 26 (26-27). 

" The duration of the ministry between two or three 

" The Crucifixion in A.D. 29." 

In the " Encyclopaedia Biblica," von Soden of Berlin, 
under " Chronology," reaches the somewhat less positive 
results : 

" Birth of Jesus circa 4 B.C. ? 

" Beginning of public work circa 28-29 A.D. 

" Death of Jesus 30 A.D." 

Von Soden assigns one year only to the ministry. 

The variations, however, are so inconsiderable that 
these scholars may be said to be fairly agreed on the 
method of treating the traditional data. They both 
abandon the statement in the third Gospel that Jesus 
was born at the time of the general census under 
Cyrenius (Publ. Sulpicius Quirinius), which is well 
attested by Josephus as having taken place 6-7 A.D. 
Von Soden, like so many other scholars, is of opinion 
that " the account in Lk. rests on a series of mistakes." 
Usener of Bonn, in his article on the " Nativity " (" Enc. 
Bib."), in discussing these "chronological difficulties 
which learned subtlety has struggled with for centuries," 
also definitely abandons the Quirinius date. Turner, 
however, while stating that " St. Luke is in error in the 
name of Quirinius," thinks that there is "no inherent 
improbability in the hypothesis of a census in Judaea 


somewhere within the years B.C. 8-5." He seems in 
this census question faintly to endorse Kamsay, who 
in his study, " Was Christ born at Bethlehem ? " 
(London ; 1898) put forward a thorough-going apology 
for this statement of the third evangelist, which has 
been welcomed with great delight by traditionalists. 
Turner mentions the hypothesis that the missing name in 
a mutilated inscription which records that someone was 
twice governor of Syria, was that of Quirinius, and that 
there was another census during his first term of office. 
Unfortunately even so this would not help us, for, as 
he points out, the period B.C. 10 to Herod s death, 
B.C. 4 (which is our limit for the reconciliation of the 
Herod date of the first evangelist with the Quirinius 
date of the third), is exhausted by the known tenures 
of other governors. Moreover, Eamsay s thesis has 
been well answered by J. Thomas in his exhaustive 
reply, "Kecords of the Nativity" (London; 1900). 

But all this is practically a side issue as compared 
with the strength of the main tradition, for the 
question of the nativity concerns the problem of the 
historicity of the single traditions only of the first and 
third Gospel writers. Either or both may be in error, 
and even the John the Baptist element may be a 
later development, and yet the fundamental chrono 
logical element of the main tradition would be en 
tirely unaffected. 

All four evangelists make the drama of the trial and The Pilate 
death of Jesus take place under the procuratorship of 
Pontius Pilate (26-36 A.D.). This is the main chrono 
logical factor in the whole of the puzzling details ; and 
no matter how far we may succeed in any attempt at 

36 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

reducing it to its simplest terms, it remains the crux of 
the whole problem. 

But before considering the statements of the Gospel 
writers, it will be as well to deal with the other refer 
ences to Pilate in the New Covenant documents. These 
are Acts iii. 13, and iv. 27, and 1 Timothy vi. 13. 
In the Acts. The references in Acts are found in a speech put 
into the mouth of Peter and in a prayer (in the same 
style as the speeches) which is said to have been uttered 
with a common impulse by the friends of the apostles. 

Now, in the judgment of many scholars, one of the 
most certain results of criticism with regard to the 
Acts, is that the speeches are the most artificial element 
in the book. As Schmiedel says (art. " Acts of the 
Apostles," "Enc. Bib."): "It is without doubt that the 
author constructed them in each case according to his 
own conception of the situation." Even Headlam, the 
writer of the conservative article in Hastings " Diction 
ary," admits that the speeches are " clearly in a sense " 
the author s " own compositions," though he adds " there 
is no reason for thinking a priori that the speeches 
[? substance of the speeches] cannot be historical." 

It is then exceedingly probable that the references to 
Pilate derive immediately from the writer of the Acts 
himself. And as the writer of the Acts is, on the 
ground of similarity of language, identified by most 
scholars with the writer of the third Gospel, the 
authority for his references to Pilate in all likelihood 
go back to his " sources." There are few who would 
be bold enough to argue for the preservation of an 
earlier tradition in the Acts than in the sources of 
the writer of the third Gospel. 


The references in the Acts, therefore, will not be 
held by the ordinary critical, much less by the sceptical, 
mind to be an independent confirmation of the Gospel 
tradition with regard to Pilate. 

As to the reference in 1 Timothy, its value as an In the 
unimpeachable early witness is at once discounted by Epistles, 
the general character of the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 
Timothy and Titus). 

McClymont of Aberdeen, the conservative writer 
of the article "The New Testament," in Hastings 
" Dictionary," frankly states that these so-called Pastoral 
Letters "are distinguished from all others by their 
want of historical agreement with any period in St. 
Paul s life as recorded in the Bk. of Acts, and also 
by their strongly-marked individuality alike in style 
and substance " circumstances which " have given rise 
to serious doubt of their genuineness." This, however, 
he thinks may be "largely obviated" by supposing 
them to have been written in the last year of the 
apostle s life. But though this supposition may over 
come the Acts difficulty, it does not in the slightest 
way affect the main argument of difference of style 
and substance. 

Deissmann of Heidelberg, in the "Encyclopaedia 
Biblica " (art. " Epistolary Literature "), while he has 
no doubts as to the genuineness of ten of the Pauline 
Letters, with regard to the Pastoral Epistles can only 
allow at best that they " may perhaps contain fragments 
from genuine letters of Paul." 

Very different is the view, in the same work, of van 
Manen of Ley den, the distinguished Dutch specialist, 
to whom the summary of the " Later Criticism " in the 

38 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

article " Paul " has been entrusted. Van Manen em 
phatically repudiates the genuineness not only of the 
Pastoral but of the whole of the rest of the Letters 
traditionally ascribed to Paul. Though the rest of 
the Letters do not immediately concern us in this 
study, it may be of interest very briefly to set down 
the general result of this later criticism ; for it is not 
the opinion of an isolated scholar, but the outcome of 
the studies of a school. I do this the more readily 
because it conflicts with my own previously expressed 
view that the ten Letters of the Marcionite collection 
were largely authentic. Van Manen writes : 

Van Manen " With respect to the canonical Pauline Epistles, the 
Literature. later criticism here under consideration has learned to 
recognise that they are none of them by Paul ; neither 
fourteen, nor thirteen, nor nine or ten, nor seven or 
eight, nor yet even the four so long universally re 
garded as unassailable." 

This criticism " is unable any longer in all simplicity 
to hold by the canonical Acts and epistles, or even to 
the epistles solely, or yet to a selection of them. The 
conclusion it has to reckon with is this : (a) That we 
possess no epistles of Paul ; that the writings which 
bear his name are pseudepigrapha containing seemingly 
historical data from the life and labours of the apostle, 
which nevertheless must not be accepted as correct 
without closer examination, and are probably, at least 
for the most part, borrowed from Acts of Paul which 
also underlie our canonical book of Acts. (I) Still less 
does the Acts of the Apostles give us, however incom 
pletely, an absolutely historical narrative of Paul s 
career ; what it gives is a variety of narratives con- 


cerning him, differing in their dates and also in respect 
of the influences under which they were written. 
Historical criticism must, as far as lies in its power, 
learn to estimate the value of what has come down 
to us through both channels, Acts and epistles, to 
compare them, to arrange them and bring them into 
consistent and orderly connection." 

That it will ever be able, on van Manen s lines, to 
bring these contradictory data into "consistent and 
orderly connection," we have but little hope ; for once 
the comparative genuineness of the main Pauline Letters 
is given up, there is no possible criterion left. How 
ever, the courageous attempt uncompromisingly to face 
the difficulties is the earnest of the dawn of a new age 
in Christian thought, and we ourselves ask for nothing 
better than that the facts should be faced. 

It results then from this view (again to quote van 
Manen) that " the Paulinism of the lost Acts of Paul 
and of our best authority for that way of thinking, 
our canonical epistles of Paul, is not the theology, 
the system of the historical Paul, although it ulti 
mately came to be, and in most quarters still is, 
identified with it. It is the later development of 
a school, or, if the expression is preferred, of a circle, 
of progressive believers who named themselves after 
Paul and placed themselves as it were under his 

Where this circle must be looked for geographically 
cannot be said with any certainty. This much, how 
ever, is evident, that : it was an environment where 
no obstruction was in the first instance encountered 
from the Jews or, perhaps still worse, from the 

40 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

disciples too closely resembling them; where men 
as friends of gnosis, of speculation and of mysticism, 
probably under the influence of Greek and, more 
especially, Alexandrian philosophy, had learned to 
cease to regard themselves as bound by tradition, 
and felt themselves free to extend their flight in 
every direction. To avail ourselves of a somewhat 
later expression : it was among the heretics. The 
epistles first came to be placed on the list among 
the Gnostics. The oldest witnesses to their exist 
ence, as Meyer and other critics with a somewhat 
wonderful unanimity have been declaring for more 
than half a century, are Basilides, Valentinus, 
Heracleon. Marcion is the first in whom, as we 
learn from Tertullian, traces are to be found of an 
authoritative group of epistles of Paul. Tertullian 
still calls him the apostle of heretics and (address 
ing Marcion) your apostle. " 

This latter view is confirmatory of our own con 
tention with regard to the important part played by 
the Gnostics in the development of general Christian 
doctrine, and we are pleased to notice the phrase " to 
avail ourselves of a somewhat later expression : it was 
among the heretics." 

But to return to our reference to Pilate in 1 Timothy. 
We see that there is no reason why we should assign an 
early date to this Letter, and every reason why we 
should hesitate to do so. Marcion (about 140 A.D.) 
says nothing about it ; it was not in his Pauline canon 
That is of course negative evidence, but of positive we 
have none. It may very well have existed, indeed most 
probably did exist, in Marcion s day, for his collection 


had to satisfy a doctrinal and not a historic test. Van 
Manen does not attempt to suggest dates for any of the 
individual Epistles, though he seems to date his " circle " 
about 120 ; he, moreover, assigns 130-150 to the Acts, a 
date which agrees with our own conclusions. For if, 
as we conclude, the third Gospel was written about 
125-130, and if the same hand, as many hold, also 
wrote the Acts, 130-150 may very well represent the 
termini of the date of that document s autograph. It 
is, however, to be remembered that Justin Martyr 
(c. 150) knows nothing of the Acts even when re 
ferring to Simon Magus, a reference which he could 
not have omitted had he known of it, and one which 
all subsequent heresiologists triumphantly set in the 
forefront of their " refutations " of that famous heretic ; 
and that there is no clear quotation from the Acts 
known till 177 A.D. 

In any case the reference in 1 Timothy cannot very 
well be held to be a less assailable witness to the an 
tiquity of the Pilate tradition, we will not say than the 
writer of the third Gospel, but than the author of his 
main " source." 

The strongest current of the tradition is traced in the The Pilate 
fact that the Pilate date is given confidently by all four the Gospels, 
evangelists. It matters little whether we place the date 
of the autograph of the fourth Gospel later than those of 
the synoptic writers, and assume that the writer of the 
former had the letter of the latter before him, or prefer 
to think that he had independent access to the same 
main sources. In either case his authority, as far as 
Pilate is concerned, will not presumably be held to 
rest on firmer ground than that of the author of the 

42 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

" common document," or " common material," or what 
ever we may call it, of the synoptic tradition. 1 

The widely-held view of the priority of Mark, or of 
" original Mark," labours under so many disadvantages 
that with many others I prefer the simpler hypothesis 
of a written source (distinct from our present Mark or 
its autograph) underlying the matter common to all 
three synoptics, the simplest form of which, however, is 
still preserved in canonical Mark. It is almost as cer 
tain as anything can be in all this uncertainty that 
Pilate was distinctly named in the form of this docu 
ment which all three evangelists used, and which the 
fourth Gospel writer also knew either directly or by 
intermediary of the writings of his contemporaries, for 
I do not hold that they were necessarily his prede 
cessors. But what is most striking is the abrupt and 
unsupported way in which the name of Pilate was 
apparently introduced in the " common document." It 
is true that the writer, or maybe an early editor, of the 
first Gospel seems to have felt compelled slightly to 
lessen this abruptness by adding " the governor " after 
the name Pilate, and that the writer of the fourth 
speaks first of the " government house." But the Mark 
and Luke documents make it appear that the common 
source they used was either setting forth some state 
ment that was well known to all, or that it had already 
made fuller reference to Pilate, perhaps in its opening 

1 See my recent work, " The Gospels and the Gospel : A Study in 
the most recent Results of the Lower and the Higher Criticism ; 
(London, 1902), in which I conclude for about 120-130 A.D. 
as the most probable date for the form in which we now have 


sentences. And this later hypothesis I find would be 
the opinion of van Manen, who, in his article on " Old 
Christian Literature," writes : 

" The gospels, on close comparison, point us back to The "Oldest" 
an oldest written gospel which unfortunately does Gospel, 
not exist for us except in so far as we can recover 
traces of it preserved in later recensions. Perhaps it 
began somewhat as follows: In the fifteenth year of 
the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being 
governor of Judaea, .... there came down to Caper 
naum .... Jesus . . . ." 

It is to be remarked, however, that Marcion s gospel 
apparently did not contain this introduction, but began 
abruptly " He came down to Capernaum." "Whether or 
no Marcion had direct access to the " common docu 
ment " used by our synoptists it is impossible to say ; 
but I am somewhat inclined to think that that docu 
ment originally derived from a " Gnostic " environment, 
and if we had any information concerning the " tra 
ditions of Matthias," the penultimate link between 
Basilido-Valentinian circles and the origins, we should 
probably be put on the track of the parentage of our 
common synoptic source. 

It is from considerations of this nature that I have 
not insisted upon the otherwise apparently equally 
strong confirmation of the date of Jesus in the fact 
that all four evangelists emphatically assert that 
He was a contemporary of John the Baptist, whose 
existence is historically vouched for by Josephus 
(" Antiqq.," xviii. v. 2) ; it might be said that John was 
not mentioned in this " oldest " written Gospel, and 
that the omission by the earlier writers of a factor 

44 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

which has been made so much of by all the later Gospel 
writers argues that it was not known in his day. My 
main interest has been to select the strongest link in 
the chain of tradition, namely the Pilate date. 

We have thus traced our Pilate tradition to the 
" common document " used by the synoptic evangelists. 
Beyond that we cannot go with any certainty ; the rest 
is pure speculation, in the absence of objective data of 
any kind. We cannot date the autograph of the 
common document ; we do not know whether it passed 
through any recensions before it reached the hands of 
the canonical evangelists ; we do not know whether it 
was originally written in Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic ; 
we do not know whether the synoptists worked on the 
copy of an original, or on a translation, or made their 
own translations ; we do not know what other con 
temporary documents were in existence, though it is 
quite certain, according to the statement of the writer 
of the third Gospel, that there were " many " others. 

Now it is to be noticed that the writer of the 
" common document," as seen in the simplest form 
preserved by Mark, puts all the blame of Jesus con 
demnation on the chief priests and says very little 
about Pilate. This is remarkable, for we know the 
bitter hatred of the Jews for the Eomans, and, what is 
still more to the point, we know from Josephus that 
the memory of Pilate especially was most bitterly 
detested by the Jews. 

On the other hand, in those days of political 
suspicion owing to the many revolutionary cabals 
among the Jews, it was exceedingly dangerous for a 
Jewish writer, or for those generally identified with the 


Jews, as the Christians still were, to speak against the 
Imperial rulers or their officers, and it was the custom 
of the writers of the very numerous politico-religious 
writings of the time, of which we have examples in the 
still extant specimens of pseudepigraphic and apoca 
lyptic literature, to disguise the real objects of their 
detestation by throwing their matter into prophetical 
form, where the present or immediate past was written 
of as yet to come, and where the names of the actual 
persons were altered or hidden under symbol and 

The direct mention of the name of Pilate in the The Date of 
" common document," then, seems to point to another mon DOCU- 
order of literature ; and it may be hazarded that per- ment -" 
haps it may even have been partially encouraged by 
the imperial favour so recently bestowed on Josephus 
" History of the Jewish War." But whatever validity 
there may be in such a speculation, the practical excul 
pation of Pilate seems to point to a time when 
Christianity was seeking to dissociate itself from Jewry 
in the eyes of the Eoman world. Can we in any way 
fix a probable date for this state of affairs ? It is very 
difficult to do so, but termini may be suggested. We 
glean from an analysis of history that up to at least 
the end of the first century the Christians were indis 
criminately classed with the Jews by the authorities. 
The Jews were the objects of frequent repression and 
persecution at the hands of the Roman magistracy ; but 
not on religious grounds. They were regarded as 
political revolutionaries. The antagonism between 
Jewish Christians and Jews is said by some learned 
Talmudists to have developed acutely only in Trajan s, 

46 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

reign (A.D. 98-117), 1 but the entire separation probably 
did not take place till Hadrian s (A.D. 117-138). In this 
they base themselves on Talmudic data. But how 
many years elapsed before the antagonism reached this 
acute stage ? We cannot say ; but we may with very 
great confidence fix the very latest limit for our 
common document in the first years of the second 
century. For our earliest limit, however, we have 
nothing to help us, except the consideration that the 
destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was a crushing 
blow to the hopes of those who looked for a material 
fulfilment of Messianic prophecy, and the very thing to 
strengthen the position of those who took a more 
spiritual view of Messianism, as was the case in the 
inner communities, and who were more content to bow 
to the inevitable and therefore to reconcile themselves 
with the rulers. 

The strength But even if we were to assume the higher limit of 
Tradl ~ our common document as about 75 A.D., at this com 
paratively early date, whatever may have been the 
rights of the dispute as to who was the more to blame 
for it, the death of Jesus under Pilate was a bald fact 
that could presumably have been most readily verified ; 
if it were untrue, it is most difficult to believe that it 
could have got a footing for a moment even among the 
most credulous. The bitter opponents of the Christians 
among the Jews would have at once retorted: Why, 
there was no such trial under Pilate at all ! 

1 See Joel (M.), " Blicke in die Religionsgeschiclite zu Anfang 
des zweiten christlichen Jahrhunderts " (Breslau ; 1880), i. 14-41, 
and ii. 87 ff. ; see also Graetz (H. IL), " Geschichte der Juden" 
(Leipzig ; 1865, 2nd. ed.), iv. 90 ff. 


On the other hand, the name of Pilate may have 
been inserted in some intermediate redaction of the 
" common document " before it reached the hands of the 
evangelists ; with the lapse of time, and the destruction 
of records, and the development of Christianity outside 
Palestine among the Dispersion, the difficulty of veri 
fication would thus be greatly increased. It might be 
even that the document originally simply stated that 
Jesus was brought before the " Governor," and the 
name of Pilate was subsequently added in a desire for 
greater precision, in the " haggadic " fashion of the time. 

Whatever may be the truth of the matter, the Pilate 
date has every appearance of being as strong an 
historical element as any other in the whole tradition. 
It bears on its face the appearance of a most candid 
statement, and the introduction of the name, had there 
been no warrant for it, argues such a lack of what we 
to-day consider historical morality, that it is without 
parallel except in the pseudepigraphic and apocalyptic 
literature of the period. 


The Absence IN our last chapter we dealt with the date of Jesus 
in the First according to the accepted canonical sources, and 
Century. endeavoured to track out the main strength of the 
tradition preserved by the synoptic writers. The re 
sult of this investigation was that the probabilities 
seemed to be strongly in favour of our possessing a 
historical fact in the statement that Jesus was a con 
temporary of Pilate. We now turn to a consideration 
of the earliest external evidence. 

It has always been an unfailing source of astonish 
ment to the historical investigator of Christian begin 
nings, that there is not one single word from the pen 
of any Pagan writer of the first century of our era, 
which can in any fashion be referred to the marvellous 
story recounted by the Gospel writers. The very exist 
ence of Jesus seems unknown. 

It can hardly be that there were once notices, but 
that they were subsequently suppressed by Christian 
copyists because of their hostile or even scandalous 
nature, for inimical notices of a later date have been 
preserved. The reason for this silence is doubtless to 
be discovered in the fact that Christianity was con- 


founded with Judaism, no distinction being made 
between them in the minds of non-Jewish writers. 
Converts to Christianity were held to be proselytes to 
Judaism, and it was a matter of no importance to a 
Roman what particular sect of Jewry a convert might 
join. Such a question as what particular phase of 
Messianism the Judsei might be agitated about never 
occurred to him ; circumcision or uncircumcision had 
no interest for him. He had a vague idea that the 
Judsei were a turbulent folk politically dangerous to 
the state, that they had a strange superstition and were 
haters of the human race, and there he left it. 

As, then, we can find nothing about the Christians 
in Pagan writers of the first century, we turn to our 
earliest notices of the second century as found in the 
writings of Pliny the Younger, Suetonius and Tacitus. 

All three were men who held imperial offices, were 
well known at court, and presumably had access to the 
archives of the empire. All three were distinguished 
writers and historians, and probably all three were 
personal friends. We know for a fact from his letters 
that Pliny and Tacitus were intimate friends, and also 
that Pliny and Suetonius were friendly correspondents. 

Pliny was born 61 A.D., his greatest literary activity 
was in the reign of Trajan, but as to whether or no he 
survived his imperial master (d. 117) we have no infor 
mation. Tacitus was of the same age as Pliny and 
survived Trajan, but the exact date of his death is un 
known. Suetonius was some ten years younger, beiiiLi 
born about 70-71 A.D. ; he was private secretary to 
Hadrian (emp. 117-138 A.D.), but the year of his death 
also is unknown. 

50 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Pliny the If we, then, first turn to the famous letter of Pliny 

to Trajan and to Trajan s reply (" Letters," x. 96, 97), 
we shall find much to interest us concerning the 
Christians of distant Pontus and Bithynia who came up 
for trial before Pliny as Propraetor, but nothing in 
either Pliny s report or in the presumed rescript of the 
Emperor that will give us the smallest clue to the date 
of Jesus. But even had we found in this correspond 
ence direct or indirect confirmation of the traditional 
date, we should still have had to consider the arguments 
of those who have contended either that both pieces are 
forgeries or that interpolations have been made in the 
original text. 1 If, however, we have a genuine letter 
of Pliny before us, and I am inclined to think it largely 
genuine, it is with very great probability to be assigned 
to the year 112 A.D. ; 2 but as the question of the date 
and genuineness of this correspondence does not 
immediately concern us (for in it we can find nothing 
to help our present investigation), we pass to the state 
ments of Suetonius. 

Suetonius. There are two short sentences in Suetonius " Lives 

of the Twelve Caesars " (from Julius Caesar to Domitian 
i.e., to 96 A.D.), both of which appear to refer to the 
Christians. In his Life of Claudius (emp. 41-54 A.D.) 
Suetonius tells us (ch. xxv.), that the Emperor banished 
the Jews, or certain Jews, from Eome because of the 

1 On the literature see Platner s (S. B.) " Bibliography of the 
Younger Pliny " (Western Reserve University, Ohio ; 1895); also 
Wilde (C. G. I.), S.J., " De 0. Plinii Caecilii Secundi et Imp. 
Trajani Epp. mutuis Disputatio" (Leyden ; 1889), who, while 
maintaining their genuineness, gives a summary of contrary 

2 See Mommsen (T.), " Hermes " (1869), iii. 53. 


persistent disturbances which arose among them 
" impulsore Chresto." 

For long fierce controversy has raged round these two 
words, which we may translate by the phrase " at the 
instigation of Chrestus " (lit., " Chrestus being the 
impulsor "). 

It is contended on strong philological grounds that 
this must refer to a living person. 1 It has thus been 
supposed by some to refer simply to a Jew called 
Chrestus who was then living at Eome ; but this seems 
to me to be a very unsatisfactory explanation. For we 
know that " Chrestus " is still sometimes found in MSS. 
where we should expect " Christus " ; we know further 
that Tertullian (" Apol.," iii.), at the beginning of the 
third century, accuses the Komans of so mispro 
nouncing the name of Christ, and from Lactantius 
(" Institt.," iv. 7), a century later, that it was still a 
common custom. 

It is not necessary here to enquire whether this 
confusion of Christus and Chrestus was really only an 
ignorant mistake on the part of non-Christians, or 
whether there may not be some further explanation of 
the phenomenon ; 2 an outsider like Suetonius would 
anyhow not be likely to know the difference, and so we 
may very well in this passage take Chrestus for Christus. 

1 See Smilda (H.), "C. Suetonii Tranquilli Vita Divi Claudii" 
(Groningen ; 1896), p. 124, n. ; also Schiller (H.), " Geschichte 
der romischen Kaiserzeit" (Gotha ; 1883), i. 447, n. 6. 

2 The most ancient dated Christian inscription (Oct. 1, 318 A.D.) 
runs "The Lord and Saviour Jesus the Good" Clirestos, not 
Christos. This was the legend over the door of a Marcionite 
Church, and the Marcionites were Anti-Jewish Gnostics, and did 
not confound their Chrestos with the Jewish Christos (Messiah). 

52 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

But even so we are confronted with the difficulty 
that according to the received tradition the Christian 
Christ was never at Eome, and did not survive to the 
reign of Claudius. 

Moreover, if it be argued that Suetonius does not 
employ the phrase " impulsore Chresto " literally, but 
intended it to carry a metaphorical meaning, even so 
we have to remember that Christus does not necessarily 
refer to Jesus. Christos is simply the Greek for the 
Hebrew Messiah, the "anointed," and at this period 
there were many claiming to be this " anointed." The 
reference may then be simply to a Messianic riot of 
some sort among the Jews. 1 

The "Chris- When, then, we come across the term " Christiani " 
in Pagan writers referring to disturbances of the first 
century, we are not to assume offhand that those thus 
designated must necessarily have been followers of 
Jesus of Nazareth ; they may on the contrary have been 
simply Jewish Messianists, and most probably of the 
Zealot type. And this may be argued to be the case 
when Suetonius, in the second of his famous sentences, 
in his Life of Nero (emp. 54-68), tells us (c. xvi.) that 
certain " Christiani " were severely punished or put 
to the torture ; these he characterises as " a class of 
people who believed in a new and noxious superstition." 
This might apply to Messianists, for the Eomans had 
been compelled to deal with many disturbances of this 
nature in Palestine in the reigns of Tiberius, Claudius 
and Nero, and doubtless tumults of a similar character 
had arisen among the Jews of the Dispersion as well. 

1 See Schiller (H.), " Geschichte des romischen Kaiserreichs unter 
der Regierung des Nero" (Berlin ; 1872), p. 434. 


But we cannot be sure that this is the meaning of 
Suetonius, even if the question were not rendered far 
more complicated by what is found in Tacitus on the 
subject. Least of all can we dispose of the difficulty 
by assuming that the two sentences in Suetonius are 
interpolations by a Christian hand, for it is almost 
impossible to believe that any Christian could have 
used such phraseology. 

We, therefore, finally turn to the famous passage in Tacitus. 
Tacitus (" Ann.," xv. 44), where we find it clearly stated 
that the Christians were so called from a certain 
Christus who in the reign of Tiberius was put to death 
under Pontius Pilate. This statement occurs in a brief 
but graphic account of the horrible cruelties which 
these Christiani are said to have suffered under Nero. 
It was in connection with the Great Fire at Eome in 
64 A.D. Tacitus will have it that it was commonly 
believed at the time that the conflagration had been 
started by the express orders of the Emperor himself. 
To divert the public mind and remove this imputation, 
Nero had singled out the Christiani to play the part of 
scapegoat, seeing that they were held in general detesta 
tion for their evil practices. They were accused, put to 
the torture, condemned and done to death with refine 
ments of cruelty. 

From the time of Gibbon, however, it has been 
strongly questioned whether at that date Christians 
were numerous enough at Eome to have been so singled 
out, and it has been accordingly maintained that tho 
fury of the populace had been vented simply on the 
Jews in general, seeing that the fire had broken out in 
their quarter ; in short, that Tacitus is in error and has 

54 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

transferred the popular detestation of the Christians in 
his own day to the times of Nero. 

In this connection we have to recall the short 
sentence in Suetonius which apparently refers to the 
same event when we read Tacitus, but which seems to 
have nothing to do with it when we read Suetonius. We 
can further speculate as to whether Suetonius may 
have derived his information from Tacitus, or Tacitus 
may have embellished the statement of Suetonius. 1 But 
surely if Suetonius had had the passage of Tacitus 
before him, and had believed in his great contemporary s 
view of the matter, he would have made more use of 
his graphic details ? It seems far more probable that 
Suetonius is reproducing the dry bones of some brief 
official record, while Tacitus, in working out a character 
sketch of Nero from insufficient data, and with a strong 
prejudice against him. has collected together unrelated 
events, and painted them in with the gaudiest colours 
of a vivid imagination excited by some tragic stories he 
had heard concerning the Christians of a later time and 
of his own day. 2 

But it is not so much the persecution of Christiani 

1 Schmiedel (art. " Christian, Name of," " Enc. Bib.") gives the 
date of the passage in Tacitus as 116-117, and of those in Suetonius 
as 120 A.D., but this is unproved. 

2 See Bruno Bauer, "Christus und die Caesaren: Der Ursprung 
des Christenthums aus dem romischen Griechenthum " (Berlin ; 
1879 ; 2nd ed.). That in general Tacitus is a historical romancist 
who has too long fascinated schoolmasters and their pupils by the 
beauty of his style, and not a sober historian, is an accepted judg 
ment among competent historical scholars. See especially Tarver 
(J. C.), "Tiberius the Tyrant" (London; 1902) ; Tarver gives a 
totally different estimate of Tiberius from the caricature of Tacitus, 
to whom the good fame of an anti-senatorial emperor was of far 
less importance than the neat turning of a phrase. 


under Nero that concerns us, as the explicit statement 
that the Christian! whom Tacitus has in mind, were the 
followers of that Christus who was put to death under 
Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. If this state 
ment is from the pen of Tacitus, and if it was based 
on information derived from Eoman records, there is 
nothing more to be said. The positive answer to our 
question has been found, and the accepted date of Jesus 
stands firm. 

The famous sentence runs as follows : " Auctor nominis Is it a Chris- 

rn j. m-T~ . tian Formula ? 

ejus Clvristus Ziberw impentante per procuratorem 
Pentium Pilatum supplicio affectus erat" 

Let us first of all assume its genuineness, that is that 
we have before us a sentence written by Tacitus himself. 
Even so, it is very difficult to persuade oneself that the 
statement is derived from some official Eoman record. 
On the contrary it has all the appearance of being part 
of a Christian formula. Surely in an official record we 
should not have the name of Pilate introduced with no 
further qualification than simply that of Procurator. 
Procurator of what ? " In the reign of Tiberius under 
Pilate the Governor" would mean something definite 
to a Christian, for he would know that the whole story of 
Christus had to do with Judsea, but to a Eoman the 
phrase would convey nothing of a very precise nature. 
Later on in the Tacitean narrative it is true we are told 
the Christian sect arose in Judaea, but on the other 
hand we must remember that it is just this sudden 
" Pilate the Governor " which meets us in our investi 
gation of the synoptic tradition, as we showed in our 
last chapter. It might then (if the sentence is genuine) 
be of interest to determine the date of writing of this 

56 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

part of the " Annals," but this is impossible to do with 
any exactitude. It seems, however, probable that it 
was written subsequently to 117 A.D., a date when the 
Pilate formula was indubitably firmly established 
among Christian circles. 

It is also to be noticed that Tacitus seems to know 
nothing of the name of Jesus; and it is exceedingly 
improbable that in any official record the proper name 
of the person would be omitted, and a name used which 
officials familiar with Palestinian affairs must have 
known to be a general title which was at that time 
being claimed by many. Moreover, Jesus was not, 
according to the canonical tradition, accused of being a 
claimant to Messiahship, a matter which did not con 
cern the Eoman magistrates, but with the political 
offence of claiming to be King of the Jews. It is then 
far more probable that Tacitus derived his information 
from hearsay, and imagined that Christus was the 
actual and only name of the founder of the Christian 

Is it an Inter- But all these considerations depend upon the assump 
tion that we have a genuine sentence of Tacitus before 
us. Now it has been often pointed out that " Tiberio 
imperitante " is entirely opposed to all Tacitean usage. 
It cannot be paralleled elsewhere in his vocabulary, 
and moreover is contrary to regular use. The early 
Emperors were still regarded solely as heads of the 
Eepublic, and as such were called Principes ; we should, 
therefore, expect " Principe Tiberio," or some such com 
bination. Philological arguments, however, as a rule, 
are seldom very convincing; but it is not very easy 
to dispose of the present one offhand. The sentence, 


moreover, has a strong appearance of being inserted in 
the rest of the narrative. Many, therefore, consider it 
an interpolation, and some even are of opinion that the 
whole of the chapter is a fabrication. As Hochart 
says : " This chapter contains almost as many inexplic 
able difficulties as it does words." 1 

But this laborious scholar represents the extreme 
left wing of Tacitean criticism, and valuable as is his 
work in bringing out the difficulties which have to be 
surmounted before we can be positive that the whole 
chapter under discussion (much more then the sen 
tence which specially interests us) is not, as he con 
tends, 2 an interpolation, his authority is somewhat 
weakened by his subsequent lengthy researches, 3 in 
which he courageously revived the whole question of 
the authenticity of the famous MS., purporting to 
contain the last six books of the "Annals" and the 
first five of the " Histories " of Tacitus, which was first 
brought to light about 1429 by Poggio Bracciolini and 
Niccoli the sole MS. from which all copies have since 
been made. Hochart maintains that in the very 
learned humanist Poggio himself we have a Pseudo- 
Tacitus, and that in these books of the " Histories " and 
" Annals " we are therefore face to face with an elabo 
rate pseudepigraph. 

1 " Annales de la Faculte des Lettres de Bordeaux," 1884, No. 2. 

2 Hochart (P.), " Etudes au Sujet de la Persecution des Chretiens 
sous Neron" (Paris; 1885). For arguments in favour of its 
genuineness see Arnold (C. F.), "Die neronische Christenverfol- 
gung" (Leipzig; 1888). 

3 " De I Authenticite des Aunales et des Histoiree de Tacite " 
(Paris ; 1890), p. 320 ; and " Nouvelles Considerations au Sujet 
des Annales et des Histoires de Tacite" (Paris ; 1894), p. 293. 

58 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

On the whole, however, I am inclined to think that 
the strain of supporting this conclusion is too great for 
even the most robust scepticism (though it may be that 
stranger things have happened in literature). In any 
case it does not affect the main point of our argument 
namely, that, admitting the genuineness of the 
chapter and even of the sentence which specially 
concerns our enquiry, we cannot be sure that we have 
in it a confirmation of the canonical tradition of the 
Pilate date from an independent source. 

Josephus. We have, then, passed in review our earliest notices 

in the works of Pagan writers of the second century, 
and may next turn our attention to that Jewish writer 
of the first century who above all others might be 
expected to supply us with the certainty of which we 
are in search. 

Joseph ben Mattatiah, the priest, or, to use the name 
he adopted in honour of the Flavian House, Flavius 
Josephus, was born 37-38 A.D. and survived till at least 
100 A.D. His father Matthias was a member of one of 
the high priestly families, was learned in the Law and 
held in high repute in Jerusalem. Matthias was thus 
a contemporary of Pilate, and should therefore have 
been an eye-witness of those wonderful events in 
Jerusalem which the Gospel narratives so graphically 
depict in connection with the death of Jesus ; he might 
even have been expected to have taken part in them ; 
at the very least he could not have failed to have heard 
of them if they actually occurred in the way in which 
they are described. 

Josephus, if we can accept his own account of himself, 
was from his earliest years^trained in the Law and had 


an insatiable love of religious learning. When he was 
but fourteen years old, he tells us, the high priests and 
doctors used to come to ask him questions on difficult 
points of the Torah and its traditions. This may of 
course refer simply to his wonderful memory, in the 
exercise of which for the most part such learning 
consisted ; but over and beyond this, we are told, he 
was most eagerly anxious to know and practise the 
inner side of religion, and busily enquired into the 
tenets of all the sects of Jewry. For three years he 
retired to the desert, apparently to some Essene-like 
community, and submitted himself to its vigorous 
discipline. In 64 A. D., at the age of twenty-six, we 
find him at Rome interested in obtaining the freedom 
of some friends of his, priests who even in prison 
refused all Gentile fare and managed to support them 
selves on the ascetic diet of figs and nuts. 

During the Jewish War Josephus was given the 
important command of Galilee, and displays an intimate 
knowledge of the country in which, according to the 
Gospel tradition, was the chief scene of the ministry of 
Jesus. As a self-surrendered prisoner in the hands of 
the Eomans he played a very important part in the 
hastening of the end of the war, and was subsequently 
held in high estimation by the rulers of the Empire 
and devoted himself to writing a history of his people 
and an account of the war. Many additional reasons 
could be adduced, but enough has already been said to 
show why Josephus, who might be called the " historian 
of the Messianic age," is just the very writer who might 
be expected to tell us something decisive about the 
Christians and their origins. Nor can the detestation 

60 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

of the Jews for the memory of the " traitor," which 
makes them still regard every line of his writings about 
those days with exaggerated suspicion, in any way 
lessen the authority of Josephus in this respect ; for 
the complaint of Christians against him is not that he 
misrepresents them or their beginnings, but that he 
absolutely ignores their existence. 
The Spurious It is true that we have that famous passage in his 


" Antiquities " (xviii. iii. 3) which amply and doctrinally 
confirms the Gospel tradition ; but how a so transparent 
forgery could have escaped detection in even the most 
uncritical age is a marvel. For many years it has been 
abandoned by all schools of criticism, even the most 
conservative, and we have only to turn to any modern 
translation or text to find it definitely characterised as 
an interpolation or enclosed in brackets. 1 It is not 
only that we are confronted with upwards of a dozen 
most potent arguments against its authenticity, but that 
we have also the explicit statement of Origen in the third 
century that Josephus (with whose works he was ac 
quainted, and whom he is quoting to prove the historic 
existence of John the Baptist) had no belief whatever 
in Jesus being the Christ, 2 whereas the spurious 
passage states categorically that he was the Christ. 
Nevertheless, there are still a few daring scholars who, 
while admitting that it is heavily interpolated, en- 

1 See, for instance, F. Kaulen s German translation, "Flavius 
Josephus jiidische AltertMmer " (Koln ; 1892, 3rd ed.), p. 620, n. ; 
and B. Niese s critical text, " Flavii Josephi Opera" (Berlin; 
1890), iv. pp. 151, 152. The most recent French translation, edited 
by T. Reinach, " (Euvres completes de Flavius Josephe " (Paris ; 
1900), has so far given us only five books of the " Antiquities." 

2 Origen, " Contra Celsum," i. 47. 


deavour to save some fragments of the passage, 1 and 
even one stalwart apologist who maintains its complete 
genuineness. 2 

But if there be anything certain in the whole field of The Jacobus 
criticism, it is that this passage was never written by Passage - 
Josephus. And this being so, the reference (in 
" Antiqq.," xx. ix. 1) to a certain Jacobus, " the brother 
of Jesus called Christ," constitutes the only reference 
to Jesus in the voluminous writings of Josephus which 
Origen could discover ; but unfortunately the statement 
of Origen casts grave doubts upon the words " brother of 
Jesus called Christ, 3 for he twice 3 declares that Josephus 
describes the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction 
of the Temple as a divine retribution for the murder of 
this James a most highly improbable opinion to father 
upon Josephus, and no trace of which is to be found 
either in the passage in which the phrase we are con 
sidering now stands, or in the rest of Josephus works. 
It is therefore exceedingly probable that this epithet 
was taken from Origen and incorporated into the text 
of Josephus by later scribes. These being the only 
references that can be adduced in the voluminous 
writings of the Jewish historian, it follows that Josephus 
knows nothing of " the Christ," though he knows much 
of various " Christs." 

Though the argument from silence must in all cases The Silence 
be received with the greatest caution, it cannot fail 

1 See Miiller (G. A.), " Cliristus bei Josephus Flavins" (\\\\\*- 
briick ; 1895, 2nd cd.) ; and Reinach (T.), "Rev. Etud. Jin 
xxxv. 1-18. 

2 Bole (F.), "Flavius Josephus iiber Christus und die Christen" 
(Brixen ; 1896). 

3 Origen, " Contra Celsum," i. 47, ii. 13. 

62 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

deeply to impress us in the case of Joseph ben Matta- 
tiah ; for it is almost humanly impossible that, if the 
details of the Christian tradition and the affairs of the 
Christian world had been historically in the time of 
Josephus just what they are stated to have been in our 
canonical documents, the historian of that special age 
and country could have kept silence concerning them. 
If these things were just as they are said to have been, 
there is no convincing reason that we can assign for 
the silence of a man who, like Josephus, was in a most 
admirable position to know about them. 

Josephus had been trained in an Essene-like com 
munity and seems even to have gone to Borne in 
" Essene " interests. He is just the man to tell us of 
those early Christian communities which were formed 
on models closely resembling those of the Pious and 
the Poor and the Naked. He goes to Home just when 
Paul is also said to have been there, and no doubt was 
there, and just about the time when, if we are to believe 
Tacitus, the Christiani were singled out for public perse 
cution and cruel martyrdom by Imperial tyranny ; and 
yet he knows nothing of all this. With regard to the 
ministry and death of Jesus it might be said that all 
this had happened before Josephus was born, though 
surely it might be expected that his father would have 
told him of such stirring, nay overwhelming, events ; 
still it is strange that with regard to the gruesome 
tragedy at Kome he apparently knows not even so much 
as of a community of Christians. 

Was, then, the story in those days other than we 
have it now ? Were the origins of Christianity, as we 
have elsewhere suggested, hidden among the pledged 


members of the mystic communities and ascetic orders, 
and only imperfectly known among their outer circles, 
which were also largely held to secrecy ? Was it all 
of older date than we are accustomed to regard it ? 
Who shall say with utter confidence ? The silence of 
Josephus permits us to speculate, but gives us no 
answer to our questionings. It may be even that some 
items of what the Jewish writer tells us of other 
leaders of sects and claimants to Messiahship may have 
been conflated and transformed later on by our Gospel 
writers or their immediate predecessors, and so used to 
fill out the story of a life for which they had but little 
historic data. But this is a delicate and obscure subject 
of research which requires new treatment. 1 

We thus see that, as far as our present enquiry is 
concerned, we can obtain no positive help from any 
Pagan or Jewish writer of the first century, or for that 
matter of the first quarter of the second. It remains to 
enquire whether from the fragments of extra-canonical 
gospels or the remains of Old-Christian traditions and 
from the apocrypha generally we can get any help. 

If the general learned opinion on this literature, or 
at any rate on all of it which in any way makes 
mention of the Herod or Pilate dates, holds good, 
namely, that it is later than our Gospels, then we have 
nothing to help us. 

But the recent brilliant study of Corirady 2 on the The "Book 
" Book of James," commonly called the " Protevangelium " 

1 See the attempt of Solomon (G.), " The Jesus of History and 
the Jesus of Tradition Identified" (London ; 1880). 

2 Conrady (L.), " Die Quelle der kanonischen Kindheitsgeschichte 
Jesus " (Gottingen ; 1900). 

64 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

(the name given to it by Postel, who first brought it to 
light in the sixteenth century), the original of which is 
already admitted by some to reach back as far as the 
middle of the second century, opens up a question 
which, if answered in the affirmative, " would mean a 
complete revolution of our views on the canon and of 
the origins of Christianity." 1 Conrady believes that 
he has demonstrated that in some of their details of 
the history of the infancy our first and third evangelists 
borrow from a common source, and that this source is 
no other than our extant " Protevangelium." He would 
have it that this " Book of James " is of Egyptian origin. 
The author was not a Jewish Christian, but most 
probably an Egyptian and an Alexandrian. It is to be 
hoped that Conrady may follow up his excursion into 
this field of investigation by other researches of a similar 
nature ; and since he has raised the presumption that 
we have in the " Protevangelium " one of the " many " 
Gospel writings referred to in the introduction of the 
third Gospel, we may glance through the literature, 2 
other than that of the distinct Pilate apocrypha, for a 
reference to Pilate. 

The " Gospel This we shall find only in the so-called " Gospel of 
Peter," a considerable fragment of which relating to the 
passion and death of Jesus was discovered in a tomb at 
Akhmim in 1885 and first published in 1892. Much has 
been written during the last ten years on this interesting 

1 See Nicliol s review of Conrady s (book in "The Critical 
Review " (London), January, 1902. 

2 See Preuschen (E.), " Antilegomena : Die Reste der ausser- 
kanonischen Evangelien und urchristlichen Ueberlieferungen " 
(Giessen; 1901). 


fragment, but the general opinion of scholars is that the 
writer shows a knowledge of all our four Gospels. If, 
however, the original of this fragment could be shown 
to be older than our Gospels (a most difficult under 
taking), it would also rank among the "many." 
Although agreeing substanially with our Gospel accounts, 
it differs very considerably in its more abundant details 
from the simple narrative of the " common document," 
and is strongly Docetic, that is to say, represents Jesus 
as suffering only in appearance. Its Gnostic character, 
however, in this respect (for as I have shown elsewhere 1 
the origin of Docetism does not depend on purely 
doctrinal considerations) does not, in my opinion, 
necessarily point to a late date, though its elaboration of 
detail seems to argue a later development of tradition 
as compared with the simplicity of the narrative of the 
"common document." On the other hand it may be 
that the "common document" had already begun the 
process of " selection." 

Finally in this connection we may have to pay more at- The " Acts of 
tention to the so-called " Gospel of Nicodemus " or " Acts 
of Pilate," the first thirteen chapters of which describe 
the trial of Jesus before Pilate, the condemnation, cruci 
fixion and resurrection, substantially in agreement with 
our canonical Gospels, but containing many other details 
not found elsewhere. Though the present form of these 
Acts is not earlier than the fourth century, the question 
of there being what the Germans call a G-rundsclirift 
of a comparatively very early date underlying them 
has recently been raised by Eendel Harris in an exceed- 

1 "Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" (London; 1900), p. 


66 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

ingly interesting monograph, 1 in which he pleads for a 
new investigation of the subject, on the ground that he 
has detected traces of a Homeric Gospel under the 
Greek text of our " Acta," that is to say a Gospel story 
patched together out of verses of the great Homeric 
literature. Among many other points of interest, he 
thinks he has shown that in the passage where Joseph 
begs the body of Jesus from Pilate, "that Pilate has 
been turned into Achilles, that Joseph is the good old 
Priam, begging the body of Hector, and that the whole 
story is based upon the dramatic passages of the twenty- 
fourth book of the Iliad"; and in favour of his hy 
pothesis it must be said that we certainly know from 
the Sibylline literature that Jewish writers long prior to 
the first century of our era used Homeric verses for 
similar purposes. 

Professor Harris thus contends that such a Homeric 
Gospel may have existed prior to Justin Martyr (c. 
150), and so this famous apologist, when in his " Dialogue 
with Trypho " (cc. 102, 103) he twice refers to certain 
" Acts of Pilate," may be saved from the now generally 
endorsed imputation that his wish solely was father 
to his statement. Justin may have had this much 
ground for his assertion that there was in existence the 
G-rundschrift of our "Acta," though of course these 
" Acta " were by no means the official Eoman reports 
which he seems to have believed them to be. 

The subject is a fascinating one, but will not help us 
much in our present enquiry ; for granting the exist 
ence of the underlying document, and also its Homeric 

1 Kendel Harris (J.), " The Homeric Centones and the Acts of 
Pilate "(London; 1898). 


nature, thus accounting for its strange conflation of 
miracles and events (separately recorded in our canonical 
Gospels), by the necessity of the vague and general 
nature of the verse-tags which had to be employed by 
the Centonist it argues a later date than our Gospels. 1 

It will thus be seen that our review of the earliest 
external evidence for the date of Jesus, even when we 
take into consideration the most unusual lines of research, 
leaves us with nothing so distinct as does the result of 
the analysis of the tradition of our canonical Gospels. 
The argument for the authenticity of the Pilate tradition 
centres round the obscure question of the date of the 
"common document." The earlier we can push this 
back the greater is the probability of the genuineness of 
the tradition. 

We will next turn our attention to the Talmud Jeschu 
stories, but before doing so it will be advisable to give 
the general reader some idea of the Talmud itself, and 
to append some further necessary preliminaries. 

1 It is to be hoped, however, that the new edition of the " Acts of 
Pilate," which is being prepared by Dr. Ernst von Dobschiitz for 
the great Berlin collection of early Church documents, will throw 
some new light on the subject. 


The Real Con- IT is perhaps not too much to say that the Talmud has 
Jewry. been the chief means whereby the Jews have preserved 

themselves as a nation ever since the time of the final 
destruction of their Temple, and the extinction of the 
last shred of their political independence, until the 
present day. The Talmud is the chief embodiment of 
that mysterious power which has kept alive the peculiar 
spirit of Jewry, and never permitted Israel to forget 
that it was a people apart. 

It is the Talmud which beyond all else has established 
the norm of life for the Jew ; for it is the repository of 
that multitude of rules of conduct and laws of custom 
(Halachoth), which the Kabbis, with a bewildering 
ingenuity (which though intensely serious is frequently 
a strangely perverse casuistic), deduced from the Law 
that Torah, which the Jews, in every fibre of their 
being, believed had been given by God Himself, who 
had chosen their fathers from out the nations and 
for ever bound them to Himself by a special pact and 

But over and beyond this the Talmud is a vast store 
house of the strangest mixture of wise saws and witty 
sayings, of legend and folk-lore and phantasy, parable 


and story, homily and allegory, magic and superstition, 1 
to be compared to nothing so much as to some seething 
bazaar of the Orient, where all sorts and conditions of 
wisdom and folly swarm together and are blended in 
inextricable confusion. 

The most convenient point of departure for a brief 
excursion into the domain of systematised Talmudic 
beginnings 2 is the period from 70 to 200 A.D., which 
marks the first definite attempts at arrangement (for 
codification would give the reader a too precise idea of 
its confused nature) of those rules of custom which 
constitute the oldest deposit of the existing Talmud in 
both its forms. 

The fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. deprived the Jews of The Psycho- 
even that comparative political independence which they Moment, 
had previously possessed. It was a terrible blow to the 
hopes of the nation, especially to all those who looked 
for a material fulfilment of the many promises in the 
sacred rolls which bore the names of their ancient 
prophets that if they kept the Law, and were true to 
their covenant with Yahweh, all enemies should be 
placed in subjection under their feet. And now not 
only was the Holy City destroyed and the Elect of the 
earth prostrate before the hated power of idolatrous 
Rome, but the Holy Temple itself, the chief means, as 
they then believed, whereby they were to carry out 
their covenant, was a heap of ruins ! 

It was indeed a terribly tragic moment even in the 
history of a people inured to tragedy in the past and 

1 The Haggadic as contrasted with the Halachic element. 

2 The material itself of the oldest deposit of the Talmud being, of 
course, of still earlier date. 

70 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

destined to a future replete with tragic terrors. It is 
true that even so the spirit of the Zealots 1 was not yet 
broken ; they were yet stubbornly to essay the fortune 
of arms in Trajan s time in the opening years of the 
first century, and again in the desperate attempt of 
Bar Kochba in the closing years of Hadrian s reign 
(132-135 A.D.). But with the final shattering of their 
hopes of a material Messianic victory by the crushing 
defeat of their champion, even the most irreconcilable 
were forced to abandon the unequal struggle. 

The Study of One thing alone remained to save out of the general 
ruin in Palestine the treasure of the Law. This 
desolation, they were convinced, had come upon them 
because they had not rightly kept their covenant with 
Yahweh. To the keeping of this bond they would now 
devote all their remaining strength. The " Study " of 
the Law should be the means of their future deliverance. 
From this determination, into which they threw all 
the perseverance of their stubborn nature, there resulted 
a marvellous enthusiasm for collecting and preserving 
the traditions of their predecessors concerning the Law, 
and of still further developing an infinity of rules of 
conduct and laws of custom to meet all the diverse 
changes and chances of Jewish life. 

By the end of the second century what were at that 
time held to be the more authoritative early traditions 
emerged in a final definitely fixed form the Mishna. 

1 They were, so to speak, the national fanatics who appealed to 
the arbitrament of arms, to Yahweh as God of Battles, and by no 
means a " philosophical sect," as Josephus would have it, except in 
so far as religion and politics were one for them. See Bousset ( W.), 
"Die Religion des Judentums im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter " 
(Berlin, 1903), pp. 187, 188. 


This was the nucleus of our present Talmud, the skeleton, 
so to say, round which the industry of the next three 
centuries built up the study of the Law into its full 
development by completing the Mishna with the 

And indeed it seems almost as though it required The Need of 
that something of this kind should have been done if ltf 
the Jews were to be preserved to play the important 
part they have played, and doubtless have still to play, 
in Western history. For had it not been for the 
e^ger zeal for this Study displayed by the Palestinian 
Rabbis of the first two centuries of our era, it is very 
probable that the Jews would have been entirely ab 
sorbed in the nations. It was a period when in Baby 
lonia the descendants of the Jews who had contentedly 
remained behind at the time of the Eeturn (and they 
h those days constituted the majority of the nation), 
had almost entirely forgotten the Law and its traditions ; 
from what we can make out of the dim historical 
indications, they seem to have been almost utterly 
ignorant of that for which they subsequently became 
so famous. In Egypt, again, where very large numbers 
of the Hebrews were permanently settled, Greek culture 
md Alexandrian mysticism had gradually weakened 
yhe old exclusiveness ; philosophy arid cosmopolitanism 
had greatly sapped the strength of pure legalism and 
narrow materialism, and the crude objectivity of ancient 
legend and myth had long been allegorised into subtler 
forms more suited to immediate intellectual and 
spiritual needs. The same factors were doubtless at 
work elsewhere in the Diaspora or Dispersion of Israel, 
while even in Palestine itself the influence of the 

72 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

numerous communities and associations who looked 
to a more universal view of things had been so 
strengthened by the crushing disaster which had be 
fallen the nation, that the forces of rigid conservatism 
were being weakened in every direction, and the idess 
of an Israel of God to be formed out of the Righteous 
of the world, irrespective of race, seemed to threaten 
the very existence of Jewry as a nation apart. 
The Fathers Indeed I am by no means certain that there was any 
xy widespread orthodoxy in Jewry prior to the days of 
Mishnaic Rabbinism ; these Rabbis seem to me to ha\e 
played for Judaism the same part that the Church 
Fathers played for " Mcene " Christianity ; they 
established a canon and an orthodoxy. Prior to th;s 
there was an exceeding great liberty of belief ; many even 
rejected the Temple-cultus, at any rate as far as the 
sacrifices were concerned ; there was no general canon 
of scripture, saving the Pentateuch, and even this, as 
we shall see later on, was called into question by many; 
not only so, but even the Temple at Jerusalem was nol 
then regarded as the only place where the national cultue 
could be practised, for in Egypt in the vicinity of the 
traditional land of Goshen, the Jews had a temple 
wherein they worshipped Yahweh for more than two 
hundred years (circa B.C. 160-A.D. 7 1). 1 

As the Talmudic Rabbis created an orthodoxy by 
developing the Pharisaic traditions, so did their con 
temporaries, the Massoretic Textualists, stereotype the 
text of the Torah. At first the Greek translation of 
the Jews in Egypt had been regarded as equally inspired 

1 Ginsburg (C. D.), " Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical 
Edition of the Hebrew Bible " (London ; 1897), pp. 404, 405. 


with the original on which it was based; but in 
Mishnaic days, after the rise of Christianity which 
adopted this translation as its scripture, the day on 
which the Septuagint translation was made was 
regarded by the Eabbis as a day of mourning. The 
Massorah tradition of the text differs widely from the 
Samaritan and from the original on which the version 
of the so-called Seventy was made from the third 
century B.C. onwards, as may be seen from Ginsburg s 
monumental work. From all sides, then, we have proof 
that what we call Judaism to-day was not necessarily 
what Judaism was in the first century before our era, or 
even in the first century of our era. 

Indeed it seems most highly probable that the The Great 
strongest factor which helped to intensify Talmudic, 
that is to say " orthodoxising," activity was the rapid 
spread of general Christianity, on its emergence from 
an embryonic stage in which it was hidden in the womb 
of communities of a somewhat similar nature to those 
of the Therapeuts. More than ever was it necessary 
to put a fence round the Torah, that the Law should be 
preserved by Jews, as Jews, for Jews, when, by means 
of the ceaseless propaganda of Christianity of all 
shades, the Gentiles seemed to be robbing the Hebrews 
of their birthright of their Law and their Prophets and 
their Holy Writ. The main claims of the Christians on 
behalf of their Founder, so argued the Eabbis, were 
based on mistranslation and misinterpretation of the 
sacred scriptures of their race. More than ever was it 
necessary to preserve these writings in their original 
tongue and purity, and to strengthen the tradition of 
the authoritative interpretation of their fathers. So 

74 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

thought the Rabbis, and unweariedly they laboured to 
make strong their special tradition and develop it. 
The Evolution It is to this period that we owe the formulation of 

of Tradition. 

many vague, floating opinions and dim reminiscences 
into distinct and rigid formularies, and the selection 
out of many contradictory traditions of a view that 
should constitute " the tradition." Nay, sometimes the 
bitterness of controversy brought to birth " traditions " 
which had had no previous existence. Just as the 
industry and high literary ability of the Sopherim, from 
the time of Ezra (about 440-400 B.C. 1 ) to the days of 
the apocalyptic scribe or scribes of Daniel (about 164 
B.C.), and even later, gradually evolved out of originally 
very scanty materials a grandiose tradition of pre- 
exilic greatness, priestly legalism, sonorous prophecy, 
and splendid hymnody, 2 so did the Eabbis of the first 
Talmudic period, 70-200 A.D., the Tanaim, legalise the 
tradition evolved by their immediate predecessors, 
that all these gradually developed scriptures were not 
only written throughout by those archaic worthies 
whose names they bear, and immediately inspired by 
the Holy Spirit, but that Yahweh himself had given to 
Moses the five books of the Torah proper written by 
His own hand. It is on this fundamental presupposition 
that the whole of the Halachic development of the 
Talmud is based. These norms of conduct and laws of 
custom are founded on the Torah, expanded to include 
all three divisions of the " Books " or " Holy Books," 

1 The traditional date of Ezra s " promulgation " of the Law is 
444, but as late as 397 has been argued for. 

2 For the latest remarks on the development of Scribism see 
Bousset, op. cit., pp. 139. " Die Theologen." 


Law, Prophets, and Hagiographa (or Holy Writings), 1 as 
upon infallible revelation from Deity Himself, extend 
ing to every word and letter. 

In brief, the Eabbis would have it that the canon of 
the Old Covenant revelation ceased with Ezra, whereas 
modern scientific research has shown that in the highest 
probability it only began with that famous scribe. For 
the Eabbis of Palestine and Babylonia, 2 then, there 
was no prophet after Malachi; prophecy and direct 
inspiration had ceased with Ezra ; from that time they 
would admit no addition to the Law, they acknowledged 
the authority of no subsequent prophet and of no 
subsequent scripture. It was for them a question only 
of the correct tradition of interpretation, and logical 
development of what had been once for all infallibly 
laid down. They were to vindicate the authority of 
the schoolmen and legalists against the claims of 
subsequent prophecy and apocalyptic of all kinds, and 
to do so they could find authority for their authority 
solely in the " Oral Law." 

An exceedingly interesting glimpse behind the scenes A Glimpse 
of scripture industry, before it was stereotyped by the e t 
enactments of Talmudic Eabbinism, is afforded by a 
study of " The Book of Jubilees," which was included in 
the Alexandrian canon. This interesting expansion of 
Genesis was written about 135-105 B.C. 3 We have 
therefore before us a document which by a slight 

1 Torah, Nebiini, Ketubim. 

2 The Jews of Alexandria had a far more extended canon. 

3 See Charles (R. H.), "The Book of Jubilees or the Little 
Genesis" (London; 1902). The traditional Christian title Little 
Genesis is a misnomer, as Jubilees is far more voluminous than 
canonical Genesis ; it should rather be called the " Detailed Genesis." 

76 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

divergence of the wheel of fate might have been included 
in the Bible, for when we see such a book as Chronicles 
(a Haggadic tendency writing of the second century 
B.C., which wrote up Kings and Samuel in the interests 
of later priestly views) included in the canon, and 
observe that Jubilees treats the matter of Genesis and 
Exodus in precisely the same fashion, in the interests 
of a still later and more developed priestly view than 
that of the Chronicles redactor in revising Kings and 
Samuel, we see the making of scripture in the work 
shop and the continuation of the industry by the 
fellowship of the same writing guild, attended by very 
great success, and only just failing to obtain a place in 
the Palestinian canon. 

The Evidence The Jubilees writer was thoroughly ashamed of 
of Jubilees, many of the crudities of the Ezra redaction of Genesis 
and Exodus, and rewrote the whole matter to suit the 
views of his own day and circle ; Jewish enthusiasm 
was on top of the wave in the palmy days of 
Maccabaean conquest, and the ambition of the priestly 
fanatics was boundless. The whole spirit of the writer 
is further characterised by a detestation of all non-Jews 
which fully justifies the strictures of the classical writers 
of the first century, and throws a flood of light on the 
nature of subsequent Zealotism, and the mania of 
exclusiveness that tickled the vanity of Israel and 
diabolised the gods of all other nations. Exceedingly 
interesting also is the document for students of later 
Talmudic developments, for it presents us with earlier 
(and that, too, written) forms of Haggada and Halacha 
which the Eabbis of Mishnaic times were compelled to 
modify. An acquaintance with the literature of this 


period also shows us how erroneous is the general Jewish 
persuasion of later days that the " Oral Tradition " had 
been handed down unchanged. Of great importance 
also are the readings of the Bible texts which often 
approximate more closely to those preserved in the Sep- 
tuagint translation of the Pentateuch (c. 250-200 B.C.) 
than those of the far later Massorah of the fourth or 
fifth century. 

The Eabbis would have it finally that this Oral Law The Oral 
had always existed side by side with the Written Law Heredity. 1 
ever since the days of Moses onwards. In the first 
chapter of the Mishna tractate " Aboth," or " Pirke 
Aboth," containing the " Sayings of the Fathers," we 
are given what purports to be an unbroken succession 
of individuals, from Moses to the destruction of 
Jerusalem, who are said to have been the depositories 
of this Oral Law. The succession runs as follows : 
Moses ; Joshua ; the Elders ; the Prophets ; the Men 
of the Great Assembly (from Ezra s time to about 
200 B.C.) ; the famous " Five Pairs," as they were 
called, the last of which were Hillel (about 70 B.C. to 
10 A.D.) and Shammai; and finally, Gamaliel and his 
son Simon. 

Such is the account given in the Mishna of the 
heredity of its tradition, and it is not surprising that 
if scientific research not only questions, but actually 
reverses, the judgment of the Mishnaic Eabbis with 
regard to the development of the Written Law, for it 
practically begins where they would have it cease, that 
modern scholars should hesitate to accept their account 
of the Oral Law without question. 

Even the most inattentive reader must be struck 

78 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

with the vague and fragmentary nature of the line of 
descent. Evidently little was known of the past ; even 
tjie history of the great literary activity from the 
fourth to the second century B.C., which had practically 
given them their Written Torah in the form in which 
it lay before them, was utterly forgotten. The " Men 
of the Great Assembly," who are made so much of in 
the Talmud as the immediate depositories of the Oral 
Law from the Prophets, are nameless. The Eabbis 
evidently knew nothing of a historical nature concern 
ing them ; nay, of the succeeding period they can only 
produce the names of teachers to whom tradition 
ascribed certain sayings, but of whose life and labours 
we can glean but the scantiest information, while of 
their literary activity we hear not a word. 
Objections to Accordingly, the very existence of the " Men of the 

theTradi- fe J 

tional View. Crreat Assembly has been questioned by modern 
research, and it has been conjectured with great prob 
ability, that the historical germ of the traditional idea 
is to be traced to the general assembly of the people 
who were called together to accept that Law which had 
been rewritten by Ezra after the Eeturn (Neh. viii.-x.). 
" In course of time, instead of an assembly of people 
receiving the law, a college of individuals transmitting 
the law was conceived of, and this notion seems to fill 
up the gap between the latest prophets and those 
scribes to whom the memory of subsequent times still 
extended." 1 

Whatever else is obscure it is clear that the 
Palestinian Kabbis of the Tanaite period, or first 

1 Schiirer (E.), " A History of the Jewish People in the Time of 
Christ" (Eng. trans., London ; 1893), Div. ii., vol. i. p. 355. 


Talmudic age, were busily engaged in establishing a 
rigid "orthodoxy" for Judaism, and making it strong 
against manifold " heresies." l The history of the past 
fine literary activity of the nation which had produced 
not only the great momurnents of scripture we still pos 
sess in the Old Testament documents, but much else, was 
utterly forgotten. And if documents, some of which 
we now know were written as late as the Maccabsean 
period, could be ascribed with every confidence to a 
David or a Daniel, we are justified in assuming that 
the authority given for the Oral Tradition was, for the 
most part, of a similarly unhistoric nature. No doubt 
the heredity of the methods employed by the Tanaim 
could be traced with very great probability as far back as 
the earliest of the " Five Pairs," somewhere approach 
ing the beginning of the second century B.C. ; but the 
striking fact that the greatest industry could only 
discover the names of two teachers for each generation, 
seems to indicate either that no others were known, 
or that many names and tendencies had had to be 
eliminated in seeking the paternity of that special 
tendency which the Tanaim erected into the test of 
orthodox Jewry. As to the Oral Law being con 
temporaneous with Moses, we must place this fond 
belief in the same category with the still more start 
ling claim of later Kabalism, that its Tradition was first 
delivered by God Himself to Adam in Paradise. 

Again, the fact that the appeal for authority was to 

1 See Weinstein (N. J.), " Zur Genesis der Agada" (Gottingen ; 
1901), " Die Minim," pp. 91-156, and " Kampf des Patriarchats 
gegen das Eindringen polytheistischer Ideen in die Gelehrten- 
Kreise des palastinisclien Judenthums," pp. 157-252. 

80 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

The Tradition an oral and not to a written source, is at first sight 
tericilts." 80 strange when we remember that there were thousands 
of books in existence, some of them claiming the 
authority even of an Enoch or an Adam. Thus the 
writer of " IV. Esdras," which in every probability 
was composed under Domitian (85-96 A.D.), tells us 
(xiv. 18 ff.) "that Ezra prays to God to grant him his 
Holy Spirit that he may again write out the 
books . . . which had been burnt (with the temple, 
one understands). God bids him take to himself five 
companions, and in forty days and nights he dictates to 
them ninety-four books, of which seventy are esoteric 
writings, and the remaining twenty-four are the canon 
of the Old Testament." l It is moreover to be noticed 
that the numbers differ greatly in various forms of the 
text ; thus we have eighty-four instead of ninety-four, but 
also 204, 904, and 974. But whatever may have been 
the number in the original text, this much we learn, 
that there existed at the end of the first century A.D. a 
very different view from that so strongly insisted on by 
the builders of the Talmud namely, that there was a 
very extensive written tradition not only contempora 
neous with the Torah, but of equal inspiration with it, 
nay, of so precious a nature that it was kept apart and 
guarded from public circulation. 

The adherents of this view, who, we know from the 
indications of the many mystic communications of the 
time and also of preceding centuries, were very numer 
ous, seem, it is true, to have been as ignorant of the 
actual history of the development of the twenty-four 

1 K. Budde s art., "The Canon," 17, in the "Encyclopaedia 


(or twenty-two) books of the Torah as were the Tanaim, 
and this is strange, seeing that it is in the greatest prob 
ability to their predecessors that we must assign the 
writing-in of the more spiritual elements into the Torah 
itself. It was these esotericists and their communities 
who were in intimate contact with that ever-widening 
and spiritualising tendency which we can trace in 
Essenism, Therapeutism, Philonism, Hermeticism, and 
Gnosticism ; and it is their writings which as strongly 
influenced the development of Christianity as did the 
twenty-four books of the Torah. 

Doubtless all of these schools and associations had Mysticism 

,, ., , ,., . , , . . and Ortho- 

Oral as well as written traditions, but their main ^oxy. 

interest was vision and apocalyptic. They devoted 
themselves to the culture of prophecy and the practice 
of contemplation, and their whole energy was centred 
on the unfolding of those mysteries of the inner life 
which gave them a certainty of heavenly things. 
Whereas the chief concern of the Tanaim was the 
separation of the national life from contact with all 
" foreign " religious influences by the ever more and 
more stringent insistence upon that peculiar legalism 
which the others had found, or were finding, more and 
more irksome, or had entirely cast off for a more liberal 
spiritual interpretation, suited to the needs of those 
who were gathered round the cradle of the infant 
Proteus that was destined to develop eventually into a 
new world -faith. 

It seems somewhat a sign of weakness that in the The Writing 
midst of so much that was written conservatism had to Tradition! 
rely entirely on an oral tradition for its authority. Be 

that, however, as it may, the lack of written authority 


82 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

for establishing the Mishnaic legalism as the orthodoxy 
of Israel seems gradually to have evolved a virtue out 
of necessity, and we find it repeatedly laid down in the 
Talmud that the tradition must on no account be 
written down but solely committed to memory. Indeed 
later times would have it that not only was the Mishna 
never written down even when it had reached its final 
form about 200 A.D., but that the whole voluminous 
contents of the Talmud Completion, or Gemara, were 
never committed to writing until the time of the 
Saboraim l (500-650 A.D.), the schoolmen who followed 
the Amoraim or those who wove the Gemara on to the 

But in spite of what we know of the prodigious 
memorising faculty of orientals, 2 and in spite of the 
fascinating stories told of the marvellous feats of memory 
of the Talmud scholars, while we might be tempted to 
accept the oral tradition of the far less voluminous and 
comparatively less complex Mishna text, the enormous 
mass and utterly confused and chaotic nature of the 
contents of the Gemara make it very difficult to believe 
that it was handed on solely by verbal repetition. 
Indeed, it seems far more probable that the Mishna was 
fully committed to writing at the time of its final 
redaction about 200-207 A.D. ; for when we hear of its 
completion at this date, it is difficult to understand 
how an authoritative form of codification of such 
heterogenous material could have been arrived at by 

1 See Strack (H. L.), " Einleitung in den Thalmud " (Leipzig ; 
1900, 3rd ed.), p. 55. 

2 Even Western scholars have declared that the oral tradition of 
a Vaidic text, for instance, is to be preferred to a written copy. 


the exercise of the memory alone ; and if this be true 
of the Mishna, much more must it hold good for the 
far more voluminous matter of the Gemara. 

With regard to the Halachic contents of the Mishna, 
it may, of course, have been that the tradition of the 
precedents on which the lawyers based their decisions 
had been kept private as the hereditary possession of a 
special profession ; but surely some brief written notes 
had existed, perhaps also private collections of notes 
been made, even prior not only to the time of an Akiba 
in the beginning of the second century, but even of a 
Gamaliel in the days of Paul. 1 

Are we to believe that a Joshua ben Perachia and a 
Nithai, a Judah ben Tabbai and a Simon ben Shetach, 
a Shemaiah and an Abtalion, a Hillel and a Shammai, 
a Gamaliel and an Akiba, left nothing in writing ? 2 
They surely must have done so. And if this holds 
good with regard to the tradition of the most authori 
tative Halachoth, much more is it likely to have been 
the case with that huge mass of Haggadic legend and 
homily, and flotsam and jetsam of like nature, with 
which the Talmud is filled. Indeed, a scientific review 
of all the Talmud passages germane to the question, 
reveals a most confused state of mind on the subject, 
even among* the many makers of that stupendous 
patchwork themselves. While on the one hand we 
find it most stringently forbidden to write down Halach- 

1 At the* final redaction of Rabbi Jutlah s Mishna there existed 
already a number of previous Mishnas (e.g., of R. Akiba, of R. 
Nathan, of R. Meir). It is said even that there are traces in the 
Talmud of Mishnas attributed to Hillel and other early Tanaim. 

2 See Block (J. S.), "Einblicke in die Geschichte der Ent. 
stehung der talnmdischen Literatur " (Wieu ; 1 884), pp. 2 ff. 

84 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

oth, we come across isolated references to older 
written Halachoth ; and though the writing of Haggad- 
oth as well is apparently included in the general 
prohibition, we meet with very precise references to 
Haggada books and even collections of such books. 1 

In fact, while the North-French Kabbis of the 
Middle Ages held that the Talmud was never committed 
to writing till after its final completion at the end of 
the fifth century A.D., the Spanish Kabbis maintained 
that the Mishna was written down by Kabbi Jehuda 
(136-217 A.D.), the Palestinian Gemara by Eabbi 
Jochanan (199-279), 2 and the Babylonian Gemara by 
Eab Aschi (375-427) and Eab Abina (head of the Sura 
School 473-499). This difference of opinion was prob 
ably owing to the fact that the French Eabbis had to 
depend almost entirely on their memories, owing to 
the burning of their MSS. by the Inquisition, while 
the Spanish Eabbis of an earlier date were still in 
enjoyment of their literary liberty. 

The Main But whatever may have been the precise mode of 

Talmud for ^ ^ ne genesis, development and transmission of the text 

Christians. un til it reached its full growth in the form which now 

lies before us, and however difficult it may be to sift 

out reliable historical data from the dim and confused 

indications of its contradictory assertions, the tractates 

of the Talmud remain like the mounds of some great 

buried city of the past to challenge the industry and 

ingenuity of the courageous explorer to ever fresh 

1 See Block s " Einblicke," pp. viii, ix ; and Strack s " Einleit- 
ung," 2, " Das Verbot des Schreibens, " pp. 49-55. 

2 And this in face of the fact that many of the authorities 
cited in the Palestinian Gemara lived after R. Jochanan, some 
even a century later. 


exertions, in the hope of laying bare traces from which 
the outlines of some of the ancient buildings may be 

And to none can the Talmud be of greater interest 
than to the student of Christian origins. We will 
not go so far as to say with Eeuchlin that the Talmud 
(or even the Mishna) is a book " written by Christ s 
nearest relations," but it is ungainsayable, as has so 
often been pointed out before, that every purely ethical 
precept in the Gospels can be paralleled in the Talmud 
by sayings ascribed to the ancient Rabbis of Israel. 

In the Talmud we have a strong stream of tradition 
which generation by generation, we might almost say 
year by year, runs parallel with the primitive streamlet 
which so rapidly widens out into the river, and finally 
into the flood of Christianity. Here, if anywhere, 
should we expect to find reliable information as to how 
what subsequently became the great religion of the 
West arose, who was its founder, what the matter and 
method of the teaching, and who were the earliest 
followers of the teacher. 

But before we discuss the passages which are said 
to refer to Jesus, we must give some rough idea of 
the history of the written Talmud, and show how 
these passages were gradually singled out to form the 
ground of bitterest controversy and persecution. 


Jutsinian s " FROM Justinian, who, as early as 553 A.D., honoured 
it by a special interdictory Novella, down to Clement 
VIII. , and later a space of over a thousand years 
both the secular and the spiritual powers, kings and 
emperors, popes and anti-popes, vied with each other 
in hurling anathemas and bulls and edicts of whole 
sale confiscation and conflagration against this luckless 

So writes Immanuel Deutsch, and truly, in his 
graphic and romantic panegyric, which for the first 
time gave the English-reading public a reasonable 
account of the Talmud and its history. 1 

Although it has been lately disputed 2 whether it is 
the Talmud expressly to which Justinian referred in his 
edict " Concerning the Jews," of February 13, 553, it 
seems highly probable that Deutsch is correct. By 
this outrageous Novella the wretched Hebrews were 

1 Deutsch (I.)., art. "What is the Talmud?" in "The 
Quarterly Review" (London), Oct. 1867, pp. 417-464. 

2 Popper (W.), "The Censorship of Hebrew Books" (New 
York ; 1899), p. 3. This is the best monograph which has so 
far appeared on the subject of Talmud persecutions and censorship. 
An excellent bibliography of the literature is given on pp. iv. 
and v. 


permitted to use only a Greek or Latin translation of 
the Torah in their synagogues. They were strictly for 
bidden to read the Law in Hebrew, and, above all things, 
they were prohibited from using what is called the 
" second edition " (secunda editio), which was evidently 
also written in Hebrew or Aramic. This "second 
edition " can hardly mean anything else than the Mishna 
and its completions, for the Greek equivalent of mishna 
was Sevrepcixris, generally taken by those imperfectly 
acquainted with Hebrew to signify some " second rank " 
or form of the Law, instead of "learning" in the 
secondary sense of " repetition." 

Such impolitic tyranny in those darkest days of 
narrowest ecclesiasticism, which had succeeded in 
closing every school of philosophy and learning in the 
Christian world, could not but make the Talmud all 
the more dear to the Jews. The more they were 
persecuted for their faith s sake, the more desperately 
they clung to the immediate cause of their martyrdom 
that tradition in which no Christian had part or lot. 
The Talmud thus gradually became more precious to 
the Jew than even the Torah itself, which, by 
translation, had become the common property of the 
Gentiles, few of whom at this time in the West could 
read a word of the ancient Hebrew original. 

Thus ignorance bred fear and fostered hate, and The Crusades, 
already, by the eleventh century, we find the passions 
of a fierce fanaticism let loose against the luckless 
Hebrews, when the Crusaders, in their wild rush 
towards Constantinople, left behind them a path of 
desolation for the Dispersion of Israel in every land 
they traversed, marked out by blood and fire, by the 

88 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

bodies of murdered little ones and smouldering piles 
of Hebrew rolls. It is said that, after this avalanche 
of ruthless destruction, in many towns scarce a single 
prayer-book remained for the use of a whole synagogue. 
There is another side to the romance of the Crusades, of 
which our school-books breathe no word ; not in 
frequently they degenerated into pure Jew-hunts, 
where hecatombs of Hebrews paid ever anew the 
ancient debt of one slain Christ, whose ever-living 
heart, we may well believe, felt keener torture at the 
savagery of His self-styled followers than did even the 
bodies of the victims of their hate. 

The Inquisi- But it was not till the thirteenth century, which 
witnessed the founding of the Mendicant Orders, and 
the establishment of that instrument of terror known 
as the Holy Inquisition, that we meet with what may 
be called the organised official destruction of Hebrew 
books, and the saddest part of the sad story is that in 
almost every instance it was a Jew who brought matters 
to a crisis, and procured the deliverance of the books of 
his race to the flames. 

The first official burning of Hebrew books took 
place in 1233, at Montpellier, where a Jew, a 
fanatical Antimaimonist, persuaded the Dominicans 
and Franciscans of the Inquisition, who knew nothing 
of this purely internal struggle between conservatism 
and liberalism in Jewry, to commit to the flames all 
the works of the great Maimonides. 

In the same year, at Paris, no less than 12,000 
volumes of the Talmud were burned. Converts gave 
information to those who could not read a single line 
of the great literature which they so madly longed to 


extirpate, and eagerly pointed out the hiding places 
where the precious rolls of their former co-religionists 
were stored away. 

In 1236, Donin, of Eochelle, in France, a convert The Paris 
baptised under the name of Nicolas, laid thirty-five 
formal charges against the Talmud before Pope Gregory 
IX. 1 ; the chief of which was that in many passages it 
used blasphemous language in speaking of Jesus and 
Mary. A few years later (May or June, 1239), Gregory 
issued a stringent decree to all rulers, temporal and 
spiritual, in France, England, Castile, Aragon and 
Portugal, commanding them to seize every copy of the 
Talmud upon which they could lay hands. Whereupon 
in France a formal trial was held before a commission 
consisting of two Bishops and a Dominican, not one of 
whom knew a single word of Hebrew, and the Talmud 
was incontinently condemned to the flames. The Jews, 
however, appealed against this cruel decree with such 
energy that the carrying out of the sentence was post 
poned, and a new trial ordered, at which Mcolas himself 
was the accuser, while four French Eabbis undertook 
the defence, led by E. Jehiel of Paris. 

"After seeking to invalidate most of the charges, 
the Eabbis turned to the most important point, and 
acknowledged that the Talmud contained slighting 
references to a certain Jesus. But, by taking into 
account the dates mentioned in the Talmud, and other 

1 He is said to have done so in revenge for having been ex 
communicated by the French Rabbis because of the doubts he had 
expressed concerning the validity of the Talmudic tradition. See 
art. " Apostasy and Apostates from Judaism " in the " Jewish 
Encyclopaedia," on which I have drawn for some of the following 



in Spain. 

In England. 

evidence furnished by the early Church Fathers them 
selves they attempted to show that another Jesus, who, 
had lived at some time earlier than Jesus of Nazareth 
was the subject of these notices." l 

It is hardly necessary to add, however, that the un 
fortunate Rabbis failed to convince the commission. 
The Talmud was again formally condemned. No less 
than twenty waggon-loads of MSS. were collected in 
Paris, and on June 17, 1244, a huge auto-da-fi, of some 
17,000 or 18,000 volumes lit up a conflagration, the 
insatiable flames of which spread rapidly to every 
Jewish home throughout the Holy Roman Empire and 
devoured that treasure of tradition which the Rabbis 
held dearer than their lives. 

With the condemnation of the Talmud all the rest of 
Hebrew literature was practically involved. Thus in 
1263 we find another convert, baptised under the name 
of Paul Christian (Pablo Christiani or Fra Paolo, of 
Montpellier), inducing the Pope, Clement IV., to issue 
an order that all Hebrew MSS. of every kind in Aragon 
should be collected for examination, and if they 
were found to contain any passages obnoxious to Chris 
tians, they should be destroyed or strictly expurgated ; 
while in 1266, also at Barcelona, we meet with a com 
mission assembled for the same purpose. 

In England, however, the Talmud was apparently not 
burnt, for a simpler means of suppressing it was found 
in the wholesale expulsion of the Jews, a method 

1 Popper, op. cit., p. 10. Bui this apology can be as little 
sustained as can the evasion of Wiilfer, Lippmann and Isaac 
Abarbanel, that the Jesus of the Talmud and the Jesus of the 
Toldoth were different persons. See Krauss, "Das Leben Jesu 
(Berlin ; 1902), pp. 8, 9, 273, n. 4. 


resorted to in other countries as well. Nevertheless, 
we find Honorius IV., in 1286, writing to the Arch 
bishop of Canterbury, warning him against that " dam 
nable book," and strictly admonishing him that he 
should allow no one to read it (meaning doubtless that 
no Jew should be permitted to read it, for the Christians, 
in consequence of their ignorance of Hebrew, could not) 
for in the Pope s opinion " all evils flow from it," a 
phrase which suggests that the influence of the Talmud 
teachings and traditions was not confined to Jewry. 

In the midst of all this hurly-burly of anathema one One Sensible 
Pope alone, Clement V., showed some signs of common- pe * 
sense. Before condemning the Talmud on sight, 
Clement desired to know something about it, and in 
1307 proposed that chairs should be founded for the 
study of Hebrew, Chaldee and Arabic in the Universities 
of Paris, Salamanca, Bologna and Oxford. But this 
liberal proposal came to nothing, and though we are 
told that somewhat of a lull succeeded to the most acute 
stage of Talmud persecution from 1232 to 1322, it was 
owing probably to the great secrecy to which the Jews 
were compelled to resort in multiplying and trans 
mitting the remnants of their literature from generation 
to generation, rather than to any greater toleration on 
the part of the authorities. 

In Spain, indeed, things were still at fever heat, where Spanish 
Solomon Levi of Burgos, who was formerly a Eabbi r s 
and pillar of Jewish orthodoxy familiar with the great 
Talmudists of the age, but who became a Christian 
under the name of Paul de Santa Maria, and quickly 
rose to the position of Archbishop of Carthagena, 
devoted mV great talent and learning to overthrow 

92 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Judaism. His disciple, Joshua ben Joseph ibn Vives 
of Lorca, who also became a Christian under the 
name of Geronimo de Santa Fe, accused the Talmud of 
teaching blasphemy and of every hostility against the 1 
Christians, after he had unsuccessfully conducted a 
debate concerning the Messianity of Jesus for no less 
than twenty-two months with some of the learned 
Rabbis of Aragon (1413-1414). He is known to the 
Jews as "The Blasphemer." 

Even the Even the prayer-books of the Hebrews could not 

the Jews fall escape. Already in 1336 Abner of Burgos (Alfonso 
e Burgensis), a Talmudic scholar, philosopher and 
physician, who is said to have turned Christian, 
" to become a sacristan of a wealthy church of 
Valladolid," wrote bitter attacks against his former 
co-religionists, declaring that one of their daily prayers, 
" Birkat ha-Minim," was directed against the Christians ; 
whereupon Alfonso XL issued an edict forbidding them 
to recite this prayer. 

We find subsequently that even the simplest Hebrew 
prayers could not escape the subtle refinements of accu 
sation brought against them by inquisitorial informers. 
Thus we learn that in Germany a certain Pessach, 
who on conversion took the name of Peter in 1399, 
declared that the Jewish prayer-books 1 secretly con 
tained attacks on Christianity. The following is a 
curious instance of this rage of accusation. 

In one of the most famous and apparently the most 
innocent prayers of the nation (" Alenu "), which extols 
the omnipotence of God on earth, there is a passage which 

1 Dalman gives the original text of sixteen subsequently expur 
gated prayers from the Liturgy of the Synagogue. 


runs : " He hath not made our portion like theirs nor 
our lot like that of all their multitudes. For they 
worship and bow down before idols and vanities" 
The words " and vanities " stand in unpointed Hebrew 
W E K ; by one of the well-known methods of kabal- 
istic computation the sum of these number-letters = 
316, precisely the same as the sum of the letters 
J Sh U or Jeschu, the Talmudic form of Jesus ! 

Pessach would thus have it that even the most 
innocent-looking prayers of Jewry contained attacks 
on Christianity, and it is in truth marvellous that in 
the face of such bitter and relentless persecution a 
scrap of Jewish writing remained. Indeed, had it 
not been for the inexhaustible sources of replenish 
ment in the East, and the wonderful memory of the 
Eabbis, the triumph of the Destroyer would have been 
complete and the Talmud wiped from off the face of 
the earth by the Inquisition. 

With the age of the Kenaissance, however, and the A History 
enormous impetus given to liberal studies by the in- ofA P states - 
vention of printing, 1 some respite was given to the 
long-suffering Talmud, but by no means as yet was 
liberty assured ; for though the unfortunate Jews had 
no longer to fear the wholesale destruction of their 
books in all countries, they were still subjected to 
the galling tyranny of the official censor. 

Indeed, even in this age of comparative enlightenment 
the bitterest foes of the Talmud still lived in hopes of 
reviving the old campaign of extermination with all its 
terrors, and it is sad to record that the history of nearly 

1 The first Hebrew book printed was probably a commentary of 
Kashi on the Torah (February 17th, 1475). 

94 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

all the troubles of the second stage of persecution is 
still almost entirely " a history of apostates." l 

Not to speak of the bitter enmity of Victor von 
Karhen, 2 a German Jew who became a Dominican in 
the early part of the sixteenth century, the most 
notorious name is that of Joseph (baptised as Johann) 
Pfefferkorn of Moravia, a name despised above all 
others by the Jews even in the present day. 3 Pfeffer 
korn also joined the Dominicans, and in 1507 published 
his first attack in a fierce tract, "Der Judenspiegel," 
an onslaught which was intended to culminate in 
one fatal blow to Judaism, namely the confiscation 
of all Talmudic writings. And indeed Pfefferkorn at 
first succeeded beyond all expectation, for the im 
mediate result of his agitation was to induce the 
Emperor Maximilian to revive the time-honoured 
decree of confiscation, which was eagerly carried out 
under Pfefferkorn s supervision, who knew only too 
well where he could lay hands on the precious books 
of his former co-religionists. But this time, as Deutsch 
says, " a conflagration of a very different kind ensued." 
Reuchlin. Eeuchlin, the distinguished Humanist, the most 
famous Hebraist and Hellenist of the time, was 
appointed to sit on the commission. His enlightened 
mind refused to condemn the Talmud without a most 
searching enquiry. He accordingly set himself to 
work in his painstaking fashion to make himself 

1 Popper, op. cit., p. 22. 

2 So Deutsch ; but Karben in " Jewish Encyclopaedia." 

3 The " Jewish Encyclopaedia " (art. sup. cit.) says that he was " a 
butcher by trade, a man of little learning and of immoral conduct, 
convicted of burglary and condemned to imprisonment, but released 
upon payment of a fine." 


master of its voluminous contents. The Talmud had 
at last found an impartial mind among its judges; 
nay, it had found a courageous defender, for in October 
1510, Eeuchlin issued his famous answer to Pfeffer- 
korn s onslaught, and boldly declared himself in favour 
of the book. 

Hereupon ensued a fierce battle, in which the massed 
hosts of official theology and obscurantism were mar 
shalled against the courageous champion of enlightened 
toleration and elementary justice. Europe was flooded 
with pamphlets, and faculty vied with faculty in angry 
condemnation of Eeuchlin. Without exception, every 
university was against him. Indeed the faculty of 
Mainz, among other egregious notions, put forward the 
ludicrous proposition, that as the Hebrew Bible did not 
agree with the Vulgate (Jerome s Latin translation), the 
Hebrew must manifestly have been falsified in many 
places by the malevolence of the Jews, and, in particular, 
the wording of the " original references " to Jesus in the 
Old Testament had been deliberately altered. 

Had Eeuchlin stood absolutely alone he would have 
been overwhelmed by the first onrush of his countless 
foes ; but to their lasting credit there rallied to his 
banner a chosen band of enlightened and courageous 
friends, the Humanists, who, though they were dubbed 
" Talmutphili," declared themselves to be the " Knights 
of the Holy Ghost," and the " Hosts of Pallas Athene," 
fighting for the credit of Christianity and not for the . 

Talmud as Talmud. 

At first the Pope, Leo X., favoured Eeuchlin, but the The Germ of 
outcry was so fierce that he finally weakened, and in 
1516 sought a way out of the hurly-burly by promulgate 

96 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

ing a Bull that in future no book should issue from the 
press without previous submission to the official censor. 
The germ of the " Index Expurgatorius " " Index 
Librorum Prohibitorum " had been conceived. 1 

But before this instrument of emasculation and pro 
hibition could be brought into play, the first complete 
edition of the Talmud had escaped the censor, and had 
already been printed at Venice in 1520, at the very 
time when the knell of much in the old order of things 
was being sounded in Germany, and Luther was burning 
the Pope s bull at Wittenberg. 

This much, at least, was won by the courage of 
Eeuchlin and those who rallied round him the Talmud 
had escaped the fire. Not only so, but many began to 
study the treasures of Jewish literature for themselves, 
and in Italy there ensued the greatest industry in print 
ing Hebrew books ; indeed, some writers have called this 
the " Golden Age " of the Talmud. It was a time when 
the greatest minds among the Humanists were drink 
ing deeply of " Jewish philosophy," the age of revived 
Kabalism and mystic culture. 

The Talmud But it was not to be expected that the fierce spirit 
Relighted. f persecution would quietly yield to the gentler in 
fluences at work, and be content with censorship alone ; 
nay, these humanising tendencies exasperated it to such 
a pitch, that in 1550 Cardinal Caraffa, the Inquisitor- 
General, and in this connection, one need hardly add 
a Dominican, almost succeeded in lighting up the 
Talmud fires again throughout the land. He procured 
a Bull from the Pope repealing all previous permission 

1 From that day onwards the Talmud has always been on the 
Index, and is still on the Index of Leo XIII. 


to study the Talmud, and bursting forth with fury at 
the head of his minions, seized every copy he could find 
in Eome and committed it to the flames. 

In Italy also Sixtus of Sienna, a converted Jew, 
supported by Pope Paul IV., incited the mob to burn 
every copy of the Talmud upon which they could lay 
hands. In Cremona, Vittorio Eliano, also a convert, 
testified against the Talmud, and 10,000 to 12,000 
Hebrew books were burned in 1559. His brother 
Solomon Eomano also procured the burning of many 
thousands of Hebrew rolls. In the same year every 
Hebrew book in the city of Prague was confiscated. 

But, fortunately, this was the expiring flicker of the The Censor, 
life of the Destroyer in that form, and in the future we 
hear of no more burnings. The Talmud was hereafter 
committed to the tender mercies of an ignorant censor 
ship, and therewith of a deliberate self-censorship, 
whereby every sentence which might by any means be 
thought to refer to Christianity was omitted by the 
Jews themselves, so that their books might escape the 
sad disfigurement of slap-dash obliteration. There was 
much expurgation by ignorant heads and careless hands, 
till gradually lists of passages were drawn up, mostly by 
converts, to guide the unlearned officials, and finally, in 
1578, the "licensed" Basle edition of the Talmud was 
issued in conformity with the censorship and the 
decisions of the egregious Council of Trent on which 
nearly every subsequent edition of the book has been 
based. Not only so, but we find the Kabbis themselves 
forming their own censorship committees 1 to prevent 

1 In 1631 the Jews held a synod at Petrikau, in Poland, 
and decided to leave out all such passages for fear of the 


98 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

any book being printed by their co-religionists which 
might bring down the wrath of the authorities upon 
their long-suffering communities. The seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries thus witnessed the circulation of 
an emasculated and defaced Hebrew literature, from 
which not only was the root of offence to Christian sus 
ceptibilities cut out, but much that was entirely innocent 
of any offence whatever. 1 The nature of this ridiculous 
and hysterical susceptibility to find offence in the 
simplest words and phrases may be seen from Deutsch s 
humorous word-picture. 

His " In the Basle edition of 1578 . . . which has 

remained the standard edition almost ever since that 
amazing creature, the Censor, stepped in. In his 
anxiety to protect the Faith from all and every danger 
for the Talmud was supposed to hide bitter things 
against Christianity under the most innocent words and 
phrases this official did very wonderful things. When 
he, for example, found some ancient Koman in the book 
swearing by the Capitol or by Jupiter of Rome/ his 
mind instantly misgave him. Surely this Eoman must 
be a Christian, the Capitol the Vatican, Jupiter the 
Pope. And forthwith he struck out Eome and sub 
stituted any other place he could think of. A favourite 
spot seems to have been Persia, sometimes it was Aram 
and Babel. So that this worthy Roman may be found 
unto this day swearing by the Capitol of Persia or by 
the Jupiter of Aram and Babel. But wherever the 
word * Gentile occurred, the Censor was seized with the 

Christians. Nevertheless, we find that the Amsterdam edition of 
the Talmud (1644-1648) was not bowdlerised. 
1 See Popper, op. cit., chh. viii.-xii. 


most frantic terrors. A Gentile could not possibly 
be aught but Christian ; whether he lived in India or in 
Athens, in Eome or in Canaan ; whether he was a good 
Gentile and there are many such in the Talmud 
or a wicked one. Instantly he christened him, and 
christened him as fancy moved him, an Egyptian/ an 
Aramaean, an Amalekite/ an Arab, a Negro ; 
sometimes a whole people. We are speaking strictly 
to the letter. All this is extant in our best editions." 

"Deutsch himself was a Jew converted to Chris- Immanuel 
tiariity when he wrote his famous article in 1867, yet 
how marvellously does he differ from his predecessors 
of the Middle Ages, who led the onslaught on the 
Talmud, and expressly singled out the subsequently 
expurgated passages for the main strength of their 
attack ! Deutsch passes them by with scarcely a 
notice, and seems never to have realised that they were 
the main cause of all the trouble, and we have the new 
and pleasant spectacle of a converted Jew penning the 
most brilliant defence of the Talmud which has ever 
been written outside the circles of orthodox Jewry." 

So I wrote when this chapter appeared as an article 
in "The Theosophical Eeview" (Oct. 1902); I had then 
no doubt on the subject, because of the frequent use of 
the words " our Lord " throughout this famous defence. 
What, then, was my surprise to find that an old friend 
of Deutsch s denied absolutely that he was a convert, 
and asserted that the editor of the " Quarterly," much to 
Deutsch s annoyance, had deliberately changed " Jesus " 
into " our Lord " throughout the article. The " Jewish 
Chronicle" (Nov. 21, 1902) also pointed out that I 
was mistaken in describing Deutsch as a convert to 

100 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Christianity. Whereupon I wrote to the Chief Rabbi, 
Dr. Hermann Adler, who courteously replied as follows : 
" I was very intimate with the late Immanuel Deutsch, 
and can state unhesitatingly that he was deeply 
annoyed that in the first edition of the * Quarterly 
Eeview Jesus was spoken of as our Lord. This was 
changed in the subsequent seven or eight editions of that 
number of the * Quarterly. It so appears, however, in 
the republication of the article in the Literary Remains 
of the late Immanuel Deutsch (Murray ; 1874)." 

The self -constituted censor, therefore, had not ceased 
his activity even in 1867 ; it is a matter of profound 
interest to notice how morality in theology hangs 
behind morality in ordinary affairs, even in our own 

Crypto- But to the student of history and the watcher of the 
giap y fates of nations, the proceedings of the ignorant Talmud 
censor are of profound interest. It would almost seem 
as though, by a curious turning of the karmic wheel, 
the very methods used deliberately by the Jews them 
selves in the far-off days of Talmud genesis had come 
back to vex the Jewish soul against its will. How 
often in those days of bitter religio-political strife had 
they not substituted Babylon or Edom for Rome, and 
hidden their real thought and feeling under glyph and 
imagery ! And now what they had done willingly, and 
so vexed the soul of history, was being done to them 
unwillingly by the hands of the dull censor. Who 
knows what a thorough study of the Talmud from this 
point of view may not yet reveal of hidden history ? 
For, as Deutsch says, and in its wider sense it remains 
true until the present day : 


" We have sought far and near for some special book 
on the subject, which we might make the theme of our 
observations a book that should not merely be a 
garbled translation of a certain twelfth century Intro 
duction/ interspersed with vituperations and supple 
mented with blunders, but which from the platform of 
modern culture should pronounce impartially upon a 
production which, if for no other reason, claims respect 
through age a book that would lead us through the 
stupendous labyrinths of fact, and thought, and fancy, 
of which the Talmud consists, that would rejoice even, 
in hieroglyphical fairy-lore, in abstruse propositions and 
syllogisms, that could forgive wild bursts of passion, 
and not judge harshly and hastily of things, the real 
meaning of which may have had to be hidden under the 
fool s cap and bells." 

We have italicised the words which point to a most 
important element in the Talmud, especially in con 
nection with our present enquiry, an element of con 
cealment, the secrets of which even a text in which all 
the expurgated passages have been replaced, and the 
whole critically restored to its original purity, would in 
nowise reveal to the pure objectivist. This element 
will doubtless for many a day to come make the 
Talmud in many passages as puzzling a study as those 
strange books of alchemy to which Eeuchlin so aptly 
compared it. But in spite of its great difficulty, it 
cannot but be that with a deeper study of this element, 
and perhaps some day with the help of those methods 
of a scientific subjectivism to which we referred in our 
Introduction, some clear light may at no distant date 
be thrown, even on some of those passages which the 

102 BID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

hate and fear of centuries have singled out as referring 
to Jesus in the Talmud. 

Anti- Whether or not the present praiseworthy attempt, as 

set forth in the pages of the " Jewish Encyclopaedia," at 
last to supply the thinking public with a reliable account 
of the Talmud in its multifarious aspects, will cover the 
whole ground and boldly face the most difficult of all its 
problems without fear or prejudice, remains to be seen. 
Unknown as this ancient controversy is to the 
English-speaking world, it is not unknown on the 
Continent even in our own day. Indeed, in Eussia and 
Austria it still enters into the deplorable Anti-semitic 
question. Thus we find a Professor of Theology and 
Lecturer in Hebrew of the Imperial Eoman Catholic 
Academy x at St. Petersburg, in a recent work, 2 raising 
the whole question again, not in the interests of science 
and history, but in the interests of theology and Anti- 
semitic propaganda. In it he brings forward a number 
of the Jesus passages in the Talmud, and in his con 
cluding words introduces us to a thoroughly mediaeval 
state of affairs. He tells us that all who had heard of the 
publication of his book told him with one voice that 
he would be put away by the Jews. Some tried to dis 
suade him by reminding him of the fate of Professor 
Chiarini, who died suddenly when he determined on 
undertaking a translation of the Talmud ; others spoke 
of the monk Didacus of Vilna, a Jewish convert, who 
was killed, and of others who were persecuted in 

1 This seems a contradiction in terms, but so it stands on 
Deckert s title-page (op. sub. tit.). 

! Pranaitis (I. B.), " Christianas in Talmude Judseorum, sive 
Kabbinicae Doctrine de Christianis Secreta" (St. Petersburg ; 1892). 
No copy of this is in the British Museum. 


various ways because they disclosed the secrets of the 
Jewish religion ; not only himself but his relatives would 
be exposed to danger. But, continues this theological 
Bombastes, after evoking the phantasms of his own im" 
agination, no consideration for his own personal safety 
will deter him from his task, and from rushing into the 
fray between Semites and Anti-semites, who both think 
they are fighting for the truth ; whereas he at last really 
knows what is the truth of the whole matter. He is 
willing to bear all, even to offer his life for the cause. 

This is, of course, pure childishness, but it shows the Odium 
ingrained medievalism of the theological nature. If 
Pranaitis thesis had remained in its original Latin, 
it might have soon sunk into oblivion, but it was 
immediately translated into German by Dr. Joseph 
Deckert of Vienna, 1 who more than doubled its length 
by adding notes and comments, crammed with cita 
tions from the most recent Anti-semitic literature 
and the reports of ritual murder trials. 2 Deckert 
especially singled out for animadversion a book by 
a Jewish controversialist Dr. Lippe, 3 and we move in 
a hurly-burly so utterly foreign to the temper of the 
twentieth century in its dealings with every other subject, 
that we are almost inclined to think that Odium Theo- 
logicum is the last enemy which humanity will ever slay. 

1 " Das Christenthum im Talmud der Juden oder die Geheimnisse 
der rabbinisclien Lehre iiber die Christen " (Vienna ; 1894). 

2 See art., "Blood Accusation," in "Jewish Encyclopaedia." 

3 Lippe (K.), " Das Evangelium Matthaei vor dem Forum der 
Bibel und des Talmud " (Jassy ; 1889). This also is not in -the 
British Museum ; it is a curious work, with, among other things, no 
less than six pages of misprints in it, and many more not noticed 
by the author. 


The Need of PERHAPS some of iny readers will think that I have 


already devoted too much space to the Talmud and its 
history, and that it is high time for me to tell them 
plainly what this chaos of Jewish tradition has to say 
about Jesus, and so have done with the matter. But 
when I remember my own erroneous impressions many 
years ago on first coming across statements (shorn of 
their context and environment) which confidently 
affirmed that the Talmud declared categorically that 
Jesus had lived a century earlier than the date assigned 
to him by the evangelists, and that instead of his being 
crucified in Jerusalem he was stoned at Lud, I feel that 
it is absolutely necessary first of all to give the un 
learned reader some rough notion of the genesis and 
history of our sources of information, and that instead 
of having to plead excuse for the space I have devoted 
to preliminaries, I have rather to apologise for the 
brevity and roughness of the foregoing two chapters 
and to append some additional introductory indications 
before the general reader can be furnished with the 
most elementary equipment for approaching the con 
sideration of the passages themselves with any profit. 

Indeed the whole subject bristles with such dis 
heartening difficulties on all sides that I have been 


frequently tempted to abandon the task, and have only 
been sustained by the thought that my sole reason for 
taking pen in hand was simply to point out some of 
the more salient difficulties, and to exclude from the 
outset any expectations of a more ambitious perform 
ance. And not only are the difficulties connected with 
questions of history and of fact disheartening, but the 
whole subject is, as we have seen, involved in an atmos 
phere of such a painful nature that one would gladly 
escape from it and leave the dead to bury their dead. 
But the past is ever present with the eternal soul, the 
dead come ever back to life, and there is no rest till we 
can forgive one another, not when we have temporarily 
forgotten but while we still remember. 

We write not to fan into fresh flame the smouldering The Manhood 
fires of ancient hate, but with far fairer hopes. The 
times have changed, and older souls have come to birth 
than those who raged so wildly in the Early and the 
Middle Ages, and there are wiser minds to-day than 
those unyielding formalists on either side who shut the 
freer life of greater things out of the synagogues of 
Jewry and from out the Catholic churches of the 
Christian Name. For man is man though he be Jew 
or Christian, mind is mind though it give praise to 
Yahweh or worship to the Christ, and none but bigots 
can deny there is growth for every soul in its own way 
by virtue of its special guide and code of ancient lore. 
But sure as destiny a day will dawn when every soul 
will reach to manhood and begin to learn the way of 
greater things, and once a soul sets foot upon this way 
passions fall off from it, and it can gaze into the face of 
history unmoved. 

106 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

And many are already fast nearing the birthday of 
their manhood, for there is little doubt but that the 
love of impartial investigation, which is ever more 
strongly characterising every department of learning in 
our own day, is paving the way towards a new era of 
thought and comprehension, in which the values 
assigned by the past to many things will be entirely 
.changed; particulars will no more be throned above 
universals, nor will the temporal thoughts of men rank 
higher than the ever-present Thought of God. But 
from this fair hope of order to return to the puzzling 
records of a disordered past. 

Of the The Talmud, then, is a vast store-house of Jewish 

General. Midrashim collected at various dates between 100-500 
A.D. It consists of a generally older deposit called the 
Mishna and of additional strata known as the Gemara 
or completion to use technical terms for the sake of 
brevity. And indeed it is almost impossible to trans 
late them correctly, 1 for such words as Talmud, Mishna 
and Midrash in the first instance signify simply " study " 
in a general sense, then some special study or some 
special method of study, and then again the works 
which have grown out of such general study or special 
methods. Midrashim are thus in general explanations 
or amplifications of Biblical topics, and the Talmud is a 
heterogeneous collection of Midrashim of every kind. 
Its Forms The result of this Study of the Law has been handed 
Languages, down in two forms and three languages. Both forms 
contain the same Mishna in Hebrew (the Biblical 
language of the Eabbis), while the two Gemarfis are 
composed in the unstable Aramaic vernacular of the 
1 See Strack s " Einleitung," 2, " Worterklarungen." 


times, and in two widely differing dialects, the Western 
or Palestinian and the Eastern or Babylonian, the 
former of which especially was an odd mixture of Greek, 
Aramaic, Latin, Syriac, and Hebrew ; it was, so to speak, 
the " commercial language " of the then East, even as 
Greek was of the then West. These two forms of the 
Talmud have for long been commonly known as the 
Jerusalem and Babylonian (Talmud Yeruschalmi and 
Talmud Babli); but the former designation is very 
erroneous, for Jerusalem was never a centre of Talmudic 
activity, and the epithet Palestinian is to be preferred 
as more correct even than the oldest known titles of 
this collection, namely Talmud of the Land of Israel or 
Talmud of the West. 

The Babylonian collection is at least four times the The Talmuds 
size of the Palestinian, and though the latter may have and 
originally contained more matter than it does in its a y oma 
present form, the difference is mainly owing to the fact 
that the Eabbis of the West were content to give the 
opinions of their predecessors without the detailed 
discussions on which they were supposed to have based 
their decisions ; whereas the Babylonian Talmud fre 
quently has entire folios filled with what the modern 
mind (unless by chance some new and unexpected light 
is thrown on the matter) can only consider childish 
questions and answers, which show nothing else than 
how the texts of the Torah could be twisted out of all 
recognition to support later special points of view 
which the original writers of the verses had clearly 
never dreamed of. 1 

1 See Schwab (M.), " Traite des Berakhoth du Talmud de 
Jerusalem " (Paris ; 1871), Introd., p. Ixxvi. This is the opinion of 

108 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

It is also to be remembered that for the later Jews the 
Babylonian collection gradually became The Talmud, 
while the Palestinian fell into disuse. In our own 
days the latter is never taught, but always the former. 
The Jews of Babylonia, moreover, had more peace and 
leisure for this strengthening of the defences of the 
Torah than their Palestinian contemporaries, who were 
harried by the ever-growing power of Christianized 
Eome. Even in Babylon this immunity from persecu 
tion only continued to the close of the Talmud in 500 ; 
indeed, its "close" was forced upon it from without 
by a fierce outbreak of intolerance. Thereafter until 
our own day the Hebrew found no peace except 
when under the protection of Islam ; then it was 
that the learned doctors of Israel played so dis 
tinguished a part in the intellectual development of 
Europe, and displayed the remarkable versatility of 
genius which their enforced cosmopolitanism developed 
to a degree that is difficult to parallel in any other 
nation. But to return to the Talmud, which has 
kept Jewry as a people apart, in spite of its being 
scattered throughout the nations, and which has in 
directly brought the Orient to the Occident, and settled 
it in our midst. 

statistics. Some idea of the voluminous nature of the Talmud 
may be formed when it is stated that the text of the 
Babylonian collection alone, in the editio princeps of 
1520, the model which has been mostly followed as far 
as form is concerned, occupies no less than twelve huge 

a distinguished French Rabbi, who has given the world the only 
complete translation of the Palestinian Talmud which exists, and 
not of a Philistine. 


folio volumes, consisting of 2947 folio leaves and 5894 
pages. 1 

In both Talmuds the Mishna 2 is broken up into six 
Orders or Sections (Sedarim), known as " The Six " par 
excellence, just as the Torah proper was called "The 
Five" or "The Five Fifths." These orders are again 
sub-divided into sixty-three tractates or treatises, and 
these again into 523 chapters or paragraphs. 

The Mishna text stands surrounded by the Gemara 
text in unpointed Hebrew characters, a mystery often 
to those initiated into a knowledge of Hebrew. For 
indeed it is not only the voluminous nature of the 
material, 3 and the wilderness of an unpointed text, 
which are the only difficulties to be surmounted by the 
first-hand student of the Talmud, but in addition he has 
to be an adept in solving the countless puzzles of 
Eabbinic abbreviations, mnemonic technicalities, and 
ungrammatical forms, and to be further not only master 
of three different languages, but equipped with a philo 
logical intuition that few even of the most learned in 
this age of learning can be expected to possess. 

It is not then surprising to find that as yet we have No Complete 
no complete translation of the Talmud. We have no 

1 Hershon (P. I.), "A Talmudic Miscellany" (London ; 1880), 
Introd. (by W. R. Brown), p. xvi. 

2 It is a mistake to call the Mishna " text " and the Gemara 
"commentary," as is so often done, for though in printed form 
the Mishna stands out in bolder type, surrounded by the Gemfira, 
the latter is not a commentary but a completion or appendix of 
additional matter. 

3 Even of the canonical Talmud alone, for there is a large num 
ber of extra-canonical tractates as well to be taken into account. 
See Strack s " Einleitung," ch. iv., " Die ausserkanonischen Trac 
tate," pp. 44-46. 

110 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Talmudic Vulgate, no Authorised Version, much less a 
Eevised Version. Even in that magnificent pioneer 
series of world-bibles, " The Sacred Books of the East," 
though we have versions of most complex Brfihmanical 
law-books, we fail to find a single tractate of the 
Talmud translated. And this is to be regretted, not 
only because the Talmud as a whole is as yet a closed 
book to the non-specialist, but because a translation 
into the vernacular would for ever revolutionise the 
ideas of the ignorant among the Jews, who imagine that 
the Talmud is a storehouse of wisdom from its first to 
its last syllable. 

The non-specialist, therefore, has to be content with 
translations of portions only of this library of Jewish 
tradition, for the most part with versions of single 
tractates, and even so he has to depend almost solely 
on work done by Jews or converted Jews, for in the 
whole list of Talmud tractate translations we are told, 
the names of only five Christians born are to be found. 1 
The General What we want is a scientific translation of the 
the Subject Talmud, for, to summarise Bischoff, how few theological 
students know anything of this great literature, how 
few Christian scholars have really worked through a 
single complete tractate ! How few Jews even, at any 
rate of German birth, 2 have any longer any profound 
knowledge of the Talmud ! 

The only real Talmudists 3 nowadays are to be 

1 See Bischoff (E.), " Kritische Geschichte der Thalmud Uber- 
setzungen aller Zeiten und Zungen " (Frankfort a. M. ; 1899), p. 85. 

2 And in England real Talmudic scholars will not exhaust the 
fingers for their counting. 

3 Of the old school, of course, not scientific students of ancient 
scripture and literature. 


found in Kussia, Galicia, Hungary, and Bohemia, and 
even so the work of the younger generation presents us 
with a picture of complete degeneracy and decline. It 
is true that in recent years there has been some small 
activity in Talmud study, partly in the interest of Jewish 
missions on the side of Christian theologians, partly 
in the interest either of Anti-semitism on the one hand 
or of Jewish apologetics on the other, but in no case in 
the interest of pure scientific enquiry for the furtherance 
of our knowledge of the history of culture, religion and 
language. Moreover, owing to the difficulty of original 
study the non-specialist 1 has to depend entirely on 
translations, and as we have no immediate expectation 
of a complete translation of the Babylonian Talmud, and 
the French translation of the Palestinian Talmud leaves 
much to be desired, he has to be content with piecing 
together a patch-work of translation of single tractates, 
some of which even the best furnished libraries fail to 
supply. 2 

And if such difficulties confront the non-specialist Translations 
who is keenly desirous of learning all he can about the 
Talmud, and is willing to take an infinity of pains in 
the matter, the general reader has to be content with 
such a very distant glimpse of the country as to remain 
ignorant of all but its most salient features. Moreover, 
even with regard to the material available the student 
finds himself severely handicapped, for he can form no 
just opinion as to its value, and must rely entirely on 
the opinion of experts to guide him in his choice of the 
best sources of information. Thus before I came across 

1 Who, as a rule, has the more open mind. 

2 a/. Bischoff, op. cit., pp. 9, 10. 

112 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

BischofF s very useful history of existing Talmud trans 
lations, I had already acquainted myself with the only 
complete version of the Palestinian Talmud and the 
work in progress on the Babylonian Talmud, but could 
of course form no opinion as to the accuracy and reli 
ability of these translations. 

Of the Palestinian Talmud, then, we possess a com 
plete French version by Moi se Schwab ; l it is rendered 
into readable French and is generally clear, but Bischoff 
tells us 2 that it is a free translation, and in many 
passages open to objection. 

With regard to the translations of the Babylonian 
Talmud which are in progress, lovers of accuracy are in 
a still worse plight. Eodkinson s English version 3 puts 
the mediaeval censorship to the blush, proceeding as it 
does on lines of the most arbitrary bowdlerisation in 
the interest of apologetic " purification." In his Intro 
duction, most of which is taken directly from Deutsch s 
famous article, Eodkinson sets forth his scheme as 
follows : 

" Throughout the ages there have been added to the 
text marginal notes, explanatory words, whole phrases 
and sentences invented in malice or ignorance by its 
enemies or by its friends. . . . We have, therefore, 
carefully punctuated the Hebrew text with modern 
punctuation marks, and have re-edited it by omitting 
all such irrelevant matter as interrupted the clear 
and orderly arrangement of the various arguments. 

1 " Le Talmud de Jerusalem " (Paris ; 1871-1889). 

2 Op. cit., p. 57. 

3 " New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud : English Translation 
and Original Text, edited, formulated and punctuated," by Michael 
L. Eodkinson (Cincinnati ; 1896, in progress). 


. . . We continue our labours in the full and certain 
hope that he who comes to purify receives divine help "M 1 

In Goldschmidt s German translation 2 I thought I 
had at last come across a serious and reliable guide, but 
Bischoff for ever removes this confidence by telling us 
that seldom has scientific criticism been so unanimous 
in its condemnation of not only the untrustworthy 
nature of Goldschmidt s text, but also of the super 
abundant errors and the obscure and false German of 
his translation. 3 

Even more reprehensible than Kodkinson s pious 
attempt at edification is the literary jest of a certain 
Jean de Parly, 4 who instead of a translation gives us 
little more than a summary of the arguments of the 
various tractates. As he says in his Introduction (p. xvi) : 
" What I have suppressed in the translation is, in the 
first place, all those sterile controversies and discussions 
given in the original under the form of question and 
answer, and in the second the biblical verses cited in 
the text " ; in brief he gives us the ghastly corpse 
of a mutilated and disembowelled Talmud. 

Indeed, as we read of the many abortive attempts An Unsatis- 
to make the Talmud in its full contents known to the 
world, we are almost tempted to believe that any such 
undertaking lies under a persistent curse. Some have 

1 Op. cit.j pp. xii, xiii. 

2 " Der babylonische Talmud . . . moeglichst wortgetreu 
uebersetzst und mit kurzen Erklaerungen versehen," von Lazarus 
Goldschmidt (Berlin ; 1896, in progress). 

3 Op. cit., p. 62. 

4 " Le Talmud de Babylone, Texte complet . . . accompagne des 
principaux Commentaires et synthetiquement traduit " par Jean de 
Parly (Orleans ; 1900). 


114 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

begun the task, and either abandoned it or died before its 
accomplishment; others have emasculated the original 
out of all recognition ; all have failed. 

We are thus without any really reliable translation 
of the Talmud as a whole, and the task we have under 
taken in this present essay would have been utterly 
impossible of accomplishment but for the fortunate 
circumstance, that the text of the very passages we 
specially desire to study has been recently critically 
edited and fairly translated ; but of this later on. It 
is only necessary to add here that Bischoff s learned 
monograph gives a critical bibliography of all existing 
translations, and that Strack s " classical " " Einleitung," 
as Bischoff calls it (p. 10), to which we have already 
referred on several occasions, in its third edition (1900), 
gives a full bibliography up to date of the general 
literature of the subject. Strack s Introduction, it is 
true, gives us only an anatomical study of the Talmud, 
the articulation of its bare bones alone, but it is, never 
theless, a monument of patient industry and research. 
Internal So much, then, for a very brief indication of the 

Difficulties. literature of the subject and the nature of the initial 

difficulties which confront a student of the Talmud ; 
but these initial difficulties are as nothing to the 
internal difficulties which perplex the historical 
investigator. For the most part the only indications 
of time in the Talmud are that certain things are stated 
to have been done or said by such and such a Eabbi, 
and not unfrequently we find that the Rabbi in 
question could not possibly have said or done the 
things attributed to him. 

Nor will the traditional dates of the completion of 


the Mishna and the various redactions of the two 
Gemaras help us to any general certainty, so that we 
can say confidently that as such and such a thing is 
not found in the Mishna it must therefore be later 
than 200 A.D., or again that as such and such a thing 
is found only in the Babylonian Gemara, it evidently 
must be a late invention, for the first Talmud schools 
in Babylon were founded only about 200 A.D. 1 There 
must have been wide overlappings, and part of the 
Haggadic material of the Palestinian Gemara must 
have been in existence long prior to the comple 
tion of the Mishna, which concerned itself more 
especially with Halacha, while the Babylonian schools 
derived their tradition in the first place immediately 
from the Palestinian. 

In any case since the Talmud itself shows such great 
contempt for history, or rather let us say since it seems 
to be utterly deficient in the historical sense, it is 
incumbent upon us first of all to establish from outside 
sources the earliest date we can for the existence of hos 
tile Jewish stories concerning Jesus ; otherwise it might 
be argued that the Talmud stories were almost entirely 
invented by later Babylonian Eabbis, and had no currency 
in Palestine where the " historical facts " were known. 

1 " The Jews in Babylonia, no doubt, shared in the changes and 
movements that Ezra and his successors, who came from Babylonia, 
introduced into Palestine. But for the four centuries covering the 
period from Ezra to Hillel there are no details ; and the history of 
the succeeding two centuries, from Hillel to Judah I., furnishes only 
a few scanty items on the state of learning among the Babylonian 
Jews." See Bacher s art., " Academies in Babylonia," in " Jewish 
Encyclopaedia." Can it possibly be that up to the third century 
A.D. the "traditions" of the Babylonian Jews did not support 
the contentions of the Palestinian Rabbis ? 


The Earliest CHRISTIAN tradition will have it that already as early 
thTcM-istians as about 30 A.D. the followers of Jesus were most 
by the Jews, bitterly persecuted by the Jewish authorities. On the 
other hand, we know that Christians and Jews were 
undistinguished by the Roman authorities until the 
closing years of the first century, and that, too, not 
only in Palestine but also among the Dispersion a 
consideration which in the opinion of some critics tends 
somewhat to weaken the strength of the traditional 
line of demarcation which is regarded as having been 
drawn between Jewish and Gentile Christians in the 
Diaspora by Pauline propaganda. Moreover, we are 
further assured by Talmud scholars that according to 
Jewish tradition Jews and Jewish Christians were 
not distinctly separated out till the reign of Trajan 
(98-117 A.D.), or even still later in Hadrian s time 
(117-138 A.D.). 

It is impossible to reconcile these contradictory data ; 
for though we may almost entirely eliminate the nega 
tive evidence of classical writers by the persuasion that 
the official Roman was ignorant or careless of the rights 
or wrongs of the matter, and contemptuously lumped 


Jew and Christian together as of the same family as 
far as their superstitio was concerned, the Christian and 
Jewish traditions appear to be in straitest contradic 
tion, even though we suppose that the Palestinian 
Eabbis who first evolved the Talmud paid attention 
only to the state of affairs in the land of Israel proper 
and were not concerned with the Dispersion. It may 
indeed be that in the beginning the Eabbis paid no 
attention to Gentile Christians of any grade in Pales 
tine, but regarded them as Heathen, and the vast 
majority of them as Amme ha-aretz, entirely outside 
the pale of Jewry and its privileges; it may be that 
they were only concerned with born Jews who were 
abandoning the externals of the Law and introducing 
into Jewry what the Eabbis considered to be poly 
theistic views which set at naught the rigid mono 
theistic commandments of the Torah. But even so, 
if the testimony of Paul as to himself is genuine, 
there was the bitterest persecution many years before 
the Talmud indirectly admits it. 

Now in spite of the brilliant critical ability of van The Testi- 
Manen and his school, I am still inclined to regard the 
majority of the Pauline letters as largely genuine, and 
therefore as being our earliest historical witnesses 
to Christianity. From these we learn that already 
upwards of a generation before the fall of Jerusalem, 
which immensely intensified the propaganda of more 
liberal and spiritual views throughout the nation, there 
was bitter persecution on the part of the Jewish autho 
rities against heresy, and that among the victims of this 
persecution were the followers of Jesus. We do not 
have to deduce this from enigmatical sentences or 

118 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

confused traditions, but on the contrary we have before 
us what purports to be not only the testimony of an 
eye-witness, but the confession of one who had taken a 
leading part in the persecution. In his Letter to the 
Galatians (i. 13) Paul declares that before his con 
version he was engaged in persecuting and " wasting " 
the " Church of God." If this declaration of the great 
propagandist is a statement of fact, and not a rhetorical 
embellishment, or a generous exaggeration in contrition 
for previous harshness (begotten of zeal for the " tradi 
tion of the fathers ") towards those with whom he was 
now the co-believer, it is in straitest contradiction with 
the opinion of those Talmudic scholars who assert that 
Jews and Jewish Christians continued together in 
comparative harmony till the reign of Trajan. 

Of the Acts. The graphic details of this persecution as given in the 
Acts, and its far-reaching character, as suggested by the 
furnishing of Paul by the authorities with letters against 
the heretics even among the Dispersion at Damascus, 
may presumably be set down as a later Haggadic ex 
pansion, or the ascription of circumstances of a later 
date to Pauline times. 1 But whatever was the exact 
nature of the " havoc " in the time of Paul, at the time 
of the redaction of the Acts (130-150 A.D.) it was still 
a lively remembrance that there had been much perse 
cution at the hands of the Jews, that is to say most 
probably from the Mishnaic Eabbis and their adherents 
a fact confirmed by the Talmud, which in a number 
of passages allows us to conclude that during the first 

1 Otherwise we have to account for the existence of a " Church " 
at Damascus at a date when, according to canonical tradition, the 
first Church at Jerusalem had hardly been formed. 


thirty-five years of the second century the great Akiba 
himself, who was so zealous for the Law, and the virtual 
founder of the Talmud method, was the most strenuous 
and implacable opponent of Christianity. And if there 
was persecution, there must have previously been con 
troversy, and controversy of the most embittered nature, 
and if bitter dispute then presumably scandal and slander. 

We are certain then that the strife was at fever heat The Terminus. 

a quo. 

in the first quarter of the second century, just prior to 
the compilation of our four canonical Gospels; the 
" common document " (as we saw in a previous chapter) 
shows further that it was in manifestation some half 
century prior to the redaction of these documents, say 
somewhere about 75 A.D., while if we can accept the 
testimony of the Letter to the Galatians as that 
of a genuine declaration by Paul himself, we must 
push back the beginnings of the struggle another half 
century or so. 1 

1 In this connection it would be interesting to determine the 
exact date of Paul s conversion, but this is impossible to do with 
any precision. The various authorities give it as anywhere between 
28-36 A.D., the 28 limit making it almost coterminous with the 
earliest possible date of the crucifixion according to the canonical 
date. This early date, however, allows no time for anything 
but a sudden and unorganised outbreak of official fury directed 
against the followers of Jesus immediately after his execution 
(according to canonical tradition), and such a sudden outbreak 
seems out of keeping with the extended "persecuting" and 
"wasting" of the "Church of God" referred to by Paul. But 
was the " Church " of tradition as imagined by the scribe of the 
Acts (viii. 3) the same as the " Church of God " in Paul s living 
memory 1 Did the latter then possess the identical story related 
a century later in the canonical Gospels? And if so, why does 
Paul seem to be almost entirely ignorant of this story in spite of 
lengthy acquaintance with that "Church" while wasting it, and 
in spite of subsequent conversion ? 

120 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Seeing, then, that few reject this testimony, as far 
as most of us are concerned there is nothing a priori 
to prevent the genesis of the original forms of some of 
these Talmud stories going back even to some 30 
years A.D., while for others we can at best only push 
their origin back stage by stage with the evolution of 
Christian dogma that is to say with the externalizing 
and historicizing of the mystic teachings of the inner 
tradition. As Christian popular propaganda gradually 
departed from the sober paths of prosaic history and 
simple ethical instruction, owing to the externalizing 
of the exalted and romantic experiences of the mystics 
and the bringing of the " mysteries" to earth by histori 
cizing them, so did the Eabbinical opponents of this 
new movement confront its extravagance with the 
remorseless logic of material fact. 

The Probable For instance, the Christ (said the mystics) was born 
Mamzer of a " virgin " 1 ; the unwitting believer in Jesus as the 
Stones. historical Messiah in the exclusive Jewish sense, and 

in his being the Son of God, nay God Himself, in course 
of time asserted that Mary was that virgin ; whereupon 
Eabbinical logic, which in this case was simple and 
common logic, met this extravagance by the natural 
retort that, seeing that his paternity was unacknow 
ledged, Jesus was therefore illegitimate, a bastard 

Eound this point there naturally raged the fiercest 
controversy, or rather it was met with the most 
contemptuous retorts, which must have broken out the 

1 The spiritual birth, by which a man becomes " twice-born" 
the simple mystic fact that so puzzled the Rabbi Nicodemus, 
according to the writer of the fourth Gospel. 


instant the virginity of Mary as a physical fact was 
publicly mooted by the simple believers of the general 
Christian body. This particular dogma, however, must 
have been a comparatively late development in the 
evolution of popular Christianity, for the common 
document" knows nothing of it, the writers of the 
second and fourth Gospels tacitly reject it, while some 
of the earliest readings of our Gospels distinctly assert 
that Joseph was the natural father of Jesus. 1 For the 
mamzer element rji the Talmud stories, therefore, we 
have, in my opinion, no need to go back further than 
the first quarter of the second century or so as the 
earliest terminus a quo. 

For most of the other main elements, however, we 
have no means of fixing a date limit by the criticism 
of canonical documents ; all we can say is that as 
early as 30 A.D. even, circumstances were such as to lead 
us to expect the circulation of stories of a hostile nature. 

From the persecution in the time of Paul till the Justin 
redaction of the Acts a full century elapses, from 
which we have preserved no witnesses that will help 
us concerning anything but the mamzer element. 
And even when, following immediately on the period 
of the Acts redaction, we come to the testimony of 
Justin Martyr, 2 in the middle of the second century, 

1 For the latest study of this subject see F. C. Conybeare s 
article, " Three Early Doctrinal Modifications of the Text of the 
Gospels," in " The Hibbert Journal " (London ; 1902), I. i. 96-113 ; 
and also J. R. Wilkinson s criticism in the succeeding issue (Jan- 

2 The dates of Justin s genuine writings are variously con 
jectured, but the general opinion is that they may be placed 
145-150 A.D. 

122 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

we have to be content with generalities, though 
fortunately (in this connection) such generalities as put 
it entirely out of doubt that a state of affairs had long 
existed such as presupposes the existence and wide 
circulation of similar stories to those found in the 

From the general testimony of Justin, no matter 
how we may discount it by his demonstrable blundering 
in some points of detail, we are certain that the 
separation between Jews and Christians had for years 
been made absolute, and if we can trust the repeated 
statements of this enthusiastic apologist, we must 
believe that the stages of the separation had been 
throughout marked by a bitterness and persecution of 
a quite mediaeval character. 

BarKochba s In his first " Apology " Justin seeks to rebut the 
objection that the one whom the Christians call "the 
Messiah" was simply a man born of human parents, 
and that his wonder-workings were done by magical 
means the main contention of the Talmud Rabbis ; 
this he does by appeal to prophecy (c. xxx.). De 
veloping his arguments Justin naively admits that 
the Christians base themselves on the Septuagint Greek 
translation 1 of the Hebrew sacred writings; never 
theless he accuses the Jews of not understanding their 
own books, and is surprised that his co-believers are 
considered as foes and enemies by the Jews because 
of their interpretation of Hebrew prophecy a point, 

1 In connection with the origin of which Justin commits 
a ludicrous blunder, when he makes Herod a contemporary 
of Ptolemy, the founder of the Alexandrian Library an 
anacharonism of 250 years ! 


we may remark, in which modern scientific criticism 
practically sympathises with the Eabbis. Nay, so 
bitter were the Jews against them, that whenever 
they had had the power they had not only punished 
the Christians but also put them to death a charge 
he repeats in several passages ; l declaring that in his 
own day the Jews were only deterred from doing so by 
the Eoman authorities. 2 For instance, in the recent 
revolt against the Eomans led by Bar Kochba (132-135 
A.D.), Justin declares that this popular Messiah specially 
singled out the Christians for torture if they refused 
to deny that Jesus was the Messiah and utte"r 
blasphemies against him (c. xxxi.). It is to be noted, 
however, that Eusebius and others 3 state that Bar 
Kochba punished the Christians (that is to say, Jewish 
Christians resident in Palestine) for political reasons, 
because they refused to join their fellow countrymen 
against the Komans, and not on theological grounds. 
If, nevertheless, in spite of this conflict of testimony, 
we are still to believe Justin, it is of interest to 
remember that E. Akiba, the founder of the Talmudic 
method, and the Eabbi who is represented in the 
Talmud as the greatest opponent of Christianity, threw 
all his great influence on the side of Bar Kochba, 
acknowledged him as the true Messiah and paid the 
penalty of his enthusiastic championship with his life. 
From Justin s " Dialogue with Tryphon " we derive 
still further information, the interest of which would 

1 See " Dial. c. Tryph.," xvi., ex., cxxxiii. 

2 Ibid., xvi. 

3 Eusebius, " Chron.," and Orosius, "Hist.," vii. 13; c/. note 
to Otto s " Justini Opera" (Jena ; 1847), i. 79. 

]24 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

be greatly increased for our present research if the 
identification of Justin s Tryphon with the R Tarphon 
of the Talmud, the contemporary of Akiba, could be 
maintained. 1 

General In addition to the general declaration that the Jews 
hate the Christians (c. xxxv.) a state of affairs summed 
up in " The Letter to Diognetus " (c. v.), which some 
still attribute to Justin, in the words " the Jews make 
war against the Christians as against a foreign nation " 
we have some important details given us which, 
according to the fancy and taste of the reader, can 
either be set down as embellishments begotten of odium 
theologicum, or be taken as throwing historic light on 
the state of affairs and temper of the times which 
originated the Talmud Jesus stories. 

Thus in ch. cxvii., speaking of Jesus as the " Son of 
God," and addressing the Jew Tryphon, Justin adds, 
"whose name the high priests and teachers of your 
people have caused to be profaned and blasphemed 
throughout the earth." If this accusation was true in 
Justin s time, it can only refer to the spreading far and 
wide of inimical stories about Jesus; at that time 
stories of this kind were spread everywhere throughout 
the Koman empire, and the source of them was attri 
buted by the Christians to the Jewish priestly aris 
tocracy and especially to the Kabbinical doctors, in 
other words the Mishnaic Talmudists of those days 
and earlier. 

TheProclama- Moreover Justin twice (cc. xvii. and cviii.) categori- 
e 11 cally asserts that after the " resurrection " the Jews 

sent out a specially elected body of men, some sort of 
1 But see Strack s " Einleitung in den Talmud " (3rd ed.), p. 80. 


official commission apparently, " throughout the world," 
to proclaim that a godless and lawless sect had arisen 
from one Jesus, a Galilean impostor, whose followers 
asserted that he had risen from the dead, whereas the 
fact of the matter was that he had been put to death 
by crucifixion and that subsequently his body had been 
stolen from the grave by his disciples (c. cviii.). 

The genesis of this extensive commission may with 
great probability be ascribed to the imaginative rhetoric 
of Justin playing on the germ provided by the floating 
tradition, that Paul was furnished with letters of 
repression against the heretics when he set forth for 
Damascus, as stated by the compiler of the Acts. A 
commission to disprove the dogma of the physical 
resurrection would not have been necessary until that 
dogma had gained a firm root in popular belief, and 
this we hold was a late development (the vulgar 
historicising of a mystic fact) though somewhat earlier 
than the dogma of the immaculate conception ; but 
even so it would appear to be a somewhat absurd pro 
ceeding to send out a commission to deal with this 
point only. 

There may be, however, some greater substratum of 
truth in Justin s repeated assertions (cc. xvi., xcvi. and 
cxxxiii.) that it was the custom of the Jews publicly to 
curse those who believed in " the Christ " in their 
synagogues ; and to this he adds that not only were 
the Jews forbidden by their Rabbis to have any deal 
ings of any kind with Christians (c. cxii.), but that 
they were distinctly taught by the Pharisee Rabbis and 
the leaders of their synagogues to revile and make fun 
of Jesus after prayer (c. cxxxvii.). 

126 DID JESUS LIVE 100 E.G.? 

In fact Justin will have it that all the preconceived 
evil opinion which the general public cherished against 
the Christians was originated by the Jews (c. xvii.), 
whom he accuses of deliberately stating that Jesus 
himself had taught all those impious, unspeakable 
and detestable crimes with which the Christians were 
charged (c. cviii.) an accusation which in no case can 
be substantiated by the Talmud passages, and which 
we may presumably set down to Justin s rhetoric. 
Estimate of But whether or not Justin can be believed in all his 
the Evidence, ^{.^j^ an( j no ma tter how we may soften down his 

statements, there still remains strong enough evidence 
to show that in his day the bitterest hostility existed 
between Jews and Christians, or at any rate between 
official Judaism and that type of Christianity for which 
Justin stood. Since Justin attributes all the scandalous 
stories about Christians, 1 and all the scoffing at the 

1 In connection with which it is of mournful interest to note 
that Origen (" C. Gels.," vi. 27) says that when " Christianism " 
first began to be taught, the Jews spread about reports that the 
Christians, presumably in their secret rites, sacrificed a child and 
ate its flesh, and that their meetings were scenes of indiscriminate 
immorality ; that even in his own day (c. 250 A.D.) such charges 
were still believed against them, and they were shunned by some 
on this account. The curious vitality of this slander is remarkable, 
for not only did the general Christians of those days charge the 
" heretics " of the Christian name, to whose assemblies they could 
not gain access, with precisely the same crime of ceremonial 
murder, but even up to our own days in Anti-semitic Eastern 
Europe it is still the favourite vulgar charge against the Jews a 
strange turning of the wheel of fate ! Even as I correct these 
proofs, I read in The Times (May 2) the horrible account of the 
murder of some sixty or seventy Jews and Jewesses, and the 
serious injury of some five hundred more, with " several cases of 
rape too horrible for detailed description," by the fanatical 
" Christian/ populace of Kishineff, in Bessarabia, who were roused 


most cherished beliefs of Justin and the popular 
Christianity of his day, to the Kabbis, it is evident that 
what the Jews said was the very antipodes of what 
Justin believed, and that, as may be seen from the 
retort of the stealing of the body, the greatest miracles 
and dogmas of popular Christianity were met on the 
side of the Kabbis by the simplest retorts of vulgar 

The evidence of Justin, therefore, taken as a whole, 
leaves us with a very strong impression, nay, for all but 
irreconcilables, produces an absolute conviction, that in 
his time, taking our dates at a minimum, stories similar 
to, and even more hostile than, the Talmud stories were 
in widest circulation; while Justin himself will have 
it that they were in circulation from the very begin 
ning of things Christian. So far, however, we have 
come across nothing but generalities ; we have failed to 
find anything of a definite nature which we can identify 
with some distinct detail of the Talmud stories. 

To do this we must mount some quarter of a century, Celsus. 
and turn to the fragments of Celsus preserved to us in 
the polemic of Origen, who wrote his refutation of 
Celsus s attack on the Christians somewhere towards 
the middle of the third century. Origen in his preface 
(4) tells us that Celsus himself was long since dead, 
and later on he adds more precisely (i. 8) that Celsus 
lived about Hadrian s time (emp. 117-138 A.D.), and 
later. The most learned of the Church Fathers, how 
ever, seems to have blundered in this respect, and 

to fury by the report of a supposed " ritual murder " by the Jews of 
Dubossari, and this in spite of the publication of absolute testimony 
to the falsity of the charge. 

128 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

though there is still dispute as to the exact date, 
modern criticism, basing itself on data supplied by the 
passages cited by Origen from Celsus s " True Word," is 
generally of opinion that Celsus survived till as late as 
175 A.D. In any case Origen wrote a full seventy-five 
years after Celsus had withdrawn from the controversy, 
and though we may place the writing of the statements 
of Celsus as late as 175 A.D., we have also to allow for 
the possibility, if not the probability, that the memory of 
this sturdy opponent of Christianity may have reached 
back some quarter or even half century earlier. 

Celsus in his treatise rhetorically throws many of 
his arguments into the form of a dispute between a Jew 
and Jesus (Pref. 6, and i. 28). This Jew declares that 
the extraordinary things Jesus seems to have done 
were effected by magical means (i. 6), and Origen later 
on (iii. 1) says that this was the general accusation 
brought against the miracle-workings by all Jews who 
were not Christians. This is one of the main elements 
of the Talmud stories. 

The Virgin From a quotation from Celsus (i. 26) we further 
Birth Dogma. ^^ ^ the Jewg agserted that a yery few yearg 

had elapsed since the dogma of Jesus being the " Son of 
God " had been promulgated by the Christians, presum 
ably referring to the dogma of the " virgin birth." 

Developing his argument, the Jew goes on to say 
(i. 28) that the dogma of the "virgin birth" was an 
invention, the facts of the case being : " that Jesus had 
come from a village in Judsea, and was the son of a poor 
Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own 
hands ; that his mother had been turned out of doors 
by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being 


convicted of adultery ; that being thus driven away by 
her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave 
birth to Jesus, a bastard ; that Jesus on account of his 
poverty (had to work for his living and) was hired out to go 
to Egypt l ; that while there he acquired certain (magical) 
powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing ; 
that he returned home highly elated at possessing these 
powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out 
to be a god." 2 

In this passage from Celsus we have precisely the 
main outline of the Talmud Jesus stories, and therefore 
an exact external proof that in his day at any rate 
(whenever that was, whether 150-175 or even 125-175) 
stories precisely similar to the Talmud stories were 
the stock-in-trade Jewish objections to Christian 
dogmatic tradition. 

And if more precise proof is still demanded, we have Ben Pandera. 
only to turn over a few pages of Origen s voluminous 
refutation to the passage (i. 32), where the Church 
Father again refers to the quotation from the Jew of 
Celsus given above, and adds the important detail from 
Celsus that the paramour of the mother of Jesus was a 
soldier called Panthera, a name which he also repeats 
later on (i. 69), in a sentence, by the by, which has in 
both places been erased from the oldest Vatican MS., 

1 Can this possibly be based on some vulgar version of a well- 
known Gnostic myth of those days ? Jesus went down as a servant or 
slave into Egypt ; that is to say, the Christ or divine soul descends 
as a servant into the Egypt of the body. It is a common element 
in the early mystic traditions that the Christ took on the form of a 
servant in his descent through the spheres, and in many traditions 
Egypt is the symbol of the body, which is separated by the " Red 
Sea " and the " Desert " from the " Promised Land." 

2 The last two paragraphs are again quoted by Origen (i. 38). 


130 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

and bodily omitted from three codices in this country 
and from others. 1 Now this is precisely the name given 
in some of the Talmud stories ; in them Jesus is called 
Jeschu ben Pandera (or Pandira), or Ben Pandera 

John the But before we leave Origen it may be useful to note 
one or two scraps of information which he has let fall 
in the controversy, and which are of importance for us 
in our present investigation. Eeferring to the histori- 
cised mystery of the descent of the Dove at the Baptism, 
Celsus puts the argument into the mouth of his Jew 
(i. 48), that there is no testimony for this except the 
word of one of those who met with the same punish 
ment as Jesus. To this Origen replies that it is a 
great blunder on Celsus s part to put such an argument 
into the mouth of a Jew, for " the Jews do not connect 
John with Jesus, nor the punishment of John with that 
of Jesus." Now in the first place it is to be observed 
that Celsus says nothing about any " John," and in the 
second that Origen gives us clearly to understand that 
the Jews denied that John the Baptist, who was a well- 
known historical character, had anything to do with 
Jesus. This is an important piece of evidence for those 
who believe that the Baptist element, which does not 
appear in the " common document," was a later develop 
ment. Can it be that Celsus had in mind some early 
form of the Baptism story, in which some other than 
John the Baptist played a part ? 

Elsewhere Celsus, in speaking of the betrayal of 
Jesus, does not ascribe it to Judas, but to " many dis- 

1 See notes on both passages by Lommatzsch in his " Origenis 
contra Celsum" (Berlin ; 1845). 


ciples" (ii. 11), a curious statement if Celsus is repeat 
ing what he has heard or read, and is not merely guilty 
of gross error or of wilful exaggeration. 

But indeed Celsus categorically accuses the Christians Frequent 

,.. _.^. , ,. . , Remodelling 

(11. 27) of changing their gospel story in many ways in O f the Gospel 
order the better to answer the objections of their storv - 
opponents ; his accusation is that some of them, " as it 
were in a drunken state producing self-induced visions, 1 
remodel their gospel from its first written form in a 
threefold, fourfold and manifold fashion, and reform it 
so that they may be able to refute the objections 
brought against it." 

This may be taken to mean either that the Christians 
were engaged in doing so in Celsus s day, or that such 
redacting was habitual. If, however, we are to regard 
the " threefold " and " fourfold " of Celsus as referring 
to our three and four canonical gospels, and his " mani 
fold " as referring to the " many " of our " Lukan " intro 
duction, it is difficult to imagine that this was going 
on in Celsus s time unless his memory went back some 
fifty years or so. It is, therefore, more simple to 
regard the statement as meaning that the external 

1 Lit., " coming to appear to themselves" el s T b tyeorcd cu avrols. 
This very puzzling sentence is translated by F. Crombie (" The 
Works of Origen," Edinburgh, 1872, in " The Ante-Nicene Christian 
Library ") as " lay violent hands upon themselves," which does not 
seem to be very appropriate in this connection. But tyeo-rdvai i s 
the usual word used of dreams and visions, and I have therefore 
ventured on the above translation. Celsus probably meant to 
suggest that these Christian writers were the victims of their own 
hallucinations ; those who understand the importance of the 
vision-factor in the evolution of Christian dogma and " history " 
will thank Origen for preserving this expression of his opponent, 
though they may put a construction on the words that neither 
Celsus nor Origen would have agreed with. 

132 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

gospel story had been continually altered and re 
formulated to meet objections in brief, that the latest 
forms of it were the product of a literary evolution 
in which mystic experiences played a prominent 

Value of the We thus see that the testimony of Celsus, an entirely 
outside witness, not only strongly endorses the general 
testimony of Justin, but also adds convincing details 
which conclusively prove that the Jewish Jesus stories 
of his day were precisely of the same nature as those 
we find in the Talmud, and though we cannot conjecture 
with any certainty what may have been the precise 
date of any particular story, we are justified in rejecting 
the contention of those who declare that the Talmud 
stories are all of a very late date, say the fourth century 
or so. and in claiming that there is nothing to prevent 
most of them going back to the middle of the second 
century, even on the most conservative estimate, while 
some of them may go back far earlier. 

Tertullian. Advancing another generation we come to the testi 
mony of Tertullian, which is exceedingly important 
not only with regard to the Talmud Jesus stories, but 
also in respect of a far more obscure line of tradition 
preserved in the mediaeval " Toldoth Jeschu," or " Story 
of Jesus," as we shall see in the second part of our 
enquiry. Writing somewhere about 197-198 A.D., in 
his " De Spetaculis " (c. xxx.), in a highly rhetorical 
peroration in which he depicts the glorious spectacle 
of the second coming, as he imagines it (when he 
shall see all the Heathen opponents of the Christians, 
philosophers and poets, actors and wrestlers in the 
Games, tossing on the billows of hell-fire) the hot- 


tempered Bishop of Carthage bursts out that, perhaps, 
however, after all he will not have time to gaze upon 
the tortures of the Heathen, but that all his attention 
will be turned on the Jews who raged against the Lord. 
Then will he say unto them : " This is your carpenter s 
son, your harlot s son; your Sabbath-breaker, your 
Samaritan, your demon-possessed ! This is He whom 
ye bought from Judas ; this He who was struck with 
reed and fists, dishonoured 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 ! " l 

All these elements appear in order in the " Toldoth," 
and the carpenter s son and the harlot s son appear in 
the Talmud stories. We have thus exhausted our 
external evidence till the date of the final redaction 
of the Mishna, 200-207 A.D., beyond which it is of no 
advantage to go. 2 

Enough has already been said for our purpose, which 
was the very simple one of disposing of the flimsy and 
superficial argument that the Talmud Jesus stories 

1 See also Jerome, "Ad Heliodorum" (Tom. IV., P. II., p. 12, 
ed. Bened.), and compare Theodoret, " H. S.," iii. 11, as cited in 
Oehler s "Tertulliani quoe supersunt Onmia" (Leipzig; 1853), 
i. 62, n. 

2 See, however, Richard von der Aim (i.e., Friederich Wilhelm 
Ghillany), " Die Urtheile heidnischer und jiidischer Schrifsteller 
der vier ersten Jahrhunderte iiber Jesus und die ersten Christen : 
Eine Zuschrift an die gebildeten Deutschen zur weiteren Orienti- 
rung in der Frage iiber die Gottheit Jesu " (Leipzig ; 1864J, a 
continuation of his " Theologische Briefe an die Gebildeten der 
deutschen Nation" (3 vok, Leipzig; 1863). 

134 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

must have been entirely the invention of late Babylonian 
Kabbis, and that Mishnaic times were utterly ignorant 
of them, as being too close to the supposed actual facts, 
which unthinking apologists further presume must 
have been known to all the Jews of Palestine. We 
now pass to a consideration of the stories themselves. 


In 1891 Dr. Gustaf H. Dalman, of Leipzig, printed a The Transla- 
critical text of all the censured passages in the Talmud, Censured 
Midrashim, Zohar and Liturgy of the Synagogue which rassa g es - 
are said to refer to Jesus, and to this H. Laible appended 
an introductory essay, 1 in which most of the passages 
were translated. 

In 1893 A. M. Streane published an English version 
of this essay, for which Dalman translated the remain 
ing passages, and to which Dalman, Laible, and Streane 
contributed additional notes, the English edition thus 
superseding the German. 2 From lack of any other 
work in which a version of all the passages may be 
found, the non-specialist must perforce be content 
with this Dalman-Laible-Streane translation, though a 
comparison with other translations of single passages 
makes one hesitate to accept its entire accuracy, and 
Streane himself admits in his preface (p. vi) that 

1 "Jesus Christus im Thalrnud . . . init einem Anhange : Die 
thalmudischen Texte mitgeteilt," von G. Dalman (Berlin ; 1891), in 
"Schriften des Institutum Judaicum in Berlin," nr. 10. A 
second edition appeared in 1900. 

2 "Jesus Christ in the Talmud," etc. (Cambridge ; 1893). 

136 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

occasionally some Talmud expressions with regard to 
" our Blessed Lord " have been modified. 

The Name I am, therefore, glad to be assured by a learned 
Talmudist that Streane s version, in spite of these draw 
backs and its very ungraceful diction, is on the whole 
sufficiently reliable for all general purposes. I, how 
ever, retain throughout the Hebrew or Aramaic form 
" Jeschu," or perhaps more correctly " Yeschu," which 
Streane has replaced by the familiar Jesus, because I 
hold with Krauss 1 that Jeschu is a "genuine Jewish 
name," and not a nickname invented in despite by 
the Jews (as charged against them by Christian writers) 
to escape writing the form Jeshua (Joshua, Jehoshua 2 ), 
which Christians maintain was the proper Hebrew 
name of Jesus, thus showing forth by the very name that 
he was the " Saviour " ; least of all that the name 
Jeschu was originally begotten of a cruel letter play 
based on the the initials of the words of imprecation 
" /mmach Scheme Fezikro " (" May his name and 
memory be blotted out!"), as persistently charged 
against the Jews by their mediaeval Christian opponents, 
and finally (under stress of hate and ignorance) accepted 
and adopted by Jews themselves in some of the later 
forms of the Toldoth Jeschu. 3 Jeschu, I hold, was 
simply the original Hebrew or Aramaic form of the 
name, as may be seen from the Greek transliteration 
vg (lesus), or the Arabic Isa. 

1 Krauss (S.), " Das Leben Jesu nach judischen Quellen" (Berlin ; 
1902), pp. 250-253. 

2 Lit., " The Lord will save." 

3 See, for instance, the Vienna Toldoth MS. Compare with this 
Pessach s invention as given above in the chapter, " The Talmud in 


Let us, then, first of all turn to what, from the 
chronological point of view, is the most extraordinary 
passage, a passage found not once but twice in the 
Babylonian Gemara. 1 

" The Kabbis have taught : The left should always The Ben 
be repelled, and the right, on the other hand, drawn story. 
nearer. But one should not do it . . . 2 as K. Joshua 
ben Perachiah, who thrust forth Jeschu with both hands. 
What was the matter with regard to E. Joshua ben 
Perachiah? When King Jannai directed the destruc 
tion of the Eabbis, E. Joshua ben Perachiah and Jeschu 
went to Alexandria. When security returned, Eabbi 
Simeon ben Shetach sent him a letter to this effect: 
From me, Jerusalem the holy city, to thee, Alexandria 
in Egypt, my sister. My spouse tarries in thee, and I 
dwell desolate. Thereupon Joshua arose and came; 
and a certain inn was in the way, in which they treated 
him with great respect. Then spake Joshua : How fair 
is this inn (akhsanga) I Jeschu saith to him : But, 
Eabbi, she (akhsanga=a& hostess) has little narrow 
eyes. Joshua replied : Thou godless fellow, dost thou 
occupy thyself with such things ? directed that 400 
horns should be brought, and put him under strict 
excommunication. Jeschu ofttimes came and said to 
him, * Take me back. Joshua did not trouble himself 
about him. One day, just as Joshua was reading 
[? reciting] the Shema, 3 Jeschu came to him, hoping 
that he would take him back. Joshua made a sign to 

1 " Sanhedrin," 107b, and, in almost identical words, " Sota," 

2 The words omitted by Streane are, " as Elislia who repelled 
Gehazi nor." 

3 The words : " Hear, Israel," etc., Dent. vi. 4 ff. 

138 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

him with his hand. Then Jeschu thought that he had 
altogether repulsed him, and went away, and set up a 
brickbat and worshipped it. Joshua said to him : Be 
converted ! Jeschu saith : Thus have I been taught by 
thee : From him that sinneth and inaketh the people to 
sin, is taken away the possibility of repentance. And 
the Teacher [i.e., he who is everywhere mentioned by 

(this title in the Talmud] has said : * Jeschu had prac 
tised sorcery and had corrupted and misled Israel. " l 

This famous passage, if taken by itself, would of 
course fully confirm the hypothesis of the 100 years 
B.C. date of Jesus. The arguments for and against the 
authenticity of its statements embrace, therefore, practi* 
cally the whole substance of our investigation. Let us 
first of all consider the face value of these statements. 
King Jaimai. Jannai or Jannseus (John), who also bore the Greek 
name Alexander, was one of the famous Maccaboean 
line of kings, the son of John Hyrcanus I., and reigned 
over the Jews 104-78 B.C. 

Though it is now impossible from the imperfect record 
to ascertain the exact state of Jewish domestic affairs, 
or the precise causes of the fierce internal religious 
struggle, during the reign of this wild warrior king, 2 the 
salient fact dwelt on by Josephus in both his accounts 
is that Jannai for the major part of his reign was 
engaged in a bitter feud with the Pharissean party, 
whom he had deprived of all their privileges. This 
Fharisaean party was practically the national religious 

1 This formal charge is also found in " Sanhedrin," 43a. 

2 See Schiirer (E.), " A History of the Jewish People in the 
Time of Jesus Christ " (Eng. Trans.; Edinburgh, 1897), Div. i., 
vol. i. pp. 295-307. 


party who resented the oriental despotism of their 
Hasmonsean rulers, and above all detested the usurpa 
tion of the high priestly office by Jannai. The Pious 
and Pure could not brook the sight of " a wild warrior 
like Jannseus discharging the duties of the high priest 
in the holy place," as Schurer puts it. Bitter internal 
strife intensified by religious fanaticism accordingly 
marked the first eighteen years of Jannai s reign. The 
Pharisees finally led a rebellion against the hated 
monarch, in which no less than 50,000 Jews are said to 
have fallen, and finally the leaders of the nationalist 
party fled to the stronghold of Bethome or Besemelis. 1 
Jannai besieged Bethome and captured it. The prisoners 
were taken to Jerusalem, and there no less than 800 of 
them are said to have been crucified to make sport 
before Jannai and his wives and concubines, the wives 
and children of the wretched Pharisees having been 
previously butchered before their eyes. This atrocious 
act is said to have struck such terror into the hearts 
of the unfortunate " Eabbis " of the time, that no less 
than 8000 of them fled, and during Jannai s life- time 
kept far from Judaea. 2 This happened about 87 B.C. 

The greatest hero of those times, according to Rab 
binical tradition, who still withstood the tyrant to the 
face and boldly berated him with the unaided weapons 
of Rabbinic wisdom, was Simeon ben Shetach, who is 
said moreover to have been the brother of Jannai s wife 
Salome. Many stories of his wise sayings before Jannai 
are handed on in the Talmud, though it must be con- 

1 For Josephus in his two accounts (" Bell. Jud.," i. 4. 6, and 
" Antiqq.," xiii. 14. 2) gives these two widely different names. 

2 Josephus, ibid. 

140 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

fessed that they sound to modern ears somewhat 
puerile. There are some, however, who think that 
Simeon too had to flee, and that his withstanding of 
Jannai took place before the revolt. 
Queen Salome When Salome, however, succeeded her impious spouse, 

and the 

< Golden her policy with regard to the Pharisees was the direct 
antithesis of Jannai s cruel measures. " Salome from 
the beginning of her reign [78-69 B.C.] took her stand 
unhesitatingly on the side of the Pharisees, lent an ear 
to their demands and wishes, and in particular gave 
legal sanction again to all the Pharisaic ordinances 
abolished since the time of John Hyrcanus. During 
these years the Pharisees were the real rulers of the 
land." l 

As Josephus says : Salome " had indeed the name of 
regent, but the Pharisees had the authority ; for it was 
they who restored such as were banished, and set such 
as were prisoners at liberty, and to say all at once, they 
differed in nothing from masters (of the country)." 2 

Pharissean tradition, therefore, naturally depicts the 
reign of Salome as a golden age, and we are told with 
true oriental hyperbole, that " under Simeon ben Shetach 
and Queen Salome rain fell on the eve of the Sabbath, 
so that the corns of wheat were as large as kidneys, the 
barley corns as large as olives, and the lentils like 
golden denarii ; the scribes gathered such corns, and 
preserved specimens of them in order to show future 
generations what sin entails" 3 a somewhat prepos 
terous proceeding, one would suppose, unless the scribes 

1 ScMrer, op. cit., ibid., p. 309. 

2 "Bell. Jud., i. 5. 2, and " Antiqq.," xiii. 16. 2. 

3 " Taanith," 23a. 


of that time were gifted with prophetical clairvoyance 
to descry the subsequent evil days on which the Eabbis 
fell time and again. 

I have been thus long in dwelling on the importance Joshua ben 
of Salome from a Kabbinical point of view for reasons l 
which will appear more fully later on ; for the present 
it is to be remarked that, if there is any historical basis 
at all for the passage under consideration, Joshua ben 
Perachiah presumably fled to Alexandria in 87 B.C., and 
was probably recalled by Simeon ben Shetach in 78 B.C. 
He must then have been a very old man, for he is said 
to have begun to teach as early as 154 B.C., 1 an asser 
tion, however, which I have been unable to verify. In 
any case Joshua ben Perachiah and Nithai of Arbela 
were the second of the famous "Five Pairs" of the 
" Guruparampara " chain (to use a Brahmanical techni 
cal term) of Talmudic tradition, while Simeon ben 
Shetach and Judah ben Tabbai form the third <c Pair." 

According to this " tradition of the fathers," then, j esus a 
Jeschu was regarded as having been originally the pupil Learned Man - 
of one of the two most learned " Eabbis " 2 of the time, 

1 Baring-Gould (S.), "The Lost and Hostile Gospels: An 
Essay on the Toledoth Jeschn, and the Petrine and Pauline Gospels 
of the First Three Centuries of which Fragments remain" (London ; 
1874), p. 56. This very uncritical writer does not give his autho 
rity, but probably it was Eichard von der Aim, to whose studies 
we have already referred, and from whom Baring-Gould " lifts " 
all his information with regard to the Talmud Jesus stories and 
Toldoth Jeschu, though without any acknowledgment. 

2 I have put the title " Kabbi " in quotation marks when used 
of teachers of this period, because I have seen it stated by Jewish 
authorities that the term " Kabbi " was not so used till after 70 A.D. 
Unfortunately I have lost my references to this point, but see 
Bousset (W.), " Die Keligion des Judentums in neutestamentlichen 
Zeitalter " (Berlin ; 1903), p. 147 : " Der eigentliche Titel Rabbi 

142 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

nay, of the most learned, the " spouse " of Jerusalem ; 
not only so, but Jeschu was apparently Joshua s favourite 
pupil. See the result of disregarding this counsel of 
wisdom, said the Eabbis of later days; there is the 
famous case of the great Joshua ben Perachiah who 
was too stern with his disciple Jeschu, and with what 
disastrous results ! 

But, it may be said, why waste time in speculating 
on such a transparent anachronism. To this we reply : 
Even granting the anachronism a priori, without further 
enquiry seeing that the literature of the times teems 
with many demonstrably ghastly anachronisms the 
passage shows us clearly where Jewish tradition placed 
Jesus. For it he was a learned man, as indeed is invari 
ably admitted in many other stories ; whether or not 
he got his wisdom from the greatest Jewish teacher of 
the times or not, is another question. 

The Murder It is further to be remarked that there is a striking 
Innocents. similarity between the state of internal Jewish affairs 
in Jannai s time and the numerous hangings and burn 
ings of Pharisees in the days of Herod (37-4 B.C.). In 
both reigns the national religious party was led in 
revolt by those learned in the Law. The Pharisees stood 
for religion and religious purism against the aristocratic 
party of the hereditary Sadducaean priesthood, who 
were interested in the Law solely as a convenient 
instrument of custom whereby they could extort tithes 
and taxes out of the people. They were entirely 

scheint erst in nachneutestamentlicher Zeit aufgekommen zu 
sein." It there be any solid ground for this contention, it would, 
of course, be of great critical importance in considering the date of 
those passages in the canonical gospels in which the term appears. 


indifferent to all those tendencies which had been and 
were still spiritualising the national religious literature, 
and presumably they were above all opposed to what 
they considered the innovating fanaticism of the mystic 
and disciplinary views held by such circles as the Chas- 
sidim and Essenes. 

Both reigns are characterised by the triumph of the 
Sadducaean party, and by the ruthless murder of large 
numbers of the Pharisaean leaders, some of whom were 
indubitably in closest contact with Chassidim and 
Essene circles, nay, it is most probable that members 
of these circles, or of associations of a similar nature, 
were the directly inspiring sources of these religious 
revolts. It must then have been a bitter memory with 
the followers of these strict schools of discipline, the 
later " schools of the prophets," which were seeking to 
establish the rule of the Eighteous and the consequent 
direct reign of Yahweh on earth, that numbers of their 
holy ones and seers had been ruthlessly done to death 
by a Jannai or a Herod. 1 

Now, in similar mystic circles these prophets and The " Little 
seers, in one of their grades, were known as " little 

1 Whether in the former case their death had been the cruel and 
lingering torture of crucifixion is a point of importance only for 
those Talmudic scholars who argue that crucifixion was an utterly 
unknown mode of execution among the Jews. There was, they 
say, beheading, strangling, hanging, stoning and subsequent expos 
ing of the body of the stoned on a post as a warning ; moreover, 
to shorten the cruelty of the lingering death by stoning, the victim 
was first rendered unconscious by a soporific drink ; but never 
crucifixion. In this connection, however, we must remember that 
it is said that Jannai remained a Jew in all things, and imposed 
Jewish customs on all conquered cities on pain of utter destruction, 
so that it may be doubted whether he " hellenised " solely in the 
mode of execution of his domestic foes. 

144 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

ones " or " children." A most interesting tradition of 
this designation is still preserved in the little-known 
" Codex Nasarseus " of the Mandai tes, the so-called 
Christians of St. John. In the Xlth Tractate of their 
Eight-hand Genza there is a most beautiful story of 
the mystic Baptism. Jesus conies to Johanna to be 
baptised. Jesus comes as a simple " approacher " seek 
ing initiation into the mystic school of Johanna. But 
Johanna is not to be deceived, and immediately recog 
nises Him as the Master, Manda d Hajje Himself, the 
c< Gnosis of Life," by whose power Johanna has been 
teaching and initiating all the long forty and two l years 
of his ministry. 

It is too long to quote the beautiful story of how 
Johanna, in giving the lower initiation of external 
(? psychic) baptism to Jesus, receives the true spiritual 
Baptism from Manda d Hajje Himself, when " He gave 
him the grip of the Eushta, and laid His hand upon 
him in Jordan ; and He made him lay off his garment 
of flesh and blood ; and He clothed him in a raiment of 

It is enough for our purpose to set down a few of the 
sentences put into the mouth of Johanna : c< Come in 
peace, Little One. . . . Now I go with thee, Little One, 
that we may enter the stream. . . . Come, come, Little 
One of three years and one day, youngest among his 
brethren but oldest with his Father, who is so small yet 
his sayings are so exalted." 2 Seniority in the Essene 

1 He apparently now passes on into the seventh " seven years." 

2 See " The Liberation of Johanna," by Miss A. L. B. Hard- 
castle, in " The Theosophical Be view," vol. xxxi., no. 181, pp. 20-25 
(September, 1902) ; also Brandt (W.), " Mandiiische Schriften aus 
der grossen Sammlung heiliger Biicher gennant Genza oder Sidra 


and Therapeut communities, it must be remembered, 
was not reckoned by age, but by the number of years 
the brother had been a member of the order. 

What, now, if we were to fuse these apparently Was Herod 
totally unrelated scraps of information together ? 
Might we not ask ourselves how many elements are to 
be sifted out of the traditional "murder of the in 
nocents " ; how many conflations of historical fact and 
mystic history before the " myth " was brought to 
birth in its present form? Can there be in it even 
some reminiscence of the 800 victims of Bethome ? The 
Talmud Eabbis know nothing of Herod s wholesale 
murder of the children as recounted in the introduction 
of our first canonical Gospel ; Josephus knows nothing 
of it ; yet Joseph ben Matthai had no reason for white 
washing the character of Herod, had such a dastardly 
outrage been an actual fact, for he records his numerous 
other crimes without hesitation; and the Talmud 
Kabbis hated the memory of Herod so well that they 
could not have failed to record such a horror, had he 
been really guilty of it. 

But to return to the words of our Talmud passage. 
The narrative is introduced by citing what is appa 
rently some famous saying of Eabbinic wisdom. It 
must be remarked, however, that if Streane s trans 
lation is correct, 1 the wisdom of the saying does not 

Rabba iibersetzt uiid erlautert " (Gottingen ; 1893), p. 195; Tem- 
pestim (F.), " Le Code Nazareen vulgairemeiit appele Livre d Adam 
traduit pour la premiere fois en Frangais," in Migne s " Dictionnaire 
des Apocryphes," vol. i. (Paris ; 1856) ; and Norberg (M.), " Codex 
Nasaraeus, Liber Adami appellatus . . . latineque redditus 
Hafnise, n.d., probably first decade of last century). 

1 Moses Levene translates more intelligibly from "Sot a," 47a : 


146 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

immediately appear on the surface, and we must take 
it in a symbolic sense as referring to such ideas as good 
and evil, sheep and goats, orthodoxy and heresy; 
" right " and " left " being the commonest of all symbolic 
terms, not only in Jewish and Christian but also in 
Egyptian, Pythagorean and Orphic mysticism. 
The "Inn" As to the inn and hostess story, it is very evident 
"Horn*." tti&t, it we are to take it literally, we have the 
veritable birth of a mountain out of a mole-hill. Why 
the whole orchestra of the Temple at Jerusalem, appa 
rently, should be requisitioned to give world-wide 
notice of the excommunication of Jeschu, simply 
because he admired the eyes of a landlady (if that 
indeed be the meaning of the original) l is passing non- 
oriental comprehension. To relieve ourselves, then, of 
the intolerable burden of the absurdities which the 
literal meaning of the story imposes upon us, I venture 
to suggest that we are here face to face with an instance 
of Deutsch s " cap and bells " element in the Talmud, and 
therefore make bold to offer my mite of speculation as 
to the underlying meaning. 

Excommuni- Evidently the main point is that Jeschu was 
Jesus! formally excommunicated for heretical tendencies from 
the school or circle over which Joshua presided. The 
400 horns, trumpets or trombones may be taken 
simply to mean that the excommunication was exceed 
ingly formal and serious. The reason for excommuni- 

"The right hand of a man should always allure when the left 
hand repels." See " Jesus and Christianity in the Talmud," " The 
Theosophical Review," xxix. 316 (December, 1901). 

1 Levene gives the lady s eyes as " oval " ; whereas Streane s 
"little narrow eyes" would seem to be the very opposite of a com 
plimentary remark. 


cation was plainly doctrinal. Now Jewish tradition 
invariably asserted that Jesus learned " magic " in 
Egypt. The kernel of this persistent accusation may 
perhaps be reduced to the simple historical element 
that Jesus went to Egypt and returned with far wider 
and more enlightened views than those of his former co- 
disciples, and in this connection it is to be remembered 
that many scholars have argued, from the strong 
resemblance between the general features of the 
earliest Christian churches of canonical tradition and 
those of the Essene communities, that Jesus was an 
Essene, or let us say more generally a member of an 
Essene-like body. I therefore venture on the specula 
tion that the " inn " of our story may cryptically refer 
to one of such communities, which Joshua considered 
very excellent, but which Jesus considered to have a 
too narrow outlook from the standpoint of a more 
liberal view of things spiritual. It is also of interest 
to recall to mind that excommunication from the 
Essene community required the votes of no less than 
100 brethren; can the 400 "horns" by any possibility 
refer to the voices or votes of some specially convened 
assembly for a very important and formal decision 
against one whose superior knowledge refused to be 
bound down by the traditional limitations of the order ? 
Perhaps also there are some who may ask themselves 
the question : Has the " birth " of the " little one " in 
the "inn" of the familiar Gospel story any new 
meaning looked at by the light of these mystic and 
cryptic expressions ? 

As we are, then, in highest probability dealing with The " Brick- 

t)ft& * 

a story which conceals an under-meaning, it may 

148 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

further be conjectured that some precise detail of 
history underlies the extraordinary expression " he set 
up a brickbat," which has hitherto been invariably con 
strued as a contemptuous or humorous way of saying, 
" he became an idolater." This may be the meaning, 
but, on the contrary, we have to remember that in 
the general formal charge at the end taken from the 
same authority from which the Gemfira derives the 
story, there is no mention of idolatry in this gross sense, 
nor, if I mistake not, do we anywhere else in the 
Jewish Jesus stories, Talmudic or Mediaeval, meet with 
this grossly material charge. Has this strange expres 
sion, then, any hidden connection with the " rock " and 
" peter " symbolism, or with the " corner-stone," and 
therefore originally with Egyptian mystic "masonry" and 
its initiations the " hewn-stone " of a Grand Master ? 

But we have not yet done with this famous story, for 
it occurs yet again in the Talmud, though in a different 
form. In the Palestinian Gemarfi we thus read : 
The Jehuda " The inhabitants of Jerusalem intended to appoint 
Story a Jehuda ben Tabbai as Nasi l in Jerusalem. He fled 
and went away to Alexandria, and the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem wrote: From Jerusalem the great to 
Alexandria the small. How long lives my betrothed 
with you, whilst I am sitting grieved on account of 
him ? When he withdrew to go in a ship, he said : 
Has Debora, the landlady who has taken us in, been 
wanting in something ? One of his disciples said : 
Eabbi, her eye was bright ! 2 He answered : Lo, you 

1 Prince or President of the Sanhedrin. 

2 Dalman-Streane add (op. cit., 33), " a euphemism for blind" 
but this gloss would seem to change the whole sense of the story. 


have done two things; firstly, you have rendered me 
suspected, and then you have looked upon her. What 
did I say ? beautiful in appearance ? I did not say 
anything (like this) but (beautiful) in deeds. And he 
was angry with him and went his way." l 

As the Palestinian Gemara is generally considered to Is it the 
be older than the Babylonian, it is naturally argued oft 
that we have here the original form of the story which story ? 
we have been discussing; the name of Jeschu was 
plainly inserted at a later date, and in this fact we 
have the simplest possible explanation of this wild 
anachronism. And it must be confessed that this argu 
ment is one of great strength, and for most people 
entirely disposes of this question. 

But even so, it may still be conjectured that the 
remodelling of the story was a deliberate proceeding on 
the part of the Eabbis to suit their tradition of certain 
details in the life of Jesus. Hence, in rejecting the 
date, it is not absolutely necessary to reject the whole 
of the Babylonian version as entirely devoid of every 
element of genuineness. 

Again, as to the lateness of the Babylonian version, 
it is to be observed that the Gemara quotes from an 
earlier source or tradition of the story, 2 and therefore 
we have to push the date back to this source, which 
was in all probability Palestinian. It is further to be 
remarked that the setting of the whole Babylonian 
version is far more exact in its historical details ; it is 

1 " Pal. Chagiga," 77d. 

2 See Laible-Streane (op. cit., p. 43), who gloss the opening words 
of the concluding paragraph as follows : " The same authority 
which reports this story, says elsewhere." 

150 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

a far more deliberate tradition than the vague and 
pointless Palestinian account. 

The Problem But even with regard to the Joshua ben Perachiah 
date itself, I am not altogether satisfied that it can be 
so absolutely disposed of as it seems at first glance, for 
as we shall see in considering another, and in some 
respects independent, line of Rabbinic tradition pre 
served in the earliest elements of the Toldoth Jeschu, 
the Joshua ben Perachiah date is the date, and how on 
earth an apparently so ludicrous anachronism could 
have held its own for so many centuries is a psycho 
logical puzzle of the greatest interest ; it argues plainly 
that the Jews had no difficulty at all in accepting it, 
and in this connection we must remember that the 
Eabbis had no belief whatever in the Christian gospel- 
tradition as history, as we can plainly see from the Jew 
of Celsus, and that they therefore never dreamed of 
testing their basic tradition by the Christian gospel 

The original version in the Palestinian Gemara, like 
its Babylonian (or originally Palestinian) variant, is 
evidently a story of the contact of Jewish orthodoxy 
with Alexandrian liberalism and mysticism, personified 
in Deborah the most famous of ancient prophetesses, 
the main point being that the orthodox Jew was 
willing to praise the hospitality of the Alexandrian 
circles, but refused to praise their doctrines; nay, he 
cast off a disciple who ventured to praise them, in fear 
of the taint of heresy thus indirectly attaching to him 
self. The upholder of this rigid orthodoxy is given as 
Jehuda ben Tabbai, the " pair " of Simeon ben Shetach. 
In adapting this story to the details of their Jeschu 


tradition there seems to be no reason why the Rabbis 
should have altered the name unless the details of that 
tradition imperatively required it, for it would have 
been far more natural to have allowed Simeon ben 
Shetach to write to his contemporary Jehuda, than to 
have made him write to Joshua ben Perachiah, the 
leading light of the preceding " pair." 

But it must be confessed that reason has seldom any 
thing to do with tradition, and therefore is seldom com 
petent to reveal its mysteries. 

We will now proceed to consider an even more starts 
ling anachronism which is found in one of the Mary 


The Mary IT is in vain to seek for any historical element in the 
historical. Talmud Mary stories, for they revolve entirely round 
the accusation of her unfaithfulness to her husband, 
and, therefore, in my opinion, owe their origin to, and 
cannot possibly be of earlier date than, the promulga 
tion of the popular Christian dogma of the physical 
virginity of the mother of Jesus. When this miraculous 
dogma was first mooted is exceedingly difficult to 
decide. We believe, however, that even at the time of 
the compilation of the canonical Gospels Joseph was 
still held to be the natural father of Jesus, as we have 
seen above, and from this we deduce that even in the 
reign of Hadrian (117-138 A.D.) the dogma of the 
miraculous birth was not yet " catholicised." 

But how far back can we push the first circulation of 
this startling belief? For instantly it was publicly 
mooted even by a restricted number of the faithful, it 
was bound not only to have attracted the widest notice 
among the Jews, but also to have called forth the most 
contemptuous retorts from those who not only hated the 
Pagan idea of heroes born of the congress of divine and 
mortal parents as a Heathen superstition and an idola 
trous belief, but who were especially jealous of the 


legitimacy of their line of descent as preserved in the 
public records of their families. In this connection 
there is a passage in the Talmud which deserves our 
careful attention. It is interesting in other respects, but 
chiefly because it is found in the Mishna (iv. 3), and 
therefore puts entirely out of court the contention of 
those who assert that what is generally regarded as 
the oldest and most authoritative deposit of the Talmud 
contains no reference whatever to Jesus ; and not only 
is it found in the Mishna, but it purports to base itself 
on a still older source, and that too a written one. This 
remarkable passage runs as follows : 

" Simeon ben Azzai has said : I found in Jerusalem The Book of 
a book of genealogies ; therein was written : That so 
and so is a bastard son of a married woman." l J 

This Simeon ben Azzai flourished somewhat earlier 
than Akiba, and may therefore be placed at the end of 
the first and the beginning of the second century. He 
was one of the famous four who, according to Talmudic 
tradition, " entered Paradise " ; that is to say, he was 
one of the most famous mystics of Israel. He was a 
Chassid, most probably an Essene, and remained a 
celibate and rigid ascetic till the day of his death. We 
might, therefore, expect him to be specially fitted to 
give us some information as to Jesus, and yet what he 
is recorded to have said is the very opposite of our 

Ben Azzai, we are to believe, declared that he had 

found a book of genealogies at Jerusalem presumably 

then before the destruction of the city in 70 A.D. This 

book of genealogies can be taken to mean nothing else 

1 " Jebamotli," 49a. 

154 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

r 5 

than an official record ; nevertheless we are told that it 
contained the proof of Jeschu s bastardy, for " so and 
so " is one of the well-known substitutes for Jesus and 
Jesus alone in the Talmud, as has been proved and 
admitted on either side. 

If we are right in ascribing the genesis of the Mamzer 
element of the Jesus stories to doctrinal controversy, 
we can only conclude that the categorical statement 
we are considering was originally either a deliberate 
invention, or the confident assertion in the heat of 
controversy of some imperfect memory that was only 
too eagerly believed to refer to Jesus. The Jewish 
apologist on the contrary can argue that this ancient 
tradition fully justified his forefathers of later genera 
tions for their belief in the bastardy of Jeschu as a 
historic fact authenticated by the records ; while if he be 
an out-and-out rationalist he may even go so far as to 
claim that the " virgin birth " doctrine was invented in 
answer to this record, and that there has been no 
historicising of a mystic fact, as we have supposed, 
seeing that there are no mystic " facts," but only the 
baseless imaginings of unbalanced enthusiasm. 

This we cannot believe, and therefore conclude that 
the earliest Jewish Mary legends came to birth some 
where towards the close of the first century. 

Ben Stada It is exceedingly difficult to classify these Mamzer 
Pandera legends or to treat them in any satisfactory chrono 
logical fashion, but it is remarkable that in them there 
seem to be two deposits of tradition characterised 
by different names for Jeschu Ben Stada and Ben 
Pandera, names which have given rise to the wildest 
philological speculation, but of which the current mean- 


ing was evidently simply " son of the harlot," whatever 
may have been their line of descent. 1 Ben Stada occurs 
exclusively in the Talmud, where it is the most frequent 
designation of Jeschu, though Ben Pandera is also found ; 
Ben Pandera is found in the Toldoth Jeschu, and as we 
have seen in the Church Fathers, while Ben Stada is 
never met with in these sources. 

The Ben Stada stories are mostly characterised by The Lud 
anachronisms which are as startling as those of the 
Ben Perachiah date, but which are its exact antipodes. 
They are further generally characterised by either 
distinct references to Lud, or by the bringing in of 
the names of the most famous Eabbis of this famous 
school of Talmud study. I would suggest, therefore, 
that these legends might be conveniently called the Lud 

1 See Krauss (S.), " Das Leben Jesu nach jiidischen Quellen " 
(Berlin ; 1902), p. 276, where full indications of the literature are 
appended. A probable speculation is that of Bleek in Nitzsch s 
article, "Ueber eine Reihe talmudischer und patristischer Ta u- 
schungen, welche sich an den missverstandenen Spottnamen Ben 
Pandera gekniipft," in " Theologische Studien und Kritiken ". - 
(Hamburg; 1840), pp. 115-120. Bleek supposes that Pandera is 1 
a caricature-name to mimic the Greek Trdp0evos (Parthenos), 
"Virgin." But there is also perhaps a connection with the 
Greek iravQ-np (Panther), an animal that was regarded as the symbol 
of lasciviousness. Whether or not there may have been further 
some connection between this panther-idea and the Egyptian Pasht- 
cult, it is impossible to say. But Pasht or Bast, the "cat" or 
"panther" goddess, is suppossed to have had rites resembling 
those of Aphrodite Pandemos, and the girls of her temple were 
therefore presumably prostitutes. The derivation of " bastard " is 
given as equivalent to the old French fils de bast, where last 
means a "pack saddle." The "son of Bast" in Egypt would 
have been a like term of unequivocal meaning. Still we can 
hardly venture to connect these too bast s, and so must leave the / 
matter as a curious freak of coincidence. <J 

156 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

The Mishna School at Lud (Lydda) is said to have 
been founded by K. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, the teacher 
of E. Akiba, 1 and it was doubtless the great reputation 
of Akiba as the most implacable foe of Christianity 
which, in course of time, connected the name of Mary 
with stories of Akiba which originally were perfectly 
innocent of any reference to the mother of Jesus. 
Thus, in later times, we find tradition bringing Akiba 
and Miriam together in personal conversation, we 
find it still later giving her one of Akiba s contem 
poraries as a husband, and finally we meet with a 
curious legend in which Miriam is made the contem 
porary of a Eabbi of the fourth century ! 

But to consider these fantastic developments of 
Talmudic tradition in greater detail. The following is 
the famous academical discussion on the refinements of 
bastardy, which in course of time supplied the Ben 
Pandera legend with some of its most striking details, 
as we still find them in various forms of the Toldoth 

A Famous <c A shameless person is, according to E. Eliezer, a 

bastard ; according to E. Joshua, a son of a woman 
in her separation ; according to E. Akiba, a bastard 
and son of a woman in her separation. Once there sat 
elders at the gate when two boys passed by ; one had 
his head covered, the other bare. Of him who had 
his head uncovered, E. Eliezer said, A bastard ! 

1 But when we are told that tlie famous Jewish proselyte, Queen 
Helena of Adiabene, passed fourteen years in Palestine (46-60 
A.D.) in close communion with the doctors of the Hillel school at 
Jerusalem and Lud, there was presumably a school at Lud even 
prior to the time of Ben Hyrcanus. 


E. Joshua said, A son of a woman in her separation ! 
E. Akiba said, A bastard and son of a woman in her 
separation ! They said to E. Akiba, How has thine 
heart impelled thee to the audacity of contradicting the 
words of thy colleagues ? He said to them, I am 
about to prove it. Thereupon he went to the boy s 
mother, and found her sitting in the market and selling 
pulse. He said to her, My daughter, if thou tellest me 
the thing which I ask thee, I will bring thee to eternal 
life. She said to him, Swear it to me ! Thereupon 
E. Akiba took the oath with his lips, while he cancelled 
it in his heart. Then said he to her, * Of what sort is 
this thy son ? She said to him, When I betook 
myself to the bridal chamber I was in my separation, 
and my husband stayed away from me. But my 
parariymph 1 came to me, and by him I have this son. 
So the boy was discovered to be both a bastard and 
the son of a woman in her separation. Thereupon said 
they, Great is E. Akiba, in that he has put to shame 
his teachers. 5 In the same hour they said, Blessed be 
the Lord God of Israel, who has revealed His secret to 
E. Akiba ben Joseph. " 2 

Eliezer, Joshua and Akiba were contemporaries, but 
Akiba was by far their junior; for Eliezer ben 
Hyrcanus was Akiba s teacher, while Joshua ben 
Chanania was a disciple of Jochanan ben Zakkai, who 
died about 70 A.D. ; Akiba was put to death in 135 A.D. 
The setting of the story, therefore, places us somewhere 
about the end of the first century. 

We may pass over the strange ascription of an act Criticism 


1 That is, the bridegroom s best man. 

2 "Kallah," 18b. 

158 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

of heartless perjury to Akiba as the means whereby he 
extorted the confession from the boy s mother, and the 
far more curious addition at the end of the passage 
which blesses the God of Israel for revealing "His 
secret " after the use of such questionable means, with 
the remark that it would be interesting to know 
whether Talmud apologetics prefer to abandon the 
reputation of the Talmud or of its great authority 
Akiba in this instance, for here there is no third 

What is most striking in the story is that neither 
the name of the boy nor that of his mother is given. 
Laible l supposes that the story originally contained the 
names of Jeschu and Miriam, but that the compiler of 
the Gemara struck them out, both because the mother 
is described as a pulse-seller, while elsewhere in the 
Talmud she is called Miriam the women s hair-dresser, 
and also because of the startling anachronism of mak 
ing Miriam and Akiba contemporaries. He holds that 
the story itself is of early origin, and was originally a 
Jesus story. 

To this we cannot agree, for if it had been originally 
intended as a Jesus story its inventors could not 
possibly have been so foolish as to introduce Eabbis of 
the beginning of the second century among the dramatis 
personce. This would have been really too inane even 
for the wildest controversialists at any date even 
remotely approaching the time when Jews and Jewish 
Christians were still in contact. 

How it The main intention of the story is evidently to 

enhance the reputation of K. Akiba, to display the 
1 Laible-Streane, op. cit,, p. 35. 


depth of his penetration and his fine appreciation of the 
subtlest shades of bastardy, a subject of great importance 
in Eabbinical law. It was then presumably a tradition 
of the Lud school, and at first had no connection what 
ever with the Jeschu stories. In course of time, when 
the Mamzer retort to the virgin-birth dogma was popu 
larised in legend and folk-tale, the details of this other 
famous story of bastardy were added to the originally 
vague Mamzer legends of Jeschu, and to this source we 
may conjecture, with high probability, is to be traced 
the origin of the coarse details of Miriam s unfaithful 
ness to her husband as found in the various forms of the 
Toldoth Jeschu. The link was simply the word " bastard" ; 
the rich gain to the legend material finally entirely out 
weighed the inconvenience of the wild anachronism. 

The story is introduced by the commission of a shock 
ing act of disrespect on the part of one of the boys, for 
according to Eabbinical law and custom, a teacher was 
to be treated as worthier of greater honour than all 
others, even than one s parents. To go uncovered in the 
presence of a teacher was thus thought to be an act of 
utter shamelessness ; in the West, of course, the very 
opposite would be the case. Disrespect to the Eabbis 
as shown in this and other ways is one of the main 
burdens of accusation brought against Jesus in the 
Toldoth Jeschu. 

We are, then, justified in supposing that any folk 
tale or legend of infidelity or bastardy stood a good 
chance of being gradually worked into the Mamzer 
patchwork. And indeed we find that this was actually 
the case. The following story is a good instance of 
this method of conflation. 



The Story of 
Paphos ben 

How it 

became a 
Mary Story. 

" There is a tradition, Eabbi Meir used to say : Just 
as there are various kinds of taste as regards eating, so 
there are also various dispositions as regards women. 
There is a man into whose cup a fly falls and he casts 
it out, but all the same he does not drink it (the cup). 
Such was the manner of Paphos ben Jehudah, who 
used to lock the door upon his wife and go out. And 
there is another who, when a fly falls into his tumbler, 
throws it out and drinks it, and this is the way of men 
generally. When she is speaking with her brothers 
and relatives, he does not hinder her, But there is also 
the man, who, when a fly falls into a dish, sucks it (the 
fly) out and eats it (the dish). This is the manner of a 
bad man, who sees his wife going out bareheaded and 
spinning in the street and wearing clothes slit up on 
both sides and bathing together with men." l 

E. Meir was a pupil of Akiba and Paphos (or Pappos) 
ben Jehudah was Akiba s contemporary. It is not 
necessary to enter into a consideration of the details of 
Eabbinic metaphor with regard to the "various dis 
positions." All we learn from this passage directly 
with regard to Paphos ben Jehudah is that he locked 
up his wife ; we are, however, led to conclude, indirectly, 
that she ultimately proved unfaithful to her tyrannical 
spouse. What, then, more simple than for a story 
teller to connect this with the details of unfaithfulness 
found in his Jeschu repertoire. The erring wife was just 
like Miriam ; before long she actually became Miriam, 
and finally Paphos ben Jehudah was confidently given as 
Miriam s husband ! So they had it in later times, had it, 
we may suppose, at Lud, that most uncritical of legend 
1K Gittin,"90a. 


factories, and finally we find even so great a commen 
tator as Eashi (ob. 1105 A.D.) endorsing with all confidence 
this hopeless anachronism, when he says : " Paphos ben 
Jehudah was the husband of Miriam, the women s hair 
dresser. Whenever he went out of the house into the 
street, he locked the door upon her, that no one might 
be able to speak to her. And that is a course which 
became him not ; for on this account there arose enmity 
between them, and she in wantonness broke her faith 
with her husband." 

But even eight or nine centuries before Rashi s time 
the Babylonian Kabbis had found the Ben Stada Lud 
developments a highly inconvenient overgrowth of the 
earlier Ben Perachiah date, as we shall see later on, and 
it is strange to find Rashi so ignorant of what they had 
to say on the subject. 

Startling, however, as is the anachronism which we The Vision of 
have been discussing, it is but a mild surprise compared 
with the colossal absurdity of the following legend, if 
we interpret it in the traditional fashion, 

" When Eab Joseph came to this verse (Prov. xhi. 23), 
But there is that is destroyed without judgment/ he 
wept. He said : Is there really someone who is going 
(away), when it is not his time? Certainly (for) so 
has it happened with Rab Bibi bar Abbai; the angel 
of death was found with him. The former said to his 
attendant, Go, bring me Miriam the women s hair 
dresser. He went and brought him Miriam the 
children s teacher. The angel of death said to him, 
I said Miriam the women s hair-dresser. The mes 
senger said to him, Then I will bring her [the other] 
back. The angel of death said to him, Since thou 


162 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

hast brought her, let her be reckoned (among the 
dead)." l 

Commentary Eab Joseph bar Chia was born at Stili, in Babylonia 
259 A.D. ; he was head of the famous Babylonian 
Eabbinical School at Pumbeditha. The only E. Bibi 
we know of flourished in the fourth century, and that 
this Bibi was believed to have been the seer of the 
death-bed vision is quite evident from the following 
note of the Tosaphoth on the passage : 

" The angel of death was found with him, who 
related what had happened to him long ago, for this 
story as to Miriam the women s hair-dresser took place 
in the time of the second temple, for she was mother of 
that so and so [i.e., Jeschu], as is related in (treatise) 
Shabbath [104b]." 

It is by no means clear what the writer of the 
Tosaphoth meant precisely by " the time of the second 
temple." He probably, however, meant the time before 
the new and splendid edifice of Herod replaced the 
second temple proper, the meagre building that had 
become gradually overlooked by the gorgeous Greek 
palaces of the nobles of Herod s days. 

It must be remarked, however, that this explanation 
does great violence to the wording of the story as it is 
found in the Geinara. Can it be then that some other 
Bibi was originally referred to, and that the story was 
subsequently transferred by posterity to his far later 
but more famous namesake ? 

That the simple words "bastard" and "adulteress" 
were strong enough indications of suitability for the 
match-makers of legend to unite in marriage stories of 
1 " Chagiga," 4b. 


otherwise the strongest incompatibility of age and date, 
we have already seen ; that the very common name of 
Miriam should further expand this family circle of 
cross-breeds is therefore quite to be expected. 

And this will doubtless be held by most sufficiently 
to account for the transference to the address of 
Miriam the mother of Jeschu of the following two 
legends ; but closer inspection warns us not too lightly 
to accept this explanation. In one of the tractates 
of the Palestinian Talmud we are given the story of 
a certain devout person who was privileged to see a 
vision of some of the punishments in hell. Among 
other sights. 

"He saw also Miriam, the daughter of Eli Betzalim,\ The story of 

11 T T . i <. Miriam in 

suspended, as K. Lazar ben Jose says, by the paps of Hell, 
her breasts. R. Jose ben Chanina says : The hinge of 
hell s gate was fastened in her ear. He said to them 
[? the angels of punishment], Why is this done to her ? 
The answer was, Because she fasted and published the 
fact. Others said, Because she fasted one day, and 
counted two days (of feasting) as a set-off. He asked 
them, How long shall she be so ? They answered him, 
Until Simeon ben Shetach comes ; then we shall take 
it out of her ear and put it into his ear." 1 

As K. Jose ben Chanina was a contemporary of R. 
Akiba, R. Lazar ben Jose was presumably a Rabbi of 
an earlier date, but I can discover nothing about him. 
The main point of interest for us is the sentence, " until 
Simeon ben Shetach comes." This can only mean that 
at the time of the vision Simeon ben Shetach was not 
yet dead, and therefore this Miriam was at latest 
1 " Pal. Chagiga," 77d. 

164 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

contemporary with him and therefore can very well be 
placed in the days of his older contemporary Joshua 
ben Perachiah. As to Eli Betzalim, 1 I can discover 
nothing about him. It is true that a certain Eli is 
given as the father of Joseph .in the genealogy incorpo 
rated into the third Gospel, a genealogy which would be 
quite useless if at the time of its compilation Jesus had 
not been regarded as the natural son of Joseph, but in 
the very different genealogy prefixed to the first Gospel, 
and also purporting to give the descent of Joseph, a 
certain Jacob takes the place of Eli and the name Eli 
is not found. But even had the two genealogies agreed, 
we should not have been helped at all, for they are 
given as the genealogies of Joseph and not of Mary. 

It would also be of interest to know in what Simeon 
ben Shetach had offended, for he is otherwise known 
as the Kabbinic president of the golden age of Pharisaean 
prestige in the days of Queen Salome, as we have seen 
above. In any case the story is an ancient one, for 
already in the days of Eabbi Lazar and Rabbi Jose 
there were variants of it. 

The "Hinge The phrase "hinge of hell s gate" is curious, and 
Gate." argues an Egyptian (or perhaps Chaldsean) setting ; it 

may be compared with the "pivot of the gate of Amenti" 
of the Khamuas folk-tales, where they relate the 
punishment of " Dives in Hades." " It was commanded 
that he should be requited in Amenti, and he is that 

1 Krauss (" Leben Jesu," p. 224) translates " Eli Betzalim " by 
" Zwiebelblatt " (Onion-leaf) and (p. 225) refers to this Miriam as 
M. Zwiebelblatt, but does not venture on any explanation. The 
onion, however, was a symbol of lasciviousness, and may, therefore, 
perhaps be taken as a synonym of harlot. 


man whom thou didst see, in whose right eye the 
pivot (?) of the gate of Amenti was fixed, shutting and 
opening upon it, and whose mouth was open in great 
lamentation." l 

Finally, in these Talmud Mary-legends we come to 
the thrice-repeated Miriam daughter of Bilga story, 
which runs as follows : 

" Bilga always receives his part on the south side on Miriam and 
account of Miriam, daughter of Bilga, who turned 
apostate and went to marry a soldier belonging to the 
government of Javan, 2 and went and beat upon the roof 
of the altar. She said to him : Wolf, wolf, thou hast 
destroyed the property of the Israelites and didst not 
help them in the hour of their distress ! " 3 

This Miriam of Bilga can hardly be supposed to 
mean the actual daughter of Bilga of I. Chron. xxiv. 14, 
the head of one of the priestly courses of the house of 
Aaron. It must mean simply that Miriam was the 
daughter of one of the priests of the Bilga course or 
line of descent, for in the days of Bilga himself we 

1 Griffith (F. LI.), "Stories of the High Priests of Memphis" 
(Oxford; 1900), p. 49. See also "The Gospels and the Gospel" 
(London ; 1902), pp. 175-180, where I have pointed out the 
importance of this episode in the new-found demotic papyrus as a 
probable source of the Dives and Lazarus story. Was Lazar the 
name of the seer in some Jewish variant of these popular Egyptian 
folk-tales ? And has some alchemy of name- transmutation brought 
to birth the name Lazarus of the Dives story of the third Gospel 
writer ? The speculation is a wild one, but not wilder than the 
transformations of legends with which folk-lorists are on all hands 
well acquanted. 

2 That is, Greece (Ionia). 

3 " Pal. Sukka," 55d, also in substantially identical words, " Bab. 
Sukka," 56b, and in " Tosephta Sukka," iv. 28. 

166 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

know of no attack on Jerusalem by the Greeks, as the 
story evidently suggests. 

In this case, however, it does not seem to be the 
Talmud or the Jews themselves who connect this 
story with Miriam, mother of Jeschu, but Dalman, 1 
who leaves us to suppose that it is one of the censured 
passages of the Talmud. What ground, however, 
Dalman has for bringing this story into relation with 
the Mary-legends I cannot discover ; he seems to depend 
on Laible, 2 who refers to Origen quoting Celsus as 
making his Jew declare that " Mary gave birth to 
Jesus by a certain soldier, Panthera." 

If, because of this, we are to take the above as a 
Mary story, it should be noticed that the " soldier " is 
of the " house of Greece," and therefore the date of the 
incident must be placed prior to the first Eoman 
occupation of Jerusalem by Pompey in 63 B.C. ; so that 
in it, in any case, we find a confirmation of the Ben 
Perachiah date. 

This brings us to the end of our Mary stories ; our 
next chapter will deal with the remaining Talmud Ben 
Stada Jesus stories. 

1 Dalman-Streane, op. cit., p. 20n. 

2 Ibid,, p. 19. 


As we have seen already from the evidence of the early The Bringing 
Church Fathers, one of the most persistent charges of out of Egypt 
the Jews against Jesus was that he had learned magic 
in Egypt. In the Toldoth Jeschu, while we still hear 
of Jeschu s learning magic in Egypt, the main feature in 
the story of his acquirement of miraculous power is the 
robbing of the Shem (the Tetragrammaton or Ineffable 
Name) from the Temple at Jerusalem by a strange 
device. The Talmud, however, knows nothing of this 
robbing of the Shem from the Temple ; but in record 
ing the tradition of the bringing of magic out of Egypt 
it adds details of the means whereby this magic is 
fabled to have been conveyed out of the country, and in 
the variants of the story we can trace the evolution of 
the strange device whereby Jeschu is said in the 
Toldoth to have outwitted the magic guardians of the 

Thus in the Palestinian Gemfiril we read : 
" He who scratches on the skin in the fashion of 
writing is guilty, but he who makes marks on the skin 
in the fashion of writing, is exempt from punishment. 
Kabbi Eliezer said to them: But has not Ben Stada 
brought (magic) spells out of Egypt just in this way ? 

168 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

They answered him : On account of one fool we do not 
ruin a multitude of reasonable men." l 

The same story is also handed on in the Babylonian 
Gemara, but with a very striking variant : 

The Writing " There is a tradition : Rabbi Eliezer said to the wise 
men, Has not Ben Stada brought magic spells from 
Egypt in an incision in his body ? They answered 
him, He was a fool, and we do not take proofs from 
fools." 2 

The Tosephta adds yet another variant of the tradi 
tion : 

" He who upon the Sabbath cuts letters upon his 
body is, according to the view of K. Eliezer guilty, 
according to the view of the wise not guilty. K. 
Eliezer said to the wise: Ben Stada surely learned 
sorcery by such writing. They replied to him : Should 
we in any wise on account of a fool destroy all reason 
able men ? " 3 

The Evolu- The mention of R. Eliezer and the name Ben Stada 
Legend. indicate that we have here to do with a Lud tradition ; 
the story, however, must be regarded as one of the 
oldest of this tradition, for it cites R. Eliezer ben 
Hyrcanus, the teacher of Akiba, and the founder of the 
Lud school. The Palestinian Gemara evidently pre 
serves the oldest and more detailed account. In it the 
academical discussion has to do with a very nice point 
of Sabbath breaking. Writing of any kind on the 
Sabbath was strictly forbidden. The question then 

1 " Pal. Shabbath," 13d. 

2 Bab. Shabbath," 104b. 

3 "Tosephta, Shabbath," xi. (xii.) towards the end (ed. Zucker- 
mandel, p. 126). 


arises : But what if it be on one s skin and not on 
parchment ? Further is there not a difference between 
scratching in the form of writing, 1 and making marks 
(that is in some way other than scratching) in the form 
of writing (that is presumably resembling writing in 
some way) ? 

K. Eliezer meets the decision of his colleagues with 
the objection that Ben Stada brought his spells out of 
Egypt by " marks " on the skin and not by " scratching." 
These marks on the skin were presumably not letters 
proper, that is the writing of words in Hebrew, for the 
discussion is not as to writing, but as to " marks in 
the fashion of writing." Does it then refer to diagrams 
or sigils, or drawings of some kind, or to hieroglyphics ? 

The Tosephta, it will he noticed, makes havoc of this 
elaborate argument of the Palestinian Gemara, and 
ascribes to the " wise " a judgment the very reverse of 
what they had given according to the Gemara ; more 
over the " scratching " has become " cutting letters 
upon the body." 

While as for the Babylonian Gemara the whole The Hiding 
account is still further altered ; no longer is it a men t. 
question with Eliezer of refuting the opinion of his 
colleagues with regard to the main point, " marks on 
the skin in the fashion of writing," no longer is it a 
question even of " cutting letters upon the body," but 
we have a totally new and startling gloss, namely the 
bringing out of Egypt by Ben Stada of spells (presum 
ably written on parchment) in an incision in his body. 

1 Laible (op. cit., p. 46) speaks of this "scratching " as tattooing ; 
but there seems no reason why we should give technical precision 
to such vague indications. 

170 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

This writing on parchment and hiding the parchment 
in an incision in the body is precisely the account 
adopted by the Toldoth Jeschu, and when we come to 
discuss this second highly complex line of tradition we 
shall refer again to the subject. All that need be said 
here is that the Palestinian Gemaril seems plainly to 
have preserved the earlier account, namely the inscrib 
ing of some figures, or more probably hieroglyphs, on 
the skin. The idea in the mind of the Palestinian 
Eabbis was presumably that the Egyptians were known 
to be very jealous of their magic lore and did all they 
could to prevent books of magic being taken out of the 
country ; Jeschu, then, according to the oldest Rabbinic 
tradition, was said to have circumvented their vigilance 
by some such subterfuge as that which has been 
handed on in the story in the Palestinian Gemara. 1 
The Circum- The rank growth from the original nucleus of the 
Heart. legend is plainly shown in the Talmud and the 

Tosephta. What the real inwardness or nucleole of 
the nucleus may have been we shall perhaps never 
know, but it may possibly have been derived from some 
such mystical expression as the " circumcision of the 
heart," or the hiding of wisdom in the heart. Mean 
while the story under discussion provides a text in the 

1 It is curious to note that a similar device has been recently 
made use of by a novelist (A. E. W. Mason, " The Four Feathers," 
London, 1902). The scene is laid in the Soudan, and on p. 90 we 
read : " Abou Fatma drove the donkey down amongst the 
trees. ... In the left shoulder a tiny incision had been made 
and the skin neatly stitched up again with fine thread. He 
cut the stitches, and pressing open the two edges of the wound, 
forced out a tiny package little bigger than a postage stamp. The 
package was a goat s bladder, and enclosed within the bladder 
was a note written in Arabic and folded very small." 


Babylonian Gemara for a commentary in the Gemara 
itself which runs as follows : 

"Ben Stada was Ben Pandera. Eab Chisda said: The Rabbis 
The husband was Stada, the lover Pandera. (Another their own 
said): The husband was Paphos ben Jehuda; Stada Creations - 
was his mother; (or) his mother was Miriam the 
women s hairdresser ; as they would say at Pumbeditha, 
S tath da (i.e., she was unfaithful) to her husband." l 

It is exceedingly difficult to make out from the 
stopping of this translation who said what, but the 
sentence "(or) his mother was Miriam the women s 
hairdresser," seems to be a gloss or interpolation, and 
the words " as they would say " seem to follow naturally 
after " Stada was his mother." Be this as it may be, 
our interesting passage makes it quite clear that by 
this time legend had reached so rank a growth that 
even the Kabbis themselves in many places had lost all 
trace of its origin, of its earliest authentic form. At 
any rate they were all at sixes and sevens on the 
subject in Babylonia. All they were quite certain of 
was that Ben Stada and Ben Pandera were intended 
for one and the same person, but as to who Stada or 
Pandera may have been they had no definite infor 

Rab Chisda was one of the most famous Eabbis of 
the school at Sura (one of the greatest centres of 
Talmudic activity in Babylonia) and died 309 A.D. ; he 
evidently was greatly puzzled to account for the appa 
rently contradictory aliases bestowed on Jeschu by 
Rabbinical tradition. The Rabbis of Pumbeditha 

1 " Bab Shabbath," 104b ; repeated in almost identical words in 
" Bab. Sanhedrin," 67a. 

172 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

(another of the great centres of Talmudic learning in 
Eastern Jewry), on the contrary, seem to have pre 
served a correct tradition of the origin of the nick 
name Ben Stada, though they appear to have taken 
Ben Pandera as a proper form. Whether or not the 
Pumbeditha derivation is correct in the letter, is a 
question for specialists to decide ; it is in my opinion, 
however, certainly correct in spirit, for, as I have 
already argued, Ben Pandera came into existence as an 
offset to the "virgin s son" of Christian popular the 
ology, and I am further persuaded that Ben Stada had 
also a similar genesis, whatever may have been the pre 
cise philological details of their birth. 

That the later Babylonian Rabbis were puzzled and 
at loggerheads on the subject is quite evident from the 
record of their Gemara ; but that there was elsewhere 
a certain tradition of the Ben Perachiah date is shown 
by the additional information contained in the 
mediaeval Tosaphoth to this passage. 

A Mediaeval " Ben Stada. Rabbenu Tarn says that this is not 
r Jeschu ha-Notzri (Jesus the Nazarene), for as to Ben 
Stada we say here that he was in the days of Pappos 
ben Jehudah, who lived in the days of Rabbi Akiba, as 
is proved in the last chapter of Berachoth [61b], but 
Jeschu lived in the days of Jehoshua ben Perachiah, as 
is proved in the last chapter of Sota [47a] : c And not 
like Rabbi Jehoshua ben Perachiah who pushed away 
Jeschu ha-Notzri with both hands, and Rabbi Jehoshua 
was long before Rabbi Akiba. His mother was 
Miriam, the women s hairdresser, and what is related 
in the first chapter of Chagiga [4b] : Rab Bibi the 
angel of death was found with him, etc., he said to his 


messenger : Go and fetch me Miriam the women s hair 
dresser that means that there lived in the days of 
Kab Bibi Miriam, a women s hairdresser. It was 
another (Miriam), or the angel of death was also relat 
ing to Kab Bibi a story which happened a long time 
before." l 

" Our Eabbi Tarn " is presumably E. Jacob of Troyes Rabbi Tam. 
(France), who flourished in the twelfth century, 2 but I 
cannot discover to what school he belonged, and there 
fore to whom " we say here " refers. Eab Tam, how 
ever, categorically denies that Ben Stada was the 
Jeschu of history, and that, too, in face of the wide 
spread Lud tradition which had so strongly imposed 
itself upon the Babylonian Eabbis. We have ourselves 
seen how " Ben Stada " came into existence only some 
where about the end of the first century, when he was 
born of controversy. Eabbenu Tam, therefore, is quite 
right when he says that " Ben Stada " lived in the days 
of Paphos ben Jehuda, who lived in the days of Akiba. 
The truth of the matter, according to Eab Tam, was 
that the historical Jeschu lived in the days of Jehoshua 
ben Perachiah ; as to the Eab Bibi story, he adds, it too 
is a gross anachronism, the Miriam referred to was 
either some totally different person, or the story has 
been handed on incorrectly. 

Eabbi Tam and his school, therefore, held solely to 
the Jehoshua ben Perachiah date ; and they apparently 
rejected all the Ben Stada stories, but whether or no 

1 " Tosaphoth Shabbath," 104b. 

2 See Krauss (S.), "Das Leben Jesu" (Berlin ; 1902), pp. 227, 
274. But Tam has all the appearance of being a by-name, and we 
cannot be certain of the identification. 

174 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

they also rejected the Jehoshua ben Perachiah story 
and simply held to the date, we have no means of 
ascertaining. If the translation given above is correct, 
they also held to some ancient categorical statement 
that Jeschu s mother was a certain Miriam whose 
occupation was that of hair-dressing ; but in doing so 
we believe they unconsciously became entangled in the 
meshes of the Ben Stada net. 

Miriam Miriam, "the women s hair-dresser," seems to be 

simply another name-play of the Ben Stada and Ben 
Pandera genus. Miriam, " the women s hair-dresser," 
is in the original Miriam, " megaddela nesaiia " ; and 
Miriam Megaddela is the twin of Mary Magdalene for 
all practical purposes in such word-play. But for a Jew 
the combination " Miriam of Magdala " was equivalent 
to saying Miriam the harlot, for Magdala had an unen 
viable notoriety for the looseness of the lives of its 
women. 1 As far as Eabbinical tradition, then, is 
concerned, it seems exceedingly probable that we have 
here the origin of the otherwise strange combination 
Miriam the women s hair-dresser, and we should there 
fore ascribe the time and place of its birth to the 
same period as the Ben Stada invention and the same 
circle which produced the Lud legends. 

The Mag- But the origin of the glyph of the Magdalene, out of 
thelsophia wnom tne Christ cast seven devils in the historicised 
Christian tradition, is, in my opinion, to be traced to a 
mystic Gnostic source and not to controversial word 
play. In Gnostic tradition we find the Sophia in her 
various aspects possessed of many names. Among them 

1 "Threni Rabba," c. 2 f. 106 (ed. Wilna) ; see Krauss, op. cit., 
pp. 274, 275, 286, 303 ; see also Laible, op. cit., 16 and 17. 


may be mentioned : the Mother or All-Mother ; Mother 
of the Living, or Shining Mother ; the Power Above ; 
the Holy Spirit ; again She of the Left-hand, as opposed 
to Christos, Him of the Eight-hand ; the Man-woman ; 
Prouneikos or Lustful-one, the Harlot ; the Matrix ; 
Eden ; Achamoth ; the Virgin ; Barbelo ; Daughter of 
Light ; Merciful Mother ; Consort of the Masculine 
One ; Kevelant of the Perfect Mysteries ; Perfect 
Mercy ; Kevelant of the Mysteries of the whole Magni 
tude ; Hidden Mother ; She who knows the Mysteries 
of the Elect ; the Holy Dove which has given birth to 
Twins ; Ennoea ; and the Lost or Wandering Sheep, 
Helena (who the Church Fathers said was a harlot whom 
Simon Magus had picked up at Tyre) and many other 

All these terms refer to Sophia or the " Soul " using 
the term in its most general sense in her cosmic or 
individual aspects, according as she is above in her 
perfect purity ; or in the midst, as intermediary, or 
below as fallen into matter. 1 

By help of the above apparently unrelated data the The Mystic 
thoughtful reader may now be able to sift out some of 
the elements from the chaos of myth and legend with 
which we are dealing. Personally we should prefer to 
continue with the mystical side of early Christianity 
and take ourselves out of the hurly-burly of vulgar con 
troversy, but the necessities of the task upon which we are 
engaged compel us to return to the Talmud Lud stories, 
and the account they give of the condemnation and death 
of Jesus. Both Talmuds contain a short statement 

1 See my "Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" (London ; 1900) 
pp. 334, 335. 

176 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

referring to this, which in both cases is appended to the 
following passage from the Mishna : 
Concerning " In the case of all the transgressors indicated in the 

the Enticer m , 

to Idolatry, lorah as deserving or death, no witnesses are placed in 
concealment except in case of the sin of leading astray 
to idolatry. If the enticer has made his enticing speech 
to two, these are witnesses against him, and lead him 
to the court of justice, and he is stoned. But if he 
have used the expression not before two but before one, 
he shall say to him : I have friends, who have a liking 
for that. But if he is cunning, and wishes to say 
nothing before the others, witnesses are placed in con 
cealment behind the wall, and he says himself to the 
seducer : * Now tell me once again what thou wast 
saying to me, for we are alone. If he now repeats it, 
the other says to him: How should we forsake our 
heavenly Father, and go and worship wood and 
stone ? If then the enticer is converted, well and 
good ; but if he replies : * This is our duty ; it is for 
our good/ then those who are standing behind the 
wall bring him before the court of justice, and he 
is stoned." 1 

The Mishna apparently approves of lying to the en 
ticer to compass his legal condemnation, " For we are 
alone, " says the enticed, when there are others behind 
the wall. It is also to be noticed that the legal punish 
ment twice referred to for the offence of seducing to 
idolatry is stoning. 

To the above quoted passage from the Mishna the 

The Stoning Palestinian Gemara adds : 

of Jesus. t< The enticer is the idiotj e tc. Lo, is he a wise man ? 

1 " Pal. Sanhedrin," 25c ; " Bab. Sanhedrin, " 67a. 


No : as an enticer he is not a wise man ; as he is enticed 
he is not a wise man. How do they treat him so as 
to come upon him by surprise ? Thus ; for the enticer 
two witnesses are placed in concealment in the inner 
most part of the house ; but he is made himself to 
remain in the exterior part of the house, wherein a 
lamp is lighted over him, in order that the witnesses 
may see him and distinguish his voice. Thus, for 
instance, they managed with Ben Sot da [a variant of 
Stada or Satda] at Lud. Against him two disciples 
of learned men were placed in concealment and 
he was brought before the court of justice, and 
stoned." l _j 

The Babylonian Gemara is somewhat different, and 
runs as follows : 

" And for all capital criminals who are mentioned The Hanging 
in the Torah they do not lay an ambush, but (they do) 
for this criminal. 

" How do they act towards him ? They light the 
lamp for him in the innermost part of the house, and 
they place witnesses for him in the exterior part of the 
house, that they may see him and hear his voice, though 
he cannot see them. And that man says to him : Tell me 
what you have told me when we were alone. And when 
he repeats (those words) to him, that man says to him : 
How can we abandon our God in Heaven and practise 
idolatry ? If he returns it is well ; but when he says : 
Such is our duty, and so we like to have it, then the 
witnesses who are listening without, bring him to the 
tribunal and stone him. And thus they have done to 

i "Pal. Sanhedrin," vii. 25d ; also "Pal. Jabamoth," xvi. 

178 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Ben Stada at Lud, and they hanged him on the day 
^Jbefore Passover." l 

" Lud " Both these accounts are part and parcel of the Lud 

tradition. The accusation in both cases is the sin of 
leading away into idolatry ; the death in both cases is 
by stoning, clearly stated in the Palestinian Genmra, 
and clearly inferred from the Babylonian, which, how 
ever, adds that Jeschu was hanged on the day before 
the Passover ; that is to say, apparently, that after 
stoning, his body was hanged or exposed for a warning ; 
at any rate this would be the only meaning attached to 
the statement by a Jew who had never heard the 
Christian tradition (and the Talmud Jews evidently 
r refused to listen to a word of it), for the Jewish custom 
was to expose the body of an offender who had suffered 
the penalty of death by stoning, on a post as a warning 
4 to all. 

The name " Lud," however, warns us against seeking 
for any historical basis in the details of the story, and 
we should, therefore, dismiss it with the rest of the Lud 
legends were it not that there exists still another 
Talmud tradition referring to the subject, and in this 
the name Lud does not appear. This tradition runs as 
follows : 

The Forty f~ " But there is a tradition : On the Sabbath of the 
mation before Passover festival Jeschu was hung [sic, ? hanged]. But 

fc ^ e nera ^ went ^ ort ^ before him for the space of forty 
days, while he cried : Jeschu goeth forth to be executed 
because he has practised sorcery and seduced Israel and 

1 " Sanhedrin," 67a ; the passage is continued in almost the 
same words as " Bab. Shabbath," 104b. " Ben Stada was Ben 
Pandera," etc., on which we have already commented at length. 


estranged them from God. 1 Let any one who can bring 
forward any justifying plea for him come and give infor 
mation concerning it. But no justifying plea was found 
for him, and so he was hung on the Sabbath of the 
Passover festival. Ulla has said, But dost thou think 
that he belongs to those for whom a justifying plea is 
sought ? He was a very seducer, and the All-merciful 
has said [Deut. xiii. 8]: Thou shall not spare him, 
nor conceal him. However, in Jeschu s case it was some 
what different, for his place was near those in power." 2 J 

Here there is no mention of Lud, but on the contrary No Know- 
there is no mention of stoning but only of hanging, crucifixion. 
Laible 3 supposes that " Sanhedrin/ 43a, was originally 
a continuation of " Sanhedrin," 67a, and that therefore 
the omission of " Lud " is quite understandable, seeing 
that it had occurred immediately before. It is, however 
exceedingly difficult to believe in such a slicing up of 
an originally consecutive account, and therefore I am 
inclined to think that in the passage just quoted we 
have, if not the orignal form of the later Lud legend, at 
any rate an entirely independent account. The story 
seems to be in the nature of an apology for the execu 
tion of Jeschu. The hanging is admitted, but not the 
crucifixion (of which both Talmud and Toldoth know 
nothing), and it is interesting in this connection to 
remember that "hanging" is also preserved in Chris 
tian tradition as an equivalent of crucifixion. Whether 
or not this " hanging " in the minds of the Eabbis was 

1 This formal charge is repeated twice in the Babylonian 
Gemarfi, " Sanhedrin," 107b, and " Sota," 47a. 

2 " Bab. Sanhedrin," 43a. 

3 Op. cit., p. 85. 

180 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

at this time thought of as the immediate method of 
death, and they intended further to admit this infringe 
ment of the canonical penalty of stoning, is difficult to 
decide. The formal charge, however, brought against 
Jeschu is given as that of "having practised sorcery 
and seduced Israel and estranged them from God." 
These words can only refer to leading away to " idolatry," 
and the penalty for this was, as we have seen, stoning. 
Jesus "near But Ulla, a Palestinian Kabbi of the beginning of the 
power!" fourth century, objects : Why all this precaution when 
Jeschu was plainly guilty of the charge ? We have 
nothing to apologise for. On this the compiler of the 
Gemarfi remarks that Ulla is mistaken in taking this 
old tradition for an apology or a plea that every 
possible precaution was taken that Jeschu should have 
the fullest possible chance given him of proving his 
innocence. The real reason for all those precautions 
was that Jeschu was a person of great distinction and 
importance, and " near those in power " l at the time, 
that is to say presumably, connected by blood with the 
Jewish rulers a trait preserved in the Toldoth Jeschu, 
as we shall see later on. So much, then, for the Lud 
Jesus stories. We shall next treat of some stories with 
a name transformation stranger even than Ben Stada. 

1 Laible (op. cit., p. 87) interprets this as refer ring to the " Roman 
authorities," and so tries to drag in Pilate by the hair ; but in this, 
as in so much else, Laible seems incapable of taking a purely un 
biassed standpoint, for he naively presupposes throughout the 
absolute historicity of every detail found in the canonical Gospel 


THAT the identification of Balaam (Bileam) with Bileam- 


Jeschu 1 in a number of the Talmud stories we are con 
sidering cannot possibly be held in doubt, will be amply 
seen from the passages which we are now about to 
bring forward. The precise way in which the identifica 
tion was arrived at, is, however, somewhat difficult to 
discover. It may be that we have the starting-point 
of this curious name-transmutation still preserved in a 
Midrash on the famous Balaam story in Numbers ; on 
the other hand the origin of this strange name-change 
may be found in the domain of name-caricature and 
word-play. Let us first consider the extraordinary 
Midrash connected with the Numbers Balaam story. 

" ( He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice The Balaam 
[Prov. xxvii. 14]. How strong was the voice of Balaam ? 
Rabbi Jochanan said ; (It was heard) sixty miles. 
Rabbi Jehoshua ben Levi said : Seventy nations heard 
the voice of Balaam. Rabbi Eleazar ha-Gappar says : 
God gave strength to his voice, and he went up from 
one end of the world to the other because he was look 
ing about and seeing the nations adoring the sun and 
the moon and the stars and wood and stone. And he 

1 For the literature, see Krauss, " Leben Jesu," pp. 267, 268. 

182 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

looked about and saw that a man, son of a woman, will 
arise, who seeks to make himself God and to seduce 
all the world without exception. Therefore, he gave 
strength to his voice, that all nations of the world 
might hear (it), and thus he spake : Take heed that you 
go not astray after that man, as it is written [Num. 
xxiii. 19], God is not a man, that he should lie, and 
if he says that he is God, he is a liar : and he will fall 
into error and say that he is going away and will come 
(again) at certain spaces of time, (then) he hath said 
and will not do it. Look what is written [Num. xxiv. 
f 23], " And he took up his parable and said, Alas, who 
shall live when he makes himself God ! Balaam in 
tended to say: Alas, who shall live from that nation 
4 which gives ear to that man who makes himself God ? " 1 
Comments R. Jochanan (bar Nappacha) was a distinguished 
ornament of the Talmud schools at Sepphoris and 
Tiberias, and died in 279 A.D. at the age of eighty. 
Jehoshua ben Levi was one of the Rabbis of the Lud 
school, and flourished in the first half of the third 
century ; while R. Eleazar ha-Gappar (the Pitch-seller) 
was a contemporary of the famous " Rabbi," R. Jehuda 
ha-Nasi (Jehuda the Prince), or Jehuda the Holy, who 
was the final redactor of the Mishna; he flourished 
somewhere about 200-220 A.D. This story then is 
presumably to be placed somewhere about the begin 
ning of the third century. 

The story is in the form of a na ive prophecy after 
the event (of which we have thousands of examples in 
allied Hebrew literature), and makes Balaam quote his 

1 " Jalkut Shimoni " on Num. xxiii. 7, under the name of Midrash 


own words (Num. xxxiii. 19) as holy scripture. But 
immediately afterwards E. Eleazar is made to drop the 
prophetical form of the argument against Christian 
dogmatics and frankly to tell us what Balaam " intended 
to say." 

The quotation, from Num. xxiv. 23 " Alas, who shall 
live when he makes himself God ! " is remarkable, for 
our Authorised Version gives an absolutely different 
rendering: "Alas, who shall live when God doeth 
this ! " And that the Eabbinical exegesis of this passage 
differed entirely from the received interpretation of the 
English Authorised Version may be seen from the 
following glosses as found in the Babylonian Gemara. 

" Woe to him who lives because he takes [sic] God. 
Eesh Lakish said: Woe to him, who vivifies himself 
(or who saves his life) by the name of God." 1 

Eesh Lakish (E, Simeon ben Lakish) was a Palestinian Resh Lakish 
Eabbi who flourished about 250-275 A.D. ; he is clearly 
interpreting this passage in connection with the Jesus 
stories, for it is precisely by the "name of God," the 
Shem, that Jeschu vivifies himself, and vivifies others, 
in the Toldoth Jeschu. 

Eashi (ob. 1105 A.D.), commenting on this passage 
says : 

" * Balaam who vivifies himself by the name of God, 
making himself God. Another reading has it, who 
vivifies himself as to the name of God, that is, Woe to 
those men that vivify and amuse themselves in this 
world and tear the yoke of the Law from their necks 
and make themselves fat." 

Here Eashi not only makes what was given as said 
lu Bab. Sanhedrin," 106a. 


184 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

by Balaam about another an act committed by Balaam 
himself, but further adds that the act committed by 
Balaam was in reality no other than his making himself 
God. The only doubt apparently which Eashi had in 
his mind was whether the prophecy referred to Balaam 
(i.e., Jeschu) only, or whether it might also be con 
sidered as embracing the Christians as well, for presum 
ably they alone can be meant by those who " tear the 
yoke of the Law from their necks." 

Abbahu. Moreover in the Palestinian Gemara in expansion of 
the same famous verse in Numbers which contains the 
most important pronouncement of the traditional 
Balaam ben Beor, 1 and which constituted the main 
argument of the Kabbis against Christian dogmatic 
claims, we read : 

I " E. Abbahu has said : If a man says to thee, I am 
God/ he lies ; I am Son of Man, he shall rue it ; * I 
ascend to heaven, this holds good of him, He has said 
. it and will not effect it. * 

E. Abbahu of Csesarea was the pupil of E. Jochanan, 
who died in 279 A.D. The argument put in his mouth 
is clearly meant as a complete refutation of Christian 
dogmatic claims by the quotation of one of the most 
solemn pronouncements of the Torah. 

And if such inconvenient quotations from the Torali 
were met by the more enlightened of the Christian 
name, as we know they were by the Gnostics, by the 
argument that the inspiration of the Torah was of very 

1 Num. xxxii. 19, A.V. : " God is not a man, that he should lie ; 
neither 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 


variable quantity and quality, that it came sometimes 
from a good, sometimes from a mixed, and sometimes 
from an evil source, the Rabbis replied with still 
further quotations from the same Torah. Thus we 
read : 

" R. Chia bar Abba said: If the son of the whore pria bar 
saith to thee, There be two Gods, answer him, I am He 
of the Sea, I am He of Sinai/ [That is to say, at the 
Red Sea God appeared to Israel as a youthful warrior, 
upon Sinai as an old man, as beseems a lawgiver ; but 
both are one.] R. Chia bar Abba said : If the son of 
the whore say to thee, There be two Gods, answer him, 
It is here [Deut. v. 4] written not Gods but the Lord 
hath spoken with thee face to face. " J 

R. Chia, or more fully Chia Rabbah, was son of Abba 
Sela, and flourished about 216 A.D. ; he was a pupil of 
" Rabbi" ( = Jehuda ben Simeon III.), to whom the final 
redaction of the Mishna is attributed. 

It is now evident that the main claims of dogmatic Torah v. 
Christianity, that Jesus was God, that he was Son of 
Man, 1 and that he had ascended to Heaven physically 
in a miraculous manner, and would return again, were 
met on the side of the Rabbis with quotations from the 

1 This title, as used in Christian tradition, seems to me to be 
entirely shorn of all its characteristic meaning if taken, as modern 
scholarship takes it, to be simply a Greek literal translation of the 
Aramaic idiom which was in common use as a synonym of " man " 
pure and simple, thus signifying that Jesus was the man par 
excellence. I am, therefore, inclined to think that the Greek term 
was of " Gnostic " origin. We know that in Gnostic tradition 
" The Man," or " Man," was a title of the Logos ; " Son of Man " 
was therefore a very appropriate designation for one who was 
" kin to Him," that is, one in whom the " Light-spark " was 
bursting into a " Flame." 

186 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Torah, which they considered to be the infallible word 
of God, and that the main passage on which they re 
lied was the prophetic declaration of Balaam, made, 
as they believed, under the direct inspiration of 

But if we are asked to believe that here we have a 
sufficient basis to account for the astounding identi 
fication of the subject of subsequent haggadic prophecy 
with the prophet himself, we can hardly be persuaded 
that this is the case. Such a topsy-turvy transfor 
mation is a tour deforce beyond even the capability of 
the legerdemain of Talmudic legend-making. 

The only thing that could have given the smallest 
justification for such an identification would have been 
some striking similarity between the doings of Balaam 
and of Jeschu ; whereas the very opposite is found to 
be the case, as we have already seen, and as we are 
expressly told in the Babylonian Gemara. 

" And Balaam, son of Beor, the soothsayer [Josh. 
Prophet. x iii- 22]. Soothsayer ? he was a prophet. Eabbi 
Jochanan said : At first a prophet, at last a soothsayer. 
Rab Papa said : This is what people say : She was of 
prominent men and princes (and then) she prostituted 
% herself for mere carpenters." l 

According to the tradition of ancient Israel, 
Balaam ben Beor was a soothsayer who was on one 
famous occasion compelled to prophesy truth by the 
power of Yahweh. Balaam-Jeschu, on the contrary, 
was a prophet ; so at any rate the apparently oldest 
tradition of the Talmud period had it. In the third 
century R. Jochanan still admitted that Jeschu was 
1 Bab. Sanhedrin," 106a. 


" at first " a prophet, but contended that afterwards he 
fell away and was no longer inspired by the spirit of 
God. This we see is the exact reverse of the ancient 
Balaam s case. Could anything, then, be more puzzling 
than the name-identification Jesus-Balaam in spite of 

And here the saying attributed to Kab Papa, the founder A Hy po 
of the Talmud school at Neresch, near Sura in Baby 
lonia, who died 375 A.D., must delay us for a moment. 
This saying is universally regarded as referring to Mary, 
in which case it would confirm the tradition quoted 
above in a previous chapter, that Jesus was " near those 
in power." But does this saying really refer to Mary ? 
Eab Papa is apparently quoted as further explaining 
the statement of E. Jochanan as to the prophetical 
status of " Balaam." When, then, he says, " She was first 
of high estate and then she prostituted herself for 
carpenters," can " she," by any possibility, refer to the 
teaching of Jesus and not to Mary, who is nowhere 
mentioned, and who in any case would come in most 
awkwardly ? If this hypothesis can in any way be en 
tertained, E. Papa s saying would then mean that the 
teaching of Jesus formed first of all part of a true 
prophetical movement, but afterwards it got tangled 
up with the carpenter story of popular propaganda 
and all those other dogmas which the Eabbis so 
strenuously opposed. 

Be this as it may, if there were not some hidden link Balaam- 
in the chain of transformation which eventuates in the 
Balaam-Jeschu identification, it is almost inconceivable 
that it could ever have held together for a moment. 
Let us now see whether this hidden link is, after all, so 

188 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

difficult to discover. We have already seen that the 
main charge of the Kabbis against Jesus was that he 
had corrupted and ruined Israel. In Hebrew the name 
Balaam means precisely destroyer or corrupter of the 
people. 1 Have we not here, then, the missing link, and 
a most natural explanation of this otherwise incom 
prehensible name-change ? 

And if this be so, it is interesting to call to mind the 
clever conjecture that Nicolaos (VIKOLV and Xdo?) in Greek 
is the exact equivalent of Balaam in Hebrew. And 
with Nicolaos before us we are at once reminded of 
certain Nicolaitans who came under the severe displea 
sure of the Jewish Christian circle to whom the over- 
writer of the canonical Apocalypse belonged (Rev. ii. 
6 and 15). These Nicola itans have been a great puzzle 
to the commentators, but many scholars are of opinion 
that under this name the Pauline Churches are aimed 
at. 2 Can it, then, be possible that the Nicola itans were 
for the Jewish Christians the Balaamites, the innovators 
who were throwing off the yoke of the Law and intro 
ducing new ideas contrary to the orthodoxy of Jewry ? 
If this be so, the identification Jeschu-Balaam may be 
conjectured to have been one of the immediate outcomes 

1 See article " Balaam " in "The Jewish Encyclopaedia." " The 
Rabbis, playing on the name Balaam, call him Belo Am (with 
out people ; that is, without a share with the people in the world 
to come), or * Billa Am (one that ruined a people)." 

2 See van Manen s article, " Nicola itans," in " The Encyclopaedia 
Biblica " ; in which, however, the Leyden professor, while stig 
matising Balaam = Nicolaos as a mere guess, does not in any way 
refer to the Talmud problem we are discussing. That the 
Nicola itans = the Balaamites, however, is strongly supported by 
Kohler in his article in " The Jewish Encyclopaedia," to which we 
have just referred. 


of Pauline propaganda, and we have again found the 
origin of yet another Kabbinical nickname of Jeschu in 
doctrinal controversy. 

But the " leading astray " may have gone back even 
further than the days of Pauline propaganda ; and we 
believe that the original charge against Jesus is to be 
found in the following passage preserved in the Baby 
lonian Gemara. ^ 

" There shall no evil befall thee [Ps. xci. 10]. (That " Burning 
means) that evil dreams and bad phantasies shall not publicly/ 
vex thee. Neither shall any plague come nigh thy 
tent ; (that means) that thou shalt not have a son or 
disciple who burns his food publicly, like Jeschu ha- 
Notzri." 1 

What is the meaning of this strange phrase, " to burn 
one s food publicly " ? Dalman 2 says that this means 
" to renounce openly what one has learned." Laible 3 
is of opinion that "public burning of food is a con 
temptuous expression for the public offering of sacrifice 
to idols. That the Christians in their assemblies offered 
sacrifice to idols was as firmly the opinion of the Jews 
of old time as it is that of many at the present day[!]. 
Naturally, therefore, it was concluded that Jesus must 
have commenced it." 

In this connection we are further reminded that the An Apology 
charge brought against the Nicolaitans by the final 
redactor of the Apocalypse is " eating things sacrificed 
to idols and committing fornication " ; upon which van 
Manen comments : " not because they made a mock of 
all that is holy and trampled honour underfoot, but 

1 " Bab. Sanhedrin," 103a. 2 Op. cit. t p. 34. 

3 Ibid. y p. 52. 

190 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

because they, like * Paul/ had set aside the Jewish laws 
regarding foods and marriage, freely using food that 
had been set before heathen deities, and contracting 
marriages within the prohibited degrees, which in the 
eyes of the author of the Apocalypse were unchaste 
unions, just as in the eyes of the writer of I. Cor. v. 1 
the marriage of the Christian who had freed himself 
from scruples with his deceased father s wife (not his 
own mother) was so, or as in the eyes of so many 
Englishmen the marriage with a deceased wife s sister 
is at the present day." 

There is, however, no consensus of opinion with regard 
to the meaning of the phrase " burning one s food 
publicly." The Eabbis, we must remember, applied 
the term " idolatry " in the loosest fashion to every 
thing that was not a strict Jewish custom or belief; 
and it is hardly to be believed that the early Christians, 
least of all Jesus himself, could have been accused of 
" idolatry," in the literal meaning of the word, even by 
their most bitter opponents. I am, therefore, inclined 
to think that there may be some other meaning of this 
" burning of one s food publicly." 
A Suggested The main point of the accusation is evidently con- 

Expknation. tained in the WQrd pub li c l v /> ft was t h e doing of 

something or other " publicly," which apparently might 
not only have been tolerated privately, but which was 
presumably the natural thing to do in private. Now 
the main burden of Christian tradition is that Jesus 
went and taught the people publicly the poor, the 
outcast, the oppressed, the sinners, to all of whom, ac 
cording to Rabbinical law, the mysteries of the Torah 
were not to be expounded unless they had first of all 


purified themselves. These ignorant and unclean livers 
were Amme ha-aretz (men of the earth), and the Torah 
was not for them. And if it was that no Am ha-aretz 
was admitted to the schoolhouse, much more strictly 
were guarded the approaches to those more select 
communities where the mysteries of the " Creation " and 
of the "Chariot," the theosophy of Judaism, were 
studied. To some such community of this kind we 
believe Jeschu originally belonged; and from it he 
was expelled because he " burnt his food publicly," 
that is to say, taught the wisdom to the unpurified 
people and so violated the ancient rule of the 

In connection with this there is a remarkable passage, 
preserved in the Babylonian Gemara, which demands 
our closest attention. It runs as follows : 

" When our wise men left the house of Eab Chisda On the 
or, as others say, the house of Kab Shemuel bar Nach- fronTa g 
mani, they said of him: Thus our learned men are " Com P an y-" 
laden [Ps. cxliv. 14]. Kab and Shemuel, or, as others 
say, Eabbi Jochanan and Eabbi Eleazar (were of a 
different opinion). One said : our learned in the Law, 
and are laden with commandments [i.e., good works], 
and the other said : our learned in the Law and in 
the commandments, and are laden with sufferings. 
There is no breaking in, that our company shall not 
be like the company of Saul, from whom Doeg, the 
Edomite, has gone out, and no going forth, that our 
company shall not be like the company of David, from 
whom Ahitophel has gone out, and no outcry/ that 
our company shall not be like the company of Elisha, 
from whom Gehazi has gone out, in our streets/ that 

192 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

we shall not have a son or a disciple who burns his 
food publicly like Jeschu ha-Notzri." 1 

Kab Chisda was one of the Kabbis of the Talmud 
school of Sura in Babylonia, and died 309 A.D. R. 
Shemuel bar Nachman (or Nachmani) was a teacher in 
the Palestinian school at Tiberias, but twice went to 
Babylonia. He was a pupil of K. Jonathan ben Eleazar, 
who was a pupil of R. Chanina, who was a pupil of 
" Rabbi." II. Shemuel was, then, presumably a con 
temporary of R. Chisda. 

Rab or Abba was the founder of the school at Sura 
on the Euphrates, and died 247 A.D. ; Mar Shemuel 
was head of the Babylonian school at Nehardea, and 
died 254 A.D. 

R. Jochanan was a Palestinian Rabbi who flourished 
130-160 A.D.; R. Eleazar flourished 90-130 A.D. 

The words of the text taken from the Psalms run as 
follows in the Authorised Version: "That our oxen 
may be strong to labour ; that there be no breaking 
in or going out ; that there be no complaining in our 

Doeg, Doeg, says Cheyne, 2 "had been detained (so one 

tradition tells us) before Yahwe i.e., by some obscure 
religious prescription, and had cunningly watched David 
in his intercourse with the priest Ahimelech. Soon 
after, he denounced the latter to the suspicious Saul, 
and when the king commanded his runners to put 
Ahimelech and the other priests to death, and they 
refused, it was this foreigner who lifted up his hand 
against them." 

1 "Bab. Berachoth," 17a f. 

2 See article " Doeg," " Enc. Bib." 


Doeg is called by the strange title " the mightiest of 
the shepherds." 

Ahitophel, the Gilonite, was a councillor of David, 
and was much esteemed for his unerring insight; he, 
however, revolted against David and cast in his lot 
with Absalom s rebellion. He met his death by hang 
ing (2 Sam. xvii. 23). 

Gehazi ( = Valley of vision) was cast out by Elisha 
and smitten with leprosy for fraudulently obtaining 
money from Naaman at the time of the latter s 
miraculous cure by the prophet. 

With these data before us let us return to our 
Talmud passage. It is very evident that the whole 
point of the story has to do with heresy, with " going 
forth," or with some scandal or breaking of the 
established rule or order of things, or with paving the 
way for so doing. We have seen that in the Talmud 
stories Balaam is a substitute for Jeschu ; can it, then, 
be possible that in Doeg, Ahitophel and Gehazi also 
we have to do with name-substitutions ? 

The answer to this question will perhaps be made Those who 
clearer by quoting the following passages from the i n the World 
Mishna. to come 

"R. Akiba says: He also has no part in the world 
to come who reads foreign books, and who whispers 
over a wound and says : I will lay upon thee no sick 
ness, which I have laid upon Egypt, for I am the Lord, 
thy physician. " 

This interesting passage is followed by one of even 
greater interest. 

" Three kings and four private persons have no 
portion in the world to come. Three kings, namely, 


194 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Jeroboam, Ahab and Manasseh. K. Jehudah says : 
Manasseh has a portion therein, for it is said [II. Chron. 
xxxiii. 13], "and he prayed unto him; and he was 
entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and 
brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom." 
It was objected to him, He brought him again into his 
kingdom, but he did not bring him again into the life 
of the future world. Four private persons, namely, 
C^ Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel, and Gehazi." l 

Siphre These passages are old, for they are found in the 

Mishna. To take the saying ascribed to K. Akiba (fl. 

100-135 A.D.) first. The Gemara 2 says that by " foreign 
books " are meant Siphre Minim. The term Minim was 
for long taken to refer exclusively to Jewish Christians 
or Christians generally ; but this has been hotly dis 
puted of late years by many. It seems certain that 
though Jewish Christians may be sometimes included 
in this term, Minim does not mean them exclusively. 
Nor does Minim always mean " heretics " in a bad sense, 
it sometimes means " heretics " in its original significa 
tion, that is to say, simply the members of some par 
ticular school. That, however, most of the Rabbis con 
sidered these Siphre Minim, in a bad sense, to include 
the Gospel, is evident from a gloss in the Munich 
MS., 3 where the word Evangelium is caricatured as 
follows : 

" Rabbi Meir calls it, Awen gilldjon [blank paper, 
lit. margin, of evil], Rabbi Jochanan calls it, Aivon 
gilldjon [blank paper of sin]." 

R. Meir was one of the great redactors of the Mishna 

1 " Sanhedrin," xi. 90a ; " Mishna," x. 1,2. 

2 Sanhedrin," lOOb. 3 Shabbath," 116a. 


and flourished about 130-160 A.D. ; E. Jochanan was 
his contemporary. Gillajon means literally a " margin," 
that is, a paper which is left unwritten upon, and is 
therefore blank. 1 It must be confessed, however, that 
such apparently meaningless jesting is quite below the 
level of Eabbinical caricaturing with which we are 
acquainted, and I am inclined to think that Dalman has 
not got to the bottom of the matter. I can, however, 
offer no better conjecture myself. 

The formula of healing is an interesting one. 
Whether or not we are to take " Egypt " literally, or as 
a substitute for the " body " as it was among certain of 
the Gnostic schools, must be left to the fancy and 
taste of the reader; the phrase, " I am the Lord, thy 
physician," however, reminds us strongly of the 
" Healers," and the " Servants " of the Great Healer, 
and suggests memories of some of the derivations con 
jectured for the names Therapeut and Essene. 

We may pass over the three kings in our second Exegesis. 
Mishna passage, but we cannot pass by the four private 
persons, Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel and Gehazi, for the 
combination is so extraordinary that even the most 
careless reader must be struck by it. What has 
Balaam ben Beor to do dans cette galere? Whose 
" company " did he leave ? Balaam ben Beor may be 
said rather to have joined forces with the Israelites ; he 
certainly did not leave them. Balaam came in, he did 
not "go out." 

The point of the story is that there are certain 
persons who have no part in the world to come. 
II. Akiba has just told us of what kind the orthodox 
1 Dalman, o^. cit., p. 30. 

196 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Jew considered these to be; they were heretics who 
looked to other Scriptures as well as the Torah, as we 
know the Gnostics did most freely, and the general 
Christians as far as the Gospel Scripture was concerned ; 
they were further healers and wonder-makers, which 
indeed many of the Essenes, Therapeuts and Gnostics 
set themselves to be, and which general Christian tradi 
tion asserts Jesus and the Apostles were. 

But why should Balaam head the list of the 
condemned, when it is precisely the prophetical pro 
nouncement of Ben Beor that the Eabbis were using 
for all it was worth against Christian dogmatic claims ? 
Balaam here clearly stands for Jeschu ; and if this be 
so, then it is reasonable to suppose that Doeg, Ahitophel 
and Gehazi stand for the names of some other teachers 
who had fallen under severe Rabbinical displeasure. 
Who they were precisely we have now no means of 
discovering, and the supposition that they refer to 
Peter, James and John l is considerably discounted by 
the following strange passage from the Babylonian 
Gemara : 

Paul. "Elisha went to Damascus for what did he go? 
R. Jochanan has said, that he went for the conversion 
of Gehazi. But he was not converted. Elisha said to 
him : Be converted ! He answered him : Is it thus 
that I am converted by thee ? For him that sinneth 
and maketh the people to sin the possibility of 
repentance is taken away." 2 

Rabbi Jochanan flourished 130-160 A.D. It will at 
once strike the attentive reader that the words put 
into the mouth of Gehazi are identical with those 
1 See Streane, op. cit., p. 57. 2 " Bab. Sanhedrin," 107b. 


of the answer of Jeschu to Joshua ben Perachiah 
as found in the famous twice-told story of Jeschu s 
excommunication. 1 

The answer is an extraordinary one, and may be 
taken to mean that the evil (from the point of view of 
the Kabbis) was irremediable. The thing had spread 
too far ; even if the leaders were now to return to the 
strict fold of Jewry, the people would still continue to 
hold the new views which abrogated their servitude to 
the galling yoke of the Law. 

The mention of the name Damascus, moreover, in 
connection with Gehazi, at once brings Paul to mind, 
and disturbs the balance of the Peter and James 
and John supposition as the under-names of Doeg, 
Ahitophel and Gehazi. 

If by any means, then, Gehazi may be held to be a "Elisha. 
" blind " for Paul, we have to ask ourselves what has 
Elisha to do in this connection ? Does " Elisha " re 
present some chief of the Sanhedrin ? It may be so, 
but we should also recollect that the Essene com 
munities and similar mystic associations were always 
looking for the return of Elisha. They were in con 
nection with the line of descent from the " Schools 
of the Prophets," and expected their great prophet to 
return again in power to announce the advent of the 
Messiah. It is hardly necessary in this connection to 
recall to the reader s recollection the John-Elias of the 
Gospel story or to refer the student to the elaborate 
Gnostic tradition of the incarnation of the soul of 
Elisha in the body of John under the direct supervision 
of the Master, as found in the " Pistis Sophia " later 
1 "Sanhedrin," 107b, and "Sota," 47c. 

198 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

accommodations to the necessities of a historicising 
evolution. The recollection, however, of these and 
similar ideas and facts makes us hazard the conjecture 
that " Elisha " in our Mishna passage may be a " blind " 
for the official head of the chief Essene community, or 
at any rate of that " company " who looked to Elisha as 
its spiritual head. It was from this company that 
" Gehazi " had " gone out." Whether or not the other 
" companies" of Saul and David may refer to associa 
tions of a somewhat similar nature, I must leave for 
the consideration of those who are fully persuaded 
that the literal meaning of our Talmud passage, as 
far as the four private persons are concerned, was 
the one furthest from the intention of its Rabbinical 

The Disciples However this may be, the Rabbis were convinced 
inherit* 111 tnat tne disciples of Balaam en Uoc would inherit 
Gehenna. Gehenna, as we read in the tractate devoted to the 
" Sayings of the Fathers " : 

"The disciples of our father Abraham enjoy this 
world and inherit the world to come, as it is written 
[Prov. viii. 21] : That I may cause those that love me 
to inherit substance, and that I may fill their treasuries. 
The disciples of Balaam the impious inherit Gehenna, 
and go down into the pit of destruction, as it is written 
[Ps. Iv. 24] : ( But thou, God, shalt bring them down 
into the pit of destruction : bloodthirsty and deceitful 
men shall not live out half their days . " l 

And if there should by any chance be still the 
slightest hesitation in the rnind of the reader that 
Balaam in these passages equates with Jeschu, the 
1 " Aboth," v. 19. 


following remarkable passage from the Babylonian 
Gemfira should for ever set his mind at rest. 

" A Min said to K. Chanina : Hast thou by any chance The Age of 
ascertained what age Balaam was ? He answered : j es chu. 
There is nothing written concerning it. But since it 
is said, Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live 
out half their days, he was either thirty-three or 
thirty-four years old. The Min answered: Thou 
hast spoken well ; for I have myself seen a chronicle of 
Balaam in which it is said : Thirty-three years old 
was Balaam the lame man, when the robber Phineas 
slew him." l J 

I am not quite certain what R. Chanina is here in 
tended. R. Chanina ben Dosa was a contemporary of 
R. Jochanan ben Zakkai, who nourished in the last 
third of the first century; while R. Chanina ben 
Chama was a pupil of "Rabbi s," and therefore must 
be placed at the beginning of the third century; he 
lived at Sepphoris in Palestine. That this specimen 
of Rabbinical exegesis, however, may be ascribed to the 
earlier Chanina in preference to the later, is suggested 
by the very similar passage in the same Gemara, which 
reads : 

" R. Jochanan said : Doeg and Ahitophel lived not 
half their days. Such, too, is the tenor of a Boraitha 2 : 
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half 
their days. All the years of Doeg were not more than 
thirty-four, and of Ahitophel not more than thirty- 
three." 3 

1 " Bab. Sanhedrin," 106b. 

2 A saying or tradition not included in the canonical Mishna. 

3 " Sanhedrin," 106b (end). 

200 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

K. Jochanan flourished about 130-160 A.D. As it 
seems easier to assume that the splitting up of the 
"33 or 34" between Ahitophel and Doeg was the 
later development, rather than that the supposed ages 
of Doeg and Ahitophel should have been conflated 
into the age of Balaam, I am inclined to think that the 
R Chanina of our penultimate passage is intended for 
the earlier Chanina. If this be so, and the story can 
be taken as genuine, that is as an old tradition, then 
we have an early confirmation from outside sources of 
the thirty-three years of Jesus at the time of his death. 
But to consider the wording of the passage in greater 

A Chronicle of Laible translates Min as " Jewish Christian " ; but it 
is difficult to believe that a Jewish Christian of any 
school can have referred to Jesus as Balaam, and there 
fore I have kept the original without translation. The 
academical answer bases itself on the threescore and 
ten years given as the normal life of man in the Torah. 
It is interesting to note that E. Chanina knows of no 
Jewish tradition which gives the age of Jeschu ; he can 
only conjecture an answer by means of a kind of 
Eabbinical sortilegium of texts. Wonderful replies 
the Min that is just what I have read in one of the 
" Chronicles of Balaam" a Gospel story apparently. 
We can hardly suppose, however, that we have a direct 
quotation from this " Chronicle " ; we have plainly a 
Kabbinical gloss put into the mouth of the Min. 
Phineas- Now Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, 
was the priestly leader of the army of Israel which 
destroyed the Midianites, and slew their kings, and 
with them Balaam son of Beor (Num. xxxi. 2 ff.). But 


why should Phineas. be called a " robber " (Aram, listaa 
from the Greek Xj/o-r?/?), as Laible translates it? 
Kashi explains this word as meaning "general" (sar 
tzaba), and we should remember that though listaa is a 
loan-word from the Greek Xycrrr)? (a " robber "), it was 
with the Jews rather the title of patriotic leaders, of 
zealots for the Law, as Phineas was represented to be 
par excellence. The meaning is thus simple and clear 
enough, and we see no reason for Laible s conjecture, 1 
that Lista a is a caricature-name for P lista a Pilate. 
No doubt it would be convenient somehow to bring 
Pilate into the Talmud Jesus Stories, but as a matter 
of fact his name and every incident of the Gospel story 
connected with him are conspicuous in the Talmud by 
their absence. If listaa was a caricature-name, we 
should not find the combination " Phineas Listaa," but 
Listaa by itself. Otherwise we should expect to come 
across some such doubles as Ben Stada Balaam a 
species of combination nowhere found in the Talmud. 

There still remains to be explained the curious com- Balaam the 
bination " Balaam the lame man" ; but I have so far 
met with no satisfactory conjecture on this point, and 
am quite unable to hazard one of my own. 2 Laible 
conjectures that the epithet had its origin in the break 
ing down of Jesus under the weight of the cross or the 
piercing of his feet ; but did the Eabbis know anything 
of what Laible presupposes throughout, without any 

1 Op. cit., p. 60. 

2 The article in " The Jewish Encyclopaedia " says : Balaam in 
Rabbinical literature " is pictured as blind of one eye and lame in 
one foot ( San., 105a) ; and his disciples (followers) are distin 
guished by three morally corrupt qualities, viz., an evil eye, a 
haughty bearing, and an avaricious spirit." 

202 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

enquiry of any sort, to have been the actual ungainsay- 
able history of Jesus ? 

Finally, with a sublime tour de force of inconsistency, 
the Talmud gives us a story where Balaam and Jeschu 
are introduced together in the same evil plight, but as 
entirely different persons and giving absolutely con 
tradictory advice. This story runs as follows : 
The Necro- Onkelos bar Kalonikos, nephew of Titus, desired to 

mancy of 

Onkelos. secede to Judaism. He conjured up the spirit of 
Titus and asked him : Who is esteemed in that world ? 
He answered : The Israelites. Onkelos asked further : 
Ought one to join himself to them ? He answered : 
Their precepts are too many ; thou canst not keep them ; 
go rather hence and make war upon them in this 
world ; so shall thou become a head ; for it is said 
[Lam. i. 5] : Their adversaries are become the head, 
i.e., Everyone that vexeth the Israelites becomes a head. 
Onkelos asked the spirit : Wherewith art thou judged ? 
He answered: With that which I have appointed for 
myself: each day my ashes are collected and I am 
judged ; then I am burnt and the ashes scattered over 
the seven seas. 

" Thereupon Onkelos went and conjured up the spirit 
of Balaam. He asked him : Who is esteemed in that 
world ? The spirit answered : The Israelites. Onkelos 
asked further : Ought one to join himself to them ? The 
spirit said : Seek not their peace and their good always. 
Onkelos asked : Wherewith art thou judged ? The 
spirit answered: With boiling pollution. 
^ " Thereupon Onkelos went and conjured up the spirit 
of Jeschu. He asked him : Who is esteemed in that 
world ? The spirit answered : The Israelites. Onkelos 


asked further : Ought one to join himself to them ? 
The spirit said : Seek their good and not their ill. He 
who toucheth them, touches the apple of His eye. 
Onkelos asked : Wherewith art thou judged ? The 
spirit said : With boiling filth. 

" For the teacher has said : He who scorneth the 
words of the wise is judged with boiling filth. See 
what a distinction there is between the apostates of 
Israel and the heathen prophets ! " l ^J 

In the first place we ask who was Onkelos and why Onkelos 
was he selected as the protagonist in this necromantic 
stance ? 

Scholars of eminence, though entirely without refer 
ence to this passage, have identified the name Onkelos 
with the Talmudic Akilas, the Greek Akylas ( A/cJXa?), 
and the Latin Aquila. The most famous Aquila in 
Jewish history was the translator of the Old Covenant 
documents into Greek, in a slavishly literal version 
which was held in the greatest esteem by the Jews as 
correcting the innumerable errors of the Septuagint ver 
sion on which the Christians entirely depended. We are 
not certain of the exact date of this Aquila, but he is 
generally placed in the first half of the second century. 

Now Irenseus, Eusebius, Jerome and other Fathers, 
and the Jerusalem Talmud itself, 2 say that this Aquila 
was a proselyte to the Jewish faith. Moreover, 
Epiphanius 3 states that "Aquila was a relative (the 
exact nature of the relationship denoted by the other 
wise unknown form TrevOepiSt]? is doubtful) of the 

" Bab. Gittin," 56b ff. 
a "Megill.,"71c. 3; " Kiddush.," 59c. 1. 
3 " De Pond, et Mens., " c. 14, 15. 

204 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Emperor Hadrian, and was appointed by him to super 
intend the rebuilding of Jerusalem under the new name 
of Aelia Capitolina ; that, impressed by the miracles of 
healing and other wonders performed by the disciples of 
the Apostles who had returned from Pella to the nascent 
city, he embraced Christianity, and at his own request 
was baptised ; that, in consequence of his continued 
devotion to practices of astrology, which he refused to 
abandon even when reproved by the disciples, he was 
expelled from the Church ; and that, embittered by this 
treatment, he was induced through his zeal against 
Christianity to become a Jew, to study the Hebrew 
language, and to render the Scriptures afresh into Greek 
with the view of setting aside those testimonies to 
Christ which were drawn from the current version on 
[sic, ? of] the Septuagint." l 

With Dickson, the writer of the article from which 
we have been quoting, we may set aside the account of 
Epiphanius as a theological romance to discount the 
value of Aquila s translation ; he, however, preserves the 
interesting fact that Aquila was a " relative " of some 
kind of Hadrian, and this is strongly confirmatory of 
our conjecture that the Onkelos, nephew of Titus, and 
the Aquila of history are one and the same person. 
Exegesis. With regard to the Talmud passage, however, in which 
Aquila plays the part of protagonist, it is not very easy 
to glean the precise meaning. Onkelos-Aquila is about 
to become a proselyte to Judaism ; whereupon he seeks 
counsel from three of the greatest foes of Jewry accord 
ing to Eabbinical traditions. These all are made to 

1 See article " Aquila : in Smith and Wace s " Dictionary of 
Christian Biography" (London ; 1877). 


admit the pre-eminence of the Israelites, if not in this 
world, at any rate in the world to come. Titus, the 
plain Roman soldier, says that the Jews religious rules 
and customs are far too elaborate, and advises his kins 
man to make war against them ; Balaam is less extreme 
in his views and advises a moderate policy; while 
Jeschu is made to regard the Jews as the chosen race, 
the specially beloved, the apple of Yahweh s eye, and 
urges Aquila to seek ever their good. 

And yet the punishment assigned to these three by Boiling Filth. 
Rabbinical opinion is in exact inverse proportion to 
their hostility to Israel. Whatever may be the technical 
distinction between " boiling filth " and " boiling pollu 
tion," they are evidently far more severe forms of torment 
than the punishment of Titus, who is burnt simply 
without the added vileness of " filth " or " pollution." 
Moreover, that by " boiling filth " we are to understand 
something of the most loathsome nature possible, far ex 
ceeding even the foulness of " boiling pollution," may be 
seen from the statement that this " * boiling filth is the 
lowest abode in hell, into which there sinks every foul 
ness of the souls which sojourn in the upper portions. 
It is also as a secret chamber, and every superfluity, in 
which there is no spark of holiness, falls thereinto. For 
this reason it is called boiling filth, according to the 
mysterious words of Is. xxviii. 8 : There is so much 
vomit and filthiness, that there is no place clean, as it 
is said in Is. xxx. 52 : Thou shalt call it filth. " l 

And the reason that this " boiling filth " was chosen 

1 Laible, op. cit., p. 95, quoting from Eisenmenger, " Entdecktes 
Judenthum" (see for latest edition F.X. Schiefel a, Dresden, 1893), 
ii. 335 ff., who refers to " Emek hammelech," 135c, chap. xix. 

206 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

by the Rabbis as the punishment of Jeschu is to be seen 
in the following deduction ascribed to Rab Acha bar 
Ulla (who flourished presumably in the second half of 
the fourth century) : 

*~~ " From this [from Eccles. xii. 12] it follows, that he 
who jeers at the words of the doctors of the Law, is 
punished by boiling filth." l 

What the text in Ecclesiastes is to which reference 
is made, I am not certain. It would seem to refer to 
verse 11, which runs: "The words of the wise are as 
goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, 
which are given from one shepherd," rather than to 
verse 12, which reads : " And further, by these, my son, 
be admonished : of making many books there is no end, 
and much study is a weariness of the flesh." 

And in connection with this the Tosaphoth add : 

" Is there [Eccles. xii. 12] then really written jyS 
(derision) ? At all events it is true that he is punished 
by boiling filth as we are saying in Ha-Nezakin. 2 " 3 

Dalman 4 adds in a note : " The Tosaphoth mean, 
although it may not be allowed to derive this punish 
ment from the words in Eccles. xii. 12, as Rab Acha bar 
Ulla does, Erubin, 21b, it is nevertheless true." But 
how Rab Acha derived the " boiling filth " even 
illegitimately from this text is nowhere explained as 
far as I can discover, and I fear my readers are no less 
wearied than myself in following such arid bypaths of 
perverse casuistry. 

1 " Bab. Ernbin," 21b, referring evidently to the last paragraph 
of the passage from " Gittin," 57, quoted above. 

2 That is chap. v. of " Gittin," 56b. 

3 Tosaphoth to " Erubin, " 21b. 4 Op. dt. t p. 39. 



The only thing we learn definitely from all of this is 
that Jeschu refused to be bound by the exegesis of 
the Kabbis and their decisions, and in this he seems 
to the non-Kabbinical mind to have been a wise man, if 
their decisions were anything like the one before us; 
whereas for the Kabbis this "scorning" of the words 
of their doctors was the sin of all sins, and therefore 
deserving of the greatest torment Hell could brew, and 
this for the Kabbis, no matter by what means they 
arrived at it, was the torment of " boiling filth." 

We have now come to the end of our Balaam Jeschu The Lecture - 

, , , ., ,. Room of Ben 

stories, but before we pass on to a consideration of Pandera. 
what the Talmud has to say concerning the disciples 
and followers of Jesus, we will append a passage in the 
Targum Sheni to Esther vii. 9, 1 which is exceedingly 
curious in several ways and deserves our attention. 

The Targum, after relating that Haman appealed 
with tears to Mordecai for mercy, but in vain, proceeds 
to tell us that Haman thereupon began a great weeping 
and lamentation for himself in the garden of the palace. 
And thereupon is added : " He answered and spake 
thus : Hear me, ye trees and all ye plants, which I have 
planted since the days of the creation. The son of 
Hammedatha is about to ascend to the lecture-room of 
Ben Pandera." 

Tree after tree excuses itself from being the hanging- 
post of Haman ; finally the cedar proposes that Haman 
be hanged on the gallows he had set up for Mordecai. 

1 The A. V. reads : " And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, 
said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, 
which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for 
the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, 
Hang him thereon." 

208 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Here again, as in the case of Balaam ben Beor, we 
have as protagonist a character who was ever regarded 
as one of the most inveterate enemies of the Jews 
Haman ben Hammedatha. With haggadic license 
Haman is represented as being in the midst of the 
" garden " in the midst of the " trees " ; and yet it is 
Yahweh himself (though indeed there seems to be some 
strange confusion between the persons of Yahweh and 
Haman in the narrative) who addresses the trees " which 
I have planted since the days of the creation," and who 
announces that Haman is " about to ascend to the 
lecture-room of Ben Pandera." 

The word translated by " lecture-room " is aksandria, 
which Levy in his " Worterbuch " connects with Alex 
andria, but which Laible says 1 must be explained by 
eeSpa, the regular term for the lecture room or lecture 
place of a philosopher ; and certainly Laible here seems 
to give the more appropriate meaning, for what can 
Alexandria have to do in this connection ? 
Haman- " The lecture-room of Ben Pandera " is then evidently 
schu a jesting synonym of the gallows, which in this particular 
case was not made of wood, otherwise the trees could 
not all have excused themselves. Here then again, 
according to Jewish tradition, Ben Pandera was hanged 
and not crucified, for the word gallows expressly excludes 
all notion of crucifixion. It is indeed a remarkable fact 
that the point which is above all others so minutely 
laboured in Christian tradition, the pivot of Christian 
- dogmatics, is consistently ignored by Jewish tradition. 

It is also a point of great interest for us in this 
strange story that the same or very similar elements 
1 Op. tit., p. 91. 


appear in some of the forms of the Toldoth Jeschu, in 
which we find that the body of Jeschu cannot be hanged 
on any tree because he had laid a spell upon them by 
means of the Shem ; the plants, however, had not been 
brought under this spell, and so the body was finally 
hung on a " cabbage-stalk." 

That there is some hidden connection between this 
apparently outrageously silly legend and the Haman 
haggada is evident, but what that connection originally 
was it seems now impossible to discover. There may 
even be some " mystic " element at bottom of it all, 
as the " garden " and " trees " seem to suggest ; and in 
this connection we must remember that there is much 
talk of a " garden " in the Toldoth, and that, as we have 
already seen from Tertullian (" De Spect," c. xxx.), there 
was some well-known early Jewish legend connected 
with a " gardener " who abstracted the body " that 
his lettuces might not be damaged by the crowds of 
visitors," as the Bishop of Carthage adds ironically while 
yet perchance unintentionally preserving the " lettuce " 
and " cabbage-stalk " link of early legend-evolution. 

As on the surface and in the letter all this is utter 
nonsense, we can only suppose that originally there must 
have been some under-meaning to such a strange farrago 
of childish fancies; we will therefore return to the 
subject when dealing with the general features of the 
Toldoth. Meanwhile the Talmud stories relating to the 
disciples and followers of Jesus must engage our 



The Minim It is impossible to be certain whether all of the 
subsequent " Minim " Talmud passages refer expressly 
to Christians or not, for the word Min is in itself no 
certain guarantee, and it must ever depend on the 
context as to whether it can be taken in this precise 
sense or not. Since, however, Mr Moses Levene, in his 
article on " Jesus and Christianity in the Talmud," l 
quotes these passages as referring to the Christians, we 
cannot go altogether wrong in provisionally following 
his lead, for we may plead that according to common 
Jewish tradition they are taken in this sense, and 
this is all that concerns us at present. But besides 
these Minim passages there are others concerning which 
there can be no possible doubt as to against whom they 
are intended to be directed, and with these we will 
begin, still using the Dalman-Laible-Streane version. 
The Five The first passage is a wearisome academical exercise 

Jesus? C i n name- and word-play, and runs as follows : 

"There is a tradition: Jeschu had five disciples 
(talmidim) Mathai, Nakkai, Netzer, Bunni, Todah. 
" Mathai was brought before the judgment seat. He 

1 See " The Theosophical Review," vol. xxix. pp. 316-320. 


said to the judges: Is Mathai to be put to death? 
Yet it is written : " Mathai ( when) shall I come 
and appear before God ? " [Ps. xlii. 3]. They answered 
him : Nay, but Mathai is to be executed ; for it is said : 
" Mathai (when) shall (he) die and his name perish ? " 
[Ps. xli. 6]. 

" Nakkai was brought. He said to them : * Is Nakkai 
to be put to death ? Yet it is written : " Naki (the 
innocent) and righteous slay thou not " [Ex. xxiii.] 7. 
They replied to him : * Nay, but Nakki is to be put to 
death ; for it is written : " In covert places doth he 
put to death the Naki" [Pa. x. 8]. 

" Netzer was brought. He said to them : * Is Netzer 
to be put to death ? Yet it is written : " A Netzer 
(branch) shall spring up out of his roots " [Is. xi. 1]. 
They answered him: Netzer is to be put to death; 
for it is said : " Thou art cast forth from thy sepulchre, 
like an abominable Netzer " [Is. xiv. 19]. 

" Bunni was brought. He said : * Is Bunni to be put 
to death ? Yet it is written : " Israel is Beni (rny son), 
my first born " [Ex. iv. 22]. They answered him : Nay, 
but Bunni is to be put to death ; for it is written : 
" Behold, I will slay Binkha (thy son), thy first born " 
[Ex. iv. 23]. 

" Todah was brought. He said to them : Is Todah 
to be put to death ? Yet it is written : " A psalm for 
Todah (thanksgiving) " [Ps. c. 1, heading]. They 
answered him : Nay, but Todah is to be put to death ; 
for it is written : " Whoso offereth Todah honoureth 
me " [Ps. 1. 23]." * 

Laible introduces his discussion of these " proofs from 
1 " Bab. Sanhedrin," 43a. 

212 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

The Cruel- scripture " with the following extraordinary sentence : 
" What is found related of these disciples indeed, 
namely, their crucifixion, as well as the circumstance 
that this narrative is immediately connected with the 
account of the Crucifixion of Jesus," etc. 1 But in the first 
place there is absolutely not a single word said about 
crucifixion in the whole passage, nor is crucifixion 
implied even for the liveliest imagination ; nor in the 
second does the preceding passage in " Sanhedrin, " 43a, 
which refers to the death of Jeschu, say anything of 
crucifixion, but twice distinctly states that Jeschu was 
put to death by " hanging." Such positive statements 
concerning matters of the greatest uncertainty are not 
proper in an investigation of this nature ; it may 
be that Jeschu ,was crucified, though I am inclined to 
think he was not, and that the passion of the cruci 
fixion originated from some such mystery- tradition as 
that preserved in the beautiful ritual of the new 
found fragment of the Acts of John, 2 and certain 
mystery-rites to which we shall refer at length later on, 
but the passages in the Talmud which Laible adduces 
do not prove his confident statement. 

The Number As to the number of disciples, moreover, to me it 
seems probable that if there had been any other 
examples of this philologico-legalistic wrangling on 
hand, we should have had the number increased to 
six or seven or more ; I, therefore, see no necessity for 
trying to account for the number five on some more 
complex hypothesis, or to be surprised that the Talmud 

Op. cit., 71. 

2 See my " Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" (London ; 1900, 
pp. 431 if.)- 


has preserved no tradition of the symbolically necessi 
tated " twelve." 

It is, however, to be noticed that the compiler of the 
Toldoth Jescliu printed by Huldreich (pp. 35 and 36) 
gives the names as Simeon, Matthai, Elikum, Mardochai, 
and Toda, and says that their names were afterwards 
changed to Peter, Matthew, Luke, Mark, and Paul. 

As to the contents of the wrangle, we can only say The "Proof 
that if any disciple of Jesus or of any other great ture!" Cr 
teacher had no better apologia to put forward pro vita 
sua, he had but little justification for his continued 
existence ; we know, however, that the arguments of 
Christianity against Jewish legalism were at the very 
least as powerful as the arguments of the Eabbis 
against Christian dogmatics. What then can we think 
of the academical state of mind that could preserve 
such barren word-play as a precious tradition to be 
handed down to an admiring posterity ! And yet we 
must not forget that this was not peculiar to the Jews ; 
Babylonians, Egyptians, Zoroastrians, Greeks, Briihmans, 
Buddhists and Arabs, all delighted in such pseudo- 
philological exercises, and as for text-proof for every 
thing under the sun, general Christianity slavishly 
followed the Kabbis for many a long century. 

What, however, interests us most deeply in this The Puzzle of 
quaint Talmud passage is the list of names, for with 
the exception of Matthai (Matthaeus, Matthew), it is 
exceedingly difficult to equate them with the names of 
the " twelve " as preserved in Christian tradition. 

The attempt to equate Todah with Thaddaeus hardly Todah. 
commends itself, for the Jacobite Syrians give this 
name back as Thaddl and the Nestorians as Thaddai 

214 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

and not Todah. Moreover we have to ask : Who was 
Thaddaeus, or the composite-named Thaddseus-Lebbaeus- 
Judas ; further, was he of the Twelve or of the Seventy 
as in the apocryphal Acta ? 

Nor can we regard the suggestion of Laible 1 that 
Todah may be the Theudas of Acts v. 36, 2 as very 
fortunate, for this Theudas, as Josephus tells us, 3 was 
some popular prophet who pretended to magical power, 
and led many of the Jews in revolt about 45 or 46 A.D. ; 
so that the author or redactor of the Acts is here guilty of 
an anachronism, for Gamaliel must have spoken at 
latest prior to 37 A.D., and apologists are consequently 
hard put to it to defend the " inspiration " of this 
passage. Be this as it may, this Theudas can hardly be 
spoken of as a disciple of Jesus. 

We, however, do know of a Theudas who was a 
" disciple," and the link between Paul and Valentinus ; 
he was a Gnostic. 4 If, then, Todah is the same as 
Theudas (which is generally taken to be a shortened 
form of Theodorus), the only " disciple " Theudas 
known to Christian tradition with which he could 
possibly be identified is the Theudas of Paul ; like so 
many other " disciples," however, he had never seen Jesus 
in the flesh. 5 

1 Op. rit., p. 76. 

2 Where Gamaliel is made to say to the Sanliedrin : "For 
before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be some 
body, to whom a number of men, about five hundred, joined 
themselves : who was slain ; and all, as many as obeyed him, 
were scattered, and brought to naught." 

3 " Antiqq.," xx. 5, 1. 

4 Clement of Alexandria, " Stromat.," vii. 7. 

5 See my essay, " The Gospels and the Gospel" (London ; 1902), 
pp. 107, 108. 


As to the name Bunni, it has been conjectured by Bunni. 
Thilo l and others that Bonai or Bunni is the same as 
Nicodemus, from a Talmud passage (" Taanith," 20a), 
where the name of a certain Nakdimon ben Gorion is said 
to have been properly Bunni. The difficulty in accept 
ing this equation, however, is considerably increased by 
the further supposition of Laible that Nakkai also 
stands for Mcodemus. In this connection no one 
seems so have thought of Bannus, the Essene teacher 
of Josephus, and I therefore suggest his name for what 
it is worth. But surely there were many Bunnis and 
many disciples of Jesus whose names have not been pre 
served ? 

Finally, if, as Laible says, Netzer " unquestionably " Netzer. 
stands for Notzri = Nazarene, we can only reply that 
such a designation is not much of a distinctive title 
for one of the disciples of Jesus. 

On the other hand, we may ask : Can it be possible Are the 
that in four of the five names Jewish tradition has Genuine? 
preserved genuine names of "disciples" unknown to 
Christian tradition ? And to this we may reply : 
If the names were not genuine, surely the whole 
academical discussion would be without point, and 
therefore deprived of all sting ? There remains, how 
ever, a further question, suggested by the Netzer- 
Notzri-Nazarene speculation : Can these names pos 
sibly be meant for leaders of schools, and that there 
was no question of putting the leaders to death 
physically, but every question of giving an aca 
demical coup de grdce to their doctrines and activity ? 

114 Codex Apocryphus Novi Testament!" (Leipzig; 1832), 
" Evangelium Nicodemi," p. 550 n. 

216 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Jacob. We will next turn to what the Talmud has to tell 
us of a disciple of Jesus called Jacob. First of all 
we have a curious story of the great Rabbi Eliezer 
ben Hyrcanus (the founder of the school at Lud and 
teacher of Akiba), who flourished about 70-100 A.D., 
who, we know, was put under the ban by Jewish 
orthodoxy for reasons that are now by no means 
clear, and who, nevertheless, after his death was regarded 
as a great light of Israel. It is a story which brings 
out very strongly the fastidiousness of the Eabbinical 
mind with regard to any source of doctrine, even a 
fairly sensible Halacha, as far as Halachoth go, which 
might in any way be suspected of heresy. The story 
is found in two almost identical forms, and we might 
choose either for quotation, but perhaps the citation 
of both of them will bring out the points more clearly, 
and be an instructive object lesson in tradition-modi 
fication. The first is found in the Babylonian Gemara 
and runs as follows : 

The Heresy of " The Rabbis have handed down the following : 
When R. Eliezer was about to be imprisoned on 
account of heresy, 1 he was brought to the court of 
justice to be tried. The judge said to him: Does a 
man of mature years like thee busy himself with such 
nullities ? Eliezer replied : The Judge is just towards 
me. The judge thought that Eliezer was speaking of 
him ; but he thought upon his Father in heaven. 
Then spake the judge : Since I believe thee, 2 thou art 

1 Minuth. Laible, op. cit., p. 62, says " a leaning towards the 
forbidden Christian religion." 

2 Dalnian translates : " Since I am held by thee to be just." 


"Now when Eliezer came home his disciples pre- , 
sen ted themselves to console him, but he admitted 
no consolation. Then E. Akiba said to him : Permit 
me to tell thee something of what thou hast taught me. 
He answered : Say on. Then said R Akiba : Perchance 
thou hast once given ear to a heresy, which pleased 
thee ; on account of which thou wast now about to be 
imprisoned for heresy. Eliezer replied : Akiba, thou 
remindest me. I was once walking in the upper street 
of Sepphoris ; l there I met with one of the disciples of 
Jeschu ha-Notzri, by name Jacob of Kephar Sechania, 2 A Halacha of 

... Jeschu. 

who said to me : It is found in your Law [Deut. xxm. 
19]: Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore . . . into 
the house of ... thy God. May a retiring place 
for the high-priest be made out of such gifts ? I knew 
not what to answer him to this. Then he said to me : 
Thus Jeschu ha-Notzri taught me : Of the hire of an 
harlot has she gathered them, 3 and unto the hire of an 
harlot shall they return [Mic. i. 7]. From offal it has 
come; to the place of offal shall it go. This explanation 
pleased me, and on this account have I been impeached 
for heresy, because I transgressed the Scripture : 
Eemove thy way far from her [Prov. v. 8], from her, 
i.e., from heresy." 4 

The second form of the story is found in a com 
mentary on Ecclesiastes i. 8 : " All things are full of 
labour ; man cannot utter it ; the eye is not satis 
fied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing," 
though I fail to see the connection. It runs as 
follows : 

1 A city in lower Galilee. 2 Siknin. 

3 A.V. : " it." 4 " Aboda Zara," 16b f. 

218 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

A Variant of " It is related of K. Eliezer that he was seized for 

the Story. * 

heresy. A certain governor took him and brought him 
up to the place of judgment to judge him. He said to 
him : Kabbi, shall a great man like you be occupied 
with such vain things ? He answered : The Judge is 
faithful towards me. And as he (the governor) 
imagined that he was speaking (so) on account of him, 
though he had only spoken in reference to Heaven 
(God), he said to him : Because I am faithful in your 
eyes, I also venture to say : Can it be that these 
academies are erring (and occupy themselves) with these 
vain things ? Dimus, 1 you are set free. 

" When Rabbi Eliezer had been dismissed from the 
tribunal, he was pained because he had been seized for 
heresy. His disciples came to see him in order to 
comfort him, but he did not accept (their consolation). 
Then E. Akiba came to see him, and said to him : Kabbi, 
perhaps one of the heretics has said before you some 
word which pleased you. He answered : Lo, by Heaven, 
you remind me. Once when I was going up in the 
street of Zippori, a man, named Jacob of Kephar 
Sechania, came to me and told me something from 
Jeschu ben Pandera, and I liked it. And this it was : 
It is written in your Law : Thou shalt not bring the 
hire of a whore or the wages of a dog into the house of 
Yahwe ; how is it with them ? I said : They are for 
bidden. He said to me : Forbidden for sacrifice, but 
allowed for purposes of destruction. I said to him : But 
what may then be done with them ? He answered : 
You may build with them baths and privies. I said to 
him : You have said well, for at this time the Halacha 
1 That is, " dismissus es." 


was hidden from me. When he saw that I praised his 
words, he said to me : Thus Ben Pandera hath said : 
From filth they went [? came], to filth they may go, as 
it is said : For of the hire of an harlot she gathered 
them, and unto the hire of an harlot shall they return ; 
they may be applied to public privies. This pleased 
me, and, therefore, I have been seized for heresy, and 
also because I transgressed what is written in the 
Law : Eemove thy way from her that is, the 
heresy." * 

In the first place the story is clearly intended as an Eliezer s Con- 
apologia for R. Eliezer devised by a later age. What Christianity, 
the nature of Eliezer s liberalism may have been we do 
not know, all we know is that he was finally condemned 
and lived in exile ; but the fact that the Haggada we 
are considering connects the very slight lapse on the 
part of E. Eliezer, which it admits, with the teachings 
of Jeschu, or, at any rate, with Halachoth preserved in 
the tradition of his school, is a strong confirmation of 
the supposition that Eliezer was deeply interested in 
the Christianity of his day, and perhaps this accounts 
to some extent for the fierce opposition of his pupil the 
purist Akiba. 

The story shows, moreover, that Jeschu was regarded 
(and this was admitted by the Rabbis) as being learned 
in the Law, so that a Halacha attributed to him pleased 
even such a connoisseur as Eliezer. Though the matter 
discussed may seem to us more than trivial, it was no 
doubt a point of the greatest importance for the legal 
purists of the Talmud period. The question seems to 
have had to do with a retiring place to the chamber in 
1 Koheleth Kabba to Eccles. i. 8 (Pesaro ; 1519). 

220 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

which the high priest had to pass the last week before 
the day of atonement. 1 

In Search of According to the story, E. Eliezer is evidently refer 
ring to something which had taken place long ago, so 
long ago that he had personally forgotten all about it. 
The retentive mind of his pupil Akiba, however, had 
not allowed it to escape his memory, and so he recalls 
it to his teacher s fading recollection. Eliezer is thus 
represented as an old man, and we may place him then, 
presumably, somewhere about 100 A.D. Thus we 
may suppose he had met Jacob some fifty years ago, 
somewhere about the middle of the first century, and 
so the words, " Thus Jeschu ha-Notzri taught me," of 
the first form of the story might be held to confirm the 
Christian traditional date of Jesus, for according to 
canonical data at 50 A.D., Jacob could very well have 
been a personal disciple of Jesus. 

On the other hand, the words used do not absolutely 
necessitate such a construction, for such expressions as 
" thus " Hillel, or Shammai, or Plato, " has taught 
me " would be the usual form in quoting the sayings of 
those teachers ; while the variant, " thus Ben Pandera 2 
hath said," in the second form of the story, strongly con 
firms this view, showing that " has said " was taken 
as identical with " has taught me," and nothing more. 
Ben D,<ma We have another story of this same Jacob, however, 
Serpent, which, instead of placing him at this early date, makes 
him a contemporary of Akiba (fl. 100-135). Of this 
story also there are two variants, the first of which is 
given twice in the Palestinian Gemara and runs as follows: 

1 Mishna, " Yoma," i. 1. See Laible, op. cit., p. 64. 

2 A name, however, which Jacob could scarcely have used. 


" It happened that K. Eleazar ben Dama was bitten 
by a serpent. Then came Jacob of Kephar Sama, 1 to 
heal him in the name of Jeschu Pandera. 2 But B. 
Ishmael suffered him not. Eleazar said to him : T will 
bring thee a proof, that he has a right to heal me. But 
he had no more time to utter the proof ; for he died. 
R. Ishmael said to him : Blessed art thou, Ben Dama, 
that thou wentest in peace from this world, and didst 
not break through the fence of the wise, for it is 
written : And whoso breaketh through a fence, a 
serpent shall bite him, 5 not a serpent has bitten him, 
but (it means that) a serpent should not [sic] bite him 
in the time to come." 3 

The variant in the Babylonian Gemara runs thus : A Variant. 

" It happened that Ben Dama, son of R. Ishmael s 
sister, was bitten by a serpent. Then came Jacob 
of Kephar Sechania to heal him. But R. Ishmael 
suffered him not. Ben Dama said: R. Ishmael, 
my brother, allow me to be healed by him, and I will 
bring thee a verse from the Torah, showing that it is 
allowed. But he had not time to complete what he was 
saying ; for his spirit departed from him and he died. 
Then R. Ishmael exclaimed over him: Happy art 
thou, Ben Dama, that thy body is pure, and that 
thy spirit has passed away in purity, and that thou 
hast not transgressed the words of thy companions 
(chcibirim)" 4 

Rabbi Ishmael, when found alone, stands always for 

1 I cannot discover the locality of this village. 

2 In "Pal. Aboda Zara," 40d, at the bottom, where the same 
narrative is found, the name is given as Jeschu ben Pandera. 

3 " Pal. Shabbath," 14b (lower part). 

4 " Bab. Aboda Zara," 27b. 

222 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

K. Ishmael ben Elisha, the contemporary of Akiba. 
According to this tradition, then, Jacob of Kephar 
Sechania cannot possibly have been a personal disciple 
of Jesus, even according to the canonical tradition of the 
date. We have to notice also, that according to the 
rigid legalists of the Talmud, the poison of a serpent 
was thought to be less noxious than the contact with the 
magnetism or even thought-sphere of a follower of Jesus. 
The Story of Perhaps the following story, taken from the " Gospel 
the Viper. of Pseudo-Matthew," or of the " Infancy of Jesus and 
Mary " (ch. xli.), may have originated in the same medley 
of legend from which the Talmud derived the main in 
cident of its Ben Dama story. 

"And on a certain day Joseph called his firstborn 
son James to him and sent him into the kitchen-garden 
to gather herbs to make pottage. And Jesus followed 
his brother James into the garden, and Joseph and Mary 
knew it not. And while James gathered herbs there 
suddenly came a viper out of a hole and wounded 
the hand of James, and he began to cry out through 
excessive pain. And when already fainting, he said 
with a bitter cry, Oh! Oh! a very bad viper has 
wounded my hand. And Jesus, who stood opposite, 
at that bitter cry ran to James and took hold of his 
hand, and did no more than merely breathe upon the 
hand of James, and soothed it. And immediately James 
was healed, and the serpent died. And Joseph and 
Mary knew not what had happened; but at the cry 
of James they ran into the garden and found the 
serpent already dead and James quite healed." 1 

1 Cowper (B. H.), " The Apocryphal Gospels" (6th ed., London ; 
1897), p. 82. 


That, moreover, the Christians of these early days An Early 
and later were accustomed to heal psychically by means Mode<*>f 
of prayer or the invocation of some holy name is well Healm s- 
attested from outside and hostile sources by the follow 
ing Talmud story, which is also found in two variants. 
Thus in the Palestinian Gemara we read : 

" His grandson (the grandson of Jehoshua ben Levi) 
had swallowed something. A man came and whispered 
to him (a spell) in the name of Jeschu ben Pandera, 
and he got well. When he went out, he (Jehoshua 
ben Levi) asked him : What did you say over him ? 
He answered : According to the word of somebody. 
He said : What had been his fate, had he died and not 
heard this word? And it happened to him as it 
were an error which proceedeth from the ruler" 
[Eccles. x. 5]. 1 

A commentary on Ecclesiastes x. 5 ("there is an 
evil which I have seen under the sun as an evil which 
proceedeth from the ruler ") preserves the same story 
as follows : 

< The son of Kabbi Jehoshua ben Levi had something 
in his throat. He went and fetched one of the men of 
Ben Pandera, to bring out what he had swallowed. 
He (Jehoshua ben Levi) said to him : What didst thou 
say over him ? He answered : A certain verse after a 
certain man. He said : It had been better for him, 
had he buried him and not said over him that verse. 
And so it happened to him, as it were an error which 
proceedeth from the ruler. " 2 

" The error that proceedeth from the ruler " most prob- 

1 "Pal. Aboda Zara," 40d. 

3 " Koheleth Rabba " to Eccles. x. 5. 



James the 
"Brother of 
the Lord." 

James the 

ably refers to some " planetary " ruler, or one of the 
" names of the angels " which were guarded so jealously 
by the Essenes, and of which we find so many ex 
amples in Gnostic and allied literature, and in Jewish 

We have seen above that it is impossible to fix the 
date of Jacob of Kephar Sechania from the contradic 
tory indication of the Talmud stories ; but if we survey 
the whole period from 50 to 135 A.D., which years may 
be taken approximately as the Talmud termini for this 
Jacob, and look for a Jacob of pre-eminence among the 
Christians with whom to identify him, the name of 
" James, the brother of the Lord," presents itself as 
having the best claim to our attention. 

Eusebius tells us l that in his day the " most accu 
rate account " of this James was to be found in the fifth 
book of the Commentaries of Hegesippus, who, he says, 
" nourished nearest to the days of the Apostles " ; 
modern scholarship, however, assigns the date of writing 
of Hegesippus s " Memoirs" to about 180 A.D. Eusebius 
then proceeds to quote from Hegesippus the story of 
the martyrdom of this James, the setting and tone of 
which is very Jewish. The most interesting part of 
the story, however, is the description of James himself, 
where we read : 

" He was holy from his mother s womb ; drank no 
wine or strong drink, nor ate animal food ; no razor came 
upon his head ; he neither oiled himself nor used the 
bath; he alone was permitted to enter the holy places, 2 
for he never wore wool, but [always] linen. And he used 
to go alone into the Temple, and was found on his 
1 " Hist. Eccles.," ii. 23. 2 T & &yia. 


knees, interceding for the people, so that his knees 
grew hard like a camel s, because of his kneeling in 
prayer to God, begging forgiveness for the people. 
Indeed, on account of his exceeding great righteous 
ness he was called the righteous and Olbias, which 
means in Greek defence of the people and c righteous 
ness. " 1 

Here we have the picture of a rigid ascetic, a The 
Chassid, an Essene, a Therapeut, a Nazir, for from his 
mother s womb he was vowed to holiness. It is, how 
ever, difficult to understand what is meant by the 
sentence which I have translated, "he alone was per 
mitted to enter the holy places" generally rendered 
the "Holy of Holies," or the "Sanctuary." It is, of 
course, impossible to believe that James could have 
been permitted to enter the Holy of Holies of the 
Temple at Jerusalem, which no one but the high 
priest, and he only on a certain day in the year, could 
enter. Nor can we suppose that James alone of 
all men was accorded the privilege of entering the 
" shrines," whatever they may mean 2 ; it can only mean 
that such men alone as those who kept the same rigid 
rule as James, could do so ; for we can hardly suppose 
that it means that James alone of the Christians had 
this privilege, that is, was the only one of the Christians 
who kept this rule. 

1 For text, see Kouth s " Reliquiae Sacra? " (2nd. ed., Oxford; 
1846), i. 208, 209. 

2 We know that the Essenes, or at any rate some of the Essenes, 
would not visit the Temple at Jerusalem, because they regarded it 
as polluted by blood sacrifices ; they had, however, their own 
"shrines," which they kept most strictly pure. Can the 
" shrines " of our text be explained in some such fashion ? 


226 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

James tho With regard to this James the Just, the Righteous 

James the ( one ^ ^ e titles of the Essenes and of all who vowed 
Just. themselves to the service of God), Eusebius gives us 

some further information of a most interesting nature 
when he quotes 1 from the sixth book of Clement of 
Alexandria s lost work "The Institutions," where 
Clement writes : " Peter and James and John, after the 
ascension of our Saviour, though they had been pre 
ferred by the Lord, did not contend for the honour, but 
chose James the Just as bishop of Jerusalem " ; and in 
the same book Clement adds : " The Lord imparted the 
gnosis to James the Just, to John and Peter, after his 
resurrection, these delivered it to the rest of the 
Apostles, and they to the Seventy." 

It seems probable from the first of these passages 
that James the Disciple and James the Just were quite 
different persons. It is also to be remarked that in the 
second paragraph James the Just is apparently pre 
ferred to Peter and John, while the Peter, James and 
John of the first paragraph are of another election. 
The Gnosis for Clement was the inner teaching of the 
Master, given, as we see, after the " resurrection," that 
is to say, when the Master returned to them after the 
death of His physical body. James the Just 
then, was one who, because of his strict training, 
was able to receive this Gnosis psychically and 

TheTesti- In the remarkable passage in which Paul recounts 

mony of Paul. the Epiphanies of the Master, after he had departed 

from the body, in precisely the same terms as those he 

uses in describing his own vision, this James is specially 

1 " Hist. Eccles.," ii. 1. 


mentioned as one who had enjoyed this high privilege. 
The familiar passage runs : 

" He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve ; after 
wards he appeared to above five hundred brothers at 
once, most of whom remain unto this present, but some 
are fallen asleep ; then he appeared to James, then to 
all the other Apostles, and last of all, as to the 
Abortion, he appeared to me also." 1 

It is here to be noticed that Paul speaks of James 
and the other Apostles of the time as being known, if 
not personally, at any rate by reputation, to his corre 
spondents. He also says that most of the five hundred 
brothers were still alive ; but why he should make this 
remark if the " Cephas " and the " Twelve " were also 
still alive it is difficult to understand. Can it be that 
that " Cephas " and that " Twelve " were of a past 
generation ; while the Cephas who was known to Paul, 
and whom he withstood to the face, was the Cephas of 
a later " Twelve " ? 

However this may be, the James known to Paul, Some Diffi 
James the Eighteous, had had, according to Paul, direct 
experience of the spiritual presence of the Master, 
while, according to Clement, he had been one of the 
chief means of communicating the inner teaching of 
the Master to the Twelve of his day, this James not 
being one of the original Twelve according to canonical 
tradition, and that this Twelve further communicated 
the Gnosis to the Seventy or outer circle of the inner 
Twelve. James thus seems to have been one of the 

1 I. Corinth, xv. 5-8. For an explanation of the otherwise 
inexplicable term " The Abortion," see my article, " Some Notes on 
the Gnostics," in "The Nineteenth Century and After," Nov. 1902. 

228 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Three order; the Twelve or the Seventy (? Seventy- 
two) being lower grades. 

But this James the Righteous is farther distinguished 
by the title " Brother of the Lord." If this epithet is 
to be taken in its literal sense, we are involved in a 
host of difficulties, as may be seen by turning to any 
recent Bible dictionary. 1 Moreover, with the passage of 
Hegesippus before us, if we are not prepared to abandon 
it entirely as some have done, we should have to ask : 
If James was a vowed ascetic from his mother s womb, 
are we to think that it could have been otherwise with 
his traditional brother Jesus ? And this difficulty is 
only removed one stage by supposing that James was a 
cousin of Jesus, a hypothesis, moreover, contradicted 
by all the canonical data, and only a desperate resort 
to preserve the dogma of the perpetual Virginity of 
Mary. Further, if this ascetic and spiritual James was 
the blood brother of Jesus, why did he not believe on 
Jesus, as the canonical Gospel account tells us, till 
after the "resurrection," when, according to Paul, 
he experienced his vision of the Christ ? 

The "Brother There is, however, a scrap of information dropped 
the Lord." to the commun j tv at Corinth, 2 

which may throw a gleam of light on this obscure 
question, and relieve us of some of our difficulties. 
In his first letter to the Corinth thiasos of Christians, 
or whatever they were called in those days, the un 
official Apostle who practically by his unrestrained 
propaganda threw open the Christ mystery to the 

1 See articles " James " and " Brethren of the Lord " in Hastings 
" Dictionary of the Bible" and Cheyne s "Encyclopaedia Biblica." 

2 I. Corinth, ix. 5. 


Western world, for its helping and its mystification, 
asks a strange question : 

" Have we not," says Paul, " power (or authority) to 
lead about a sister wife (a8e\</>t}v yvvatKa) as well as 
the rest of the Apostles and the Brothers of the Lord 
and Cephas ? " 

What this leading about of a "sister wife" may 
mean I do not pretend to say, and must refer the 
curious reader to the Acta of Paul and Thecla for how 
later generations explained it; but we have here 
" Apostles " as one recognised official class and " Brothers 
of the Lord " as another, and for all we know " Cephas " 
may have held an office which constituted a third class. 
It is difficult to believe that all these took about with 
them a " sister wife " when we know the rigid asceticism 
of many of the early communities ; but be this as it 
may, and be the " Cephas " a title or the Gospel Simon 
Peter, the " Brothers of the Lord " can hardly be taken 
here to mean the blood-brothers of Jesus. Surely this 
was a title applying to those who were " kin to Him " 
(the Logos), as the MS. of the Gnostic Marcus, quoted 
by Irenaeus, 1 has it, those whose " greatnesses," whose 
angels, contemplate His face perpetually. 

If this can in any way be so, the title " Brother of A Probable 

Q 1 4-* 

the Lord " as applied to James has a new meaning for 
us, and many obscurities created by the historicizing 
Gospel narratives of Post-Pauline days may be cleared 
away, and the saying that " he who doeth the will of 
God is my brother " be found to have not been for 
gotten in the early days. 

As for the interpolated qualifying phrase " the brother 
1 " Adv. Har.," I. xiv. 1. 




The Talmud 

of Jesus called the Christ " referring to a certain James 
mentioned by Josephus, 1 we have already dealt with it 
in the chapter on " The Earliest External Evidence to 
the received Date of Jesus." 

There remains only to refer to the title Olbias, which 
Hegesippus says means " defence of the people." The 
authorities I have consulted say nothing about this 
name, and I am unable to make anything out of it 
philologically, and, indeed, Hegesippus seems to have 
been in the same case, for it certainly cannot mean loth 
" defence of the people " and " righteousness," as he 
says. Olbias, however, reminds us strongly of Alphaios 
(Alphseus) ; and James of Alphseus, of whom the 
canonical tradition preserves little but the name, 
together with James, son of Zebedee, complete the list 
of the three Jameses which are such a puzzle even to 
the most laborious scholarship. 

We now have to ask : Can this Jacob the Eighteous, 
Jacob the Episcopus of the Jerusalem community, who 
is supposed to have been put to death in 67 A.D., be in 
any way identified with Jacob of Kephar Sechania of 
the Talmud ? It is impossible to give a decided answer 
to this question, for while one tradition of the Talmud 
would favour this identification, another tradition would 
render it impossible. But Talmudic tradition is notori 
ously indifferent to dates, and presumably selected the 
name Jacob simply because it was the name of one held 
in high honour by the Christians. The account of 
Josephus and the strong Hebrew colouring of the story 
of Hegesippus, moreover, make it appear exceedingly 
probable that Jacob the Kighteous was well known to 

1 " Antiqq.," xx. ix. 1. 


the Jews. It is therefore probable that in this vague 
fashion there is some connection between our two 

We now pass on to a strange story in which a Christian The Story of 
"philosopher" is turned into ridicule in appropriate phik,s- e 
Kabbinical fashion. P ]ier -" 

" Imma Shalom, the wife of E. Eliezer and sister of 
Eabban Gamaliel, had a philosopher as a neighbour, who 
had the reputation of taking no bribe. They wished to 
render him ridiculous. Imma accordingly brought him 
a golden candle-stick, presented herself before him and 
said : I should like to have a share in the property of 
my family. The philosopher answered her : Then 
have thy share ! But Gamaliel said to him : * We have 
the law : where there is a son, the daughter shall in 
herit naught. The philosopher said : Since the day 
when ye were driven out of your country, the Law of 
Moses is repealed arid there is given the Gospel, in which 
it is said : Son and daughter shall inherit together. 

" On the next day Gamaliel brought the philosopher 
a Libyan ass. Then the philosopher said to them : 
I, the Gospel, am not come to do away with the Law of 
Moses, but to add to the Law of M!oses am I come. It 
is written in the Law of Moses : Where there is a son, 
the daughter shall not inherit. Then Imma said to 
him : Nevertheless may thy light shine like the candle 
stick. But Rabban Gamaliel said : The ass is come 
and has overturned the candle-stick. " l 

Imma Shalom, or Airna Salome, was sister of the Date 
Patriarch E. Gamaliel II., and wife of Eliezer the Great, 
who is curiously enough supposed elsewhere to have 
1 " Bab. Shabbath," 116 a and b. 

232 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

had a leaning to Christianity. The word for Gospel is 
the Hebrew transliteration of Evangelion. 

In the first place it is to be observed that according 
to our philosopher the year 70 A.D. ("since the day 
when ye were driven out of your country "), the date of 
the fall of Jerusalem, marked a period of the strongest 
possible differentiation between the Jew and Christian. 
It was this crushing blow to the national hopes, far 
more than the propaganda of Paul, which aided the 
spread of Christian and non-particularist ideas. 
A Saying The main point, however, which interests us is the 
Gospel, question of the quotations put into the mouth of the 
philosopher. The intention of the Eabbis appears to 
have been to show the inconsistency of the Christian 
position. You contend, said the Kabbis to those whom 
they regarded as trespassers on their sacred property, 
that the Gospel has not come to put an end to the Law, 
but only to complete it ; but whatever you may say, it is 
practically making the Law as we have ever known it 
of none effect in your communities. 

It is true that Christian tradition has preserved no 
trace of any saying to the effect that son and daughter 
should inherit together ; but, if we are to take the Acts 
narrative as giving back a correct picture of what the 
author conceived the first communities to have been, as 
the early Christian had all things in common and gave 
their all to the common fund, this would practically 
amount to setting aside the Law as the Rabbis under 
stood it, for it was an entire upsetting of the whole 
social organisation of Jewry. 

The Personi- But what is most curious is the wording : " I, the 
fied Gospel, (^gp^ am not come to <j o away with the Law of 


Moses." This saying is preserved in our present canoni 
cal text by the writer of the first Gospel from his 
second main source as : " Think not that I came to 
destroy the Law and the Prophets; I came not to 
destroy, but to complete." 1 This saying, as the teller of 
our Talmud story will have it, the philosopher found at 
the end of his Gospel, meaning by this evidently a 
book. If there were nothing more to be said, we might 
dismiss the story as devoid of all historical basis, and 
consider it solely as a Haggada devised to preserve a 
controversial point. But the curious personification of 
the Gospel in the second quotation reminds us of an 
equally strange personification found in the tradition 
of the Gnostic Basilides at the beginning of the second 
century. For Basilides the Gospel was a living entity, 
a " Person " by whom the whole soteriology of his 
system was engineered. Can it therefore be possible 
that in one of the many traditions of the early days 
there was a document where the " Gospel," the personi 
fied Glad-tidings, was substituted for the teacher, or even 
stood so originally among circles where the message was 
thought more of than the messenger ? Moreover we 
have similar personifications in Gnostic tradition ; for 
instance, in the MS. of Marcus (who flourished a 
generation later than Basilides), to which we have 
already referred, the Tetras, Quaternatio or Quaternitas, 
the " Colarbasic " Silence, 2 is the inspiring intelligence 
of the Gnosis. 

1 Matt. v. 17. 

2 Irenreus, " Adv. H^r.," I. xiv. 1. This " Colarbasic " Silence, of 
which Marcus said he was the " receptacle, " was a great puzzle to 
the worthy Church Fathers in their heresy-hunting, so much so 
that they eventually made of it a heresy derived from an arch- 

234 BID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Of course the personification of the Gospel in our 
Talmud sentence may be sufficiently accounted for as a 
natural creation of the vivid oriental imagination, but 
we should hardly expect it from the side of the Kabbis 
in this connection, and, as a matter of fact, it is found in 
Christian tradition. 

Another point of great interest is that the Christian 
in this story is styled a " philosopher, " and was there 
fore regarded as a learned man. 

Some more We have now exhausted all the Talmud passages 

Passages, collected by Dalman, and will next turn to a few 

additional ones found in the far shorter collection, 

or rather selection, of Levene, 1 who takes Minim in all 

the following passages to mean Jewish Christians. 

I have arranged these passages as far as I can accord 
ing to their chronological indications, and the first of 
them runs as follows : 
The Curse on " Eabban Gamaliel, whilst presiding at the academi- 

the Minim. io.ii- i j T.I 

cal Sanhednn, said to the sages : Is there any one 
present who is able to compose a blessing [? curse] for 
Minim ? Then Samuel the Little came forward and 
composed it : 

" To the apostates let there be no hope ; then shall 
all the wickedness perish in a moment, and all Thine 
enemies speedily shall be cut off, and the kingdom of 
pride Thou shalt uproot speedily, and break and cast 

heretic of their own imagination called Colarbasus. As a matter 
of fact, Gholarba in Hebrew means simply " All-four, " that is, the 
divine Tetrad or Tetractys. 

1 It must, however, he stated that Levene does not translate 
literally ; he frequently shortens and paraphrases, as may be seen 
by comparison of his translation of the passages he gives in common 
with Dalman or Laible. 


down, and humble it speedily in our day. Blessed art 
Thou, Lord, breaker of the enemy, and humbler of 
the proud." 

Eabbi Samuel the Little belonged to the first genera 
tion of Tanaim and flourished about 90-130 A.D. ; 
K. Gamaliel II. flourished about 90-110 A.D. 

" At the death of Joshua Ben Chanania the Kabbis cried 
out: Who will now defend our cause against the Minim ?" 2 

R Joshua Ben Chanania was one of the most famous 
Rabbis of Israel and flourished about 70-130 A.D. It is 
remarkable that in the Talmud tradition he is often 
found in controversy with R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, 
and this confirms the sense of our passage that he was 
regarded as one of the greatest champions of Jewish 
orthodoxy, for, as we have seen, Eliezer was suspected of 
sympathy with Christian views. 

" The Tanaic Rabbis have taught : When Rabbis Minoth. 
Eliezer Ben Pardo and Chanena ben Teradion were 
seized on the charge of being Christians [minoth], 
Rabbi Eliezer said to Chanena ben Teradion : Happy 
be thou, Chanena, for thou hast been seized on one 
charge, but woe to me that I have been seized for five 
offences. But Rabbi Chanena answered : Happy be 
thou, Eliezer, for thou hast been seized on five 
charges and hast escaped 3 ; but woe to me that I have 
been charged with one offence, and have not escaped. 
Thou hast been engaged in the study of the Law and in 
charity, whilst I engaged only in the study of the Law 
therefore punishment has overtaken me." 4 

1 " Berachoth," 29a. 2 " Bab. Chagiga," 5a. 

3 Leveue adds : " from Christian influence." 

4 " Aboda Zara" 1Gb. 

236 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 


Eleazar ben Perata and Chanania (not Chanina) 
ben Teradion flourished about 100-135 ; the latter was 
one of the " ten martyrs " who lost their lives in the 
Bar Kochba rebellion. The story is somewhat curious, 
even from a Jewish point of view, for Ben Teradion was 
above all others specially noted for his charity. 1 

" A certain Min asked Eabbi Chanena : Now that 
your temple is burnt, you cannot cleanse yourselves 
from your ceremonial defilement ; you are, therefore, 
unclean, for it is written [Lam. i. 9] : Her filthiness 
abides in her skirts/ But Eabbi Chanena answered: 
Come and see what is written concerning them [the 
Jews] : Who remaineth among them in the midst of 
defilement [Lam. xvi. 16]. 2 

This E. Chanena is probably intended for Chanania 
ben Teradion, a Palestinian Rabbi who, as we have seen, 
flourished about 100-135 A.D. 

The Books of The books of the Minim 3 are not to be kept from 
the fire on the Sabbath, but must be consumed on the 
spot with the names of God contained therein. 

" Eabbi Joses said : On a week day let the names of 
God be cut out and hidden away, and the remainder 
burnt. Eabbi Tarphon declared: May I be deprived 
of my children if I do not burn them with the names 
of God ! 

" If a man be pursued to death by a robber, or by a 
serpent, let him fly for refuge into a heathen temple 

1 See Hamburger, " Real-Encyclopadie des Judenthums," " Tal 
mud und Midrash," ii. 132, sub voce. 

2 " Yoma," 57a. Levene adds : " That is to say, even when Israel 
is defiled the Shekinah dwells among them." 

3 Levene adds : " the Gospels of the Christians." 


rather than into the house of a Min ; for idolaters sin 
unwittingly, but the Minim do so deliberately. 

" Kabbi Ishmael said : If in order to make peace 
between husband and wife, the Law allows the name of 
God to be blotted out, 1 how much more shall the 
books of these men be destroyed who stir up enmity 
and angry feeling between Israel and their Father who 
is in heaven. To them the words of David may be 
applied : Do I not hate them, Lord, that hate thee ? 
Am I not grieved with those who rise up against thee ? 
I hate them with perfect hatred, I reckon them my 
enemies. " 2 

Here we see that not even the strict observance of They are to 
the Sabbath was to stand in the way of the instant 
destruction of the Siphre Minim ; nay, the terrible 
profanity of destroying the names of God which were 
thought to give the material on which they were in 
scribed a special and inviolable sanctity, was set on 
one side, and this not only on the Sabbath, when 
the cutting of them out might be held to entail 
"work," but, according to E. Tarphon, even on week 

K. Jose (ben Chalaphtha) belonged to the third 
generation of Tanaim, and flourished about 130-160 
A.D. ; he was a great enemy of mysticism. E. Tarphon 
belonged to the preceding generation, 90-130 A.D. ; he 
was a fierce opponent of Christianity, as indeed our 
passage shows. E. Ishmael ben Elisha was a contem 
porary of E. Tarphon and E. Akiba. 

It is to be noticed, however, that Friedlander, in his 

1 Levene comments : " to be placed in the bitter waters," 

2 Shabbath," 116a. 

238 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Friedlander " Vorbeinerkung," makes the opening words of this 
m1 passage, which he gives as " the Giljonim and books of 
the Minim," the basis of his interesting essay on pre- 
Christian Jewish Gnosticism. 1 He denies that the 
Gilionim are the Gospels of the Christians, and that 
the Minim of the oldest Talmud tradition are Christians. 
He tells us that in Galicia, where old-fashioned Talmud- 
ism is still to be found in its most conservative form, 
the traditional interpretation of Min is that " Min is an 
Apikores." that is, an Epicurean, a sceptic, an atheist, a 
"philosopher who despises God and his Law." His 
own theory is that by Min is meant, at any rate in 
the earlier deposits of the Talmud, "an antiiiomistic 
Gnostic," that is, presumably a Gnostic who set aside 
the traditional Jewish view, and contended that the 
Yahweh of the Jews was at best a secondary God. 
Friedlander is well worth reading, but a consideration 
of his arguments would necessitate more space than the 
treatment of our present subject will permit. The 
question of a pre-Christian Jewish Gnosticism, however, 
is one of the points of the greatest importance in a 
consideration of Christian origins. 2 

Weinstein on Weinstein has also quite recently returned to the 
subject 3 and further developed his contention in his essay 

1 Friedlander (M.), " Der vorchristliche jiidische Gnosticismus " 
(Gottingen ; 1898). 

2 See also " Die jiidische Gnosis und die platonisch-pytha- 
goraischen Anschauungen der palastinischen Lehrer," in M. Joel s 
" Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des zweiten christ- 
liclien Jahrhunderts" (Breslau ; 1880), i. 114-170. 

3 Weinstein (N. I.), "Zur Genesis der Agada: Beitrag zur 
Entstehungs- und Eutwickelungs-Geschichte des talmudischen 
Schriftthums " (Gottingen ; 1901), Theil II. " Die alexandrinische 
Agada," " Die Minim," pp. 91-156. 


on the Essenes, 1 that by Minim in the Talmud we are 
nowhere to understand Jewish Christians, but that the 
chief characteristic of Minism from pre-Christian times 
is always polytheism ; in brief, all non-monotheism 
without distinction was Minism, and that, too, not 
in the sense of idolatry but for the most part under 
such high forms of belief as the Logos-theory. 

Much work, however, remains to be done by such 
Talmud specialists as Joel, Friedlander, Weinstein and 
their co-labourers before we are quite sure of the exact 
value of this very general term, and first of all we 
require a complete list of Talmud passages where the 
term occurs ; meantime we return to the passages which 
Levene considers to refer specially to the Christians. 

" A man must not carry or take from the Minim, he Boycott of 
must not intermarry with them, and must not accept Mmim * 
their cures for disease." 2 

Then follows the story of Ben Dama s being bitten 
by a snake, with which we have already dealt. 

" The post-Mishnaic Eabbis have taught : An animal, Impurity of 
if slaughtered, even according to the Jewish rites, by i 
a Min, is like an animal offered to idols. His (the 
Min s) bread is like the bread of a Cuthite (Samaritan) 
and his wine like that offered to idols. The books of 
the Law, the Prophets and the Hagiographa which have 
been written by him, are like the books of magicians." 3 

Here we have a Min who observes all the Jewish 
legal prescriptions as to food, and yet falls under 
the utmost displeasure of the Eabbis. His food and 
his copies of the Scriptures, even of the Torah, are 

1 " Beitriige zur Geschichte der Essiier" (Wien ; 1892). 

2 " Aboda Zara," 27b. s chullin," 13a. 



polluted and contaminate as do food offered to idols 
and books of sorcerers. This Min then must have 
been regarded as doctrinally and therefore spiritually 
impure ; but there were evidently also Minim who did 
not observe the Jewish prescriptions, otherwise the 
sentence " even according to the Jewish rites " 1 would be 
meaningless. This passage accordingly seems as though 
it would somewhat upset Weinstein s theory. The post- 
Mishnaic Eabbis may be dated from the third century 
Minim com- Mark Ukvah said : The voice of two daughters who 

pared with 

Tax-gatherers, cry from Gehenna are they who exclaim, Give, give ! 
in this world, namely Roman tax-collectors and 
Minim. 2 None that go unto her return again, neither 
take they hold of the path of life. A speedy death 
awaits those who return to Judaism from Christianity 
[? minoth], for they expire from remorse." 3 

Mar Ukbah was in all probability Chief of the 
Exile, or Prince of the Captivity, in Babylonia about 
210-240 A.D. 

"Rav Nachman said: We hold that a roll of the 
Law that has been written by a Min shall be com 
mitted to the flames; if by a Gentile, let it be con 
cealed; if found in the possession of a Min, and it 
cannot be ascertained whether he has transcribed it, 
let it be concealed; if found in the possession of a 
Gentile, some say let it likewise be concealed, others, 
that it may be used for reading." 4 

1 If it stands so literally in the original. 

2 Levene translates " Christians " and adds, " The former shouts, 
Give taxes ; the latter, { Give converts. " 

3 Levene gives no reference to this saying. 

4 " Gittin," 45b. 

The Rolls of 
the Law 
written by 
Minim to be 


Rabbi Nachman was rector of the school at Nehardea 
in Babylonia, and lived 245-320 A.D. A Min was then 
presumably a born Jew; whether or not proselytes 
were included is uncertain. 

" Rabbi Abahu said : The Shema l was commanded The Shema 
to be repeated in a loud voice on account of the troubles Minim, 
caused by the Minim, but at Nehardea in Babylon, 
where there are no Minim, they repeat the Shema to-day 
in a low voice." 2 

R. Abbahu belonged to the third generation of the 
Palestinian Amoraim, and flourished 279-320 A.D. He 
was a great opponent of all Minim, and especially of 
Christians, as we have already seen above. 

"Rav Saiseth, who was totally blind, ordered his The Minim 
servant to place him in any other but the eastward ward Direct 
direction when he wished to pray, because the Minim tlon> 
did so." 3 

R. Shesheth belonged to the third generation of 
Babylonian Amoraim, and nourished about 300-330 
A.D. It is difficult to believe that all Minim turned 
to the east in prayer ; but we know that the Essenes 
and the Therapeuts did so. Was this a general custom 
of the early Christians also ? 

We have now come to the end of Levene s quotations, 
but we are quite certain that the subject is by no 
means exhausted, as a glance at the Talmud passages 
cited by the authorities we have already referred 
to, or at the lives of the most renowned Rabbis as 
given in Hamburger s " Real - Encyclopiidie," will 

1 The prayer beginning, " Hear, Israel." 
a " Pesachim," 56a. 3 " Baba Bathra," 25a. 




The Import- 
Talmud for 

Christian 7 f 

It is a matter of capital importance for students of 
Christian origins that without delay the Talmud should 
be minutely scrutinized from the first to the last page, 
so as to unearth every scrap of information bearing 
directly or indirectly on the many phases of early 
Christianity, but this is a task that none but the most 
competent Talmud specialists, who are also exceedingly 
well read in all the latest research into the puzzling 
chaos of the early schools and " heresies " with which 
Christianity was inextricably mingled in the first 
centuries, can hope to achieve with any measure of 

We next pass on to a consideration of such of the 
contents of the Toldoth Jeschu as bear in any way 
upon our enquiry ; but first of all we must inform our 
selves concerning the history of these strange Toldoth. 


WE have already seen in our short sketch of " The Causes of 
Talmud in History " how fierce was the persecution of 
Western Jewry by Christian intolerance in the Inquisi 
tional period of the Middle Ages ; we have seen how hate 
begat hate, and we are not surprised to find that the 
Jews of the later Middle Age had long learned most 
bitterly to execrate the memory of their ancient Eabbi, 
in whose name they had been so cruelly persecuted for 
so many centuries. The name of Jesus had become 
a terror to them, the symbol of all that was cruel, even 
as from the earliest days it had connoted for them 
much that was blasphemous cruel because of their 
tortures and stripes, blasphemous because his followers 
worshipped man as God, and the Law most sternly 
forbade the Jew to do so. 

But the fierce outbreak which raged with such 
disastrous results to Jewry from the thirteenth to the 
sixteenth century was no new conflagration. The 
ancient fire of the early days of conflict had never been 
really extinguished ; it had smouldered on, ready to 
burst into flame as soon as Western Christendom in the 
person of one or two scholars aided, as the Christian 
would say, by the zeal of Jewish converts, or, as the 



The Inquisi 
tion knows 
Little of the 

Israelite would put it, roused to fury by the sectarian 
hatred of Jewish renegades and apostates had either 
learned enough Hebrew to read the Talmud traditions 
about Jesus, or had had its ears filled with accounts so 
distorted that it imagined that the Talmud was from 
the first to the last page a repository of blasphemy 
against its Lord. 

In this connection it is somewhat curious to note 
that the rage of the Christian inquisitors was directed 
almost entirely against the Talmud itself, from the 
voluminous contents of which it was a matter of some 
difficulty to disinter the brief and scattered references 
to Jesus, while we hear comparatively little or nothing 
of a certain Jewish " Life of Jesus," which not only 
worked up some of the scattered Talmud passages 
into a connected whole, but also added other matter 
(not found in the Talmud), some of the elements of 
which were referred to by Tertullian as early as the 
closing years of the second century. 

It is true that at the very beginning of the Talmud 
persecution, about the middle of the thirteenth century, 
we find Eaymund Martini, the learned Dominican who 
has the distinction of being considered the first 
Christian Hebraist of the Middle Ages, but who is 
thought by some to have been a converted Jew. 1 
quoting a form of this " Life," which had in all 
probability been already expressly condemned at the 
trial preceding the Paris burning of 1248. 2 Again, in 

1 Martini sat on the Talmud Inquisitorial Commission assembled 
at Barcelona in 1266. 

2 Lea (H. C.), " A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages " 
(New York ; 1888), i. 558. 


1415, the Antipope Benedict XIII. specially singled 
out for condemnation a certain treatise " Mar mar Jesu," 
no copy of which is now known to be extant, but which 
is thought by some to have been a form of the Toldoth 
Jeschu, 1 while in the first half of the sixteenth century, 
when the Talmud was recovering its right to existence, 
Eeuchlin distinctly excluded this " Life " from his 
favourable judgment on the Talmud. 

It is, however, strange that we do not hear more of Suggested 
the Toldoth Jeschu during this period, for it worked up th^sllence. 
into one consecutive narrative not only the main 
TalmucJ Jeschu data, but also much else not found either 
in the Talmud or in Christian tradition either canonical 
or apocryphal, and might, therefore, have been expected 
to have been singled out especially and consistently by 
the emissaries of the Inquisition as the main ground of 
their accusation and attack. Can it have been that this 
"Life" was considered by the ignorant inquisitors as 
forming part and parcel of the Talmud itself ; or was it 
kept so secret among the Jews that the agents of the 
Holy Office failed to come across it except on the rarest 
occasions; or was it to the bitter persecution of the 
Inquisition itself that we owe not the genesis of the 
Toldoth, but the elaboration of some of its existing forms ? 

The fact that we found Tertullian briefly referring The Paucity 
to certain elements still preserved in great elaboration ofMatenal - 
in nearly all extant forms of the Toldoth convinced us 
that, as far as these elements were concerned, the 
traditional memory of the mediaeval compilers or re 
dactors of the Toldoth reached back to at least the end 

1 Griitz (H. H.), "Geschichte der Juden" (Leipzig; 1865, 2nd 
ed.), viii. 133-135. 

246 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. \ 

of the second century. But the difficulties connected 
with the subject were (and are) very great ; for not 
only were all non-Jewish scholars who had considered 
the matter agreed that the forms of the Toldoth 
accessible to them were worthless mediaeval fabrications 
quite beneath the notice of the historical student, but the 
number of these recensions was very small. In fact, 
for all practical purposes the short thirteenth century 
Latin translation of Eaymund Martini, the seventeenth 
and eighteenth century Latin versions of Wagenseil 
and Huldreich, and finally the Judaeo-German " Life " 
published by Bischoff in 1895, 1 comprised all the 
material available. 
Recent Publi- In his " Vorwort, " Bischoff had stated that this 

A* Serial " judisch-deutsch " " Life " was the forerunner of a large 
work " Das jiidische Leben Jesu, " which was to deal 
with the various recensions of the Toldoth in a scien 
tific manner. We were therefore waiting in high 
expectation of the help of this most useful undertaking, 
when a few months ago (at the time of this writing) 
there appeared an excellent work on the subject by 
Dr. Samuel Krauss, enriched with many notes from the 
hand of Bischoff himself, and also with others by Strack. 2 
It is, therefore, to be supposed that this is the book 
referred to by Bischoff in his " Foreword," and not, as 
we had previously imagined, that the work promised 
was to be entirely by himself. 

1 Bischoff (E.), " Ein jiidisch-deutsches Leben Jesu : Geschichte 
Jesu von Nazareth, geboren im Jahre 3760 seit Erschaffung 
der Welt" (Leipzig ; no date). 

2 Krauss (S.). " Das Leben Jesu nach jiidischen Quell en " 
(Berlin ; 1902). 


Most opportunely, then, for our enquiry has this Krauss 
study appe c ared, for in it not only have we a wealth of 
new material which was hitherto entirely inaccessible 
to any but the most determined specialists, but also we 
have the first attempt at a scientific and unpartisan treat 
ment of this difficult subject ; a beginning has at last 
been made towards an evaluation of the legendary 
and traditional materials of this most curious cycle of 
Jewish literature, and the openmindedness of the 
undertaking is unquestionably shown by the fact 
that Krauss, Bischoff and Strack frequently dissent 
from each other in their comments and recomments. 

Our present task is, therefore, considerably lightened ; 
for instead of attempting unaided to review this over 
grown and complicated tradition as preserved in Bis- 
choffs Judseo-German Toldoth and the Latin versions 
of Wagenseil, Huldreich and Eaymundus Martini, and to 
trace the external evidence from where we left it, in 
treating of the Talmud, we have to work over ground 
already surveyed by Krauss, while at the same time we 
have to thank him for considerably widening the area 
of research by the addition of new territory which we 
could never have traversed at all without his aid, for 
no one but a past-master in a knowledge of Hebrew 
and Jewish Hebrew mediaeval literature could dream of 
attempting such a task single-handed. If, however, 
we find ourselves compelled sometimes to differ from 
Krauss conclusions or to put a different value on some 
of the chief elements in the materials, it is not sur 
prising, seeing that the scientific investigation of this 
very obscure subject of hitherto bitterest prejudice is 
still entirely in its infancy. 


His Estimate Krauss, in his " Einleitung," assures us of his entire 
Toldoth. impartiality, and declares that he has treated the Toldoth 
purely as an ancient literary monument, the earliest 
foundation of which, he believes, preserves a text 
reaching back some 1500 years (K. iii.). 1 As the result 
of his labours, in which he claims to have proved the 
general Toldoth tradition point for point, he declares 
that though the representation of the " Life of Jesus " 
contained therein is of an odious nature, and in so far 
referable to Jewish hostility, nevertheless the bare facts 
themselves are for the most part in contact with good, 
and that, too, Christian, sources; and that instead of 
spending all its energies in abusing the Toldoth as a 
Jewish lampoon, a pitiful fabrication, or execrable 
foolishness, it would be more profitable for Christian 
theology to trace the book to its sources, as he has 
endeavoured to do himself (K. 2). 

"Good When, however, Krauss speaks of "good Christian 

Sources." sources," it must be understood that he means that 
they were " good " for the Jewish compilers of the 
Toldoth, who could not be expected to distinguish 
between canonical, deutero-canonical and apocryphal 
Christian literature and tradition. The Toldoth makers 
and redactors simply reflected the general notions in 
the Christian folk-consciousness of their times, and took 
these varied and changing notions indifferently for 
authentic facts, or, at any rate, as valid beliefs of the 
Christian faithful. Thus we find biblical, apocryphal 
and Talmud-Midrash traditions and legends as to Jesus 

1 The frequent references to Krauss work are thus signified ; 
when the note referred to is by Bischoff it will be further marked 
" B. n." 


mingled together in motley confusion, each and every 
one of them being put at precisely the same value (K. 
165). And this indeed is an important point in any 
investigation of a subject of this nature; for the 
common persuasion in general Protestant circles that 
the canonical Gospel view was the only view, even 
in the early days, is entirely mistaken ; the people fed 
mainly on apocrypha. 

Krauss especially insists that the agreement of the 
Toldoth in certain of its forms and features with Gospel 
data is of prime importance, for it argues that although 
in the Toldoth literature these are naturally put forward 
as they appeared to Jewish, and, therefore, he admits, 
biassed observers, they are nevertheless not deliberately 
distorted or disfigured (K. 154). The Toldoth recen 
sions, it is true, bear all the marks of an apologetic and 
polemical literature, but this does not calumniate; it 
alleges, but does not execrate (K. 155). 

Bischoff, on the contrary, declares that the various Bisehoff s 
forms of the Toldoth must be classed as a satirical 
and parodial literature of a polemical nature ; it is true 
that the Jewish compilers borrow certain traits from 
the Christian prototype, but only to recast them in 
their own fashion. The various Toldoth recensions 
known to us all bear the marks of a Middle Age bitter 
polemical literature against the intolerance of the 
Catholic Church and in answer to the fierce denunciation 
and cruel persecution by the Christians against the 
Jews ; it is a case of eye for eye and tooth for tooth. 
These writings were pamphlets against the simple faith 
in unintelligent authority and the foolishness of a rank 
growth of Christian legend and folklore ; briefly, against 

250 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

the pretensions and extravagances of the Church of the 
Middle Ages. Nevertheless it would be foolish to throw 
away the child with the bath water, for the Toldoth 
writers were, in their way, as decent folk as their 
opponents (K. 154 ; B. n.). 

With this opinion Strack also is in agreement; 
nevertheless Krauss holds firmly to his own point of 
view and refuses to modify it. The most useful stand 
point may perhaps be found somewhere between these 
two contradictory views, but as far as our present 
study is concerned, our main interest is concerned only 
with the oldest elements discernible under the many 
changing forms of this Toldoth activity. 

Only one But perhaps some of our readers will say : Why, 

Information we did not know even so much as that there was a 
m English. j ew i s h Life of Jesus ; where can we obtain any in 
formation on the subject in English ? Truth to say, 
the Toldoth literature has been boycotted even by the 
learned in English-speaking lands. Perhaps this may 
have been natural enough, and it may have been best 
hitherto to keep silence on a topic which in the past 
could not possibly have been discussed with moderation. 
But at the beginning of the twentieth century it is 
no longer possible to exclude from the field of research 
into Christian origins any subject, even of apparently 
the most intractable kind, which may hold out the 
faintest hope of throwing even a sidelight on the count 
less obscurities of received tradition. 

As far as we are aware there is only one book in 
English which deals with the subject, and that too 
in a very superficial manner, but as it has never 
reached a second edition, either it has been very little 


read or the author has not thought it advisable to 
reprint it. 1 

But even the learned have been hitherto very im- General 
perfectly acquainted with the Toldoth literature, and 
have had to depend entirely on polemical sources of 
information rather than on a scientific statement and 
appreciation of the facts. Setting aside Kaymundus 
Martini s thirteenth century Latin rendering of a 
short Toldoth form, which Luther knew from the 
fifteenth century reproduction of Porchettus, and trans 
lated into German early in the sixteenth century, 
and which we shall consider later on, non-Jewish 
scholars had until quite lately to depend entirely on 
the translations of the an ti- Jewish writers Wagenseil 2 

1 Baring-Gould (S.), " The Lost and Hostile Gospels : An 
Essay on the Toledoth Jeschu, and the Petrine and Pauline 
Gospels of the First Three Centuries of which Fragments Eemain " 
(London; 1874), ch. v. "The Counter- Gospels," pp. 67-115. 
This book contains a digest and partial translation of Wagenseil s 
seventeenth-century and Huldreich s eighteenth-century Latin 
versions of the Toldoth ; much of the matter in the chapters on 
the Talmud and Toldoth is taken from Clemens "Jesus von 
Nazareth" (Stuttgart; 1850) and von der Aim s "Urtheile" 
(Leipzig ; 1864), whose name the author misspells, p. 48 but 
without any acknowledgment. 

Wagenseil s Latin has also been rendered into English in a 
penny pamphlet form, " The Hebrew Account of our Lord (sole 
English edition, omitting nothing after the first page), Latinized 
by J. C. Wagenseil, 1681 ; Englished by E. L. G., 1885." (London ; 
James Burns.) It is difficult to refrain from reprobating strongly 
a production of this kind. 

2 Joh. Christophorus Wagenseilius, " Tela ignea Satana^. Hoc 
est : Arcani et horribiles Judccoruni adversus Christum Deum 
et Christianam Keligionem Libri ave/cSoroi" (Altdorf ; 1681), 
2 vols., containing six treatises, of which the last is " Libellus 
Toldos Jeschu." W. s text was reproduced with a German transla 
tion in J. A. Eisenmenger s (not Eilenmenger a) " Entdecktes Juden- 



Extent of New 

Bischoff s 

(b. at Niirnberg Nov. 26, 1633, d. Oct. 9, 1705) and 
Huldreich. 1 

With the publication of Bischoff s Jewish-German 
"Leben Jesu" in 1895, to which we have already 
referred, and Krauss larger work in 1902, however, 
we have a large amount of new material rendered 
accessible to us ; not, however, that even so we have by 
any means all the material extant, for there must be 
still numerous MSS. hidden away (for a number of 
MSS. once known to exist have since disappeared), or 
in the hands of modern Jewish medievalists, the 
" homely " Jews of Krauss (p. 22) ; and of the 23 (two 
of these being only fragments) now known we have 
still to wait for the translation of a good half of them. 
Nevertheless, as the MSS. fall into types, the portion 
of the new material which Krauss has translated is 
doubtless sufficient for all practical purposes. 

Bischoff (K. 27-37) has divided these MSS. into five 
chief types; it is, however, to be observed that these 
groupings do not in the remotest fashion aim at any 
attempt at tracing out a historical genealogical tree, for, 

thum" (1st ed. [Frankfort], 1700 ; latest edition, Dresden, 1893, by 
J. X. Schiefel) ; the original title of which ran : " Das bei 40 Jahr 
von der Judenschafft mit Arrest bestrickt gewesene, nunmehro 
aller durch Autoritat eines Hohen Keichs-Vicariats relaxirte 
J. A. E. s . . . entdecktes Judenthum : oder griindlicher und 
wahrhaffter Bericht, welchergestalt die verstockte Juden die 
Hochheilige Dreieinigkeit . . . erschrecklicher Weise liistern 
und verunehren u. s. w., 2 Thle ; and also by Bullet, op. sub. cit. 

1 Joh. Jac. Huldricus, " Sepher Toldotli Jeschua ha-Notzri 
[in Hebrew letters], Historia Jeschuae Nazareni, a Judaeis 
blaspheme corrupta, ex Manuscripto hactenus inedito nunc demum 
edita, ac Versione et Notis (quibus Judaeorum nequitiae proprius 
deteguntur, et Authoris asserta ineptiae ac impietatis con- 
vincuntur), illu&trata" (Leyden ; 1705). 


as Bischotf says, in face of the very chaotic nature 
of the material, such an attempt must ever be of 
the most subjective character (K. 27). It may be 
that with the discovery of other MSS. something of 
a more objective nature may be attempted, but at 
present the field is wide open for the most diverse 

Bischoff s classification, or, rather, tentative grouping, 
of the MSS. is as follows : 

1. Type Wagenseil; put first because it is the best 
known (9 MSS.). 

2. Type De Kossi (so called from its last private owner, 
who presented it to the Royal Library at Parma) ; placed 
second because it is more nearly allied to the former type 
in its main subjects (6 MSS.). 

3. Type Huldreich (the original is lost, but there are 
2 MSS. copied from H/s printed text) ; put third because 
it was printed next after W. s. 

4. Type Modern Slavonic ; put next because it shows 
a knowledge of all the foregoing (4 MSS.). 

5. Type Cairo (6 fragments in the Schechter- 
Oxford-collection from the Geniza or lumber-room of 
the Old Synagogue at Cairo) ; put last because it is the 
last known. 

Of printed Toldoth texts we have practically only Printed Texts, 
those of Wagenseil and Huldreich ; there was, however, 
still earlier, somewhere about 1640 (K. 17 ; B. n.), a text 
published by Engelsberger, but no copy of it is now 
known to exist; there is also mixed Toldoth stuff in 
the ironical composition of Gustav (Gerschom) Bader, 
which bears as part of its title " History of the Nazarene 

254 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Krauss New None of these texts, however, have the slightest pre 
tension of being critical ; they are all, so to speak, one- 
manuscript texts. It remained for Krauss to give us 
the first attempt at a critical text of (1) the Strassburg 
University Library MS., and (2) the Vienna Israeli tish 
Theological Academy s MS. No. 54 ; while he has had 
simply to reproduce (3) Adler s Jemen MS. with portions 
of (4) the Leyden MS. 1 dealing with the " burial " and 
" resurrection " ; (5) of three Slavonic MSS. dealing with 
the " seduction " ; (6) a fragment from Bokhara in posses 
sion of E. Adler, dealing also with the " seduction " ; (7, 
the "inventio crucis" from the Vienna MS. No. 54 ; (8) 
the Cairo Geniza fragments ; and (9) an extract from the 
" Touch-stone " of Schemtob ibn Schaprut, from the MS. 
in the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau (p. 180). 
Of these texts Krauss gives German translations of 
only 1, 2, 3 and 9. 

It is to be regretted that when the subject was being 
treated in a scientific manner, Krauss did not think of 
bringing together all the material between two covers ; 
it would have been vastly more convenient if Wagenseil s 
Huldreich s and Bischoff s texts, and Martini s version, 
had been printed as well, and a German translation 
appended for every text; even if the "embellish 
ments" of the Slavonic type are too bad for transla 
tion into German, they might have been rendered into 

These MSS. are all late, and as far as we have any 
indications of date, two may be assigned to the sixteenth 

1 So the heading, p. 128, but I can find no mention of 
a " Leyden " MS. in either K. s description of MSS. (pp. 19-22) or 
in B. s (pp. 27-37). 


century, two to the seventeenth, two to the seven 
teenth-eighteenth, four to the eighteenth, and five to 
the nineteenth century. 

The question of the language of the various forms of Language, 
the Toldoth is often very obscure, but Krauss is of 
opinion that in German-speaking lands at any rate, 
and therefore also in Slavonic-speaking lands, the 
Toldoth recensions were first written in the vernacular, 
being intended as a " Volkslectiire " ; they were only 
later translated into Hebrew, and as this Hebrew is 
often very impure, they were probably translated by 
apostates or by Christian opponents for polemical 
purposes. This view is, however, sharply contradicted 
by Bischoff (K. 9-12 and 13 ; B. n .s.), who declares that 
instead of the vernacular Toldoth being intended for 
popular consumption, they rather constituted the read 
ing of the intelligent Jewish laity, by which we are 
to understand, presumably, those who were unable to 
read the Toldoth in Hebrew. Bischoff denies that the 
Toldoth Hebrew is worse than much of the literature 
of the time, and it is difficult to see a priori why an 
apostate should not have been able to write as good 
Hebrew as a non-convert. 

It seems, however, highly probable that the language 
of the oldest forms of the Toldoth was originally 
Aramaic, as the oldest MS. fragments extant (from the 
Cairo Geniza) show. 

As to the title by which the various forms of the Titles. 
Jewish Life of Jesus is designated, we have chosen the 
best known one, and the one that occurs most fre 
quently. The known titles, however, vary very consider 
ably. " Toldoth Jeschu " means literally The Genera- 

256 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

tions of Jeschu, hence Birth or History, Tradition, 
or Life of Jesus. It is also called "Sepher Toldoth 
Jeschu," or Book of the Generations of Jeschu; also 
"Toldoth Jeschu ha-Notzri" (K. 30), or History of 
Jeschu the Nazarene. We also find the title " Maase 
Jeschu," or History of Jeschu (K. 30), or " Maase 
Jeschu ha-Notzri" (K. 31, 33). It is also supposed 
that the Latin transliteration, " Mar mar Jesu," in the 
Bull of May 1415, stands for " Maase Jeschu," or 
11 Maanar Jeschu," Story of Jeschu. We also meet with 
the title " Maase Tola," or " Talui ," The History of the 
Hanged (K. 9, 13); also The History of Jeschu and 
of Queen Helena and of the Apostles (K. 15), or 
simply History of Jeschu and the Apostles (K. 172). 
One MS. begins : " This is the Book of the Condemna 
tion of Jeschu ben Pandera" (K. 10); another bears 
the title The History of him and his Son 1 (K. 33, 64, 
88). Huldreich s printed text, after the main title, 
" Toldoth Jeschua ha-Notzri," continues with the names 
Jeschu and Cristos [sic] Jesus (in Hebrew translitera 

The Name As to the Hebrew equivalent for the name Jesus, we 
find that the Toldoth recensions amply confirm the 
form given in the Talmud with which we have already 
dealt ; in fact, the longer form Jeschua is found in only 
three MSS., 2 while the still longer form Jehoshua 
appears only once, in Wagenseil. 

1 Meaning, presumably, " History of Joseph Pandera and his 
Son," for in this recension J. Pandera is given as the legitimate 
husband of Miriam. 

2 But even in these MSS. this form does not appear through 
out, or more frequently than Jeschu or Jesus (in Hebrew trans 
literation from the ? German). 


But before we go any further we must present our 
readers with some one of the numerous recensions of 
the Toldoth, so that they may form some idea of the 
general nature of the material. As the Wagenseil 
and Huldreich versions are fairly well known, at any- 
rate to scholars and the curious, we will take the 
recension preserved in the Strassburg MS., which is 
of special interest not only because it is probably the 
Hebrew original underlying the type of text preserved 
in Bischoffs Yiddish Toldoth, but also because it 
preserves many Aramaic traces, and so connects itself 
with the earliest forms of the Toldoth literature, and 
finally because part of it is identical with Martini s 
thirteenth century text. 



The 1. THE beginning of the birth of Jeschu. His mother 

was Miriam [a daughter] of Israel. She had a betrothed 
of the royal race of the House of David, whose name 
was Jochanan. He was learned in the law and 
feared heaven greatly. Near the door of her house, 
just opposite, dwelt a handsome [fellow]; Joseph ben 
Pandera cast his eye upon her. 

It was at night, on the eve of the Sabbath, when 
drunken he crossed over to her door and entered in to 
her. But she thought in her heart that it was her 
betrothed Jochanan; she hid her face and was 
ashamed. ... He embraced her ; but she said to 
him : Touch me not, for I am in my separation. He 
took no heed thereat, nor regarded her words, but per 
sisted. She conceived by him. . . . 

At midnight came her betrothed Rabbi Jochanan. 
She said to him : What meaneth this ? Never hath it 
been thy custom, since thou wast betrothed to me, twice 
in a night to come to me. 

He answered her and said: It is but once I come 
to thee this night. 

She said to him : Thou earnest to me, and I said to 
thee I was in my separation, yet heeded st thou not, but 


did st thy will and wentest forth. When he heard 
this, forthwith he perceived that Joseph ben Pandera 
had cast an eye upon her and done the deed. He left 
her ; in the morning he arose and went to Rabbi 
Simeon ben Shetach. 

He said to him : Know then what hath befallen me 
this night with my betrothed. I went in to her after 
the manner of men . . . ; before I touched her she said : 
Thou hast already this night come once to me, and I 
said to thee I was in my separation, and thou gavest no 
ear to me, [didst] thy will and wentest forth. When I 
heard such words from her, I left her and [went forth]. 

Rabbi Simeon ben Shetach said to him : Who came 
into thy mind ? 

He answered : Ben Pandera, for he dwelleth near 
her house and is a libertine. 

He said to him : I understand that thou hast no 
witness for this thing, therefore keep silence ; I 
counsel thee, if he have come once, then can he not fail 
to come a second time; act wisely; at that time set 
witnesses against him. 

Some time after the rumour went abroad that 
Miriam was with child. Then said her betrothed 
Jochanan : She is not with child by me ; shall I abide 
here and hear my shame every day from the people ? 

He arose and went to Babylon. After some [time 
she bore] a son, and they called his name Joshua after 
his mother s brother ; but when his corrupt birth was 
made public they called him Jeschu. 

2. His mother gave him to a teacher, so that he might How the 
become wise in the Halacha, and learned in the Torah jeTctifwaf 
and the Talmud. Now it was the custom of the made Public - 

260 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

teachers of the law that no disciple and no boy should 
pass on his way by them without his head being covered 
and his eyes cast to the ground, from reverence of the 
pupils towards their teachers. 

One day that rogue passed by, and all the wise were 
seated together at the door of the synagogue that is, 
they called the school-house synagogue ; that rogue 
then passed by the Kabbis, head on high and with 
uncovered pate, saluting no one, nay, rather, in shameless 
fashion showing irreverence to his teacher. 

After he had passed by them, one of them began 
and said : He is a bastard (mamzer). The second 
began and said : He is a bastard and son of a woman 
in her separation (mamzer len ha-niddah). 

Another day the Rabbis stopped in tractate Nezikin l ; 
then began that one to speak Halachoth 2 before 

Thereupon one of them began and said to him : Hast 
thou then not learned : He who giveth forth a Halacha 
in the presence of his teacher, is guilty of death ? 

That one answered and said to the wise ones : Who 
is the teacher and who the disciple ? Who of the twain 
is wiser, Moses or Jethro ? Was it not Moses, father 
of the prophets and head of the wise ? And the Torah, 
moreover, beareth witness of him: And from hence 
forth there ariseth no prophet in Israel like unto Moses. 
Withal Jethro was an alien, . . . yet taught he Moses 
worldly wisdom, as it is written : Set thou over them 
rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds. But if 

1 The fourth Talmud order, " Damages," dealing with civil and 
criminal law. 

2 Decisions or rules of law. 


ye say that Jethro is greater than Moses, then would 
there be an end to the greatness of Moses. 

When the wise heard this, they said : As he is so 
very shameless, let us enquire after him. They sent to 
his mother, [saying] thus: Tell us, pray, who is the 
father of this boy ? 

She answered and said: . . ., but they say of him, 
that he is a bastard and son of a woman in her 

Then began Eabbi Simeon ben Shetach: To-day 
is it thirty years since Kabbi Jochanan her betrothed 
came to me ; at that time he said to me : That and that 
hath befallen me. 

He related all that is told above, . . . how Eabbi 
Simeon answered Kabbi Jochanan, and how when she 
was with child, he [R J.] for great shame went to 
Babylon and did not return; but this Miriam gave 
birth to this Jeschu, and no death penalty awaits her, 
for she hath not done this of her own will, for Joseph 
ben Pandera laid in wait for her . . . the whole day. 

When she heard from Eabbi Simeon that no death 
penalty awaited her, she also began and said: Thus 
was the story ; and she confessed. But when it went 
abroad concerning Jeschu, that he was called a bastard 
and son of a woman in her separation, he went away 
and fled to Jerusalem. 1 

3. Now the rule of all Israel was in the hand of a The Robbing 
woman who was called Helene. And there was in the 
sanctuary a foundation-stone and this is its inter 
pretation: God founded it and this is the stone on 

1 B. s recension states that this enquiry took place at Tiberias in 

262 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

which Jacob poured oil and on it were written the 
letters of the Shem, 1 and whosoever learned it, could do 
whatsoever he would. But as the wise feared that the 
disciples of Israel might learn them and therewith 
destroy the world, they took measures that no one 
should do so. 

Brazen dogs were bound to two iron pillars at the 
entrance of the place of burnt offerings, 2 and whosoever 
entered in and learned these letters as soon as he 
went forth again, the dogs bayed at him ; if he then 
looked at them, the letters vanished from his memory. 

This Jeschu came, learned them, wrote them on 
parchment, cut into his hip and laid the parchment 
with the letters therein so that the cutting of his 
flesh did not hurt him then he restored the skin to its 
place. When he went forth the brazen dogs bayed at 
him, and the letters vanished from his memory. He 
went home, cut open his llesh with his knife, took out 
the writing, learned the letters, went and gathered to 
gether three hundred and ten of the young men of 
Jeschu claims 4. He said to them : Behold then these who say of me 

to be"Messiah T , , , . , , . 

and works I am a bastard and son of a woman in her separation ; 

desire power for themselves and seek to exercise 
lordship in Israel. But see ye, all the prophets 

1 K. : " Des erklarten Gottesnamens" But Shem ha-mephoresch 
would perhaps be better rendered by the "ineffable name," that is, the 
name which ought not to be pronounced, the name of which only 
the consonants Y. H. V. H. are given, which are not pronouncible, 
but only indicate the pronunciation as known to the initiated. I 
use Shem throughout for the longer form Shem ha-mephoresch. 

- Or rather, the door by which the burnt offerings were brought 


prophesied concerning the Messiah of God, and I am the 
Messiah. Isaiah prophesied concerning me : Behold the 
virgin shall conceive, bear a son, and he shall be called 
Emanuel. Moreover, my forefather David prophesied 
concerning me and spake : The Eternal [Y. H. V. H.] 
said to me : Thou art my son ; this day have I be 
gotten thee. He begat me without male congress with 
my mother ; yet they call me a bastard ! He further 
prophesied : Why do the heathen rage, etc., the kings 
in the country rise up, etc., against His anointed. I 
am the Messiah, and they, so to rise up against me, are 
children of whores, for so it is written in the Scripture : 
For they are the children of whores. 1 

The young men answered him : If thou art the 
Messiah, show unto us a sign. He answered them : 
What sign do ye require that I should do for you ? 

Forthwith they brought unto him a lame man, who 
had never yet stood upon his feet. He pronounced 
over him the letters, and he stood upon his feet. In 
the same hour they all made obeisance to him and 
said : This is the Messiah. 

He gave them another sign. They brought to him 
a leper; he pronounced over him the letters, and he 
was healed. There joined themselves to him apostates 
from the children of his people. 

When the wise saw that so very many believed on Jeschu and 
him, they seized him and brought him before Queen 
Helene, in whose hand the land of Israel was. They 
said to her: This man uses sorcery and seduces the 

Jeschu answered to her as follows : Already of old 
1 A.V. : " children of whoredoms." 

264 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

the prophets prophesied concerning me: And there 
shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Isai (Jesse), 
and I am he. Of him saith the Scripture : Blessed is 
the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. 

She said to them : Is this truly in your law, what he 
saith ? 

They answered : It is in our law ; but it hath not 
been said concerning him, for it is said therein : And 
that prophet [etc.], put the evil away from the midst 
of thee. But the Messiah for whom we hope, with 
him are [other] signs, and it is said of him : He shall 
smite the earth with the rod of his mouth. With this 
bastard these signs are not present. 

Jesus said : Lady, I am he, and I raise the dead. 

In the same hour the queen was affrightened and 
said : That is a great sign. 

Apostates still joined themselves to him, were with 
him, and there arose a great schism in Israel. 
Jeschu s 5. Jeschu went to Upper Galilee. The wise assembled 

^g e ^ ner went before the queen and said to her: 
Lady, he practiseth sorcery and leadeth men astray 

Therefore sent she forth horsemen concerning him, 
and they came upon him as he was seducing the 
people of Upper Galilee and saying to them: I am 
the Son of God, who hath been promised in your law. 
The horsemen rose up to take him away, but the people 
of Upper Galilee suffered it not and began to fight. 

Jeschu said unto them: Fight not, have trust in the 
power of my Father in heaven. 

The people of Galilee made birds out of clay ; he 
uttered the letters of the Shem, and the birds flew 


away. At the same hour they fell down before 

He said to them : Bring unto me a millstone. They 
rolled it to the sea-shore ; he spake the letters, set it 
upon the surface of the sea, sat himself thereon, 
as one sits in a boat, went and floated on the water. 

They who had been sent, saw it and wondered ; and 
Jeschu said to the horsemen : Go to your lady, tell her 
what ye have seen ! Thereupon the wind raised him 
from the water and carried him onto the dry land. 

The horsemen came and told the queen all these 
things ; the queen was affrighted, was greatly amazed, 
sent and gathered together the elders of Israel and 
spake unto them : Ye say he is a sorcerer, nevertheless 
every day he doeth great wonders. 

They answered her : Surely his tricks l should not 
trouble thee ! Send messengers, that they may bring 
him hither, and his shame shall be made plain. 

At the same hour she sent messengers, and his 
wicked company also joined itself onto him, and they 
came with him before the queen. 

Then the wise men of Israel took a man by name The Magic 
Juda Ischariota, brought him into the Holy of Holies, j u das. 
where he learned the letters of the Shem, which were 
engraved on the foundation-stone, wrote them on a 
small [piece of] parchment, cut open his hip, spake the 
Shem, so that it did not hurt, as Jeschu had done 

As soon as Jeschu with his company had returned 
to the queen, and she sent for the wise men, Jeschu 
began and spake: For dogs encompassed me. And 

266 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

concerning me he [David] said : Tremble not before 

As soon as the wise men entered and Juda Ischariota 
with them, they brought forward their pleas against 
him, until he said to the queen : Of me it hath 
been said : I will ascend to heaven. Further it is 
written : If He take me, Sela ! He raised his hands 
like unto the wings of an eagle and flew, and the people 
were amazed because of him : How is he able to fly 
twixt heaven and earth ! 

Then spake the wise men of Israel to Juda Ischariota : 
Do thou also utter the letters and ascend after him. 
Forthwith he did so, flew in the air, and the people 
marvelled : How can they fly like eagles ! 

Ischariota acted cleverly, 1 flew in the air, but neither 
could overpower the other, so as to make him fall by 
means of the Shem, because the Shem was equally with 
both of them. When Jada perceived this he had 
recourse to a low trick ; he befouled Jeschu, so that he 
was made unclean and fell to the earth, and with him 
also Juda. 

It is because of this that they wail on their night, 2 and 
because of the thing which Juda did to him. 
Jeschu is con- At the same hour they seized him and said to 
1 Helene: Let him be put to death! . . . 3 Let him tell 

1 Text uncertain. 

2 Christmas. Weihnachten = Weinennachten, comments K. 
But if this word-play were intended, then the original of such a 
gloss in this recension was composed in German, and the Hebrew 
would be a translation from the German and not from Aramaic. 
But as the Hebrew text existed already in the thirteenth century, 
this does not seem probable. 

3 Evidently a lacuna occurs here in the text. The text of Martini 
adds : " If he be the Son of God." 


us who smote him. So they covered his head with a 
garment and smote him with a pomegranate staff. As 
he did not know, 1 it was clear that the Shem had aban 
doned him, and he was now fast taken in their hands. 

He began and spake to his companions before the 
queen : Of me it was said : Who will rise up for me 
against the evil doers ? But of them he said : The 
proud waters. And of them he said : Stronger than 
rocks make they their countenance. 

When the queen heard this she reproved the apos 
tates, and said to the wise men of Israel : He is in your 

6. They departed from the queen and brought him to Jeschu is 
the synagogue of Tiberias and bound him to the pillars Disciples, 
of the ark. Then there gathered together the band of 
simpletons and dupes, who believed on his words and 
desired to deliver him out of the hand of the elders ; 
but they could not do so, and there arose great fight 
ing between them. 

When he saw that he had no power to escape, he said : 
Give me some water. They gave him vinegar in a 
copper vessel. He began and spake with a loud voice : 
Of me David prophesied and said : When I was thirsty 
they gave me vinegar to drink. 

On his head they set a crown of thorns. The apos 
tates lamented sore, and there was fighting between 
them, brother with brother, father with son ; but the 
wise men brought the apostates low. 

1 In another recension it is said that seventy elders with 
seventy staves of different woods smite him, and he is asked to say 
by whom and with what kind of staff he has been smitten, but he 
can tell neither the name of the smiter nor the wood of the staff. 

268 BIB JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

He began and spake : Of me he prophesied and said : 
My back I gave to the smiters, etc. Further of these 
the Scripture saith : Draw hither, sons of the sorceress. 
And of me hath been said : But we held him, etc. And 
of me he said : The Messiah shall be cut off and he is not. 

When the apostates heard this, they began to stone 
them with stones, and there was great hatred among 
The Betrayal Then were the elders afraid, and the apostates bore 

of Jeschu. 

him off from them, and his three hundred and ten 
disciples brought him to the city of Antioch, where he 
sojourned till the rest-day of Passover. Now in that 
year Passover fell on the Sabbath, and he and his sons 
[sic] came to Jerusalem, on the rest-day of Passover, 
that is on the Friday, he riding on an ass and saying to 
his disciples : Of me it was said : Eejoice greatly, 
Daughter of Zion, etc. 

In the same hour they all cried aloud, bowed them 
selves before him, and he with his three hundred and 
ten disciples went into the sanctuary. 

Then came one of them, who was called Gaisa [that 
is, Gardener], and said to the wise men : Do you want 
the rogue ? They said : Where is he to be found ? He 
answered : He is in the sanctuary, that is to say, in 
the school-house. They said to him : Show him unto 
us. He answered them : We, his three hundred and 
ten disciples, have already sworn by the command 
ments, that we will not say of him who he is ; but if 
ye come in the morning, give me the greeting, 1 and I 

1 That is the customary form of greeting (probably the kiss of 
peace) used among the followers of Jeschu, as we learn from B. s 


will go and make an obeisance before him, and before 
whom I make obeisance, he is the rogue. And they 
did so. 

The disciples of Jeschu gathered together, went and 
gave their fellows the greeting, for they were come from 
all places to pray on the Mount of Olives on the Feast 
of Unleavened Bread. 

Then the wise men went into the sanctuary, where 
those were who had come from Antioch, and there was 
also the rogue among them. Thereupon Gaisa entered 
with them, left the rest of the company, made an 
obeisance before the rogue Jeschu. Whereupon the 
wise men saw it, arose against him and seized him. 

7. They said to him : What is thy name ? He answered : Proofs from 
Mathai. They said to him : Whence hast thou a proof Scn l )ture - 
from the Scripture ? He answered them : When 
(mathai) shall I come and see the face of God ? They 
said to him : When (mathai) shall he die and his name 
perish ? 

Further they said to him : What is thy name ? He 
answered : Naki. They said to him : Whence hast 
thou a proof from the Scripture ? He answered : with 
pure (nald) hands and a clean heart. They said to 
him : He remaineth not unpunished. 

Further they said to him : What is thy name ? He 
answered : Boni. They said : Whence hast thou a 
proof from the Scripture ? He answered : My first-born 
son (beni) is Israel. They said : Of thee it was said : 
Behold, I will slay thy first-born son. 

Further they said: What is thy name? He 
answered: Netzer. They said: Whence hast thou a 
proof from the Scripture ? He answered them : A 

270 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

branch (netzer) shall spring up out of his roots. They 
said to him : Thou art cast forth from thy sepulchre, 
like an abominable branch (netzer). And thus still 
more, as he gave himself many names. 1 

Jesclm is Forthwith they seized him, and his disciples could 

Cabbage- " n t deliver him. When he saw himself brought to 

Stalk. death he began and spake: Verily hath David 

prophesied of me and said: For Thy sake are we 

smitten every day. And of you said Isaiah : Your 

hands are full of blood. And of you said the prophet 

before God : They slew Thy prophets with the 


The apostates began to lament and could not deliver 
him. At the same hour was he put to death. And it 
was on Friday on the rest-day of Passover and of the 
Sabbath. When they would hang him on a tree (Holz), 
it brake, for there was with him the Shem. 2 

But when the simpletons saw that the trees brake 
under him, 3 they supposed that this was because of his 
great godliness, until they brought him a cabbage-stalk. 
For while he was yet alive he knew the custom of the 
Israelites, that they would hang him, he knew his 
death, the manner of his being put to death, and that 
they would hang him on a tree. At that time he 
brought it to pass by means of the Shem, that no tree 
should bear him ; but over the cabbage-stalk he did 
not utter the pronounced name, for it is not tree but 

1 Compare with the above the Talmud passage quoted in the 
chapter on " The Disciples and Followers of Jesus in the 

2 This is in contradiction with c. 7. 

3 Another recension tells us that they tried every tree (there 
being seventy kinds). 


green-stuff, and so l [in special years there are] in 
Jerusalem cabbages with more than a hundred pounds 
[of seed] unto this day. 

When they had let him hang until the time of after 
noon prayer, 2 they took him down from the tree, for 
so it is written : His body shall not remain all night 
upon the tree, etc. They buried him ... on Sunday, 
and the apostates of his people wept over his grave. 

8. Some of the young men of Israel passed by them. The Body is 
They spake to them in the Aramaic tongue : Why do the Grave, 
the foolish ones sit by the grave ? Let us look ! The 
foolish ones said in their heart, that they [the young 
men] would see him in the grave, but they found him not. 

Thereupon the foolish ones sent to Queen Helene, 
saying : He whom they put to death was a Messiah, 
and very many wonders did he show while living, but 
now after his death they buried him, but he is not in 
the grave, for he is already ascended to heaven, and 
it is written : For He taketh me, Sela ! Thus did he 
prophesy concerning himself. 

She sent to the wise men and said : What have ye 
done with him ? They answered her : We have put 
him to death, for that was the judgment concerning 

She said to them : If ye have already put him to 
death, what have ye done then ? They answered her : 
We have buried him. Forthwith they sought him in 
the grave and found him not. 

1 Text defective. K. supplies the lacuna with the words in 
brackets, but this is by no means a satisfactory conjecture, as we 
shall see from the reading preserved by Kaymund Martini. 

2 About three o clock. 

272 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Thereupon she said to them : In this grave ye 
buried him ; where is he therefore ? 

Then were the wise men affrightened and wist not 
what to answer her, for a certain one had taken him 
from the grave, borne him to his garden, and stopped 
the water which flowed into his garden; then digged 
he in the sand and buried him, and let the water flow 
again over his grave. 

The Procla- The queen said : If ye show me not Jeschu, I will 
Queen 11 f ^ ive vou no peace and no escape. They answered her : 
Give us an appointed time and terms. 

When she had granted them an appointed time, all 
Israel remained lamenting in fasting and prayer, and 
the apostates found occasion to say : Ye have slain 
God s anointed! 

And all Israel was in great anguish, and the wise 
men and all the land of Israel hurried from place to 
place because of the great fear. 

Then went forth an elder from them, whose name 
was Kabbi Tanchuma ; he went forth lamenting in a 
garden in the fields. 

When the owner of the garden saw him, he said to 
him : Wherefore lamentest thou ? He answered : For 
this and this ; because of that rogue who is not to be 
found ; and lo, already is it the appointed time which 
the queen granted, and we are all in lamentation and 

As soon as he heard his words, that all Israel is as 
them who mourn, and that the rogues say : He is gone 
up into heaven, the owner of the garden said : To-day 
shall joy and gladness reign in Israel, for I have stolen 
him away because of the apostates, so that they should 


not take him and have the opportunity for all 
time. 1 

Forthwith they went to Jerusalem, told them the The Body is 
good tidings, and all the Israelites followed the owner of 
the garden, bound cords to his [Jeschu s] feet, and dragged 
him round in the streets of Jerusalem, till they brought 
him to the queen and said : There is he who is 
ascended to heaven ! 

They departed from her in joy, and she mocked the 
apostates and praised the wise men. 

9. His disciples fled and scattered themselves in the The Disciples 
kingdom ; three of them [went] to Mount Ararat, three ma ke strife in 
of them to Armenia, three to Koine, the others to other Israel - 
places, and misled the peoples, but everywhere where 
they took refuge, God sent his judgment upon them, 
and they were slain. 

But many among the apostates of our people went 
astray after him ; there was strife between them and 
the Israelites, . . . 2 confusion of prayers and much 
loss of money. 3 

Everywhere where the apostates caught sight of the 
Israelites they said to the Israelites : Ye have slain 
God s anointed ! But the Israelites answered them : 
Ye are children of death, because ye have believed on a 
false prophet ! 

Nevertheless they went not forth from the community 
of Israel, and there was strife and contention among 
them, so that Israel had no peace. 

1 B. s recension reads : " And thereafter make trouble for the 

2 This word in the text is uncertain. 

3 B. s recension reads : " And they made Israel lose much money, 
which went into the hands of non- Jews." 


274 DIB JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

When the wise men of Israel saw this they said : [It 
is now] thirty years since that rogue was put to death, 
[and] till now we have no peace with these misguided 
ones, and this hath befallen us because of the number 
of our sins, for it is written : They have moved me to 
wrath with their not-God l ; they have provoked me to 
anger with their vanities, etc. ; that is the Christians, 
who are not [? naught] 2 ; with a base people will I pro 
voke them ; that is, the Ishmaelites. 3 

The wise said : How long shall the apostates profane 
Sabbath . . . and feasts, and slay one another? Let 
us rather seek for a wise man who may take these 
erring ones out of the community of Israel. It is now 
thirty years that we have admonished them, but they 
have not returned to God, because they have taken it 
into their heads that Jeschu is the Messiah, and so may 
they go to destruction and peace be with us. 

How Elijahu 10. The wise men agreed on a man whose name was 
from Israel. Elijahu, and he was very learned in the Scripture, and 
they said to him : . . . We have agreed, that we will 
pray for thee, that thou shalt be counted as a good 
Israelite in the other world. Go, and do good for 
Israel, and remove the apostates from us, that they may 
go to destruction ! 

Elijahu went to the Sanhedrin at Tiberias, to Antioch, 4 
and made proclamation throughout the whole land of 
Israel : Whoso believeth on Jeschu, let him join himself 

1 A.V : " They have moved me to jealousy with that which 
not God." 

2 K. adds in a note : " Who worship a not-God." 
-> That is, the Mohammedans. 

4 This seems to be a gloss. 


to me ! Then said he to them : I am the messenger 
(apostle) of Jeschu, who sent me to you, and I will 
show you a marvel, as Jeschu did. 

They brought unto him a leper, and he laid his hand 
upon him, so that he was healed. They brought unto 
him a lame man, he uttered the Shem, laid his hand 
on him, and he was healed and stood upon his feet. 

Forthwith they fell down before him and said: 
Truly thou art the messenger of Jeschu, for thou hast 
shown us marvels as he did. 

He said to them : Jeschu sendeth you his greeting 
and saith : I am with my Father in heaven at His right 
hand, until He shall take vengeance on the Jews, as 
David said: Sit thou on my right hand, etc. 

At the same hour they all lamented and added foolish 
ness to their foolishness. 

Elijahu said to them : Jeschu saith to you : Whoso 
ever will be with me in the other world, let him remove 
himself from the community of Israel and join himself 
not to them; for my Father in heaven hath already 
rejected them and from henceforth requireth not their 
service, for so said He through Isaiah : Your new-moons 
and feasts my soul hateth, etc. 

But Jeschu saith to you : Whosoever will follow me, The Corn- 

let him profane the Sabbath, for God hateth it, but 
instead of it He keepeth the Sunday, for on it God gave 
light to His world. And for Passover which the 
Israelites solemnize, keep yet it on the Feast of the 
Eesurrection, for he is risen from his grave ; for the 
Feast of Weeks, Ascension, for on it he is ascended to 
heaven ; for New Year, Finding of the Cross ; for the 
Great Fast Day [Day of Atonement], the Feast of the 

276 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Circumcision: for Chanuka [the Feast of Lights], 
Calendse [New Year]. 

The foreskin is naught, circumcision is naught ; 
whosoever will circumcise himself, let him be circum 
cised; whosoever will not circumcise himself, let him 
be not circumcised. Moreover, whatsoever God created 
in the world, from the smallest gnat to the mightiest 
elephant, pour forth its blood upon the ground and eat 
it, for so it is written : As the green grass have I given 
you all. If one of them compel you to go a mile, go 
with him twain ; if a Jew smite you on the left side 
turn to him the right also ; if a Jew revile you, endure 
it and return it not again, as Jeschu endured it; in 
meekness he showed himself, therewith he showed you 
also meekness as he practised it, that ye might endure 
all that any should do to you. At the last judgment 
Jeschu will punish them, but do ye have hope according 
to your meekness, for so it is written : Seek ye the Lord, 
all ye meek of the earth, etc. Until he separated them 
from Israel 

But Elijahu who gave them these laws, the not-good 
ones, did it for the welfare of Israel, and the Christians 
call him Paul. After he had introduced these laws 
and commandments, the erring ones separated them 
selves from Israel, and the strife ceased. 

The Heresy of 11. A long time after the Persian power arose ; then a 
Christian departed from them, made a mock of them, 
just as the heretics had laughed at the wise men [of 

He said to them : Paul was in error in his scripture 
when he said to you : Circumcise yourselves not for 
Jeschu was circumcised. Further hath Jeschu said: 


I am not come to destroy even one jot from the law of 
Moses, but to fulfil all his words. And that is your 
shame, which Paul laid upon you, when lie said : Cir 
cumcise yourselves not. 

But Nestorius said to them : Circumcise yourselves, 
for Jeschu was circumcised. 

Further said Nestorius : Ye heretics ! Ye say Jeschu 
is God, though he was born of a woman. Only the 
Holy Spirit rested on him as on the prophets. 

Nestorius who began to argue with the Christians, 
persuaded their women ; he said to them : I will enact 
that no Christian take two wives. 

But as Nestorius became detestable in their eyes, 
there arose a strife between them, in so much that no 
Christian would pray to the abomination of Nestorius, 
or the followers of Nestorius to the abomination of the 

Then Nestorius went to Babylon to another place, 
the name of which was Chazaza, and all fled before him, 
because Nestorius was a violent man. 

The women said to him : What requirest thou of us ? 
He answered them : I require only that ye receive from 
me the bread-and-wine offering. 

Now it was the custom of the woman of Chazaza, 
that they carried large keys in their hands. 

He gave one of them the offering ; she cast it to the 
ground. Whereupon the women cast the keys in their 
hands upon him ; smote him, so that he died, and there 
was for long strife between them. 

12. Now the chief of the Sanhedrin, his name was Sbimeon 
Shimeon Kepha and why was he called Kepha ? 
Because he stood on the stone on which Kzekiel had 

278 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

prophesied at the river Kebar, 1 and on that stone it was 
that Shimeon heard a voice from heaven. 2 When the 
Christians heard that Shimeon Kepha was one of those 
who heard a voice from heaven, and that stores of 
wisdom were in him, they envied the Israelites, that so 
great a man was found in Israel, . . . God brought it into 
Shimeon s mind to go to Jerusalem ... on the Feast of 
Tabernacles. And there were gathered together all the 
bishops and the great ancient 3 of the Christians. They 
came to Shimeon Kepha to the Mount of Olives on the 
day of the great Feast of Willow-twigs. 4 When they saw 
his wisdom, that [there was] not one in Israel like unto 
him, ... to turn him to the religion of the Christians, 
and they constrained him, saying : If thou dost not 
profess our religion, we will put thee to death, and not 
leave even one remaining in Israel to go into the 

When the Israelites perceived this, they besought 
him: Humour them, act according to thy wisdom; so 
shall neither sin nor guilt be on thee. 

Thereupon when he perceived the hard fate for Israel, 
he betook himself to the Christians, and said to them : 
On this condition do I become a convert to your 
religion, that ye put no Jew to death, that ye smite 

1 This is transliterated in the A.V. as Chebar, presumably 
following the Septuagint Chobar. This Babylonian stream, near 
which Ezekiel had his prophetic visions, is now identified with 
one of the canals (Bab. ndrdti) of Babylonia, Hilprecht having 
twice found mention of a certain ndru called Kabaru. (See art., 
" Chebar," in " Ency. Bib.") 

2 Bath-Jcol, lit., " daughter of a voice," that is, a " small voice," 
an inner voice. 

3 Presumably the pope. 

4 The sixth, or rather seventh, day of the Feast of,. Tabernacles. 


him not and suffer him to go in and out in the 

The ancient and the Christians accepted his words 
and all these his conditions. He made a condition with 
them, that they would build him a lofty tower; he 
would go into it, would eat no flesh, nor aught save 
bread arid water, letting down a box by a cord, for 
them to supply him with only bread and water, and he 
would remain in the tower until his death. 

All this he did with respect to God, that he might 
not be stained and sullied by them, and that he might 
not mix with them ; but to the Christians he spake in 
their sense as though he would mourn for Jeschu, and 
eat no flesh or aught else, but bread and water only. 

They built him a tower, and he dwelt therein; he 
sullied himself not with eating, and prayed not to the 

Afterwards he composed in the tower Keroboth, The Scrip- 
Jotzroth and Zulthoth 1 in his name, like Eliezer ben 
Kalir. 2 He sent and gathered together the elders of 
Israel, and handed over to their care all that he had 
found in his mind, and charged them that they should 
teach it to the leaders in prayer 3 and use it for prayers, 
so that they might make mention of him for good. 

They, moreover, sent it 4 to Babylon to Eabbi 
Nathan, 5 the Prince of the Exile, and they showed it 

1 Various kinds of synagogue poetry. 

2 A famous synagogue poet, whose probable date is about 
900 A.D. 

3 Vorbetern = precentors. 

4 That is, the book of prayers. 

6 Can this be meant for K. Nathan ha-Babli, who came from 
Babylonia in the days of R. Shimeon ben Gamaliel II., and 

280 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

to the heads of the schools, to the Sanhedrin, and they 
said : It is good, and they taught it to the leaders in 
prayer of all Israel, and they used it for prayers. Who 
soever would mention the name of Shimeon in his 
chanting did so. May his memory endure to the life 
of the other world. But God in his mercy . . . him 
as a good defender. Amen ! Sela ! 

settled in Palestine? The recension of the Sayings of the 
Fathers attributed to Kabbi Nathan, included in the Pirke Aboth 
tractate of the Talmud, is probably to be attributed to him. He 
belonged to the fourth generation of Tanaim, that is to eay, he 
nourished about 160-220 A.D. 


IN the chapter on " The Earliest External Evidence as Toldoth as 
to the Talmud Jesus Stories," we ceased our enquiries from 
with Tertullian at the end of the second century. We stories - 
will now resume our researches with the special object of 
seeing whether any of the scattered notices of Jew 
versus Christian polemics which we have been able to 
collect, may be referred to the Toldoth as distinguished 
from the Talmud stories. Doubtless when the attention 
of scholars is more generally turned to the subject, 
some further out-of-the-way scraps of information may 
be added, but the following is as complete as we have 
been able to make it in the present state of affairs. 

We will first of all repeat the passage we have already 
quoted from Tertullian, for its last sentence shows that 
in every probability the "gardener" and "cabbage" 
elements were in existence in his day, and these in 
dubitably form part of the Toldoth as distinguished 
from the Talmud tradition. 

Writing about 197-198 A.D., the Bishop of Garth- Tertullian. 
age thus rhetorically addresses the Jews (" De Spect.," 
xxx.) : " This is your carpenter s son, your harlot s 
son ; your Sabbath-breaker, your Samaritan, your demon- 
possessed ! This is He whom ye bought from Judas ; 

282 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

He who was struck with reed and fists, dishonoured 
with spittle, and given a draught of gall and vinegar ! 
This He whom His disciples have stolen away 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." l 

When I mentioned this passage to a learned Jewish 
friend, he remarked that probably the Toldoth legend- 
makers had woven their story out of this sentence of the 
Church Father. It is, however, most highly improbable 
that the detailed Toldoth story could be based upon 
the scornful concluding sentence of Tertullian, for surely 
the Jews were not students nor even readers of the 

Does he refer It seems far more probable that the Bishop of Carth- 
a g e is referring to some well-known Jewish story 
familiar to all his readers. The body was removed 
by the gardener ; but why ? Of course, says Tertullian, 
to save his cabbages, for his garden was being trampled 
out of all existence by the crowds who came to 
see ! 

Now one of the earliest Toldoth recensions known to 
us from outside sources (Hrabanus Maurus) speaks of 
the body being originally buried in a garden, 2 and 

1 The most recent translator Cruttwell (C. T.), " A Literary 
History of Early Christianity " (London ; 1893), ii. 582 renders 
the last sentence freely as: "Or if you prefer it, whom the 
gardener put away lest his herbs should be crushed by the 
press of feet." No explanation, however, is given, as, indeed, is 
invariably the case with all translators and commentators. 

2 It is to be noticed that the only evangelist who speaks of the 
sepulchre being in a garden, and consequently of a gardener, is the 
mystic writer of the fourth Gospel (John xix. 41 ; xx. 15). 


that, too, a garden full of cabbages, and being handed 
over to a certain Jew to guard. 

We, therefore, conclude with very great confidence 
that this deposit of the Toldoth goes back to the 
story, whatever it was, which so roused the wrath of 

Moreover, in his polemic against the Jews, the Bishop Jesus is 


of Carthage declares (" Adv. Judaeos," c. ix., last para.) 
that not even do they deny that Jesus performed wonders 
of healing, "inasmuch as ye used to say that it was 
not on account of the works that ye stoned him, but 
because he did them on the Sabbath." 

Is Tertullian here referring to some tradition of the 
Jews of which he had heard, or only looking back to 
John v. 17, 18, and x. 31, 33 ? And if the latter, had 
the writer of the fourth Gospel in mind some tradition 
of stoning, which he thus worked into his mystic narra 
tive ? The Talmud Lud stories know of a tradition of 
stoning, and they were presumably in existence in 
Tertullian s time. But did the writer of the fourth 
Gospel also know of such a tradition ; and are we thus 
to push this element back to the end of the first century 
or so ? Like the Talmud, the Toldoth recensions also 
know of a stoning, or a stoning and hanging, or of a 
hanging alone, but never of a crucifixion. 

In the Clementine Eecognitions (i. 42), of which the The Clemen - 
form lying before us is generally ascribed to the third 
century, but which contain far older material, we read : 
" For some of them, watching the place with care, when 
they could not prevent His rising again, said that He 
was a magician, others pretended that His body was 
stolen away." 

284 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Pagan If the works of any Pagan writers could have helped 


us in this matter, it was to be expected that of all 
others the books of Porphyry, Hierocles and Julian 
against the Christians would have furnished us with 
some valuable information, but unfortunately only a few 
fragments of these polemical treatises have been pre 
served, and these , in spite of the closest scrutiny, can 
show us only that all these philosophers regarded the 
wonder-doings of Jesus as being due to his magical 
powers, or rather to the fact of his being a Magus, 
like many others in antiquity. Such miracles did 
not prove the contention of the Christians that 
Jesus was God, for similar wonders, equally well 
authenticated, and in a more recent case better 
authenticated according to Hierocles, had been done 
by others. 

Porphyry. Porphyry (233-? 305 A.D.) wrote fifteen books "Against 
the Christians," and no less than thirty champions of 
the Faith, we are told, attempted to refute him ; never 
theless only a few fragments of what must have been 
a very drastic criticism have been preserved to us ;* for 
not only the original, but also every one of the thirty 
refutations, have disappeared, and this is strange, for it 
is to be supposed that at least some of these thirty 
must have been thought by the Fathers to have dis 
posed of the Syrian s contentions. Porphyry knew 
Hebrew, and it might therefore be expected that he was 
acquainted with any tradition of the Jews hostile to 
Christian claims. It is true that a modern writer 
asserts that the disciple of Plotinus gives the name 

1 See Georgiades (A.), trtp} rwv Kara Xpianav&v airofnraa^drwv TOV 

Hop<}>vpiov (Leipzig ; 1891). 


Pandera as " Panzerius," but, so far, I have not been able 
to verify this unreferenced statement. 1 

Hieroeles, successively governor of Palmyra, Bithynia Hierocles. 
and Alexandria, and also a philosopher, in 305 A.D., 
wrote a criticism on the claims of the Christians in two 
books, called " A Truthful Address to the Christians," or 
more briefly "The Truth-lover." He seems to have 
based himself for the most part on the previous works 
of Celsus and Porphyry, but introduced a new subject 
of controversy by opposing the wonderful works of 
Apollonius of Tyana to the claims of the Christians 
to exclusive right in miracles as proof of the divinity of 
their Master. To this pertinent criticism Eusebius 
immediately replied in a treatise still extant. 2 

Julian the Emperor (360-363 A.D.), somewhere about Julian the 
362-363, wrote seven books "Against the Christians" ; 
a number of Church writers replied, the most famous 
being Cyril of Alexandria, who wrote (somewhere between 
429 and 441 A.D.) an enormous work of eighteen books, 
apparently, however, dealing with only three books 
of Julian s indictment. Unfortunately only fragments of 
Cyril s treatise have been preserved to us. 3 

1 Massey (G.), "The Natural Genesis" (London ; 1883), ii. 489. 

- The most convenient text is by Gaisford, " Eusebii Pamphili 
contra Hieroclem " (London ; 1852), see my " Apollonius of Tyana, 
the Philosopher Reformer of the First Century A.D." (London ; 
1901), pp. 32 ff. 

:} See Neumann (0. J.), " Juliani Imp. Librorum contra Christianos 
quae supersunt " (Leipzig ; 1880). This is the third fasciculus of a 
proposed series, " Scriptorum Grt^corum qui Christianam im- 
pugnaverunt Rcligionem," but the first and second parts, presum 
ably containing the fragments of Celsus, Porphyry and Hierocles, 
have not yet seen the light. For the information of book -lovers I 
may mention that I have in my possession a rare work of Thomas 

286 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

The"Chrest" It is no part of our present task to enquire into the 
arguments of Julian, but there is one passage which 
contains a strange phrase bearing on the question of the 
confusion of Chrestos and Christos to which we have 
already referred in an earlier chapter. Julian thus 
writes : 

" At any rate neither Paul nor Matthew nor Mark 
dared to say that Jesus is God, but only the good John 
(6 xp>?0"ro9 Iwarn;?) . . . ventured to assert this." 

What does Julian mean by distinguishing John from 
the rest as " the chrest John " ? Does he refer to John 
as an illuminate ? Did the original even read " the 
christ John " ? 

The Acts of But to return to our " traces " ; the Acts of Pionius, 


who is said to have been martyred in 250 A.D., and 
the original of whose Acta was certainly read by 
Eusebius at the beginning of the fourth century, state 1 
that the Jews " say that Christ practised necromancy, 
and that it was by its power that he was brought to life 
after the crucifixion." 

But that he rose again, in the physical sense, is just 
what all the Jews have ever denied, and we can only 

Taylor, " The Arguments of the Emperor Julian against the 
Christians," (London ; 1809), which a slip from a catalogue gummed 
inside the cover states to have been " privately printed by Mr 
Meredith, who destroyed, for fear of prosecution, the entire 
impression with the exception of 5 or 6 copies. For one of these 
copies," it adds, " he in vain offered 100." What truth there may 
be in this statement I do not know, for I also possess a copy of a 
book called "Arguments of Celsus, Porphyry and the Emperor 
Julian against the Christians" (London; 1830), also plainly the 
work of Thomas Taylor, but without his name on the title-page, 
and this was not withdrawn from circulation. 
1 See Bollandist Collection, under Feb. 1 (c. iii.). 


suppose that the redactor of the Acts has here mis 
understood the general charge of the Jews and Pagans 
that Jesus learned magic in Egypt. 

Thus the converted philosopher Arnobius, who wrote Arnobius. 
his treatise " Against the Nations " somewhere about 
303-313 A.D., tells us (i. 43), that the commonest 
argument against the claims of the Christians con 
cerning Jesus was : " He was a Magus ; he did all these 
things (sc. miracida) by secret arts; from the shrines 
of the Egyptians he stole the names of angels of 
might and hidden disciplines." l 

This, as we have already seen, was one of the main 
elements of the Talmud stories ; the Toldoth, however, 
though they retain the strange fashion in which the 
magic was brought out of Egypt, have converted the 
shrines of Egypt into the sanctuary of the Temple at 

We next come to a curious passage in Ephrem Syrus Ephrem 
(c. 308-373 A.D.), which tells us that " the anti-christ Syrus> 
serpent shall be born of a Danite mother 2 and a Latin 
father, who stealthily and with unlawful love shall 
glide like a slippery snake to the embraces of his 
mate." 3 

The " Latin father," says Krauss (p. 216), seems to 
refer to the " Koman soldier " Panthera spoken of by 

1 Hildebrand (G. F.), " Arnobii Adv. Nationes " (Halle ; 1844), 
p. 67. 

2 Gf. Gen. xlix. 17. " Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an 
adder in the path." 

3 " Ephrem Syrus in Genesim," ,vol. i. p. 192 D. of the Vatican 
edition of Benedict (Rome ; 1737). See also Bousset (W.), "Der 
Antichrist in der Uberlieferting des Judenthums, des neuen Testa 
ments und der alten Kirche " (Gottingen ; 1895), pp. 79 and 92. 



Celsus, and the rest of the sentence seems to represent 
the stealthy proceedings of Pandera in the Toldoth. 1 
Jerome. In his Letter to Heliodorus, which was written in 
374 A.D., Jerome seems to have had in memory the 
passage of Tertullian (" De Spect.") which we have 
already quoted, for he writes : " He is that son of a 
workman and of a harlot ; He it is who . . . fled into 
Egypt; He the clothed with a scarlet robe; He the 
crowned with thorns; He a Magus demon-possessed, 
and a Samaritan ! " 2 

Further, in his Letter to Titus (iii. 9), Jerome 
writes : " I heard formerly concerning the Hebrews . . . 
at Koine . . . that they bring into question the gene 
alogies of Christ." Krauss (p. 4.) thinks that this refers 
to a distinct altercation, or a set synod, in which the 
question of the Genealogies, that is, the " Generationes " 
(Toldoth) of Jesus, were brought into question ; but in 
the question of a synod I cannot follow him. 3 
Epiphanius About the same date (375 A.D.) we find Epiphanius 
stating in the genealogy of Jesus ("Hser.," Ixxvii. 7), that 
Joseph was the son of a certain Jacob whose surname 
was Panther, an extraordinary declaration which we will 
treat at greater length later on when we come to speak 
of a still more striking statement of the Bishop of 

1 But, as I have already stated in tlie chapter on " The Talmud 
Mary Stories," I cannot discover the " Roman soldier " in Celsus ; 
there is a " soldier " Panthera, but neither in i. 32 or in i. 69 is 
there anything to denote his nationality. 

2 Migne, " Patrol. Cursus Complet. Lat.," torn xxi., " S. Eusebii 
Hieronymi Opera Omnia" (Paris ; 1845), torn. i. col. 354 ; Epistola 
xiv. 11. 

3 Moreover, I cannot verify his quotation. 


That prolific commentator John Chrysostom, in the John 
fragments which have survived of his Homilies on 
the Psalms, written somewhere towards the close of the 
fourth century, remarks (Ps. viii. no. 3. c. v.) : " And 
if you ask them (the Jews), Why did ye crucify the 
Christ ? they reply, Because he was a deceiver and a 

But the Jews would never have admitted the ques 
tion in this form, for the very simple reason that they 
consistently denied that Jesus was the Christ. Whether 
they would have admitted even that they had " cruci 
fied " him, is to be doubted. 

Oehler gives " Theodoret, 1 H. S., iii. 11 " as a confirma 
tory reference to the passage of Tertullian we have 
quoted above, but I cannot verify this. 

From the " Disputatio cum Herbano Judseo," attri- Gregontius. 
buted to Gregontius, Bishop of Taphar in Arabia, who 
flourished in the second half of the fifth century, we 
also learn that the Jews declared that Jesus had been 
put to death because he was a magician. 2 

John of Damascus, in the first half of the eighth John of 
century, in giving the genealogy of Mary, tells us 
(" De Fid. Orthod.," iv. 14) that Joachim was the father 
of Mary, Bar Panther the father of Joachim, and 
Levi the father of Bar Panther, and, therefore, presum 
ably Panther himself. As also in the case of Epi- 
phanius, John does not breathe a word of Panther 
(Pandera) being the invention of an enemy, but simply 
records the name as a genuine piece of accepted history. 

1 385-453 A.D. 

2 " Bibliotheque des P6res de Margarin de la Bigue," t. i., as 
quoted by Bullet, op. sub. dt. t p. 95. 


290 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

It is also very plain that the famous Damascene does 
not copy from Epiphanius, but draws from some other 
totally different tradition. 

So far it must be confessed that if we except Ephrem 
Syrus, we have not, since the end of the second century, 
met with any indications which would enable us 
clearly to distinguish Toldoth stuff from Talmud tra 
dition, but with the ninth century we come to undeni 
able proofs of the existence of highly-developed forms of 
Toldoth as contrasted with Talmud data. 

Agobard. In his " De Judaicis Superstitionibus," Agobard, 
Bishop of Lyons, writing somewhere about 820-830 
A.D., makes the following highly interesting statement : 

" For in the teachings of their elders they (the Jews) 
read: That Jesus was a youth held in esteem among 
them, who had for his teacher John the Baptist ; that 
he had very many disciples, to one of whom he gave 
the name Cephas, that is Petra (Rock), because of the 
hardness and dulness of his understanding; that 
when the people were waiting for him on the feast-day, 
some of the youths of his company ran to meet him, 
crying unto him out of honour and respect, Hosanna, 
son of David ; that at last having been accused on 
many lying charges, he was cast into prison by the 
decree of Tiberius, because he had made his (T. s) 
daughter (to whom he had promised the birth of a 
male child without [contact with] a man) conceive of a 
stone; that for this cause also he was hanged on 
a stake as an abominable sorcerer ; whereon being 
smitten on the head with a rock and in this way slain, 
he was buried by a canal, and handed over to a 
certain Jew to guard ; by night, however, he was 


carried away by a sudden overflowing of the canal, 
and though he was sought for twelve moons by the 
order of Pilate, he could never be found ; that then 
Pilate made the following legal proclamation unto 
them : It is manifest, said he, that he has risen, as he 
promised, he who for envy was put to death by you, 
and neither in the grave nor in any other place is he 
found; for this cause, therefore, I decree that ye 
worship him ; and he who will not do so, let him know 
that his lot will be in hell (in inferno). 

" Now all these things their elders have so garbled, 
and they themselves read them over and over again 
with such foolish stubbornness, that by such fictions 
the whole truth of the virtue and passion of Christ is 
made void, as though worship should not be shown 
Him as truly God, but is paid Him only because of the 
law of Pilate." l 

The above is manifestly a very rough report of some Written 
Toldoth recension ; it is impossible to say whether 
the Bishop of Lyons, who knew no Hebrew or Aramaic, 
has reported quite correctly what he had heard of the 
Jews, who in his day had flocked to Lyons in great 
numbers, and of whom he was a strenuous and bitter 
opponent, writing no less than four treatises against 
them. As we shall see later on, however, he could not 
have been very far out as to some of the main features 
of his report. The most important point is that 
Agobard twice tells us that the Jews "read" such 
stories ; Toldoth Jeschu had, therefore, been committed 
to writing at least prior to the early years of the ninth 

1 I translate from the very poor Latin of the text printed by 
Krauss (p. 5) from " Patr. Lat.," civ. p. 87. 

292 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

century. So much is certain ; how much earlier than 
this they existed in written form we have so far no 
means of deciding. 

Hiabanus Almost about the same date, moreover, we find 
Hrabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mainz, acquainted with 
a totally different form of Toldoth. In his book, " Contra 
Judaeos," written about 847 A.D. (K. 7), he tells us: 

" They (the Jews) blaspheme because we believe on 
him whom the Law of God saith was hanged on a tree 
and cursed by God, . . . and [they declare] that on 
the protest and by direction of his teacher Joshua 
(i.e., J. ben Perachiah), he was taken down from the 
tree, and cast into a grave in a garden full of cabbages, 
so that their land should not be made impure . . . ; 
they call him in their own tongue Ussum Hamizri, 
which means in Latin, Dissipator ^Egyptius (the 
Egyptian Destroyer). . . . And they say that after 
he had been taken down from the tree, he was again 
taken out of the grave by their forebears, and was 
dragged by a rope through the whole city, and thus 
cast . . ., confessing that he was a godless one, and 
the son of a godless [fellow], that is of some Gentile or 
other whom they call Pandera, by whom they say 
the mother of the Lord was seduced, and thence he 
whom we believe on, born." l 

As to the original from which this passage is taken, 
Bullet (op. sub. cit., p. 97) tells us that it was first 
printed at Dijon by the learned Father Pierre Franqois 
Chifflet, of the Company of Jesus. 2 It was attributed 

1 Krauss (p. 13) gives the text as taken from Wagenseil s Fore 
word to his " Tela Ignea Satanse," p. 52. 

2 There is no copy of this work in the British Museum. 


by him to Kaban Maur, Archbishop of Mainz, who was 
subsequently identified by a number of scholars with 
Amolon, who succeeded Agobard in the see of Lyons. 

If this identification is correct, as Agobard died in 
840, we must suppose that Hrabanus wrote his treatise 
at Lyons. But the type of Toldoth quoted differs so 
entirely from that of Agobard, that it is taken by 
Krauss (p. 13) to represent a German form as dis 
tinguished from Agobard s recension, which he calls 
" romanische." In any case the name of the Archbishop 
argues that he probably had some acquaintance with 
Hebrew, and therefore that perhaps he is drawing from 
a written source ; it is, however, very evident that he 
is at best summarizing very roughly. 

The otherwise unknown Ussum (? or Ussus = Jeschu) Ussum ha- 
ha-Mizri is a puzzle ; neither Krauss (p. 13) nor Bischoff 
(ibid., n.) can make anything out of it as it stands. I 
would, however, suggest that whatever the original of 
Ussum may have been, if it meant " Dissipator," we 
may have to do with some play on the meaning of 
Balaam (the Destroyer), and that the name means 
simply " the Egyptian destroyer of the people." It is, 
however, of interest to notice that in Huldreich s 
text (pp. 20, 24, 26) the name of Pandera is given as 
"the Egyptian," because "he did the work of the 

As to the Mary story which Suidas, in the tenth or Suidas. 
eleventh century, reproduces in his Lexicon (s.v. 
"Jesus"), and to which Krauss (p. 4) refers as apposite 
to our enquiry, I have carefully gone through it, and 
agree with Bischoff (ibid., n.) that it contains nothing 
of a Toldoth nature. 

294 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Peter We next come to the " Dialogues " of Petrus Alphon- 

sus (or Alphonsi), who lived in the early years of the 
twelfth century. Peter before his conversion had been 
called Moses ; in the Dialogues between the Jews and 
Christians, therefore, the dramatis persona: appear as 
Moses and Peter. 

Moses declares that the Jews contend that Jesus 
" was a magician and the son of a harlot, and that he 
led the whole nation into error." 

" He was a magician," he repeats, " and by magic art 
led the sons of Israel into error ; and over and above 
this he proclaimed himself the Son of God." 

To Peter s objection, How could Jesus have learned 
magic enough to have turned water into wine, healed 
lepers, lame, deaf, dumb, and blind, and beyond all this 
to have brought the dead to life ? Moses replies : 
"Our learned men declare that he learned it in 
Egypt." * 

With regard to this Peter, Kohler and Gottheil 2 write: 
"The first apostate that is known to have written 
against the Jewish creed was Moses Sephardi, known 
by the name of Petrus Alfonsi (physician to Alfonso VI.), 

1 The portion of the " Dialogues " bearing on our enquiry will be 
found in the Abbe M. Bullet s " Histoire de 1 Etablissement du 
Christianisme tiree des seuls Auteurs juifs et payens " (Paris ; 
1764), pp. 99 ff. ; Bullet gives his reference as " Bibliotheque des 
P6res de Lyon," vol. xxi. There is also a German translation of 
Bullet s work, " Gesch. der Griindung des Christenthums, : by P. J. 
Weckers (Mainz ; 1830). Bullet, in the French edition, gives a 
paraphrase of Wagenseil s Toldoth text (pp. 75-84), a brief resume 
of Huldreich s (pp. 85 86), the Latin text (pp. 89-92) and a trans 
lation of Eaymund Martini (des Martins) (pp. 86-89), and the 
text and translation of Agobard (pp. 96, 97). 

2 In their article " Apostasy and Apostates from Judaism " in 
the " Jewish Encyclopaedia " (New York ; 1902). 


baptised in 1106, and author of the well-known collec 
tion of fables, Disciplina Clericalis. He wrote a 
work against Jewish and Mohammedan doctrines, 
entitled, Dialogi in Quibus Impise Judaeorum et 
Saracenorum Opiniones Confutantur. This book, 
however, seems to have had little influence." 

The importance of our quotations is that Peter Raymund 

~ . ., . ,-, . Martini. 

Alphonsi was a Jew of Spam ; it is true that we gain 
very little from Peter, but a fellow-countryman of his, 
or, at any rate, one who was familiar with Spanish Jewry, 
Raymund Martini, has more to tell us. Raymund was 
born at Sobriat in 1236, and died in 1286. He sat on 
the Inquisitorial Commission at Barcelona, and was very 
energetic against the Jews in Spain. Raymund was a 
Dominican, and is regarded as the first Christian of his 
time to study Oriental languages. His great work against 
the Jews was called " Pugio Fidei," or the " Poignard 
of Faith/ 1 In it, under the heading " Fabula de Christi 
Miraculis Judaica, id est Maligna," 2 we find a lengthy 
quotation, of which, however, there is no need to give a 
translation, for with a few variants of no particular im 
portance it is verbally identical with chapters 3-5 of 
the Strassbourg MS. Toldoth, a translation of which 
we have already given. 

It is thus proved beyond a doubt that this portion of 
the contents of the Strass. MS. goes back, verbally, at 
least to the middle of the thirteenth century. More- 

1 This was first edited by J. P. Mansacci (Paris ; 1642) ; second 
edition by J. de Voisin (Paris ; 1651) ; copies of neither of these 
editions are in the British Museum ; the last edition is by J. B. 
Carpzov (Leipzig ; 1687). 

2 Carpzov s edition, pars ii. cap. viii. vi., pp. 362-364, corre 
sponding to foil. 290, 291 of orig. edition. 

296 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

over, it appears probable that the written Toldoth from 
which E. Martini translated may have contained 
chapters 1 and 2 of the Strass. MS., otherwise there 
would be no point for the reader in the phrase put into 
the mouth of Jesus, "Behold, the wise say I am a 
bastard ! " 

That the original otherwise contained more than the 
translator gives us is highly improbable, for one of the 
Oxford MSS. agrees substantially with Eaymund s 
version, and therefore probably derives from the same 

The Cabbage- After the phrase of the queen, " Ho is in your 
hands ! " Raymundus at once jumps to the hanging on 
the cabbage-stalk incident (of c. 7 of S. MS.), concern 
ing which, his authority tells him, that this is by no 
means wonderful, " for every year there grows in the 
House of the Sanctuary one cabbage so large that a 
hundred pounds of seed come from it." This is 
different from Krauss emendation of the defective 
passage in the Strass. MS. In Martini the miraculous 
cabbage-stalk has its genesis in the mysteries of the 
Sanctuary, and is not merely the outcome of the fertile 
soil of Jerusalem. Martini here brings the "fabula" 
to an abrupt end. 

Luther. This Toldoth extract of Martini was copied by 
Porchettus (Salvagus, or de Salvaticis), a Carthusian 
monk of Genoa, who flourished in the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, and a good Oriental scholar, in his 
work against the Jews, entitled " Victoria," which was 
printed in 1520 1 ; from this Luther made a translation 

1 " Victoria Porcheti adversus impios Hebrseos," ed. by R. P. A. 
Justiniani (Paris ; 1520). 


into German under the heading, " Vom Schem 
Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi." 1 

Finally we come to the very interesting passage in Schemtob ibn 
" The Touchstone " of Schemtob ibn Sehaprut, who S ha P rufc - 
flourished at the end of the fourteenth century. This 
work has never been printed as a whole, but Krauss 
points the Hebrew text of our passage (pp. 146, 147), 2 
and appends a German translation (pp. 148, 149). This 
passage runs as follows : 

" Behold, ye find with them (the Jews) many writ 
ings which give account of them (the wonders and 
signs of Jesus) ; for instance the document which was 
composed as a History of Jeschu ha-Notzri, and [states] 
that it took place in the time of Queen Helene ; further, 
in the document which was composed as a History of 
Jeschu ben Pander a in Aramaic, which purports that it 
was in the time of Tiberius Caesar. 

" In the first document it is written that Jeschu cut History of 
open the flesh of his hip, without it hurting him, 
placed the copy of the Shem ha-Meporesch therein, 
drew the skin together over it, so that it healed ; after 
wards he took the copy out again from under the skin 
and did signs and wonders. He spake to the young 
men of Israel : Would ye have a sign from me ? Bring 
me a lame man ; I will heal him. Forthwith they 
brought unto him the lame man, who had never yet 
stood upon his feet ; he uttered the letters over him, 
passed his hand over him, and he was made whole. 

1 (Jena ; 1583 ed.), vol. iii. ff. 109, 110. 

2 From pp. 180, 181 of the MS. in the Jewish Theological 
Seminary at Breslau ; there is also, I find, another copy in the 
Orient. Dept. of the British Museum, Add. 26964. 

298 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Further he said : I am Son of God ; I raise the dead. 
Immediately Queen Helene sent trusty messengers to 
him ; she sent and they saw that he raised the dead. 
They came, told it unto her, and she was affrightened. 
She said to the wise men : That is a great sign. And 
she gave the Jews who strove with him a reproof, and 
they departed from her ashamed and disgraced. 

"Further [it is written] that the people of Galilee 
made birds of clay; he uttered the Shem over them, 
and they flew into the air. At the same hour they 
fell down on their faces and cast themselves down 
before him. 

"Further he said to them: Bring me a great mill 
stone. They brought it unto him, and he launched it 
on the sea ; sat himself thereon, and made it float on 
the water like an eggshell. He sat thereon, a wind 
bore him along on the surface of the water, and all the 
people were greatly amazed. 

" Further he said before the queen : I ascend hence 
to my Father in heaven ! He spread forth his hands 
and raised himself in the air twixt heaven and earth. 
The queen was affrightened, and the whole people 
wondered greatly. 

" Further [it is written] that at the end he was to be 
crucified ; he therefore laid a spell upon all the trees of 
the world, so that they might not bear his hanged 
body. When, then, he was hanged on the tree, it 
broke under him, and in like fashion all trees broke 
under him and received him not. 
History of " And in the second document it is written : There 
came Pilate, the governor, Eabbi Joshua ben Perachiah, 
Marinus, the great ancient of the Jews, R. Juda Ganiba, 


R. Jochanan ben Mut ana, and Jeschu ben Pandera 
to Tiberias before Tiberius Csesar. He (T.) said to 
them : What is your business ? He ( J.) said to them : 
I am Son of God ; I wound and I heal, and if any man 
die, I whisper over him, and he lives ; and a woman who 
has not borne a child, I make her conceive without a 
husband. He (T.) said to them : On that will I test 
you. I have a daughter who has not yet seen a man ; 
make it that she conceive. They said to him: Have 
her brought before us. He gave commandment to his 
steward ; he brought her. They [?] whispered over her 
and she became pregnant. 

"And when the condemnation of Jeschu was pro 
claimed, and the time came to crucify him, and he saw 
the cross about the fourth hour of the day, he spake 
words of magic, flew away and sat himself upon Mount 
Carmel. R. Juda the gardener said to R. Joshua ben 
Perachiah : I will go after him and bring him back. 
He answered : Go, utter and pronounce the name of 
his Lord, that is the Schem ha-Mephoresch. He went 
and flew after him. When he would seize him, Jeschu 
spake words of magic, went into the cave of Elias, and 
shut the door. Juda the gardener came and said to the 
cave: Open, for I am God s messenger. It opened- 
Thereupon Jeschu made himself into a bird ; R. Juda 
seized him by the hem of his garment and came before 
R. Joshua and the companions." 

It is very evident that the Hebrew form of Toldoth Value of 
quoted by Schemtob is identical with that quoted by l^e 
Raymuridus Martini. It is a shortened form, but the 
wording is frequently identical. The only variant is 
that Schemtob adds to the mill-stone miracle that a 

300 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

wind arose and bore him over the water ; he also has 
" crucified " where Martini has " hanged." It is also re 
markable that Schemtob practically begins and ends in 
his narrative where Martini does. Did he, then, copy 
from Martini ? This is hardly to be believed. If not, 
then the copies of the Hebrew original which lay before 
those two scholars must have been a shortened form of 
Toldoth. What connection this form of Toldoth may 
have had with that known to Hrabanus Maurus we 
cannot tell, for the incidents do not in any way overlap, 
and there are no names to help us out. 

With regard to the Aramaic form of Toldoth quoted 
by Schemtob, it is probable that it may be the recen 
sion used by the Jews at Lyons, some of the contents of 
which had come to Agobard by hearsay. But of this 
we cannot be certain, for Agobard reports a form of 
Toldoth which speaks of stoning and hanging on a 
stake, while Schemtob speaks of crucifixion ; as, how 
ever, we have found him altering "hanging" into 
" crucifixion " where we can check him by Martini, so 
here we must suppose that " crucifixion " is a gloss, and 
the original spoke only of " hanging." 
Aramaic This Aramaic form may also be compared with the 
few tattered fragments of an Aramaic Toldoth, re 
covered from the Geniza (or " lumber room " for worn- 
out or imperfect MSS.) 1 of the Old Synagogue at Cairo, 
which have the distinction of being the oldest Toldoth 

1 Maimonides describes the Geniza as follows : " A Codex of the 
Law which is decayed or is rendered ritually illegal is to be put 
into an earthen vessel and buried by the side of sages, and this 
constitutes its Geniza " (" Hilchoth Sepher Torah," x. 3). See Gins- 
burg s " Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the 
Hebrew Bible," p. 156, n. 


MS. known to us. From them, however, we can make 
out little that will help us, except that they introduce 
Joshua ben Perachiah, and also the miracle of making 
a certain virgin pregnant without contact with a man. 
As this takes place before a certain "emperor" who 
is not named, it must be supposed that it refers to the 
Tiberius legend. It is further to be noticed that the 
body of Jesus is said to have been dragged round in the 
streets of Tiberias; upon which we might speculate 
that this form of Toldoth arose in the famous Kabbinic 
circles of Tiberias and that the name of the school sug 
gested the name of the emperor, just as the Lud stories 
brought Akiba into personal relationship with Mary. 

And here we may bring our enquiry into the nature 
of the earlier Toldoth forms to a conclusion ; it may be 
that some day in the near future the industry of 
scholarship may be able to throw some further light on 
the subject, but at present it is impossible to say pre 
cisely how these different forms developed. 


Value of the THE question which now arises is : Can this tangled 
our d Equiry. growth of legend in any way help us in our present 
enquiry ? The answer to this question is : If the 
Talmud Jesus stories are amazing in their contradictions 
on such a fundamental point as the time when Jesus 
lived, the Toldoth legends are even more astonishingly 
self-contradictory ; yet, strange to say, the nature of 
the increased contradictions of the latter is such as 
to make us hesitate before we instantly reject the 
Ben Perachiah element as utterly unworthy of even 
momentary consideration. 

Impossibility A glance at the meagre external evidence as to the 
accurately the existence of early Toldoth stuff as distinguished from 
E v VO !? t ^ D 4.? f Talmud Jesus matter shows us how impossible it is to 

the roldoth. 

trace any distinct moments in the evolution of this 
rank growth of Jewish folk-lore ; for from the time 
of Tertullian till the beginning of the ninth century, 
when we for the first time meet with traces of two 
absolutely contradictory Toldoth recensions, one placing 
Jesus in the days of Joshua ben Perachiah, and the 
other associating him with Tiberius and Pilate, we 
have hardly anything to guide us, for not even the fact 


that the Ben Pandera legend had spread so far and 
wide that we find two Church Fathers compelled to 
insert the name in the genealogies of Jesus and Mary 
can help us in this connection. 

It is evident, therefore, that any attempt to trace 
the main moments in the evolution of the Toldoth as 
it stands in the many varieties and recensions of its 
first written form, if, indeed, these all spring from a 
single original written form, is a matter almost entirely 
of internal evidence, if not of pure subjectivity. More 
over, we have not to deal with a Toldoth Jeschu only 
but we have also before us a kind of Maase Apostolim, 
or Apostle-history or Acts of Apostles, and also a 
heresy-history (Nestorius), which may or may not have 
formed part of the first written form of Toldoth ; arid, 
therefore, any attempt to make the date of this first 
written Toldoth depend on data drawn from what have 
all the appearance of being supplements or appendices 
is open to grave objections. 

But, whatever the first written form of Toldoth Genesis of the 
Jeschu may have been, it must have depended upon 
older oral sources. What was the nature of those 
oral sources ? Here again we cannot answer with any 
certainty, for we do not know what the first written 
form of the Toldoth contained. All we definitely know 
is that at the end of the second century Tertullian is 
acquainted with an element which we find in the Tol 
doth and nowhere else. When, then, Krauss (p. 3) says 
that the " whole content " of the Toldoth was known 
to Tertullian, by this he can only mean that the points 
mentioned by the Bishop of Carthage are found in 
the Toldoth generally, and also, it may be remarked, 

304 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

in more or less the same order. But even so, it must 
be confessed that the indications are for the most 
part exceedingly vague, and we can draw no satis 
factory conclusions from them. 

It must be remembered that we are trying to get 
at the earliest Jewish sources of Toldoth stuff, for it is 
quite evident that the later, perhaps even, it may be, 
the earlier, written forms of Toldoth drew from 
Christian sources as well. 

The Oldest What, then, were these Jewish sources ? Were they 
simply the Talmud Jesus stories ? It is true that some 
of the Toldoth recensions, in some details, seem to draw 
directly from them, but they generally treat these 
elements with such great freedom, that we cannot 
believe they depended upon them as the only source ; 
on the contrary, there is much in the Toldoth of a 
similar nature and yet entirely absent from the Talmud. 

Krauss theory (p. 242) l is that, seeing the Toldoth 
recensions know Jesus only as Ben Pandera, and never 
as Ben Stada, they, therefore, look back to that saga- 
circle known to Celsus, that is to a body of living oral 
tradition, part of which was gradually introduced into 
the Talmud and part worked up into the written 
Toldoth. This of course applies only to the oldest 
deposit of the Toldoth, whatever that may have been, 
and it is very probable that such may have been the 

1 Krauss argument (pp. 238-242), that the " principal source " 
of the Toldoth is the lost Hebrew History of Josippon (not Flavius 
Josephus), whom, he says, the Jews regarded as the main source 
of the events of the period of the Second Temple, appears to me 
to be somewhat problematical ; in any case we can no longer get 
at Josippon, for his History is unfortunately lost. 


The question that next arises is : What elements The Oldest 
of the Toldoth can be attributed to this oldest deposit l^mtnts. 
of Jewish oral tradition ? This is an exceedingly difficult 
question to answer. As far as the Ben Pandera or 
Mamzer element is concerned, we have no further 
interest in it as far as our present enquiry is concerned, 
for we hold that this element arose out of the con 
troversy concerning the virgin-birth dogma, and when 
ever precisely this may have been first debated, it was 
clearly a comparatively late development even in 
Christian tradition. 

Are there, however, any elements in this chaos of 
oral tradition older than the Mamzer-legend ? And if 
so, is the Ben Perachiah date one of them ? This 
latter is the whole crux of our enquiry, and we will, 
therefore, deal with it to the exclusion of any other 
elements which might be held to be of very early date. 

We have already examined the Talmud Ben Pera 
chiah story. Can the Toldoth recensions throw any 
further light on the question ? 

At first sight it would appear that they only add A New Date- 
chaos to confusion. Many give the Joshua ben the Toldoth" 
Perachiah (or Simeon ben Shetach) date, some give 
the Christian canonical date, and some confound the 
two. But the main interest of the Toldoth in this 
connection is that the most frequent date-indication, 
for it occurs in almost all recensions, is the mention of 
a certain Queen Helene, in whose hand is the 
sovereignty of all Jewry, and before whom the trial 
of Jesus takes place. This name never appears in the 
Talmud Jesus stories, nor, for a matter of that, do the 

names of Herod, or Pilate, or John the Baptist (or any 


306 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

other that confirm the Christian canonical date) ; the 
only date-indications in the Talmud are, as we have 
seen before, on the one hand the mention of Joshua ben 
Perachiah and Jannai in connection with Jesus, and on 
the other the Akiba Mary story. 

Even the few forms of the Toldoth which follow the 
Herod or Pilate date cannot escape from Joshua ben 
Perachiah, for instance, the Aramaic form referred to by 
Agobard and Schemtob, while even the late Huldreich 
recension, 1 which in some things seems to adopt the 
Talmud Lud tradition (though there is no mention of 
Ben Stada), and works in more Christian elements than 
any of the other forms, states that Jesus went to the 
school of Joshua ben Perachiah. It is true that 
Bischoff s Judaeo-German version introduces ( 21) the 
name of Pilate, and associates him with Queen Helene, 
as also it brings in the twelve Apostles (who are other 
wise unknown to Jewish tradition), in addition to the 
three hundred and twenty; but these glosses are 
unknown to S., which B. otherwise seems to follow, 
while B. itself categorically declares that Jesus was a 
pupil of Joshua ben Perachiah. 

The Jungle But we are not yet out of the jungle, for although 
in most MSS. Helene is mentioned without any further 
qualification than a statement which is equivalent to 
saying that she was queen of the Jews, in one or two 
MSS. of the de Rossi type she is said to be " wife of 
Constantino " that is to say, she is identified with 
Helena the mother, not the wife, of Constantine the 
Great. Nevertheless in this same Toldoth form (e.g. in 

1 In which Jesus is condemned and executed under Herod the 
Great ! 


V.) we find that these things took place in the time of 
Tiberius and Herod II., while the teacher of Miriam s 
husband is still given as Simeon ben Shetach, and we 
are further told that the land had been left in the hand 
of Helene, " after Nebucadnezzar, King of Babylon, that 
is seventy years before the destruction of the Temple " 
(so also the Leipzig MS.). 

Here is a magnificent tangle to unravel. What can 
it all mean ? The Toldoth give us a new date-indica 
tion, but while giving it with one hand, they immedi 
ately snatch it away with the other. As far as the 
Christian elements are concerned, it is easy to under 
stand how that in course of time the confused tradition 
of the Jews could not stand against the persistent and 
ever growing more consistent and uniform Christian 
tradition, and how that gradually some of the later 
Toldoth scribes were so influenced by it, that they 
accepted it and wove it into their legendary patchwork, 
though in so doing they involved themselves in the 
greatest contradiction with their predecessors, and could 
never succeed entirely in erasing all trace of the Ben 
Perachiah data. 

What, however, seems to have most greatly puzzled Queen Helene. 
those innovating scribes was the mention of Queen 
Helene; in fact, so hopelessly confused were some of 
them that, as we have seen, they had no hesitation in 
affirming that Helene was the wife of Constantino; 
even a so transparent fiction as this insensate ana 
chronism, with a Nebuchadnezzar thrown in, could not 
spoil their literary digestion, unless and this, after 
all, may perhaps be the means of unravelling the most 
complicated part of the tangle it was a jest and known 

308 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

to be one by every Jewish schoolboy. It is more than 
probable that there may be a grim humour behind 
some of those wild anachronisms, and that it is a waste 
of energy to expend our marks of exclamation on the 
stupidity of the legend-weavers. 

For if we have to take seriously such manifest 
contradictions in one and the same sentence, it would 
be an egregious compliment to characterize such 
statements as simply betraying a total lack of any sense 
of history ; if they were seriously meant they can be 
classed only with the productions of a lunatic asylum, 
and the general irresponsibility of mediaeval legend- 
making would have to blush for its incompetency 
before the magnificent and gorgeous spectacle of such 
transcendental irrationality. 

s Un- It is true that Helena was the subject of a prolific 
Theory. ^ legend-activity in the Middle Ages, principally because 
of the " finding of the cross " saga. But why Krauss 
should solemnly take this as his point of departure, and 
endeavour to show that the Helene element of the 
Toldoth was begotten of the Helena legends, is some 
what of a matter of surprise; for it is very evident 
that if in one of the " wife of Constantino " type of 
Toldoth recensions there is reference to " the finding of 
the cross," this incident was added either by some 
utterly ignorant scribe, or by some humorist to cap 
the joke, for it could not have been that any intelligent 
Jew could have been so foolish as to have seriously im 
ported the figure of Saint Helena, whose faith in 
Jesus not only never wavered but was of the most 
transcendent type, out of the Christian legends, and 
have converted her, of all people in the world, into the 


queen before whom the trial of Jesus took place, and 
who finally hands him over to the Jews to do with him 
as they would. 

The Helene element is not a subsidiary matter of no The Helene 
special importance in the Toldoth, it is not even of only old 1 " 
secondary consideration; far from it, it is one of the 
main elements of the whole story. If there is any 
ancient element in the Toldoth, it is precisely the figure 
of this queen, before whom the most dramatic and 
critical incidents of the whole story take place. It is 
impossible not to believe that there was the mention 
of some queen in the oldest deposit of the Toldoth- 
saga, and difficult to believe that the name given 
her in it was anything else than Helene. 

The writer of the Toldoth recension printed by oieina. 
Wagenseil, however, seems to have had no doubt who 
this Helene was, for after telling us that Jesus was 
born in the 671st year of the fourth millennium (ab 
orbe condito) that is 93 B.C., 1 in the reign of King 
Jannai who was also called Alexander, he goes on to 
say that this Queen Helene " was the wife of the before- 
mentioned Jannai, who held the sovereignty after the 
death of her husband. She is called by another name 
Oieina, and had a son King Munbasus, otherwise called 

I say the writer " seems " to have no doubt who this Helen of 
Helene was, because the last sentence presents us with 
a new difficulty. It is true that Hyrcanus II. was the 
eldest son of Jannai, but Monobaz II. was the son, not 
of Jannai, but of Helene, Queen of Adiabene, a small 

1 See Krauss, pp. 182, 273, n. 3, who also suggests that the 3670 
of Bischoff s Judaeo-Gerraan Toldoth is a mistake for 3760. 

310 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

province of Mesopotamia, on the Tigris, who became a 
Jewish proselyte somewhere about 30 A.D., and spent 
some fourteen years (c. 46-60 A.D.) in Palestine, at 
Jerusalem and Lydda (Lud), under a Nazarite vow, 
consorting with the Eabbis of Hillel s school. 1 It is also 
true that Helen of Adiabene and her sons had endeared 
themselves to the Jews by devotion to the Torah and 
rich gifts to the Temple ; but that it could ever have 
been seriously imagined that the sovereignty of the land 
of Palestine could have been in this Helen s hand, as is 
usually stated in the Toldoth when the Toldoth Helene 
is mentioned, is unthinkable. 
Is " Mono- How, then, can we possibly explain such contradictory 

baz a Gloss ? j , 

data coming in one and the same sentence? Is it 
another jest of the same nature as the one to which we 
have already referred ? In this case it does not seem 
to be so. If not, can Monobaz be a gloss inserted by 
some later scribe, for this absurdity can hardly be set 
down to the account of the Toldoth redactor himself, 
who in every other respect is so precise concerning the 
date ? May it not then be that this scribe, being like 
the redactor puzzled as to the name Helene, for he 
knows that this was not the historical name of the wife 
of Jannai, desired to add his own mite of information ? 
He is an ignorant man, yet he knows of Helen of Adia 
bene and her son Monobaz ; he accordingly flings this 
in to show his reading, without stopping to think 
whether the dates coincide or not. Perhaps, however, 

1 Josephus, " Antiqq.," xx. 2. 1-3. See art. " Helene, Konigin," 
in Hamburger s " Real-Encyclopiidie des Judentums " (2nd imp. 
Neustrelitz ; 1896), and also art. " Adiabene " in the new " Jewish 
Encyclopaedia" (New York ; 1901). 


after all he is not to be blamed, for the great commen 
tator Kaschi himself, in the twelfth century, took 
Monobaz for a Hasmonaean. 1 Was there by any chance 
another Monobaz ? 

But if this Oleina-Helene was neither the mother Helene- 
of Constantine nor the Adiabene Helen, who else could 
she have been for the Jews but the wife of Jannai ? 
The only queen of the Jews in whose hand was all the 
land was Jannai s wife Salome, who, as we have seen in 
the chapter on "The Talmud 100 Years B.C. Story of 
Jesus," was sole ruler of the Jews from 78-69 B.C., 2 and 
who died at the age of seventy-two. This Salome is said 
to have been the sister of Simeon ben Shetach, who in 
most of the Toldoth recensions is given as the teacher of 
the wronged husband of Miriam. 

Unfortunately, the historical Greek name of this 
queen is Alexandra (presumably after her husband s 
Greek name Alexander), and not Helena or Helene. 
It is, however, to be noticed that both in Greek and 
Latin the name Salome is given as Salina. 3 Now we 
have already seen that name-play was a frequent device 
of the Talmud story-tellers ; not only so, but it had for 
centuries been a favourite occupation of the scribes of 
the Old Covenant documents, and for a matter of that 
a peculiarity of the Semitic genius generally. The 
oldest deposit of the Toldoth belongs, as we have seen, 
to the same sea of oral tradition as that from which 

1 "Baba Bathra," lla. See Krauss, p. 274, n. 5. 

2 According to Schurer ; Krauss, however, gives Jannai s reign 
as 103-76 B.C. (p. 182), and the new " Jewish Encyclopedia " (art. 
" Alexandra") says that Salome died in 67 B.C. 

3 See for references Schiirer s " History of the Jewish People" 
(Edinburgh ; 1897), Div. i. vol. i. p. 308, n. 

312 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

the Talmud derived. Can we, then, have in Helene 
a name-transformation of this nature ? l 

Helene- Salina helps us somewhat, for it is not so far from 
Helena (Oleina, Hilani, etc.), and s and h are philo- 
logically interchangeable. But in this connection 
there is a well-known instance of name-play which will 
help us still further. It is well known to all students 
of Christian origins that a certain Helen (Gk. Helene, 
Lat. Helena) was fabled to have been a harlot whom 
Simon Magus took about with him ; Simon himself said 
that his Helen was the Sophia, but that is another 
story. Now in the Simon legends this Helene is also 
called in Greek Selene, the " Moon," while in the 
Simonian myth Simon (Shimeon, Shemesh) himself 
corresponds with the " Sun." Thus in Augustine (" De 
Hser.," i.) and elsewhere we find Selene and not Helene, 
while in the Clementine Eecognitions (ii. 14), preserved 
to us only in the Latin translation of Eufinus, we find 
the name of the syzygy of Simon, who in the parallel 
passage of the Greek Clementine Homilies (ii. 23) is 
called Helena, given as Luna. From this we deduce 
that Helene is a play on Selene either for mystical 
or controversial purposes, for with the Ben Pandera 
instance before us we can readily see how that in those 
days of feverish theological polemics, a mystic teaching 
could easily be turned into a personal scandalous legend 
for controversial purposes. 
The Simon If, then, Selene could be transformed into Helene for 


1 Salome s full Jewish name was Shalom Zion ; for Hebrew and 

Aramaic transformations of this queen s name, see Derenbourg ( J.), 
" Essai sur 1 Histoire et la Geographic de la Palestine, d apres les 
Thalmuds." etc. (Paris ; 1867), p. 102, n. 


some such purposes, why could not Salina (Salome) be so 
transformed for purposes of a somewhat similar nature ? 
Whether or not this suggestion of ours may in any way 
be helped by the fact that the air-battle between Jesus 
and Judas in the Toldoth has also its exact parallel in 
the contest between Simon Peter and Simon Magus in 
the Simonian legends, is a secondary question. As to 
the quaint coincidence that Helene-Salome had a 
brother Simon (b. Shetach), I hardly dare mention it, 
were it not that legends are the most insatiate of 
prostitutes, and will unite with anything that takes 
their fancy. 

It is in vain to ask why precisely such a name- Pros and Cons 
change should have been made ; or why if Salome was 
converted into Helene the names of Joshua ben 
Perachiah and Simeon ben Shetach were not also 
changed. Consistency and precise reasons are not to 
be expected in the arbitrary development of folk-tale. 
The least that can be said is that our hypothesis 
involves us in less difficulties than the Helen of 
Constantino and the Helen of Monobaz conjectures ; 
while if our supposition should be thought to hold 
good, it would point to the fact that the overwhelming 
preponderance of Toldoth tradition is on the side of the 
Ben Perachiah date. 

But it may be said, granted that this hypothesis 
would explain the otherwise inexplicable statement 
that the rule of the land was in the hand of Helene, it 
does not explain why this Helene is represented as being 
so wavering, now believing in Jeschu, now on the side of 
the wise men of Jewry, and, above all, why she speaks 
to the doctors of the Law, as one not only unlearned in 

314 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

their scriptures, but as apparently being a non- Jewess. 
" Is this written in your Law ? " she asks, whereas 
Salome was regarded as the champion of the Pharisees 
and a most devout Jewess. 

But the dispute is between the learned, between the 
teachers and one who dares to expound Halachoth 
without their permission ; the first part of this objection 
can, therefore, have no great weight, for the queen, even 
if learned in the Law, could not have appeared to be so 
in the presence of the wise men of Jewry. The second 
part of this objection is far more difficult to meet, and 
can only be met on the supposition that the Salome 
date is correct and that she did favour Jesus ; for if 
she did so, as a historic fact, it would be natural for 
the later llabbis to seek to excuse their favourite queen, 
in whose reign they placed the "golden age" of 
Pharisaism, and to represent her part in the proceed 
ings as that of one unacquainted with the Law ; and in 
order to do this with safety it would be natural for them 
to change her name from Salome to Helene. Can this 
supposition possibly contain some hint at the reason 
for which we previously said it was vain to ask ? 

But this, the convinced believer in the Christian 
canonical tradition will say, is a magnificent begging of 
the whole question, a speculating on the impossible. 
Even so, it is as well to argue both sides, for that many 
generations of Jews have believed unquestioningly in 
this Joshua ben Perachiah date is evident from both 
the Talmud and Toldoth; it is therefore legitimate 
to try and explain the developments of tradition on 
their own premisses, among which the Jannai date is 
most conspicuous. Indeed, if we step outside the 


fantastic circle of the legends themselves, and seek 
information on this point from serious students of 
history, we are confronted with the categorical state 
ment of the Spanish history-writer Abraham ben 
Daud, who about 1100 A.D. writes as follows : 

"The Jewish history- writers say that Joshua ben The Date 
Perachiah was the teacher of Jeschu ha-Notzri, according 
to which the latter lived in the days of King Jannai ; 
the history-writers of the other nations, however, say 
that he was born in the days of Herod and was hanged 
in the days of his son Archelaus. This is a great 
difference, a difference of more than 110 years." 1 

Ibn Daud evidently calculates this difference from 
the beginning of the reign of Jannai, but the exact 
number of years is of no consequence. Abraham 
makes a general declaration of the difference between 
the statements of Jewish and Christian writers ; that is 
to say, he gives us the general impression he has on the 
matter. It is true that already in the ninth century 
we meet with a Toldoth form which introduces John 
the Baptist, Tiberius and Pilate, but evidently, in the 
opinion of Abraham ben Daud, the Jewish tradition 
was the 100 years B.C. date. 

On the whole, therefore, we are inclined to the The Date 
opinion that the amazing contradictions of the various 

Toldoth recensions as to their date-indications, are Toldoth- 

more easily explained on the supposition that the Ben 

Perachiah tradition was the only date-factor of the 
older Toldoth writers, and hence the contradictions were 
a later development, as Jewish tradition weakened before 

1 Neubauer, "Medieval Jewish Chronicles" (Oxford ; 1887), p. 
53. See Krauss, pp. 183, 273, n. 3. 

316 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

the persistent strength of the Christian canonical 
tradition. In any case, we think that we have found 
a simpler solution of the Helene puzzle than the 
theory of Krauss, who would trace its source to the 
Christian legends of St Helena. 

It is true that in the bitterest days of persecution 
some of the Jews argued that there were two persons 
of the name of Jesus mentioned in the Talmud ; but as 
Krauss points out (p. 273, n. 4), this is as unproved as 
is the argument that Ben Stada and Ben Pandera were 
two different people. 

The Ben If t then, we are correct in our impression that the 

Date is prob- Ben Perachiah date was an intergal part of the 
Sliest 6 oldest deposit of the Toldoth, it seems more probable 
that in this the Toldoth did not copy from the Talmud, 
but that this element came into both the Talmud and 
Toldoth from a floating mass of oral tradition from 
which both drew. In this connection also it is of 
interest to note that the Karaites, who were absolutely 
opposed to all Rabbinic authority, and utterly rejected 
the Talmudic tradition, nevertheless retained the Ben 
Pandera tradition, though they knew nothing of Ben 
Stada. Not only so, but Toldoth circulated among 
them, for in Codex de Kossi 96 we have a distinctly 
Karaite Toldoth. 1 

There are many other points of interest connected 
with the Toldoth legends, but they do not immediately 
concern us in our present enquiry ; as, however, we 
have presented the reader with a translation of one of 
the Toldoth recensions, we might subjoin a few very 
brief remarks on one or two of its most salient features. 
1 See Krauss, pp. 15, 31, 200 ff. 


It is to be remarked that Miriam the mother is in The Exonera- 
nearly every form of Toldoth exonerated from any Miriam, 
conscious breaking of her marriage vows. The bastardy 
of Jeschu was the result of a trick played upon her. 
Can we assign any motive for this ? Can it possibly be 
that the original framers of this legend knew that it 
was no handing on of history, but the popularization of 
a doctrinal controversy ? Indeed, not only is Mary 
excused from any conscious breaking of the Law, but 
from several forms of the Toldoth we glean that she 
was regarded as a woman of distinction. Not only is 
she said to have been the sister of a certain Joshua, 
who is presumably to be identified with Joshua ben 
Perachiah, but she is also said to have been related to 
Queen Helene, that is, if our argument holds good, to 
Queen Salome, whose brother was Simeon ben Shetach. 
Here we have the close relationship of Jesus to the 
most distinguished Rabbis of the time. 

It is further to be remarked that Jesus is throughout Did Jesus 
always represented as a learned man, and so generally tiTeT 
are his disciples. This might seem at first sight to be 
accounted for by the fact that much space is given in 
the Toldoth to the " proof from scripture." But in my 
opinion these Messianic disputations seem to be due to 
later developments, and to be part and parcel of 
doctrinal polemics between Jews and Judseo- Christians ; 
for I have never been able to believe that historically 
Jesus himself could have made any claim to be the 
Messiah. If the power of the great teacher, round 
whose transcendent person all these marvellous tradi 
tions and disputes have grown up, is rightly held to have 
been the power of a Master of Wisdom, not to speak of 

318 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

still more transcendent claims put forward on his behalf, 
then it can hardly be believed that he would have 
claimed to be what he could have foreseen would never 
be admitted by those to whom the Messianic tradition 
chiefly belonged. True, he may very well have taught a 
more universal view of Messianism, but that he should 
have claimed to have been the Messiah of prophecy, in 
any sense in which the Jews could have understood the 
idea, without that prophecy turning out to be a bitter 
mockery, can hardly be believed of a wise and merciful 
Teacher. Jesus of Nazareth has in no sense been a 
Messiah to the Jews ; and it is hardly in keeping with 
the idea of the Good God preached by him, to talk of the 
Jews having been punished for their rejection of Jesus. 
Not to speak of Deity, those who are truly wise, even 
as the average man can imagine wisdom, must have 
foreseen the rejection before the sending of the messenger. 
Surely, then, Jesus would not have said, "I am the 
Messiah " to those to whom he knew he, or rather that 
which men would make of his efforts, would never be a 
help, but a scourge ; not that he would have had it so, 
but because of the forces which already existed in 
human nature and which were destined to focus them 
selves in Jew and Gentile for some high purpose of the 
Divine economy. 

If we can hold such a view without giving dire 
offence to the better feeling in both Jew and Chris 
tian, then the Messianic controversy can have had 
nothing to do with the original teaching of Jesus him 
self. It was not because of this facility of quotation 
that Jesus was held to be a learned man by Jewish 
legend. Kather was it that such legend was itself 


based on ancient tradition among them that he was 
learned in their lore. 

Not only so, but the Jews had no difficulty in admit- The Shem. 
ting his power of wonder-doing. Their earliest tra 
dition, however, seems to have been that the knowledge 
whereby these deeds were done was learned in Egypt. 
Popular belief would then naturally have it that if this 
gnosis was learned in Egypt, it must have been the 
acquiring of certain " words of power," and if " words " 
then "names." In the developed Toldoth, however, 
we find that the Egypt element has retired well into the 
background, while the " words of power " appear as the 
Shem ha-Mephoresh or Holy Name, and the Shrines of 
Egypt as the Sanctuary at Jerusalem. 

The " brick-bat " which Jesus is jestingly accused of Mystic 
worshipping in the Talmud, appears in the Toldoth 
as the " foundation-stone " in the Holy of Holies, the 
prototype of both being probably some symbol of 
the Egyptian mystery-tradition, that "corner stone" 
or " key," the mystic writing on which was to be 
inscribed in the " heart." As we have already suggested, 
the " heart " was to be " circumcised " hence the cut 
ting of the flesh and the rest of the folk-legend. This 
mystic stone was in the Holy of Holies, beyond the 
pillars, which were guarded by appropriate wardens, a 
symbolism familiar enough to the student of Masonry 
and its predecessors. 

Much might be written on this most fascinating 
subject, but it would extend our essay to a too great 
length ; it is enough here to say that, in protection of 
their own interests, the Mishnaic Kabbis considered the 
utterer of the Shem as a blasphemer, and the punish- 

320 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

ment of such blasphemy was decided upon as death. 1 
The Shem element, therefore, could thus subsequently 
be made to work in most conveniently with the Toldoth 
patchwork, for it supplied an additional reason for the 
putting to death of Jesus. 

YHWH. In spiritual mysticism the knowing of names meant 
simply the possession of powers ; while in material 
magic it was believed that the possession of the actual 
spoken name gave the man the power of the " name." 
It is somewhat interesting to see how the Jews gradually 
worked these ideas into their system of monotheistic 
exclusiveness, and how the mystery of the Shem ha- 
Mephoresh, or "distinctive name," YHWH, was de 
veloped among them. As to how this name was origin 
ally pronounced we have now no authentic information. 
But " in the early period of the Second Temple the Name 
was still in common use. ... At the beginning of the 
Hellenistic era, however, the use of the Name was 
reserved for the Temple, . . . elsewhere they were 
obliged to use the appellative name Adonai (Lord)." 
The Kvolu- Thus the pronunciation of a name once in common 
Mystery, use gradually became more and more mysterious, and 
at the beginning of the Christian era we find Philo 
writing ("Life of Moses," iii. 11): "The four letters 2 
may be mentioned or heard only by holy men whose 
ears and tongues are purified by wisdom, and by no 
other in any place whatsoever." 

While Josephus, at the end of the first century, 
gives the current myth of the name-giving as follows : 
" Moses besought God to impart to him the know- 

1 "Mislma, Sanhedrin," vii. 5 (55b). 
- The Tetragrammatou YHWH. 


ledge of His name and its pronunciation, so that he 
might be able to invoke Him by name at the sacred 
acts, whereupon God communicated His name, hitherto 
unknown to any man ; and it would be a sin for me to 
mention it." 

In course of time the pronunciation of the Name 
even by the Temple priests fell into disuse, and the 
manner of its pronunciation at length " became a secret 
entrusted only to the Kasherim (worthy ones), or the 
Zena im (Essenes = the humble or chaste ones ), but 
withheld from the frivolous, the Hellenists (Peruzim) ; 
and even the former were taught it only once every 
seven years, and then only after due purification and 
sanctification. . . . Woe unto you, ye Pharisees, who 
pronounce the Holy Name each morning without due 
purification ! said the Hemerobaptists ; whereupon the 
Pharisees sarcastically replied : Woe upon you who 
pronounce the Holy Name with an organ of the body, 
while your body itself is unholy ! However, it appears 
from Ta anit 19a and Ab. Zarah 18a, that the Essene 
saints made use of the Name in their invocations and 
miraculous cures, which was afterwards declared to be 
a grievous sin (* Sanh./ x. i. ; compare, also Book of 
Wisdom, xiv. 21). " l 

Now as in all probability Jesus was an Essene, and The Shem 
the Essene saints seem in his days to have used the 
Shem without let or hindrance, we can only conclude 
that the Toldoth accusation of an illegitimate use of the 
Shem by Jesus must proceed at earliest from the days 
when the Rabbis were more and more jealously guarding 
(or even creating) their rights and privileges, that is to 

1 See Kohler B art. " Adonai " in " Jewish Encyclopaedia." 


322 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

say, from Mishnaic times. It follows, therefore, that 
if the Essene saints used the Shem without let or 
hindrance, Jesus could not historically have been accused 
on this count, and therefore the general charge of 
" magic " learned in Egypt must be held to have been 
the older form of accusation. And with regard to this, 
all that can be said is that it originated in the fact that 
Jesus had been to Egypt, the only probable historical 
element in the whole matter. 

The Fight in The magical fight in the air between Judas and 
Jeschu is paralleled not only in the Simonian legends, 
where the dramatis personce are Simon Magus and 
Simon Peter, but also in the Jerusalem Targum, or 
Aramaic translation of the Torah and its accompanying 
Midrashim, where we are told that when Phinehas 
decided to slay Balaam, the latter on seeing his pursuer 
"resorted to witchcraft and flew up in the air, but 
Phinehas made use of the Holy Name, seized him by 
the head," and slew him with the sword. 1 

We have already seen that in the Talmud Balaam 
is one of the synonyms of Jesus ; is it, then, that here 
too in the Targum Balaam stands for Jesus, and that 
both Targum and Toldoth depend on a common source 
of oral tradition, or was the Targum haggada the origin 
of this particular Toldoth element ? 

The Hanging Another point of great interest in the Toldoth is that 

Cabbae- Jesus is never said to have been crucified. He is 

stalk. stoned or hanged, or first stoned and then hanged, 

or hanged in the stoning place. What, further, is the 

meaning of the hanging on a miraculous "cabbage- 

1 " Targum Yer.," to Num. xxxi. 8 ; see also Sanh.," 106b. See 
Kohler s art. " Balaam " in " Jewish Encyclopaedia." 


stalk " ? It is perhaps almost impossible to conjecture 
any explanation, but I cannot get rid of the impres 
sion that there may have originally been some mystical 
tradition behind it, perhaps connected with the " tree 
of life," the tree that grows from the " mustard seed," 
connected also with the " dark stalk " which grew in 
Eridu, the Hidden Abode of the God of Wisdom, of 
the Chaldaean creation-tablet found in the Temple 
library of Kuta, dating from the fourth millennium B.C. 1 ; 
but this is, of course, pure conjecture. 

With regard to the casting of the body into a " canal," The "Canal, 
it is to be noticed that in some forms of the Toldoth 
this canal is given as a public place for refuse. Can 
it then possibly be that Jesus was stoned, and his body 
hanged on a stake as a warning, according to the legal 
regulations of the Torah, and that then the body was 
cast out into the common dust-heap of the city ? Who 
can conjecture with any historic probability in such a 
chaos of legendary fantasy ? 

We will now turn our attention to Epiphanius, and 
what he has to say concerning the earliest Christians, 
and to the riddle he sets us to solve by a hitherto 
absolutely unintelligible statement concerning the date 
of Jesus. 

1 See the " Temples of the Orient" (London ; 1902), p. 85. 


The Origin IT is very certain that the name " Christian! " was 

of the Name , .,, , , ,, 

Christian. n t a title given by the early followers of Jesus to 
themselves. Indeed, we find it still unused by a series 
of Christian writers of the first half of the second 
century at a time when it was employed, though per 
haps not invariably in its subsequently restricted sense, 
by Pliny the Younger in 112 A.D., by Tacitus 116- 
117 A.D., and by Suetonius in 120 A.D. These Christian 
writers were content to designate the early communities 
of their co-believers by such expressions as : " brethren," 
"saints," "elect," "called," "they that believed," 
" faithful," " disciples," " they that are in Christ," " they 
that are in the Lord," and " of the way." l 

Its Use in the Even in the New Covenant writings which subse 
quently became canonical, we meet with the designa 
tion only three times, and always in a connection which 
suggests that it was a name given from without, and 
not as yet adopted from within. The redactor of the 
Acts (xi. 29) believed c. 130-150 A.D.- that "the 
disciples " were first called " Christiani " at Antioch, at 

1 See Schmiedel s article " Christian, Name of," in the " Encyclo 
paedia Biblica." 


the time of the ministry of Paul and Barnabas in that 
city, that is, as he supposed, at the time of the founding 
of the first Gentile church there. 

In the same document (xxvi. 28) we also meet with 
the curious remark attributed to Herod Agrippa, which 
is translated in the A.V. as : " Almost thou persuadest 
me to be a Christian," but the imperfect original of 
which is untranslateable 1 ; where it is to be remarked 
that although Agrippa was not a pure Jew, it is hardly 
to be supposed he would have used such a term. 

While in the earlier pseudepigraph I. Peter (iv. 16) In I. Peter, 
we read: "But if [any man suffer] as a Christianus, 
let him not be ashamed, but let him give glory to God 
in this name," it is not clear what precise meaning 
should be given to the words " in this name " ; but 
certainly the gloss of the A.V. " in this behalf " is not 
satisfactory. The followers of Jesus had apparently 
hitherto been " ashamed " of being called " Christiani " ; 
for the meaning can hardly be that the condemned 
should give thanks because he suffers as a Christian in 
the later honourable sense of the term, but rather sug 
gests some such idea as: We are accused of being 
" Messianists," and therefore revolutionaries against the 
Roman authority, but in reality it is we who are the 
true observers of the moral law; our revolution is in 
morals and not in politics, and therefore let us give 
thanks to God as His " Anointed " or the " followers of 
His Anointed," who are unjustly accused. 

In any case it is evident that the title " those of the A Pagan 
Messiah" was not given to the followers of Jesus by 

1 See Westcott and Hort s Introduction (Cambridge and London ; 
1881), p. 100. 

326 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

the Jews, for this would have been to admit what they 
so strenuously denied concerning the founder of the 
new faith. It is, therefore, highly probable that the 
name Christiani was first used by the Pagans to signify 
Messianists of all kinds, and was only finally adopted 
by the followers of Jesus in their public dealings with 
the Pagans, presumably first in apologetic literature, 
where we find it of frequent occurrence from about the 
second quarter of the second century. 

Date of As for the time when the Pagan term " Christiani " 
ngin arose, it is to be presumed that it came into use with 
the ever more and more desperate attempts of the Jews 
to shake off the Eoman yoke, that is to say, subse 
quently to the downfall of Jerusalem, which is 
generally dated 70 A.D., but which some Jewish 
authorities give as 68 A.D. Schmiedel is of opinion that 
the date of origin of its use cannot with any assurance 
be placed earlier than 79 A.D., that is presumably the 
first year of Titus. 

An answer to this most obscure question can only be 
found from a critical examination of the history of 
" Christian " persecutions ; but even so, we are still left 
without any certainty. After a searching examination 
of the confused data, and a brilliant criticism of the 
conservative position of Momrnsen, Sybel, Neumann 
and Ramsay, Schmiedel can arrive at no positive con 
clusion, and finally writes : " On the question as to the 
date at which Christianity first began to be recognized 
as a distinct religion, we must confess ourselves com 
pletely at a loss. Only this much is certain, that it 
had come about before the time of Pliny s governorship." 
The Notzrim. But if the Jews did not know the followers of Jesus 


as Christian!, by what name did they know them ? To 
the Jews the Christians, when not classed under the 
general term Minim or heretics, were and are Notzrim. 
The writer of the Acts is aware of this when he makes 
a Jew accuse Paul of being " a ringleader of the sect 
of the Nazarenes " (A.V.) that is, of the "haeresis of the 
Nazorsei " ; and that this was the general designation of 
the Christians by the Jews is testified to by Tertullian 1 
at the end of the second century, and by Jerome at the 
end of the fourth. 2 While Justin (c. 145-150 A.D.) 
tells us that the Jews in their synagogues publicly 
cursed the " Christians," Epiphanius (c. 375 A.D.) says 
that this curse was directed against the " Nazoraei." 
Jerome, on the contrary, will have it that the curse was 
pronounced against the Minsei 3 ; whereas, as we have 
frequently remarked before, Minim is not to be taken 
as identical with Notzrim. Minim is a general term for 
heretics, not only in a bad but even in a good sense, and 
Notzrim would therefore come under the term but not 
be identical with it. 

It is therefore of interest to try to discover, if it be 
possible, the meaning of this term Notzrim, and to find 
out why it was that Jesus is generally distinguished 
among the Jews from others of the same name as 
Jeschu ha-Notzri. 

1 " Adv. Marc.," 48. 

2 Hier., in Jes. ch. v. 18 f. ; xlix. 7 ; lii. 5. 

3 Hieron., " Epist. ad August." : " There is to-day among the Jews 
throughout all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is 
called [the heresy] of the Minoei, and is even until this day 
cursed by the Pharisees ; these Minaeans are commonly called 
Nazoraans, and they believe in Christ, the Son of God. . . . But 
while they will be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews 
nor Christians." 

328 DID JESUS LIVE 10() B.C. ? 

The^Meaning The accepted Christian tradition, it need hardly be 
said, is that Jesus Nazorseus means simply Jesus of 
Nazareth, his place of origin. It is, however, well 
known to all scholars that very great difficulties 
are presented by the contradictory statements of the 
canonical accounts, and that so far no generally 
accepted ground of reconciliation between the rival 
claims of the traditional Nazareth and the prophetically 
necessitated Bethlehem has been found. 

There is, however, one hypothesis whereby much of 
the pressure may be relieved, and which is therefore 
deserving of our closest attention. In the first place 
it is to be noticed that even in the canonical account 
there is still preserved the very interesting trace that 
Nazareth was regarded by some as the " native country " 
(Trar/o/?), not town, of Jesus ; and in the second it has 
lately been argued, not only that Nazareth (or, perhaps, 
more correctly Nazara) was not a town or village, but 
a district or country, but, further, most probably this 
district was Galilee. 1 

Bethlehem- It is therefore suggested that perhaps in the earliest 
form of the evangelical tradition the term Bethlehem- 
Nazareth that is, Bethlehem of (or in) Galilee was 
found, and that this being misunderstood, especially by 
Gentile converts, in course of time some said that 
Jesus was born at Bethlehem, others at Nazareth. 
We thus find in the more developed forms of the 
tradition some incidents woven round Bethlehem, 
others round Nazareth, and scriptural authority was 
sought to authenticate either view. 

1 See Cheyne s article, " Nazareth," in the " Enc. Bib., " which 
elaborates the theory first mooted by the great Jewish authority Grtitz. 


May it not, however, be that the whole idea of 
Bethlehem owed its origin to the "proof from scrip 
ture " ? Bethlehem was necessitated by " prophecy " ; l 
it must have been the place of birth, for in those days, 
if history did not fit with prophecy it had to go to the 
wall. Although, then, the prophecy-fulfilling writer of 
the first gospel could not have dreamed of giving up the 
prophetical Bethlehem, nevertheless he inconsistently 
supports the presumably simple historical Nazareth 
tradition by further prophecy when saying (ii. 23) : " He 
came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might 
be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, he shall 
be called a Nazareiie (Nazorseus)." This passage, as is 
well known, has given rise to endless discussion, for no 
such prophecy is to be found in the Old Testament. 
Some earlier commentators, it is true, were of opinion 
that it refers to the prophetical " shoot " (netzer) which 
should arise out of Jesse (Isaiah xi. 1) ; and that this 
was the explanation put forward by Jewish Christians 
of the early centuries may be seen from the Talmud 
passage concerning the five disciples. It must, how 
ever, be confessed that a so far-fetched derivation of 
the name appears little short of fantastic to the modern 
mind, and quite beneath the dignity of Scripture. 2 

The whole of this apparently hopeless tangle, how- Nazareth: 


1 "Micah," v. 2 : " But tliou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou 
be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee there shall 
come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." 

2 Krauss (pp. 253-255) suggests the derivation of Nazareth from 
a word meaning "splinter" or "chip," and in this, apparently, 
would find a reason for the use of the term Jeachu ha-Notzri 
among the Jews, it being a play on the word " carpenter. See also 
Cheyne s art. " Joseph " ( 9) in " Enc. Bib." 

330 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

ever, begins to unravel itself if we can be persuaded 
that the simple historical fact was that Jesus was a 
Galilean ; whether so-called because he was actually 
born in Galilee, or because the chief scene of his public 
ministry was among that very mixed population, and 
many of his earliest followers were Galileans, 1 
here matters little. We know further from several 
sources that the Christians were originally called 
Galileans, 2 and it is said that Julian the Emperor (360- 
363 A.D.) desired to have them so called again, and in 
his own writings he invariably refers to them under 
this designation. 

The Galileans. Does, then, the general term Notzrim used by the Jews 
for the Christians mean simply Galileans, and did Jeschu 
ha-Notzri originally signify simply Jesus of Galilee ? 

The In any case we see that, according to the writer of 

" Nazoraeans /** T-. i 

or Chris- the Acts, the Christians of Paul s time were called 
Nazoraei (Notzrim) by the Jews, and we have also the 
emphatic declaration of Epiphanius that the earliest 
followers of Jesus were so designated. In his encyclo 
paedic " Panarium," in which he most vigorously attacks 
all heresies, that is, every form of religious belief, or 
even philosophy, but what he held to be the true 
teaching of Christianity, the Bishop of Constantia (the 
ancient Salamis) in Cyprus heads the concluding para- 

1 See Acts i. 11 and ii. 7. Justin Martyr ("Dial. c. Tryph.," 
Ixxx.), moreover, knows of a pre-Christian sect called Galileans, 
which, however, most scholars identify with the followers of the 
Zealot Judas the Galilean, who led a revolt in 6 or 7 A.D. 

2 For instance, Epictetus, who died about 117 A.D., calls the 
Christians Galileans (" Dissertatt.," iv. 7); Mani, in the third 
century, calls the general Christians Galileans (Fabricius, "Bib. 
Greec.," v. 285) ; Suidas (s.v. " Christiani ") says that the Christians 
were first called Nazarenes or Galileans. 


graph of his first volume, " Concerning the Nazorseans 
or Christians " (" Haar.," xx. 4). 

It is somewhat difficult to make out the precise 
sense of this paragraph ; for Epiphanius first of all 
again identifies the Nazoraeans and Christians, and then 
goes on to speak of " that which was for a short time 
called Christianism by the Jews, and by the Apostles 
themselves, when Peter says Jesus Nazoneus, etc." 
(quoting from Acts ii. 22), where we should expect to 
read, instead of " Christianism," " Nazoraeanism," for 
he continues : " but was first called Christianism at 
Antioch." This was the true religion, but under an 
improper name, for " there is properly a heresy of the 
Nazoraei," about which he promises to tell us in its 
right place in the sequel. 

When, however, he comes to deal with these heretical 
Nazoraeans (" Hser.," xxix. 1), he confesses that he does 
not really know exactly where to place them, whether 
before, or contemporary with, or later than some early 
schools of the end of the first century which he has just 
been attacking ; he says they were all of about the 
same date and held the same views. They do not call 
themselves after the name Christus or Jesus, but 
simply Nazoraei, and, he adds, " all Christians were at 
that time in like fashion called Nazoraei." For a short 
time, however, the Christians also called themselves 
Jessseans (lessaei). Whence this name was derived, 
whether from Jesse, the father of David, or from the 
name Jesus, which, Epiphanius says, signifies in 
Hebrew the same as the Greek " Therapeutes," or 
" healer " or " saviour," he is not sure, but he is very 
certain they were so called (" Haer.," xxix. 4). 

332 DID JEStTS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Whether or not in this, as in much else of his vast 
heresiological undertaking, the Bishop of Constantia is 
giving us the speculations of his own " pure phantasy," 
based on vague hearsay, as Lipsius supposes, 1 or that 
more credit is to be given to his confusing indications, 
as Hilgenfeld seems to admit, 2 has not yet been definitely 
decided by modern scholarship. We are, therefore, at 
liberty to enquire for ourselves, not with any hope of 
deciding the question, for any attempt to do so would 
require a huge volume even for preliminaries, but with 
the sole purpose of directing the reader s attention to 
some points of special interest in the confused Kefuta- 
tion of the over-zealous Church Father. 
Value of Epiphanius is a curious writer, who deserves more 


attention than has so far been bestowed upon him, and 
it is somewhat a reproach to scholarship that as yet 
he has never been translated into any modern tongue. 
He attacks indiscriminately, and often misrepresents, 
every school of thought and belief of which he has read 
or heard ; yet here and there, in spite of himself, he lets 
drop a valuable scrap of information which none of his 
predecessors in heresy -hunting have handed on to us. 
We should remember that this " antidote " to the " poison 
of the hydra-headed serpents of error," as he is never 
tired of calling the objects of his onslaught, was com 
posed from 374 to 376 or 377 A.D., that is to say, just 
half a century after the initial triumph of Nicene Chris 
tianity, and as far as Epiphanius was concerned, he was 

1 Lipsius (R. A.), "Zur Quellenkritik des Epiphanies" (Wien ; 
1865), pp. 122-151. 

~ Hilgenfeld (A.), " Die Ketzergeschichte des Urchristenthums " 
(Leipzig ; 1884), index, s. vocc. Jesssei, Osseni, Nazoraei, etc. 


determined that no mercy should be shown to any 
dissenter, even though his dissent may have been ab 
solutely unconscious, seeing that most of Epiphanius 
dissenters" had lived and thought at a date when 
Nicene Christianity was either inchoate, or even non 
existent. The rush of Epiphanius is so furious that 
we find him not unfrequently over-reaching himself; 
he sometimes even blindly blunders into his own 
friends and disarrays their ranks. The "mistakes" of 
Epiphanius are accordingly nearly always of deep 
psychological interest directly, and indirectly are 
sometimes of great historical value. 

Thus there is much to interest us in what is gene- The Thera- 
rally considered to be his Issaean blunder. Epiphanius peL 
identifies his Issaeans with the Essenes, and of this 
there can be no doubt, for he tells the " studious reader " 
("Haer.," xxix. 5), that if he would know more about them, 
he will find it in the memoirs of Philo, and especially in 
the book which that famous Alexandrian had en 
titled " Concerning the Issaei " ; after which Epiphanius 
proceeds to give the main outlines of this treatise in 
such a way as to leave no doubt that he is quoting 
from Philo s famous tractate, " On the Contemplative 
Life." In this treatise it is true that Philo calls the 
very interesting community which had its monasteria 
on the southern shore of Lake Mareotis, south of 
Alexandria, as well as all their allied communities in 
Egypt and elsewhere, Therapeuts ; but in his opening 
words he distinctly informs us that he had already, 
presumably in another tractate now lost, 1 treated of 

1 For what he tells us of them in hiw tract, " Quod Oinuis Probus 
Liber," one of his earlier works, most probably written before 

334 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

the " Esssei who followed the practical life," the com 
munities in Palestine and Arabia, who in Philo s 
opinion did not soar to such a lofty height of philo 
sophic and mystic endeavour as the members of the 
community near Alexandria with which he was 
specially acquainted, and which he characterized as 
" those of the Esssei who devote themselves to the life of 
contemplation." l 

The Name It is, therefore, held that Epiphanius has simply read 
Esssei as Isssei, and that this explains the whole diffi 
culty. Now it is well known that the name Essene is 
one of the greatest puzzles of scholarship ; upwards of 
twenty derivations have been given by ancient and 
modern writers, and the riddle still remains unsolved. 
The greatest difficulty is that we cannot find any 
general term, or even special term, in use in Hebrew or 
Aramaic for those whom such Hellenized Jews as Philo 
and Josephus call Essenes. Philo calls them " Esssei." 
Pliny the Elder (|79 A.D.) speaks of them as "Hes- 
senes," while Josephus (75-100 A.D.) gives the name 
as " Esseni." 2 Philo, in " Q. 0. P. L.," thinks that the 
name Essaioi is simply a (? Jewish) corruption of the 
Greek Osioi, the saints, while in " D. V. C." he makes it 
equivalent to Therapeuts, that is, Healers, or Servants 
(of God). 

20 A.D., can be regarded only as a summary from some lost 

1 See my" Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" (London ; 1900), pp. 
66-86, where a translation is given from the critical text published 
by Conybeare in 1895. 

2 For the most objective article on the general subject, see 
Conybeare s article in Hastings "Dictionary of the Bible 3; (Edin 
burgh ; 1898). 


Epiphanius, as we have already seen, follows Philo The Mind of 
and adopts the latter derivation, but why he has 
changed Essaei into Issyei is the puzzle. The Bishop of 
Salamis knew some Hebrew ; was it, then, because he 
thought that Issaei was the preferable transliteration of 
the Hebrew original, if, indeed, there was a Hebrew 
original ? Or was it that, having claimed these 
Essseans as the first Christians, as he emphatically does 
(" Hser.," xxix. 5), he found himself in great difficulty to 
account for the name, as it evidently, on the face of it, 
had nothing to do with Jesus, or Christus, or Nazareth, 
seeing that he knew its variant was Esseni, which he 
plainly gives elsewhere (" Hser.," viii. 9) ? Or can it be 
that a light had seemed to have come to him to illumi 
nate the dim and puzzling records of the past, and that 
it had suddenly occurred to the worthy Bishop: Of 
course ! Esssei is a mistake of Philo s for Jesssei, the 
followers of Jesus ! Or was it finally that Epiphanius 
knew of an ancient tradition which declared that the 
Christians originally derived from the Essenes, that 
Jesus himself had been an Essene, and that the Church 
Father wished to safeguard the doctrinal tradition 
now stereotyped by the ecumenical decisions at Nicaaa, 
by working into his treatise an argument against this 
" heretical " tradition, should it ever have the hardihood 
to raise its head again. This supposition may seem to 
some to cast a slur on the bona fides of our stalwart 
defender of orthodoxy ; but Epiphanius is in all things 
a theologian and not a historian, and the canons of 
evidence for these two very different classes of mind 
are generally poles asunder. Moreover, we shall have 
to show that in several other instances Epiphanius has 

336 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

for similar reasons dextrously woven into his expositions 
material of a very different pattern from that of the 
Catholic tradition, and even with regard to the name 
Isssei it may be that it hides an ancient trace of deep 
interest, as we shall see later on in another connection. 
The Issaei of Apart from this, however, it is by no means improbable 
that the name Isssei was not original with Epiphanius, 
for Abbot Nilus, the renowned ascetic of Sinai, who had 
previously enjoyed a high reputation at Constantinople, 
and retired to one of the famous monasteries of the 
mysterious region of Sinai and Serbal in 390, and died 
in 430, speaks of the Issaei and says that they were the 
Jewish philosophers and ascetics who were originally 
followers of the Kechabite Jonadab. 1 

Did, then, Nilus get this form of the name from 

Epiphanius, or did Epiphanius obtain it from the same 

source as Nilus ? It is not improbable that among 

such monastic communities as those on Sinai and 

Serbal, and others with which Epiphanius had come 

into contact during his travels in Egypt, such a 

name-theory had been canvassed, may even have 

been a tradition necessitated in the first place by the 

same difficulties which Epiphanius had to face. 

The "Thera- It must also be remembered that the Bishop of Con- 

tkn ~Contro- stantia was not the first to claim the Essene-Therapeuts 

versy. o j phjjo as foe earliest Christians. Already, some fifty 

years previously, we find Eusebius in his " Church 

History " boldly declaring that these Therapeuts south of 

Alexandria were the first Christian Church in Egypt, 

1 " Tractatus de Monastica Exercitatione," c. iii. ; " S. P. N. Nili 
Abbatis Opera quae supersunt," in Migne s " Patrologiae Cursus Com- 
pletus, Patrol, groec.," torn Ixxix. (Paris ; 1860), vol. i. col. 722. 


which Photius asserts later was founded by Mark. We 
have no space to trace the history of the fierce battle 
between Catholic and Protestant which has raged round 
this famous tract of Philo s because of this claim made 
by the Father of Church History, and the Philologus, or 
studious reader, as Epiphanius calls him, must be re 
ferred to Conybeare s magnificent and exhaustive work 
on the subject l ; I can only repeat what I have 
already written in my " Fragments " (pp. 64, 65), after 
reviewing the whole matter. 

It is convincingly established against the " Pseudo- 
Philo" speculation of Griitz, Nicolas and Lucius, that 
the " Be Vita Conternplativa " is a genuine Philonean 
tract. As to its date, we are confronted with some diffi 
culties ; but the expert opinion of Conybeare assures us 
that " every reperusal of the works of Philo confirms my 
feeling that the D. V. C. is one of his earliest works " * 
(op. cit. y p. 276). Now as Philo was born about the 
year 30 B.C., the date of the treatise may be roughly 
ascribed to the first quarter of the first century; 
Conybeare puts it conservatively "about the year 22 
or 23 " (op. cit., p. 290). 

The question, then, naturally arises : At such a date can The 
the Therapeuts of Philo be identified with the earliest Dilemma. 
Christian Church at Alexandria ? If the accepted dates 
of the origins are correct, the answer must be emphati 
cally, No. If, on the contrary, the accepted dates are 
incorrect, and Philo s Therapeuts were " Christians," then 
we shall be compelled to change the values of many things. 

1 Conybeare (F. C.), " Philo about the Contemplative Life, or the 
Fourth Book of the Treatise concerning the Virtues," critically 
edited, with a Defence of its Genuineness (Oxford ; 1895). 


338 DIB JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

But apart from the question of date, the contents 
of the " D. V. C." are of immense importance and interest 
as affording us a glimpse into those mysterious com 
munities in which Christians for so many centuries 
recognized not only their forerunners, but themselves. 
The Therapeuts, however, were clearly not Christians 
in any sense in which the term has been used by dog 
matic Christianity ; Philo knows absolutely nothing of 
Christianity in any sense in which the word is used 
to-day. Who, then, were those Christian non-Christian 
Essene Therapeuts ? The answer to this question 
demands, in our opinion, an entire reformulation of the 
accepted history of the origins. 

The dilemma is one that cannot be avoided. It is 
chief of all problems which confront the student of 
Christian origins. The Therapeuts have been recognized 
throughout the centuries as identical with the earliest 
Christian Church of Egypt. They were known to Philo 
at the very latest as early as 25 A.D., and they must 
have existed long before. If the canonical dates are 
correct, they could not have been Christians, in the 
sense of being followers of Jesus ; and yet they were 
so like the Christians, that the Church Fathers re 
garded them as the model of a Christian Church. We 
are, therefore, confronted with this dilemma ; either 
Christianity existed before Christ, or the canonical 
dates are wrong. From this dilemma there seems to me 
to be no escape. 

The Name- Having, then, claimed the Essseans of Philo as early 
Epfphamus. Christians, and having, as most assume, though perhaps 
erroneously, changed their name to t Jessseans appa 
rently to clinch the matter, Epiphanius finds himself 


involved in a very great difficulty. What Philo tells us 
of the contemplative Essaeans or Therapeuts is so similar 
to what the Christians conceived their earliest com 
munities to have been, that the identification of the one 
with the other amounted for them to a certainty. On 
the other hand, Epiphanius knows from Philo and other 
sources that there were many things in which the Essaei 
differed from not only the Mcene Christianity of his 
day, but from any type of Christianity in canonical 
tradition. Moreover, the Essaeans were still in exis 
tence, and had their own traditions, as we shall see 
later on, and Epiphanius knows something of the 
various " heresies " which still represented some of their 
teachings. The difficulty, therefore, which faced him 
was that these Essaeans were not Christians in any 
Nicene sense. 

Knowing, then, that Josephus, as we have seen, gives 
(perhaps erroneously) Esseni as a variant of Essaei, 
Epiphanius hit upon the idea that the Esseni were 
different from the Essaei, and as he had converted Essaei 
into the orthodox Issaei, so he changed Esseni into 
Osseni, and kept this form for all characteristics of the 
Essenes which he held to be pre-Christian or heretical. 
Even so Epiphanius cannot straighten out the matter, 
for in his Introduction ("Hser.," viii. 9) he tells us that the 
" Esseni " were the first heresy of the Samaritans, this 
being the only passage in which he uses the Josephean 
form of the name; he, however, says nothing further 
of these Esseni. It must, moreover, be confessed 
that our Cyprian Bishop is great on this device of name- 
change, for he has used it in other matters. 

It therefore becomes of great interest to learn what The 

340 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Epiphanius has to tell us of his Osseni. In his 
" Contra Ossenos " (" Hser.," xix. 1-5), he informs us 
that this heresy was interwoven with the heresies of the 
Nazarsei (not Nazorsei) of whom more anon of the 
Daily Baptists : and of the Pharisees, thus classifying 
them among pre-Christian sects. The Osseni, he tells 
us, were, like these other schools, 2 Jews ; but, according 
to the tradition which had come to him, they did not 
originate in Judaea itself, but came from the regions to 
the east, south-east and south of the Dead Sea, mostly 
from Moab and Nabathsea; they were largely of 
Arabian origin. Are we, then, possibly to seek for the 
origin of the name Essene in old Arabic ? 

These Osseni, moreover, Epiphanius tells us, among 
other things used especially a certain scripture called 
the Book or Apocalypse of Elxai, which he elsewhere 
("Hser.," liii. et al.) asserts to have been held in high 
esteem by the Ebionseans and Nazorseans, and especially 
by the Sampsseans, who, he says, are neither Christians, 
nor Jews, nor Greeks, but as they are midway between 
all of these, they are nothing. Here Epiphanius makes 
his Osseni heretical Christians or even still non- 
Christians. It, therefore, becomes of importance to 
learn what were the leading ideas of this Elxai scripture, 
but to this interesting subject we must devote a 
separate chapter. 

The Nazor#i. We will next pass to what Epiphanius has to tell us 
of the Nazoreei (" Hser.," xxix. 1-9). After declaring that 

1 Called Masbotheans by Hegesippus (Mazbutlia = Baptism). See 
Bousset, " Die Religion des Judentums," p. 437 n. 

2 The Pharisees, however, were not a school or a sect, but rather 
the national religious party among the Jews. 


in the early days the Christians were all called 
Nazorseans, although for a short time they also bore 
the name Jessyeans, Epiphanius enters into a very curious 
and deeply interesting digression on the Davidic descent 
of Jesus, which we shall treat in detail later on, and he 
then proceeds to tell us that Paul himself was accused 
of being a Nazorsean and acknowledged the title, con 
fessing, moreover, that in the eyes of the Jews he was 
a heretic (Min) ; in all of which Epiphanius is, of course, 
only repeating the words of the writer of the Acts 
(xxiv. 5, 12-14). 

According to Epiphanius, the Nazoreeans were 
practically Jewish Christians, that is to say, Christians 
who still observed the Jewish Law ; he is, however, not 
certain what their views were as to Jesus, whether they 
took the miraculous view of his birth and worshipped him 
as God, or regarded him as a simple man who became a 
prophet. It was against these Nazoraeans, that is to 
say, the Christians who remained on the ground of 
Judaism, he tells us, that the Jews in their synagogues 
used to pronounce the curse to which reference has 
already been made, and which his contemporary Jerome 
assures us was directed against the Minsei (Minim). 

These Nazoroeans, even in Epiphanius time, were The Flight to 
numerous, and were scattered throughout Coele-Syria, 
Decapolis, Fella, the region beyond Jordan, and extended 
even as far east as Mesopotamia. And in this connec 
tion, he declares that the sect of the Nazorseans took its 
rise in and about Pella in Peraaa after the fall of Jeru 
salem, for he will have it that the disciples, in reliance 
on a prophecy of Jesus, had fled thither to avoid the 
siege ; this is, of course, the Eusebian account as well, 

342 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

but neither of these Fathers seem to have considered 
that it says little for the courage or patriotism of the 
disciples that they fled ; nor does Epiphanius explain 
why, if the " heresy " of the Nazorseans began only 
subsequently to 70 A.D., Paul was called a Nazoraean 
a generation earlier. 
Towards the But indeed our heresiologist is ever involving himself 

Facts of the . x _ . 

Case. in serious contradictions concerning these Nazoraei, for 

while on the one hand he makes them out to differ 
from the Catholic Christians only in their continued ad 
herence to the Jewish Law, he elsewhere says that they 
in many things hold the same views as the Cerinthians, 
Ebionites, Sampsaaans and Elkesaeans, all of whom he 
most bitterly attacks because they did not acknow 
ledge Jesus as God, but said that he was either simply a 
good man, or a man filled with the Holy Spirit of God, 
or that the Christ was the Great Power, or Great King ; 
in brief they taught the natural birth of Jesus and 
the doctrine of the mystic Christ, and not the later 
historicized dogma finally made absolute by the Council 
of Nicsea. 

The historical fact underlying all this contradic 
tion seems to be simply that " Nazorsei " was a general 
name for many schools possessing many views differing 
from that view which subsequently became orthodox. 
Most of them still remained more or less on the ground 
of Judaism, but what is of the greatest importance is 
that they were the direct followers of those earliest 
Nazorsei of which, according to the tradition of the Acts. 
Paul was accused of being a leader. 

That the tradition (or rather traditions, for they were 
many and various) of the Nazoraei differed very widely 


from any form of Christianity known to canonical tradi 
tion, may be seen even in our own day from the complex 
scripture of their still existent descendants in the 
marches of Southern Babylonia, the so-called Mandaites, 
from whose Codex Nasarseus we have already quoted a 
few pregnant sentences ; but the Genzci, is a vast store 
house of mixed traditions of all kinds, to which, unfor 
tunately, we have no space to refer in our present 

Epiphanius, as we have seen, is greatly put to it to Nazoraan 
extricate himself from the many difficulties which have Scn P tures - 
puzzled many far wiser heads than his own. He feels 
compelled, on evidence which was doubtless far fuller 
in his day than it is in ours, to hold to the Nazorseans 
as the first Christians, and will have it that they used 
both the Old and New Testament (xxix. 7), though how 
the earliest Christians could have used the New Testa 
ment, when it was not yet in existence, he does not 
explain; they differed from the Catholic Christians 
only in so far that they observed the Jewish Law, the 
Sabbath and circumcision, the rite of the Covenant; 
but if so, it is strange that Epiphanius could be so 
careless as to say they used the New Testament, when 
so much of it is occupied with the Letters of Paul, who 
so strenuously withstood circumcision and the " letter 
(or Law) which killeth." 

These Nazorai, Epiphanius tells us, were exceedingly The Hebrew 
learned in Hebrew, and all their writings apparently Gos P el - 
were in Hebrew (or Aramaic). But when he leaves 
the vague ground of the " New Testament " and comes 
to documents, he can only name one Gospel which he 
claims to have been the Hebrew original of the Gospel 

344 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

according to Matthew, a book which was known to his 
contemporary Jerome, and a copy of which was in the 
Library founded by Pamphilus at Caesarea. 

It is impossible here to enter into the history of the 
puzzling controversy concerning this " Gospel of the 
Nazoraeans," or to determine whether the Hebrew 
(or Aramaic) Gospel according to Matthew, which is 
referred to by Epiphanius and Jerome, and which the 
latter translated into Greek and Latin, but kept back 
because its striking divergences from canonical Matthew 
were not profitable to disclose, was different from the 
" Gospel according to the Hebrews," of which a Greek 
translation is known to have existed in the early 
years of the second century. Hilgenfeld holds that 
the Nazoraean Gospel (according to the Hebrews) 
was different from the Hebrew Gospel according to 
Matthew l ; while Lipsius, on the contrary, maintains 
that the two titles refer to one and the same document. 2 
Ancient The criticism of the question introduces us to a 
complicated problem of recensions, translations and 
retranslations, but in any case we are face to face 
with such readings as "Joseph begat Jesus," and the 
positive command, " Call me not * Good/ " both of which 
infer a gospel-form which rejected the physical virgin- 
birth and the equation of Jesus with God. It is not, 
however, to be supposed that the literature of the 
Nazoraei, even on the ground of the New Covenant, was 

1 Hilgenfeld (A.), " Evangeliorum secundum Hebrseos et cet. quae 
supersunt ; Librorum Deperditorum Fragmenta " (Leipzig ; 1884, 
2nd ed.), pp. 15 ff., 33 ff. 

2 See his article, " Gospels, Apocryphal " (The Gospel of the 
Hebrews) in Smith and Wace s " Dictionary of Christian Biog 
raphy" (London ; 1880). 


confined to this Gospel and the " Book of Elxai " ; on the 
contrary there must have been many books used by 
them, gospels and apocalypses of all kinds, both 
ancient and more recent. 

Moreover, in following up the Nazonei, Epiphanius The 
gets involved in yet another chronological difficulty, 
which he attempts to solve in the same fashion as that 
in which he dealt with the Essene problem, namely, by 
a distinction in names. The Nazoraai about whom he 
has been telling us, are not, he says, to be confused 
with the Nazirsei, a term meaning the " Sanctified " or 
" Consecrated " (" Hser.," xxix. 5) ; of whom Samson was 
one, and many after him, and among them John the 

There was, he says, a sect of the Nasaraei before 
Christ (" Haer.," xxix. 6) ; these he has already described 
(" Haer.," xviii. 1-3). calling them, however, Nazaraei. 
He treats of these in connection with the Daily 
Baptists, who, like the Essenes and allied communities, 
baptized or washed themselves in water every day ; they 
were Jews, and lived in the same districts as the Essenes. 
They observed the law of circumcision, the Sabbath and 
the appointed feasts, and especially reverenced the 
ancient patriarchs and sages of Israel, including Moses ; 
they however, rejected the canonical Pentateuch, and 
said that the real Law was different from the one in 
public circulation. They apparently also rejected all the 
prophets after Moses. Moreover, they refused to have 
anything to do with the blood sacrifices of the Temple 
and abstained from eating flesh. They contended that 
the books which laid down the rules of these sacrifices 
were inventions of later times, and that their true 

346 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

ancestors from Adam to Moses did not perform such 
bloody rites ; all the accounts of such sacrifice in the 
popular scripture were later inventions of scribes who 
were ignorant of the true doctrine. These Nazars, then, 
were an extreme school of those dissentient mystics 
whose sayings had from about 150 B.C. crept into the 
books which subsequently became canonical, such 
sayings as : " The sacrifices of God are a broken 
spirit " ; " Sacrifices and offering Thou didst not 

This spiritual protest against the grossness of blood- 
offerings was also a characteristic of the Essenes ; and 
there can be little doubt but that there must have been 
a very close connection between the ideals of these pre- 
Christian schools of mystic and humanitarian Judaism 
and the earliest Christians. 

The Nazirs. The bringing of the names Nazonei and Nazaraei 
(and its variants) into such close connection, however, 
is puzzling. The Old Testament Nazirs were those 
" consecrated " to Yahweh by a vow, and their origin 
goes back to very early times in Jewish tradition. 
Now it is to be remarked that in Numbers vi. the word 
nezer is applied to the taking of the Nazirite vow of 
separation or consecration. 1 Knowing as we do how 
fond the Hebrews, and, for a matter of that, all the 
ancients, were of word-play, for philology proper was 
as yet undreamed of, and finding as we do that the 
name netzer (" branch ") is given to one of the disciples 
of Jesus in the Talmud, 2 and in one of the Toldoth 

1 See Cheyne s (Robertson Smith s) article " Nazarite " in the 
"Enc. Bib." 

2 " Bab. Sanhedrin," 43a. 


recensions to Jeschu himself, and that commentators are 
agreed that this is a play on notzri, the Hebrew for 
" Nazarene " (or Galilean, if our previous argument 
holds good) ; knowing further that some of the earliest 
followers of Jesus were Galileans, and that the Jews 
despised all Galileans in general as ignorant people, 
can it not be possible that some other of the earliest 
disciples of Jesus were Nazirs, in the later sense of the 
term, for the Talmud and Toldoth acknowledge that 
some of the disciples were learned men ? It is, we 
admit, impossible at this late date to throw any certain 
light on this chaos of conflation of names, but it is not 
illegitimate to have asked the question. 

It may of course be doubted whether there was an The Neo 
order of Nazarites contemporary with Jesus ; never 
theless Epiphanius distinctly tells us that the mystics 
and ascetics of whom he is speaking, went back to 
pre-Christian times, and rejected the sacrificial and 
priestly views of the Ezra-Nehemiah redaction of the 
Torah. They are thus apparently to be associated 
with those who sought to revive the ancient " schools of 
the prophets," and who did revive them in a very 
remarkable fashion, as we know from the apocalyptic 
literature of the period. Such men would naturally 
have looked back to the Nazirs of old as an ideal, for 
"from allusions in Amos (ii. 11 if.) we are led to 
suppose that at one time they (the Nazirs) had an 
importance perhaps even an organization parallel to 
that of the prophets." l 

These Nazarites of Amos have also a parallel with The 
the ancient Eechabites, a name which in later times 
1 See Cheyne s article, sup. cit. 

348 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

became synonymous with ascetic, 1 and the early writer 
Hegesippus tells us expressly (cup. Euseb., " H. E.," ii. 23), 
that "one of the priests of the Sons of Rechab, the 
son of Rechabim, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the 
prophet," protested against the murder of James the 
Just, the " brother of the Lord." 

We have already also seen that Nilus asserts that 
the Issaei derived their descent from Jonadab the 
Rechabite, and though we have not space here to go 
into the matter as thoroughly as we could wish, we can 
at least see that all these scattered indications hang 
together, and point to the existence of numerous pre- 
Christian ascetic communities, who were closely inter 
woven with the origins of Christianity. 

The Moreover, the great mythic hero of the Nazirs was 

Sampson (LXX.) or Samson, a name derived from SMS 
(Heb. Shemesh, Chald. Samas), or the Sun. 2 This at 
once brings us back to Epiphanius and his Sampsaeans. 
We have already seen that the Bishop of Constantia, in 
speaking of the Nazirsei (" Haer./ xxix. 5), knew that 
Samson was the great hero of these Nazirs, and yet he 
fails entirely to understand the significance of the 
hero s name. And this is strange, for after telling us 
(" Haer.," liii. 1-2) that the Sampsseans are to be found in 
the same regions as the Essenes and Nazoraeans, and 
that they were also called Elkesaei, of whom we shall 
treat later on, he goes on to say that Sampssei means 
Heliaci, that is to say Solares (Children or Worshippers 

1 See Bennett s article " Rechab, Rechabites" in Hastings " Diet, 
of the Bible." 

2 See Budde s article " Samson " in Hastings " Diet, of the 


of the Sun). The Osseni, Ebionsei and Nazoraei, he 
repeats, all use the " Book of Elxai," and especially the 
Sampsseans, or as we should prefer to take it, one of 
the books they all used was this apocalypse. 

They were sun-worshippers ; not, however, in the gross Sun- 
sense in which Epiphanius would have us understand 
the term, but presumably in the same sense as the 
Therapeuts were sun-worshippers, who, as Philo tells us, 
" twice a day, at dawn and even, are accustomed to 
offer up prayers ; as the sun rises praying for the sun 
shine, the real sunshine, that their minds may be filled 
with heavenly light, and as it sets praying that their 
soul, completely lightened of the lust of the senses and 
sensations, may withdraw to its own congregation and 
council-chamber, there to track out truth." 1 

Their teacher was not, as Epiphanius would have it, 
a man called Elxaios, but some Great Power, as we 
shall see later on, and those who were illumined were 
said to be " kin to Him " and born of the " blessed seed." 
This reminds us forcibly of the Mind or Shepherd of 
Men in the Trismegistic treatises, and of much else. 
This " Mind of all-mastership," was the Father of the 
children or disciples in whom the Logos had come to 
birth ; in other words, who had become " Christs." And 
Epiphanius tells us that the Sampsseans and the rest 
would gladly lay down their lives for any of this " race 
of Elxai " ; moreover, those of this race were believed to 
have the power of miraculous healing. 

Epiphanius further informs us that the Sampsseans Their Mystic 
would not receive the prophets and apostles (presumably ] 
of Petrine and Pauline Christianity), and that they 
1 Phil, " D. V. C., ; P. 893, M. 475. 

350 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

used the term Christus with a signification at variance 
with that of the later Mcene belief. Epiphanius can 
not understand the symbolism of these Children of the 
Sun, and makes a great hash of it ; but it seems to have 
been simple enough. The positive and negative aspects 
of the Divine Logos were symbolized by the Sun (or 
Fire) and Water, the Light and Life. The Christ and 
his sister, or spouse, the Holy Spirit or the Sophia 
(Wisdom), were the dual Son of God, the true Man. 
Those who had reached the consciousness of their atone 
ment with this sexless Man, were Christs or Anointed. 
The true spiritual body of the Christ they termed the 
" Body of Adam," the garment which was left behind 
in Paradise, when the soul descended, and which it will 
put on again when it returns triumphant as the Victor ; 
of all of which in this and every other connection 
Epiphanius appears not to have had the least notion, 
for he can only ridicule or denounce it. 
The We next pass on to the Ebionseans or Ebionites, whom 

Ebionites. ~ , . ,., . , . . , . , , . , -,11 

we find in Epiphanius inextricably interwoven with the 
Nazoraeans and allied sects. The Bishop of Constantia 
apostrophizes with great vigour a certain Ebion, whom 
he imagines, as did his predecessors in heresiology, to 
have been the founder of this widespread heresy. He 
proceeds to confute this " serpent " at great length by 
the very simple process of quoting from the canonical 
books of the New Testament, which of course the good 
Father held to constitute an infallible historical record, 
against which there was no appeal. Epiphanius, like 
his patristic predecessors, has, of course, not the slightest 
appreciation of the position of these early " heretics," 
and begs the whole question with that superb confidence 


which has ever characterized the defenders of Catholi 
cism. The position of the followers of these early 
schools, however, was precisely that they depended upon 
a tradition which they claimed to be earlier than that of 
the canonical view; it was an appeal to history, and 
history has so far never answered the appeal, history s 
voice has been drowned by the passionate rhetoric of 

The name Ebionsei (Heb. Ebionirn) meant simply The "Poor." 
" Poor," and did not derive from an imaginary eponymous 
Ebion, as has been now for many years admitted by 
scholars of every school. Ebion is a myth begotten of 
the rhetoric of patristic polemics. So much is certain ; 
but who the " Poor " originally were, and why they 
were so called, is one of the innumerable conundrums 
with which the sphinx of the Christian origins confronts 
the critical (Edipus. 

Already we find Paul in his Letter to the Galatians The Riddle of 
(ii. 10) referring to the "poor" in such a way that the Name - 
Hilgenfeld takes the term as a general designation of 
the early Christian communities and not simply the 
poor of the church of the " pillars " at Jerusalem. 1 We 
also find the writer of the third Gospel using among 
his "sources" a form of the Sayings which are held 
to be of a distinctly " Ebionite " character, that is 
to say, containing such unqualified declarations as 
" Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God " 
(Luke vi. 20), a dark saying, not only for us, but also 
for the writer of the first Gospel, or his Logia " source," 
which gives it as " Blessed are the poor in spirit " 
(Matt. v. 3), where rw Trvev/jLari has all the appearance 
1 Hilgenfeld, " Ketzergeschichte," p. 422. 

352 DIB JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

of being a gloss, unless we accept Jerome s interpretation 
(in loc.), " those who on account of the Holy Spirit are 
voluntarily poor " ; in which case it might be regarded 
as the original form of the Saying, and hence as ad 
dressed to the members of an already formed com 
munity; for the usual interpretation of the Catholic 
Fathers, that the phrase is a periphrasis for " humble," 
would be a brusque departure from the simple wording 
of the rest of the Sayings of the same category. 

But even so, if the more elaborate form is the original, 
it is difficult to explain why the writer of the third 
Gospel should have dropped the qualifying rw 7n/eu /xcm, 
a phrase by no means easy of translation, unless it be the 
literal rendering of some Hebrew or Aramaic idiom. 

If, on the contrary, the simple " poor " is the original 
form, the idea of a community of Poor cannot be enter 
tained, and we must rather attribute it to some dark 
saying of the Master preserved by those who falsely 
imagined that He was preaching some social revolution of 
poor against rich, for a Master of Wisdom could certainly 
not have preached that the mere fact of poverty was 
a virtue, and the mere fact of riches a condemnation. 

In our present lack of reliable data it is, then, use 
less to speculate as to the origin of the name Ebioriite ; 
this much we know, that later on those who were so 
called were not necessarily poor, though some of them 
were voluntarily Poor ; " naked they sought the Naked," 
as the Gymnosophist of Upper Egypt is reported to 
have told Apollonius in the first century. 1 
The Twofold The point, however, which has proved of greatest 


Hypothesis. i See my " Apollonius of Tyana, the Philosopher-Keformer of the 
First Century" (London ; 1902), p. 100. 


difficulty in all research into this puzzling question of 
the Ebionaeans, is that while Irenaeus, about 180 A.D., 
knows only of one kind of Ebionites (" Kef.," i. 22), those 
who assert that Jesus was born a man as all men, and 
who reject Paul ; on the contrary Origen (" C. Cels.," v. 
61.), towards the middle of the third century, speaks of 
two kinds of Ebionites, both those who say that Jesus 
was a man, and those who believe in the virgin-birth, 
as also does Eusebius at the beginning of the fourth 
century ("H. E.," iii. 27). Accordingly innumerable 
hypotheses have been put forward, and attempts made 
to divide and subdivide the Ebionites, ever since the 
"Tubingen school" maintained that in them we had 
the remnants of original Apostolic Christianity ; there 
is, however, no agreement among the authorities. 

Perhaps of all the distinctions drawn between the 
Ebionites, the attempt to separate them by a supposed 
chronological canon, and to speak of " Ebionism proper " 
and " Gnostic Ebionism," l is the most misleading, for, 
as is invariably the case, the comparative lateness of 
" Gnosticism " is assumed as a firmly-established fact 
for all questions of Church History. But the fond pre 
sumption of the later Church Fathers that the Church 
remained a " pure virgin " uncontaminated by " heresy " 
until the reign of Trajan, is no longer to be maintained 
in face of the testimony of Paul, our earliest witness 
to the existence of the Faith. 

As I have already stated elsewhere, 2 Gnosticism, is The Early 

Date of 

1 See Fuller s article " Ebionism " in S. and W. s " Diet, of Christ 

2 See "Some Notes on the Gnostics " in "The Nineteenth Century" 
(Nov. 1902), pp. 822-835. 


354 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

not to be confined to the second and part of the third 
century ; it was flourishing in the first century as well : 
indeed, Christianity seems to have been in contact with 
communities of a Gnostic character from its very 
beginnings. Setting aside the hotly-debated point 
whether Jesus himself was a member of one of the 
Essene communities, there is very little doubt that 
Paul, whose authentic Letters are the earliest historic 
records of Christendom, was in some sort of contact 
with " Gnostic " ideas. It is generally believed that 
the Apostle to the Gentiles was in irreconcilable con 
flict with every sort of Gnosticism, because of his 
phrase, " Gnosis falsely so called " ; but if so, it is an 
extraordinary fact that some of his Letters are filled 
with technical terms of the Gnosis, terms which 
receive ample, elaborate, and repeated explanation in 
Gnostic tradition, but which remain as every-day 
words deprived of all technical context in Catholic 

Paul and the To take one instance out of many one, however, 
which, to the writer s knowledge, has not been noticed 
before. The Authorized Version renders I. Corinthians 
xv. 8 in the famous and familiar words : " And last of 
all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due 
time." What is the meaning of the graphic but 
puzzling " born out of due time," which so many 
accept because of its familiar sound without further 
question ? 

" And last of all, wa-Trepel TM eVr/ow/xa-n, he ap 
peared to me also." " And last of all, as to the 
t-KTpwfJLa, he appeared to me also." "And last of all 
as to the abortion, he appeared to me also." Notice 


the article, " as to the abortion," not " as to an 
abortion," l 

Now " the abortion " is a technical and oft-repeated 
term of one of the great systems of the Gnosis, a term 
which enters into the main fabric of the Sophia- 

In the mystic cosmogony of these Gnostic circles, The 
" the abortion " was the crude matter cast out of the 
Pleroma or world of perfection. This crude and chaotic 
matter was in the cosmogonical process shaped into a 
perfect "aeon by the World-Christ; that is to say, 
was made into a world-system by the ordering or 
cosmic power of the Logos. " The abortion " was the 
unshaped and unordered chaotic matter which had 
to be separated out, ordered and perfected, in the 
macrocosmic task of the "enformation according to 
substance," while this again was to be completed on the 
soteriological side by the microcosmic process of the 
" enformation according to gnosis " or spiritual con 
sciousness. As the world-soul was perfected by the 
World-Christ, so was the individual soul to be perfected 
and redeemed by the individual Christ. 

Paul thus becomes comprehensible; he here speaks 
the language of the Gnosis, and in this instance at least 
it is possible to draw the deduction that the Gnosis in 
this connection could not, in his opinion, have been 
" falsely so called." Paul is speaking to communities 
who are familiar with such language " He appeared to 
me just as it were to that well-known imperfect plasm 

1 The reading has never been questioned ; but even if it were 
questioned, the canon that " the more difficult reading is to be pre 
ferred to the easier" would decide for the retention of the article. 

356 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

which we call the abortion, " he says ; " I use a figure 
familiar to all of you." 
The Puzzle of If, then, we accept the main Pauline Letters as 

the Pauline . . . . , . . 

Communities, genuine, the problem we have to face is this, that we 
are in them presented with a picture of communities 
which had plainly existed before Paul s propaganda, 
not only in Palestine but also among the Diaspora, and 
that at least some of these communities were familiar 
with Gnostic nomenclature. Paul uses language which 
convinces us that the communities which devoted 
themselves to the cultivation of " the gifts of the 
spirit " were not originally founded by himself, but that 
they had been long established, for he does not speak 
of these things as new, but as very familiar, not as 
taught by himself, but rather as to be modified by his 
own more common-sense teaching. These communities 
were not only familiar with Gnostic nomenclature, but 
also with some sort of undisciplined "prophesying"; 
whence did they have such things ? It is not sufficient 
impatiently to set these facts on one side, for it is just 
such facts which are the fundamental data in any 
attempt to solve the mystery of Christian origins. 

It is, therefore, somewhat beside the point to assume 
that " Gnostic Ebionism " must have necessarily been 
later than "Ebionism proper," especially as it is just 
this " Ebionism proper " about which we should like to 
inform ourselves. 

Ebionite The main charge against the Ebionites, as Hippolytus 

" heretics," denied the later doctrine of the miraculous 
physical virgin-birth of Jesus. They lived according to 
the Jewish customs, claiming that they were justified 


"according to the Law." They further declared, so 
says Hippolytus, that Jesus had been so justified by 
his practice of the Law ; it was for this cause that they 
called him " the anointed (Christ) of God and Jesus ; 1 
for none of the other (? prophets) had fulfilled the 
Law." They further declared " that they themselves 
could by doing the same become Christs ; for, they said, 
that he (Jesus) was a man like all men." 

We know also that other of the early schools went 
still further and claimed that members of their 
communities had already reached this high stage of 
justification and illumination, as high as Paul or even 
Jesus himself, and that this could even be transcended 
a vain and empty boast, you will say, but then we 
have no record of their lives, but only the bitter de 
nunciations of the Church Fathers. 

Apparently the earliest form of mystic Ebionite The Doctrine 

J of Election. 

Christology was that of "election." Thus we find 

Justin Martyr (c. 145-150 A.D.), in his " Dialogue with 
Trypho " (xlix.), putting the following argument into the 
mouth of his Jewish opponent : " Those who affirm 
him to have been a man, and to have been anointed by 
election, and then to have become a Christ (Anointed), 
appear to me to speak more plausibly than you," that 
is Justin, who maintains the physical virgin birth 
dogma, and who in the previous chapter had said to 
Trypho : " Even if I cannot demonstrate so much 
as this [namely, that Jesus was God incarnate in the 
Virgin s womb], you will at least admit that Jesus is the 

1 Why they called him " Jesus," Hippolytus unfortunately does 
not tell us ; but we may perhaps get on the track of the reason in 
the next chapter. 

358 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Messiah (Anointed) of God, in case he can be shown 
to have been born as a man of men, and be proved to 
have been raised by election to the dignity of messiah- 
ship. For there are . . . some of our persuasion (lit. 
race) who admit that he is the Messiah, but declare 
him to have been a man of men." 

The In the :i Shepherd of Hernias," which in the part 

of Hermas " from which we quote ( " Sim." v. 5) is distinctly older 
on Election. t j ian j us ^ nj this doctrine of election or adoption is set 
forth as follows : 

" God made His Holy Spirit, which pre-existed and 
created all creation, to enter and dwell in the flesh 
(i.e., human body) which He approved. This flesh, 
therefore, in which the Holy Spirit took up its dwell 
ing, served the Spirit well in holiness and purity, 
having never in any way polluted the Spirit. There 
fore, because it had lived well and purely, and had 
laboured with the Spirit and worked therewith in 
every matter, conversing bravely and manfully, God 
chose it to be participator along with the Holy Spirit. 
For the flesh walked as pleased God, because it was 
not polluted upon earth, having the Holy Spirit. God, 
therefore, took into counsel the Son and the angels in 
their glory, to the end that this flesh, having blame 
lessly served the Spirit, might furnish, as it were, a 
place of tabernacling (for the Spirit), and might not 
seem to have lost the reward of its service. For all 
flesh shall receive the reward which shall be found 
without stain or spot, and in it the Holy Spirit shall 
make its home." l 

The Heresy of This election was said to be consummated at 
1 Conybeare s translation, op. sub. cit., pp. Ixxxix., xc. 


" baptism," nay, it was the true Baptism of the Holy 
Spirit. As we shall see in the next chapter, the Holy 
Spirit or Wisdom was the spouse of the Son or Great 
King. When this universal mystic teaching became 
historicized and connected with an actual physical 
baptism by John the Baptist it is impossible to say, 
but it is very certain that the " heresy " of " election," 
and the claim of the early mystics that all men who 
lived the life of true holiness could become Christs, was 
the unforgiveable sin of the subsequently orthodox 
Fathers, and that this teaching has been relentlessly 
crushed out by the Catholic Church wherever found 
throughout the centuries. 1 

But indeed the question of Ebionism is of a so vast Necessity for 

, ,. . , , aNewDetini- 

and complicated nature that it would require a whole tion of 
volume in itself to exhaust the contradictory indications Eblomsm - 
of the Church Fathers and analyse the " Clementine " 
Literature. There seems to have been every shade of 
" Ebionism," and if on the one hand the Church Fathers 
tell us that the Ebionteans accepted the whole of 
the Old Testament, on the other we are informed that 
they submitted its documents to a most drastic criti 
cism, some of them rejecting not only all the Prophets, 
but even much of the Pentateuch. Like so many of 
the Gnostics they had a subjective canon whereby they 
sorted out the inspiration of the Old Testament as 
pure, mixed and evil. 

This much only is certain, that we are no longer able 
to assign a precise meaning to the terribly abused 

1 See Conybeare (F. C.) " The Key of Truth, a Manual of the 
Paulician Church of Armenia" (Oxford; 1898); index, s.w. 
" Election " and " Elect," e.g., " Elect regarded as Christs," etc. 





term " Ebionism " ; it is as vague as, nay vaguer than, 
" Gnosticism," for in the latter at any rate there must 
be a mystic element, whereas with " Ebionism proper " 
it is mostly confounded with materialistic and limited 
views, though, as we have seen, erroneously. 

We have already seen that these mystic and more 
liberal ideas flourished especially in districts where 
the people were of non-Jewish extraction ; we are, 
therefore, not surprised to find that Samaria also, 
whose inhabitants were almost purely of non-Jewish 
descent, was a hot-bed of " heresies " of all kinds. For 
the Jew, then, "Samaritan" stood for a heretic par 
excellence, and we are therefore not astonished to find 
that one of the epithets applied by the Kabbis to Jesus 
was that of Samaritan. 

In this connection it is of interest to note that 
Epiphanius (" Haer.," ix.) tells us that the four principal 
sects of the Samaritans were (i) the Esseni, (ii) the 
Gortheni, (iii) the Sebuseans, and (iv) the Dositheans. 

It is very strange to find the Essenes heading the 
list, for no other writer calls the members of this 
interesting brotherhood Samaritans. It may be that 
the Bishop of Constantia does so, because he found 
that schools closely allied to them rejected all other of 
the Jewish scriptures except the Pentateuch. It may, 
however, be that as a matter of history the Essenes 
themselves also rejected much which subsequently 
became the orthodoxy of Mishnaic Rabbinism, and they 
may very well have had many adherents in Samaria. 

As to the Gortheni, who are also mentioned by 
Hegesippus (op. Euseb., " H. E.," iv. 22), who flourished 
in the latter half of the second century, Epiphanius calls 


them also Gortheoni (" Ancorat.," 12) and also Gorotheni 
(" Haer./ 1 i. 12), but tells us nothing about them. Theo- 
doret, however, says (" Hser. Fab./ i. 1) that they derived 
their doctrines from Simon Magus, that is to say, they 
held the same views as did the mystics associated 
later on with this semi-mythical " founder " of Christian 
heresy, according to the Church Fathers. 

As to the Sebuaeans, Epiphanius alone mentions 
them, but tells us nothing about them except that they 
held certain Feasts on days which differed widely from 
the dates of the Jews. 

With the mention of the Dositheans, however, we The 

. . Dositheans. 

come to a subject of greater interest. And here we 
will leave Epiphanius and follow the data collected in 
the excellent article of Salmon. 1 The " Ebionite " 
Clementine " Recognitions " tell us that Simon Magus 
was a disciple of Dositheus (that is, perhaps, of the school 
of Dositheus), and that Dositheus (Heb. Dosthai) was the 
prophet like unto Moses whom Yahweh was to raise up. 
The Clementine "Homilies," on the contrary, in true 
legendary style declare that both Dositheus and 
Simon were co-disciples of John the Baptist. As Jesus, 
the Sun, had twelve disciples, so John, the Moon, had 
thirty disciples, the number of days in a lunation, or 
more accurately 29|, for one of them was a woman. 
Simon, it is said, studied magic in Egypt, and there is a 
strange legend of a contest between him and Dositheus, 
in which Simon proves himself the victor. 

The Recognitions also state that Dositheus was the The Import- 
founder of the sect of the Sadducees, which means prob- Dositheus. 
ably nothing more historically than that Dositheus, as 

1 " Dositheus," in Smith and Wace s " Diet, of Christ. Biography." 

362 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

was to be expected of a Samaritan, rejected all the 
subsequently canonical books, and held to the Penta 
teuch alone. In any case this statement assures us 
that Dositheus was considered in subsequent times a 
man of very great importance. And as this statement 
was also made by Hippolytus in his lost Compendium, 
the view must have been very widespread. In any 
case Hippolytus I. gave the foremost place among his 
pre-Christian sects to Dositheus. 

Origen (in Johann. iv.) speaks of books ascribed to 
Dositheus as being still current among the followers of 
that then ancient tradition, and of a popular belief 
among them that their master had not really died. 
Some Curious Epiphanius describes the Dositheans as observers of 
the Law ; they, however, abstained from animal food, 
and many of them from sexual intercourse. Epi 
phanius further adds a story that Dositheus finally 
retired to a cave and there practised such severe 
asceticism as to bring his life to a voluntary end. An 
exceedingly interesting variant of this story appears 
in a Samaritan Chronicle, where it is said that the 
Samaritan high-priest took such severe measures 
against the new sect, because of its use of a Book of the 
Law which was said to have been falsified by Dousis 
(Dositheus), that Dousis was compelled to "fly" to a 
mountain and hide himself in a cave, where he died 
from want of food. There is a striking similarity 
between this and the conclusion of the Shemtob form 
of Toldoth which we have quoted in the chapter on 
" Traces of Early Toldoth Forms," where Jesus flies away 
to a cave on Mount Carmel. 

Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria, who died 608 A.D. 


and who appears to have studied Dosithean books, says 
that Dosthes (Dositheus) exhibited particular hostility 
to the Patriarch Judah. That is to say, presumably, 
that the Dositheans particularly detested a certain 
Judah. Can this have anything to do with the Judas 
of the Toldoth, and did the Dositheans give the other 

Finally, it is very curious to find that Aboulfatah, Dositheus and 
an Arab historian, who nourished in the fourteenth BtC . Date, 
century, and who was personally acquainted with the 
adherents of this long-lived Dosithean tradition, places 
Dositheus 100 years B.C. Dositheus, he tells us, was 
said to have claimed to have been the Prophet, foretold 
by Moses, and also the Star, prophetically announced 
in Numbers. 1 Dositheus, says Aboulfatah, that is to 
say, according to the tradition of the Dositheans of his 
day, lived in the days of John Hyrcanus. who died 
105 B.C. 2 

This Dosithean tradition, therefore, appears to me The Con- 
to be deserving of greater attention than has yet been Traditions, 
bestowed upon it; it is not satisfactory to dismiss it 
impatiently with the epithet "fabulosa" as does Juyn- 
boll, and those who copy from him. The Simon Magus 
tradition is interwoven with the Dosithean ; the Church 
Fathers assert with one voice that all the heresies of 
Christianity sprang from Simon Magus ; the Simon 
Magus legends are interwoven with the Toldoth legends 
of Jesus. Baur startled traditionalists with the theory 

1 Num. xxiv. 17 : " There shall come a star out of Jacob." 

2 See Juynboll (T. G. J.), " Chronicon Samaritanum, arabiee 
conscriptum cui Titulus est Liber Josuoe" (Leyden ; 1848), pp. 
112, 114. 

364 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

that the name Simon Magus was simply a disguise for 
Paul, but the Jewish tradition amazes us still further 
with the suggestion that Simon Magus in some 
fantastic fashion is a legend-glyph, if not for Jesus, at 
any rate for those who followed the earliest tradition of 
the historical Jesus. 

We will next turn our attention to some considera 
tions " Concerning the Book of Elxai." 


As we have already seen that, according to Epiphanius, The 
the Essenes, Nazorenes, Ebionites, and Sampsseans of Hennas " 
thought very highly of a certain ancient document 
called the " Book of Elxai," it will be of interest to 
enquire further into the matter. 

Hilgenfeld has argued l that already the apocalyptic 
scribe of that Early Church document the " Shepherd of 
Hernias," or as he prefers the redactor of the Apocalyptic 
Hernias (as distinguished from the Pastoral Hernias) 
was acquainted with this " Book of Elxai." Whether or 
not this early writer was acquainted with the actual 
book the later Church Fathers had in mind is a 
matter still subjudice; but he certainly was acquainted 
with some portion of the enormous cycle of apocalyptic 
literature and the general circle of ideas with which 
all the early mystic schools were more or less in touch. 

The apocalyptic part of the " Shepherd " is practically 
one of the innumerable permutations and combinations 
of the Sophia-mythus. It is one of the many settings 
forth of the mystic lore and love of the Christ and the 
Sophia, or Wisdom, of the Son of God and His spouse 

1 Hilgenfeld (A.), " Hermae Pastor" (Leipzig ; 1881, 2nd ed.), 
Introd., pp. xxix., xxx. 

366 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

or sister, the Holy Spirit, of the King and Queen, of 
the Lord and the Church. In this most instructive 
series of visions are depicted the mystic scenes of the 
allegorical drama of man s inner nature the mystery- 
play of all time. Most beautifully and most simply 
is the story told in this ancient monument of early 
Christendom, and it is much to be regretted that the 
" Shepherd " has not been included in the Canon ; but 
perhaps it was too general, too universal for the 

It is also of very great interest to notice the many 
intimate points of contact between the contents of the 
Apocalyptic Hermas and the teaching of the early 
" Shepherd of Men " tractates of the mystic school who 
looked to Hermes the Thrice-greatest as their inspirer, 
that is to say, the earliest deposit of Trismegistic 
literature. But that is another story which has not 
yet been told. 

Hermas a Like all the other extant extra-canonical documents 
DoSent. of the Early Church, the " Shepherd of Hermas" has been 
submitted to the most searching analysis by modern 
criticism, and though its unity is still strenuously 
defended by some scholars, we are inclined to agree 
with Hilgenfeld, who detects in the present form of 
the Hermas document three elements, or three deposits 
so to say; (i) the Apocalyptic (Vis. i.-iv.); (ii) the 
Pastoral (Vis. v. Sim. vii.); (iii) the Secondary, or 
appendix of the latest redactor (Sim. viii. x.). Hernias 
i. and ii. cite nothing from any of the books of the 
canonical New Testament. 1 

It is Hermas i., moreover, which is acquainted with 
1 Hilgenfeld, op. cit., pp. xxx., xxxi. 


the most distinctive features of the cycle of ideas of 
which we find traces in the few fragments of the " Book 
of Elxai " which can be recovered from the polemical 
writings of the Fathers. This Apocalyptic Hernias is 
distinctly Anti-Pauline, and therefore cannot be expected 
to quote from the Letters of Paul, but what is remarkable 
is that neither it nor the Pastoral Hernias quote from 
any of our four canonical gospels. 

If, then, we are inclined to accept the statement of Date 
the writer of the Muratorian Fragment (c. 170 A.D.), Indications - 
that Hernias was written at Eome during the bishopric 
of Pius (140 c. 155 A.D.), this must be taken to refer 
to the last redactor who is held to be responsible for 
Hermas iii., and who seems to be acquainted with 
several books of the Canon, and the Apocalyptic 
Hermas may be pushed back to at least the beginning 
of the second century. We have also to remember 
not only that the Greek original even of our form of 
Hermas is lost, but that the Old Latin version has also 
disappeared, and that we possess only a Greek re- 
translation of the Latin, 1 and therefore the original 
Hermas may have contained more abundant traces of 
some things of which it would be of great service to 
independent students of the origins to have a more 
exact knowledge, but which have disappeared in trans 
lation and re translation. 

In any case the original form of the " Book of Elxai " 
is thus seen to be of an early date, and the general 
ideas in it are presumably still earlier. A just ap- 

1 See De Gebhardt (O.) and Harnack (A.), " Hermse Pastor," in 
"Patrum Apostolicorum Opera," fascic. iii. (Leipzig; 1877), 
Prolegg. xi. n. 2. 

368 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

preciation of the nature of its contents, therefore, is of 
very great importance to the historian of Early 
Christianity ; and as Hilgenfeld, in the appendix l to 
his admirable edition of the " Shepherd," has con 
veniently brought together every passage from the 
Fathers relating to this curious document of Christian 
antiquity, we will bring the evidence into court and 
discuss it. 

The Church In the first place we must remember that our scanty 
the " Book of information is derived entirely from those who have 
not a single good word to say for the book or for the 
followers of its teaching. We have painfully to extract 
what facts we can from the hurly-burly of indiscriminate 
denunciation, from a few sentences here or there torn 
out of the context for polemical purposes, only such 
things being quoted as appeared to the heresiologists 
ridiculous, extravagant or detestable. 

Hippolytus, Bishop of Portus, writing at Rome about 
222 A.D., is bitterly incensed at the book, a copy of which, 
he says, had been brought to the City by a certain 
Alcibiades, a native of Apameia in Syria 2 ; but whether 
or not Hippolytus always quotes from the book itself 
or from the teachings of Alcibiades, who made use of 
the authority of what he considered to be a very 
ancient document in support of a more lenient view of 
the forgiveness of sins, a question which was then 
strongly agitating the Church of Rome, and on which 
Hippolytus himself held a far stricter view, is by no 
means clear. 

1 " Elxai Fragmenta Collecta, Digesta, Dijudicata." 

2 The original " Book of Elxai " was presumably in Hebre\v, and 
was 8ubsequently translated into Greek. 


Basing themselves apparently on Hippolytus, all The Date of 
scholars l confidently assert that according to the book 
itself, it was written in the third year of Trajan, that 
is 101 A.D. ; whereas, as a matter of fact, Hippolytus 
does not say so. It is true that Hippolytus states 
("Philos.," ix. 13) that Alcibiades declared that the 
gospel of a new remission of sins was preached in the 
third year of Trajan ; but did Alcibiades make such an 
assertion himself, or did Hippolytus deduce this from a 
passage which he elsewhere professes to quote from the 
book itself ? 

What the full text of this passage may have been 
originally we can by no means be certain, since in the 
only surviving copy of Hippolytus " Eefutation" some 
words are utterly corrupt. It must be remembered 
that we have only the single copy of the text of the 
" Philosophumena," or " Eefutatio Omnium Hteresium " 
of Hippolytus, which was discovered in one of the 
monasteries on Mount Athos, and brought to Paris by 
Minoides Mynas in 1842. 

This passage from the " Book of Elxai " is a reference The Three 
to a famous prophecy of the time, and runs as follows : 
" When three years of Trajan Caesar are fulfilled, from 
the time when he subdued ... the Parthian s (when 
three years have been fulfilled), 2 the war between the 
angels of unrighteousness of the North is stirred up, 3 

1 So also even Hilgenfeld, op. cit., p. 233. 

2 Probably a gloss. 

3 ayyiCerat, a very rare word, not found at all in Liddell and 
Scott, while in Sophocles Lexicon (New York ; 1887) the only 
references are to our passage and to Syniin. Prov. xv. 18. Sophocles 
gives the meaning as "to irritate, excite," while Duncker and 
Schneidewin translate " cxardescit" 


370 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

owing to which all kingdoms of unrighteousness are 
thrown into confusion " (" Philos.," ix. 16). 1 

Whatever may be the exact meaning of the passage, 
it seems not illegitimate to conclude that the " third year 
of Trajan " date originated in this " prophecy," which, for 
all we know, may have belonged to the general Elxai 
circle of ideas, or literature (for this was certainly not 
confined to one document), and originally formed no 
part of the Book, though it may have subsequently 
been appended to the original apocalyptic document, 
for it apparently came at the end of the copy known to 
Hippolytus, and not at the beginning, as some have 
carelessly supposed. 
The Book In this connection it is of interest to recall to mind 

Older than 

the Prophecy, that Trajan began the Parthian campaign in 114 A.D., 
and that three years afterwards the fierce and bloody 
revolt of the Jews of Cyrene and Egypt, in which no 
less than a million Hebrews are said to have perished, 
was suppressed. In 117 Trajan died, and in 118 
Hadrian set out for Msesia (the modern Bulgaria), one 
of the most northern provinces of the Empire, to fight 
against the Sarmatians. If this is the fact alluded to, 
then we have a date of a similar nature to so many in 
the prophetical and apocalyptic literature of the times 
and of earlier years, and we may place the terminus a quo 
of this particular element of the Elxai literature at 118 
A.D. But are the mystic visions and christology of our 

1 I use the latest text and critical notes of Duncker (L.) and 
Schneidewin (F. G.), " S. Hippol. . . . Refutationis Omnium 
Hseresium quse supersunt" (Gottingen ; 1859), and regard the 
emendation given by Hilgenfeld, in his " Ketzergeschichte des 
Urchristenthums " (Leipzig ; 1884), p. 435 n. 757, as too arbitrary. 


book to be so dated ? For our part we consider them 
to be far earlier. 

On the other hand, supposing that the date of the 
third year of Trajan (101 A.D.) is taken as Hippolytus 
gives it, then, seeing that this "prophecy" did not 
come true (unless the fact that the first Dacian Wai- 
broke out in the third year of Trajan, Dacia being the 
most northern province on the other side of the Danube, 
be held vaguely to explain the " prophecy ") as Hilgen- 
feld acutely remarks, the Book must have been written 
prior to this date, for who fabricates a prophecy which 
he knows already to be false ? l 

But even so I do not think that it can be asserted 
categorically that the " Book of Elxai " itself was written 
in 101 A.D. It may very well be that the fierce suppres 
sion of the frantic effort to regain their independence 
made by the Jews of Gyrene and Egypt, where apoca 
lyptic ideas were specially rife, may have been a psycho 
logical moment when the mystic teaching of repentance 
could be preached with the greatest effect, even as had 
been the case some fifty years before when Jerusalem 
fell ; it may very well have been that the Essene- 
Nazarene-Sampscean circles used this opportunity or 
making known the saving mysteries of their traditions 
for the benefit of their disheartened countrymen ; but 
these mysteries were not newly invented. 

Who, then, was Elxai ? What does the name mean ? who < 
The name is evidently Semitic; Hebrew, Aramaic, or EIxai 
Old Arabic, it matters not. Hippolytus gives it as 
Elchasai, Origen as Helkesai, Epiphanius as Elxai or 
Elkessai. Epiphanius further informs us ( " Htfer.," xix. 
1 Op. cit., p. xxx. 

372 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

2) that the name meant the " Hidden Power." Some 
scholars accept this, 1 others reject it, 2 though no 
sufficient reason for this rejection is given. In my 
opinion, this scrap of information dropped by Epiphanius 
the significance of which he was totally unable to 
appreciate, and which he only reproduces to serve as 
the occasion of a sneer, as in so many other cases puts 
us on the right track out of this labyrinth of misunder 
standing. Elxai was the name of no man, even as 
Ebion, the founder of Ebionism as imagined by the 
hseresiologists, was no man, and just as Colarbasus and 
Epiphanes were imagined heretics, and even to some 
extent Simon Magus. 

Elxai-Sophia. As to the mythic Colarbasus, in Hebrew Chol-arba 
means literally the " All-four/ that is, the sacred Tetrad 
or Tetractys, which in the system of Marcus, for instance, 
is figured as the Feminine Power, the Greatness, who in 
the form of a woman, the Divine Sophia, was the 
revealer of the mysteries as set forth in the apocalyptic 
scripture in which Mark expounded the general ideas 
of his tradition ; for, as he says, the world could not 
bear the power or effulgence of the Masculine Greatness 
or Potency, the Christ. 3 Epiphanes in like manner can 
be equated with the "Newly Appearing One," the 
" waxing moon," the Moon being also a glyph of the 
Sophia. 4 Simon and Helen again are the Sun and 
Moon, the Christ and the Sophia ; but of this, later on. 

1 See Salmon s article " Elkesai " in Smith and Wace s " Dic 
tionary of Christian Biography" (London ; 1880). 

2 See Hilgenfeld, op. cit., p. 230. 

3 See " The Number-System of Marcus" in my " Fragments of a 
Faith Forgotten " (London ; 1900), pp. 358-382. 

4 Op. cit. t p. 234. 


I, therefore, conclude with no rash confidence, that 
Elxai, the Hidden Power, was in reality one of the 
many names of the Sophia or Wisdom, the Holy Ghost, 
the mystic sister or spouse (the Shakti as Brfihmanical 
mysticism calls it) of the Masculine One, the Christ. 
And this is borne out by the main apocalyptic fragment 
of the Book which has survived among the few quotations 
made by Hippolytus and Epiphanius, and which is in 
the form of a vision of the Christ and Sophia as of two 
immense beings, reaching from earth to highest heaven, 
of which the mystic dimensions are given, just as in 
the diagram of the Heavenly Man, as portrayed in the 
apocalypse of Marcus. 

But we have not yet done with the matter, for lexai- 
Epiphanius tells us that Elxai, who, as we have seen, he 
takes for a man, and a dangerous and blasphemous heretic 
to boot, had a brother called lexaios ("Haer.," xix. 1), 
and in another place ("Hser.," liii. 1), he further informs 
us that the Sampsseans said they possessed another book, 
which they regarded with very great reverence, namely, 
the " Book of lexai," the brother of Elxai. Eemembering, 
then, that the Marcosians declared that the world was 
not able to bear the effulgence of the " Masculine 
Greatness," it is legitimate to speculate that this " Book 
of lexai " was purposely kept back from general circu 
lation ; it was a true apocryphon. It was presumably a 
book containing the higher mysteries or more recondite 
mystic teachings of this tradition; it may even have 
been the book which contained what was thought to be 
the real name and teaching of the one called Jesus 
among men, which name, as Marcus declares, was held to 
be a substitute for a far more ancient and sacred title. 

374 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Jexai-Jesus. In brief lexai was the Christ, the King, the spouse 
of Elxai, the Hidden Power, or Holy Ghost, or Sophia ; 
He was perhaps the concealed Divine Triad of the Holy 
Four of Marcus, the "Triple Man" of other systems. 
In this connection it is interesting to notice that lexai 
is explained by some scholars as meaning in Hebrew 
the " Hidden Lord." Can it then be possible that there 
is some connection between the name lexai (or Jessai) 
and the lessaians or Jessseans to whom Epiphanius 
refers, as Hilgenfeld supposes ? And if so, what con 
flation or syncretism is there between the general term 
lexai or Jexai (Hidden Lord) and the Jesus of history ? 
For "Jesus," says Marcus, is only the sound of the 
name down here and not the power of the name ; 
" Jesus, " he declares, is really a substitute for a very 
ancient name, and its power is known to the " elect" alone 
of the Christians. Was this mystery name, then, lexai ? 

Sobiai- Sophia. But even so we have not yet done with names in 
this connection. Hippolytus (" Philos.," ix. 13) will have 
it that the "Book of Elxai" was said to have been revealed 
to Elxai, whom he regards as a man, and that this 
Elchasai, as he spells the name, handed it on to a certain 
Sobiai. Now as we have already seen that in every 
probability the teaching of the Book was set forth in the 
form of an apocalyptic vision, as revealed by Elxai or the 
Sophia or Wisdom, and that the man Elxai is a fiction 
of the imagination begotten by patristic misunder 
standing, so also it may be that Sobiai is also an 
apocalyptic personification historicized by the same 
class of mind which historicized and materialized so 
much else that was purely mystic and spiritual. In 
fact I would suggest that Sobiai is nothing else than a 


transformation of Sophia, for as Epiphanius himself 
says, though with a sneer, the Book purported to be 
written prophetically, or, as it were, by the inspiration 
of Wisdom (Sophia). 

Yet again more names are brought forward by Marthus and 
Epiphanius in this connection, and he has somewhat 
to tell us of two sisters called Marthus and Marthana 
(or Marthma), who, lie avers, were regarded with great 
reverence by the adherents of the tradition of this early 
Gnosis; they were, he says, worshipped as goddesses. 
Our great inquisitor of heresy, however, will have it 
that they were actual women living in his own times. 
Moreover, and in this he lets more escape him than he 
would have done had he understood, they were of ^ the 
11 race of Elxai " (" Haer., 1 xix. 1, and li. I). 1 

Now it is of service in this connection to remember Our Lady 
that Martha in Aramaic means simply " Mistress " or 
" Lady " ; Martha is the feminine of Mar (" Lord "). 2 
Can it then be possible that here also we are face to 
face with some more scraps of the scattered cUlris 
of the once most elaborate Christos-Sophia-mythus ? 

Nay, this is not altogether a so wild speculation as The Sophia 

J and her Twin 

the general reader may suppose, for do we not find in Daughters, 
the Syriac Hymns of the Gnostic Bardaisan (155-233 
A.D.), that the Holy Spirit, the Mother, the Sophia, 

1 In this connection we may pertinently ask the question : 
Who are the Gnostics whose tenets Origen (" C. Celsum," v. 62) 
tells us were known to Celsus, that is to say, at least as early as 
175 A.D., and who were known as "those of Martha" 1 

2 One bold scholar has even suggested that Mar being in Syriac 
a general title of distinction, Epiphanius has mistaken the names 
of two bishops of unorthodox views for the names of women, and 
so developed his romance. 

376 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

has two daughters, whose birth the orthodox Ephraem, 
the most bitter opponent of the Bardesanian Gnosis, 
writing more than a century later, declines to explain, 
and who were, in the poetical nomenclature of Bardaisan, 
called respectively " Shame of the Dry " and " Image of 
the Water." l The Mother Sophia thus addresses the 
elder of them : 

" Let her who conies after 
To me be a daughter, 
A sister to thee." 

The Ephraem makes a great to-do about the mystery of 

and the their conception, which he says he is ashamed to relate. 
Wombs? ^ appears, however, to have been nothing more than 
thq conception of the Mother first without her Syzygy 
or Divine Consort, and subsequently with Him ; the 
bringing forth of the " Abortion " and of the " Perfect 
./Eon " the fruit of the " impure womb " above when the 
mother disobeyed the " law of pairing " of the Pleroma, 
and desired to imitate the Father over all arid create 
without a Syzygy, and the child of the " virgin womb," 
in the spiritual economy of the world process ; all of 
which is set forth with much elaboration in several 
forms of the Sophia-mythus which have come down to us 
in the quotations of the haeresiological Fathers. In the 
microcosm or man, these daughters are presumably two 
aspects of the human soul, the Sophia below, or sor 
rowing one ; tending downward she is regarded as the 
" lustful one " (Prunicus), the harlot ; tending upward 
she becomes the spouse of the Christos. 

1 See Hilgenfeld (A.), "Bardesanes der letzte Gnostiker" (Leipzig ; 
1864), pp. 40, 41 ; and Lipsius (R. A.), " Die apokryphen Apostel- 
geschichten" (Braunschweig ; 1883), i. pp. 310, 311. 


Again in the Greek Acts of Thomas, which still 
contain many early Gnostic traces in spite of Catholic 
redaction, we read : 

" Come . . . Thou Holy Dove who art mother of 
twin young ones ; come Hidden Mother ! " 

Have we here, then, our Marthus and Marthana ? Mary and 
Are the <c sisters " of Epiphanius, then, simply misunder 
stood forms of the Sophia in one of her many trans 
formations ? Will the dire straits into which relentless 
historical criticism is forcing the defenders of an 
unyielding conservatism, permit us to believe that 
there may have been a mystery-teaching behind the 
beautiful historicized story of the sisters Mary and 
Martha and of Lazarus, their brother, who was " raised 
from the dead " after being " three days " in the grave ? 
Was not Lazarus raised as a "mummy," swathed in 
grave clothes ? : What has this to do with the mystery- 
tradition of Egypt ? Is not the Mary of Lazarus 
thought by many to have been the Magdalene, the 
courtesan, out of whom He had cast seven devils ? 
Was not the Sophia below called the " lustful one," 
the " harlot," the " shame of the dry " ? Was not the 
Helen of Simon also called the harlot ? Was not even 
Jesus, according to the Jews, the son of a harlot ? 
Can it possibly be that in this vulgar material contro 
versy of things physical between Christian and Jew, 

1 It is somewhat strange to find Tertullian (" De Corona," viii. ; 
Oehler, i. 436) referring to the " linen cloth " with which Jesus girt 
himself, mentioned in John xiii. 4, 5, as the " proper garment of 
Osiris." The " proper garment of Osiris," of course, consisted of 
the linen- wrappings of the mummy. Tertullian thus appears to 
have picked up a phrase he did not quite understand, and used it 

378 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

there may be, in spite of the controversialists on either 
side, still some grain of mystic truth almost miracu 
lously preserved ? Why, again, had Mary the better 
part, though Martha was the more laborious and 
virtuous ? Has orthodox exegesis a satisfactory answer 
to this " dark saying " ? Is not its exact parallel to be 
found in the mystery-parable of the prodigal and his 
elder brother ? 

Such are a few of the questions which rush in upon 
the mind of a student of the ancient Christian Gnosis, 
and make it not illegitimate to speculate as to whether 
under the names Marthus and Marthana may not be 
concealed a key to unlock the under-meaning of the 
beautiful Gospel story of Mary and Martha. 

The Finally we have seen that Epiphanius gives Marthina 

Merinthians. ag a var i ant o f Marthana. Now it is remarkable that 
Epiphanius also tells us of some heretics whom he calls 
Merinthiani (" Hser.," xxix. 8). Of the origin or meaning 
of this name he admits he knows nothing, and can only 
suggest that they are derived from a certain Merinthus, 
who he suggests is identical with the famous early 
Gnostic Cerinthus ; however, he confesses that this is a 
pure guess on his part. Can it, then, be by any means 
possible that the name Merinthiani is a transformation 
of Marthiani ? No one but Epiphanius knows of these 
Merinthians. Did he invent the name ? If not, and 
there really was a circle or line of tradition bearing 
some such name, can it be that our famous heresy- 
hunter heard wrongly, and remembered vaguely that it 
was some name like Cerinthus, only beginning with M. 
Hinc illce lacrimce ! 

The question, however, which is of greatest import- 


ance for us, is to discover what were the views 
concerning the Christ held by those who used the 
Apocalypse of Elxai as one of their scriptures. 

As we have seen, the main apocalyptic element of this The Christ- 
T^i M i T-1-1 igy f the 

hook was a vision of two great beings standing side by Book of 

side the Christus ("Hser.," xix. 1) and Sophia above Elxau 
(" Hser.," xxx. 3, 17), the male-female Heavenly Man in 
separation ; the male potency was also called the Son of 
God, the female the Holy Spirit (Hipp., " Philos.," ix. 13). 

In the human economy, however, " Christus " was 
apparently, according to Epiphanius (" Hser.," liii. 1), not 
considered as absolutely identical with deity ; this was in 
its microcosmic sense apparently the spiritual Self in man. 
This Self had been first clothed with the paradisiacal 
Body of Adam," but had put it off and left it behind 
in Paradise, the super-celestial garment left in the 
" last limit " till the glorious day of the revestiture of the 
Conqueror, according to the so-called Pistis-Sophia 
document, or the " robe of glory " of the beautiful hymn 
of Bardaisan, 1 He had put it off when He descended 
through the spheres, clothing Himself in each in the 
" garb of a servant," but at the last He shall resume it 
again in triumph. 

Of this Christus the Sophia, or human soul, was the Many Mani- 
sister or spouse ; He was called the Great King ( ;< Haer.," the Christ. 
xix. 3). But Epiphanius can find nothing in the teach 
ing of these early mystics to confirm his own later 
orthodox views concerning " Jesus Christ," and is 
naturally very puzzled at the unhistorical nature of their 

1 See the " Hymn of the Robe of Glory " in my " Fragments," pp. 
406-414, and also my translation of Pistis-Sophia (London ; 1886), 
pp. 9 ff. 

380 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

universal transcendentalism. Hippolytus (" Philos.," ix. 
14), however, tells us that their teaching concerning the 
Christ of the general Christians that is, concerning 
Jesus was that he was born as are all other men ; they 
denied that the Christ of their mysteries had been now 
for the first time born of a virgin ; the mystery Christ 
had been born before, nay, had again and again been 
born, and was being born, and had been and was being 
manifested, changing His births and passing from body 
to body. 

Theodoret, writing in the fifth century, gives us some 
further confused information when treating of the 
Elcesaeans. 1 As to this mystery of the Christ, they 
said that He was not one that is to say, apparently He 
was not simply Jesus the Nazarene, as the general 
Christians believed. There was, they held, a Christ 
above, and a Christ below ; the former had of old indwelt 
in many, and had subsequently descended, that is, pre 
sumably, found full expression. 

Theodoret imagines that this means descended into 
Jesus, or had come down to earth ; but even so he can 
not understand the doctrine and gets hopelessly confused 
over what they say concerning Jesus. For sometimes, 
he says, they state that He is a spirit, sometimes that 
He had a virgin for mother, while in other writings they 
say that this was not so, but that he was born as other 
men ; further they teach that Jesus (or rather the Christ 
in Jesus) reincarnates again and again and goes into 
other bodies, and at each birth appears differently. 
The Twice- All of this, though apparently a hopeless confusion to 
the ordinary mind, is quite clear to the mystic, and it is 

1 " De Elcesaeis," in his " Hereticarum Fabularum Compendium." 


strange that with all their marvellous industry scholars 
have not been able to disinter the main conceptions of 
this all-illuminating idea from the polemical writings of 
the Church Fathers; all the more so as it is clearly 
stated in other early writings which have fortunately 
escaped out of the general destruction, as we shall show 
elsewhere. But with regard to our present special 
subject of research, we cannot leave it without giving 
what seems to be as good a proof as can be expected in 
early Christian literature, that the Elxai teaching went 
back to a very early date ; for even the few scattered 
quotations which we are enabled to extract from 
Patristic polemical literature show this very clearly. 

It is well known that the Essenes and allied com- A Further 
munities, even while they remained on the ground of indication. 
Judaism, were strongly opposed to the blood sacrifices 
and burnt offerings of the Temple. When, then, we find 
a quotation from the " Book of Elxai " which distinctly 
refers to these sacrifices, we cannot be accused of rash 
ness in concluding that this document, or at any rate 
part of it, existed in days when the Temple sacrifices were 
still kept up, that is to say, prior to 70 A.D., when the 
Temple was destroyed and the sacrifices, which could 
only be performed in it, ceased. 

Referring to this very condemnation of the Temple 
blood sacrifices at Jerusalem, Epiphanius (" Haer.," xix. 
3) quotes from the " Book of Elxai " as follows : 

" My sons, go not to the image of the fire, for ye err ; Fire and 
for this image is error. Thou seest it [the fire], lie says, Water - 
very near, yet is it from afar. Go not to its image; 
but go rather to the voice of the water ! " 

This is evidently an instruction not to visit the 

382 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Temple at Jerusalem. The reason is given in a quota 
tion apparently from a still more ancient writing, for the 
number is changed from "ye" to "thou," and the 
written sign of quotation "he says" is introduced. 
Now we know that these mystics worshipped the 
spiritual Sun, as the masculine potency of the Logos, 
the real "Fire" of the " Simonian " Gnosis. The ex 
pression " voice of the water " appears at first sight to 
be exceedingly strange; when, however, we recollect 
that those Gnostics regarded " Water " as the " source 
of all things," not of course the physical element, the 
" image " of the Water, but the " Water of Life," the Life 
(Sophia) being the spouse of the Light (Christos), 
she who was the Mother of all, the " voice of the 
water " may very well be taken as a mystic expression 
for the " voice " of the Holy Spirit, in brief the " voice 
of conscience," as may be seen from many verses of the 
later penitential psalms, in which the physical sacrifices 
are set aside and the doctrine of the truly spiritual 
sacrifice of the heart inculcated. What else can this 
" voice " be than the Bath-kol, 1 the " heavenly voice " to 
which the prophets gave ear, according to these same 
mystics and later Talmudism ? 

Ichthus. This water, then, was the Sea of Life, and much might 
be said concerning it. It is by the shore of this Sea 
that is the Mountain on which " after the resurrection " 
Jesus, the Living One, assembles His Taxis, or Order of 
Twelve, and shows them the mysteries of the inner 
spaces, taking them within with Himself as described in 
one of the treatises of the Codex Brucianus. It will, 
however, for the moment suffice to remind our readers 
1 Lit. Daughter of the Voice." 


that the " fish " (ichthus) was one of the earliest symbols 
of the Christ. Not only so, but the early Christian 
neophytes were called " little fishes," and even at the 
end of the second century Tertullian is found writing : 
" We little fishes (pisciculi), according to our Fish 
(Ichthus), are born in water." It would take us too 
long to follow up this interesting trace, but the idea 
will not be so difficult to grasp if we quote part of the 
famous Autun sepulchral inscription, discovered in 
1839, the date of which early monument is hotly 
disputed, the battle ranging over dates from the second 
to the sixth century. Marriott translates this precious 
relic of the past as follows : 

" Offspring of the Heavenly Ichthus (Fish), see that The Autun 
a heart of holy reverence be thine, now that from divine 
waters thou hast received, while yet among mortals, 
a fount of life that is to immortality. Quicken thy 
soul, beloved one, with the ever-flowing waters of 
wealth - giving Wisdom [Sophia], and receive the 
honey-sweet food of the Saviour of the saints. Eat 
with a longing hunger holding Ichthus in thy 
hands." J 

There is a curious analogy between these ideas and 
some of those of which we have a few traces in the in 
scriptions found on golden tablets in graves at Thurii in 
what was once Magna Grsecia, and elsewhere. It is 
supposed that there was a sort of Orphic or Pythagorean 
Book of the Dead, " The Passing into Hades " or " The 
Descent into Hades," from which some of these inscrip 
tions quote. These tablets were evidently placed in 

1 See art. " Ichthus," in Smith and Cheetham s " Dictionary of 
Christian Antiquities" (London ; 1875). 

384 DIB JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

the graves of ancient Orphic or Pythagorean initiates, 
and on one of them we read : 

From " The " In the mansions of Hades, upon the left, a spring 

Descent into ., , ., ,, , 

Hades." thou find, and near it a white cypress standing ; 

this spring thou shouldst not approach. But there [to 
the right] wilt thou come on another, from Memory s 
lake a fresh flowing water. Before it are watchers : To 
them shalt thou say: Of Earth and starry Heaven 
child am I, my race is of the heavens. But this ye 
must know of yourselves. With thirst I parch, I perish ; 
quick, give me to drink of the water fresh flowing 
from Memory s lake ! Then will they give thee to 
drink of the spring of the gods, and then shalt thou 
reign with the rest of the heroes." x 

Moreover the connection between this wonderful 
symbolism of the "living water" of these early 
Christian mystic schools and the beautiful gospel 
story of the woman of Samaria and the Christ, and 
with the many fish figures introduced elsewhere in 
the gospel narratives, must strike even the least 

Fish and the It is also to be noticed that the " fish " played some 
important part in one of the variants of the eucharistic 
rite (the five loaves and two fishes) of early Christianity, 
and it is also of great interest to remember the very 
simple form of the covenant meal of the earliest 
Essene- Christians of whom we are treating was bread 

1 "Inscr. Gr. Sicilian et Italke," 638. See also Foucart (P.), 
" Recherclies sur 1 Origine et la Nature des Mysteres d Eleusis." 
" Extr. des Mem. de 1 Acad. des Ins. et Belles-Lettres " (Paris ; 
1895), torn, xxxv., 2 e partie, pp. 68 ff ; and also my articles " Notes 
on the Eleusinian Mysteries " in the " Theosophical Review " 
(London ; 1898), vol. xxii., pp. 145 if., 232 ff., 312 ff., 317 ff. 


and salt, or bread and water, the fruit of the Sun 
and Sea, for they eschewed wine. 

The " Book of Elxai," then, in one of its deposits at The An- 
any rate, for it was doubtless edited and re-edited as Elxai 
were so many other of these early documents, apparently Traditlon 
went back to as early as at least 70 A.D., while even in 
that deposit we find an earlier scripture quoted. More 
over, all that is told us of these early " Christians," for 
they looked to the mystic Christ as the ideal of all their 
aspiration, is of a very primitive stamp, and in closest 
contact with much that we learn concerning the 
Essenes and Therapeuts. I am, therefore, persuaded 
that we are here in touch with a body of ideas that for 
all we know may have been Pre-Pauline, and that we are 
not far from discovering one of the most mysterious 
factors in the genesis of the great religion of the 
Western world. 

Before, however, closing this chapter on the 
mysterious " Elxai," who, as we have seen, never 
existed, and yet always is, there is to be mentioned 
a scrap of information which may throw some further 
light on this earliest and most widespread " heresy " 
of Christendom. 

We have already seen that some remnants of these The 
early teachings are preserved even to-day by the Man- 
daites, or so-called Christians of St. John. It is, there 
fore, of interest to learn that " Elcasseans," distinctly so 
named, were still in existence in the tenth century. 
Maharnmed ben Is haq en-Nedim, in his "Fihrist" 
(written in 987-988 A.D.) tells us concerning the 
Mogtasilah, or Baptists, that they were then very 

numerous in the marsh districts between the Arabian 


386 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

desert and the Tigris and Euphrates. Their head, 
he says, was called el Hasai h (Elchasai), and he was the 
original founder of their confession. This el Hasai h 
had a disciple called Schimun. 1 

The Schimun Hilgenfeld 2 thinks that Schimun may be Sobiai, 
but in my opinion Schimun (Shimeon or Simon), if 
he were ever a mortal, is more likely to have been 
Simon Magus, and this would confirm the early date of 
the Elxai teaching. Or if this is thought to be too 
precise, then the Schimun of Elxai, the Holy Spirit, 
may have originally had some connection with Shemesh, 
the spiritual Sun of the Sampsseans and Simonians, the 
Spouse of the Spirit or Water, Helena (Selene) or Luna, 
the Moon, and the irresponsibility of legend has 
" deranged the epitaphs." 

Elcesei- Finally we must remember that the prophet Nahum, 
naiim. r a n anie meaning " rich in comfort " or the " comforter," 
is called the Elkoshite ("Nah.," i. 1), a name given in 
the Greek translation of the so-called Seventy as 
Elkesaios. 3 Moreover Jerome and Epiphanius (or 
pseudo-Epiph.) tell us that this prophet was born at a 
village in Galilee called Elkesei. 4 It is, further, to be 
remembered that Cephar-naum means the village or 
town of Nahum, and here it was that Jesus began his 
ministry, and where he specially laboured. Moreover 
we read in the narrative of the first evangelist (Matt. 

1 See Chwolsohn, " Die Ssabier und der Ssabismus " (St. Peters 
burg ; 1856), ii. pp. 543. ff. 

2 Op. rit., p. 232. 

3 See Budde s art. "Elkoshite" in the " Encyclopaedia Biblica." 

4 Hieron., " Comm. in Naum," proefat., Opp., vi. 535 ; Epiph., 
"De Vitis Prophetarum," c. 18. See Hilgenfeld, op. sup. cit., 
p. 231. 


ix. 1): "And he entered into a ship, and passed over 

(the Lake of Galilee), and came into his own city" 

which the parallel passage in Mark (ii. 1) gives as 
Capernaum. What curious coincidences for a lover of 
Talmudic and allied riddles ! 


The Over- WE have already seen that Epiphanius, filled with 
EpTphanius. nerv zea ^ t P^J the Hercules in defence of his own 
special form of Church orthodoxy, is possessed of a 
magnificent confidence in his own ability to smite off 
every head of the many-necked hydra-serpent of heresy, 
and so to cauterise the stumps that no head shall ever 
again grow therefrom to give articulate utterance to 
error. His self-confidence, however, is so overweening, 
that he at times becomes quite reckless ; so much so 
that he has bequeathed to posterity a mass of interest 
ing evidence which would otherwise have entirely 
disappeared, and which enables the independent thinker 
to raise a number of questions of the greatest import 
ance for the unprejudiced historian of Christian 

Epiphanius Even with regard to our general subject of enquiry, 
Jannai Date, we have already seen that the Bishop of Salamis has 
had the hardihood to work the name Panther (Pandera) 
into the canonical genealogy of Jesus. Does he, how 
ever, give us any further information which can in any 
way explain his extraordinary behaviour in this matter ? 
Strange to say he does, and that, too, information of an 


even more startling nature; but before we bring for 
ward the astonishing passages in which Epiphanius 
boldly weaves the Jewish Jannai date tradition, which 
contradicts the whole of traditional Christian history, 
into his elaborate exposition of the date of Jesus accord 
ing to canonical views, we must supplement what we 
have already said about the general character of our 
author as a heresiologist, by quoting from the sober and 
moderate opinion of the greatest student of the writings 
of this stalwart champion of Nicene Christianity whom 
scholarship has so far produced. Lipsius, in his admir 
able article l on this interesting Church Father, writes 
as follows : 

" An honest, but credulous and narrow-minded The Character 
zealot for church orthodoxy, and notwithstanding the 
veneration in which he was held by episcopal colleagues, 
and still more in monastic circles, he was often found 
promoting divisions, where a more moderate course 
would have enabled him to maintain the peace of the 
churches. His violence of temper too often led him, 
especially in the Origenistic controversies, into an ill- 
considered and uncanonical line of conduct; and the 
narrow-minded spirit with which he was wont to deal 
with controverted questions contributed in no small 
degree to impose more and more oppressive fetters on 
the scientific [sic] theology of his times. . . . 

" His frequent journeys and exhaustive reading 
enabled him to collect a large but ill-arranged store of 
historical information, and this he used with mud) 
ingenuity in defending the church orthodoxy of his 

1 " Epiphanius of Salamis," in Smith and Wace s " Diet, of Christ. 

390 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

time, and opposing every kind of heresy. But as a 
man attached to dry literal formulas he exercised 
really very small influence on dogmatic theology, and 
his theological polemics were more distinguished by 
pious zeal than by impartial judgment and penetrating 
intelligence. He is fond of selecting single particulars, 
in which to exhibit the abominable nature of the 
errors he is combating. When one bears in mind that 
his whole life was occupied in the Origenistic contro 
versy, his refutation of the doctrine of the Alexandrian 
theologian is quite astonishingly superficial, a few 
meagre utterances detached from their context, and in 
part thoroughly misunderstood, is all that he has to 
give us by way of characterising the object of his 
detestation, and yet at the same time he boasted of 
having read no less than 6000 of Origen s works, a 
much larger number, as Kufinus remarks, than the man 
had written. His credulity allows the most absurd 
relations to be imposed upon it ; a heretic was capable 
of any abomination, nor did he think it at all necessary 
quietly to examine the charges made. . . . 
The Value of " The accounts he gives of the Jewish Christian and 

Gnostic sects . . . exhibit a marvellous mixture of 

valuable traditions with misunderstandings and fancies 
of his own. His pious zeal to excel all heresiologues 
who had gone before him, by completing the list of 
heretics, led him into the strangest misunderstandings, 
the most adventurous combinations, and arbitrary asser 
tions. He often frames out of very meagre hints long 
and special narratives. The strangest phenomena are 
combined with total absence of criticism, and things 
which evidently belonged together are arbitrarily 


separated. On the other hand, he often copies his 
authorities, with slavish dependence on them, and so 
puts it in the power of critical commentators to collect 
a rich abundance of genuine traditions from what 
seemed a worthless mass." 

Such is the impartial and judicious estimate of the 
value of Epiphanius for our own day which Lipsius, 
after many years of most careful study of the writings 
of this puzzling Church Father, gives us. For his 
contemporaries the Bishop of Constantia was a most 
excellent and pious defender of the Faith, and for 
future generations of the Church he was a saint who 
went about working wonders, the recital of which out- 
miracles even the marvels of the gospel-narratives. It 
is no part of our task to read the shade of Epiphanius 
a sermon on literary morality ; such a thing was not 
invented in his day in theological circles. We must 
take him as we find him, a profoundly interesting 
psychological study, and so make what we can out 
of his (from a critical standpoint) marvellously in 
structive heresiological patch-work. We thus leave the 
cult of Saint Epiphanius to those who may be benefited 
by it, and proceed to quote the most astonishing 
" logos " as Epiphanius himself would have called 
it had he found it in an earlier Father of this 
champion of Nicene orthodoxy and saint of Roman 

In treating of the Nazoraei, the Bishop of Salamis The Kiddle of 


enters into a long digression to prove that the state 
ment in Psalm cxxxii. 11 "The Lord hath sworn in 
truth unto David ; he will not turn from it, of the fruit 
of thy body will I set upon thy throne " is a Messianic 

$92 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

prophecy fulfilled in the person of Jesus. This, he says, 
is denied by some, but he will clearly show that it 
duly came to pass. He then proceeds with his argu 
ment as follows (" Hser., ; xxix. 3) : 

" Now the throne and kingly seat of David is the 
priestly office in Holy Church ; for the Lord combined 
the kingly and high-priestly dignities into one and the 
same office, and bestowed them upon His Holy Church, 
transferring to her the throne of David, which ceases 
not as long as the world endues. The throne of 
David continued by succession up to that time namely, 
till Christ Himself without any failure from the 
princes of Judah, until it came unto Him for whom 
were the things that are stored up/ who is Himself 
the expectation of the nations. l For with the advent 
of the Christ, the succession of the princes from Judah, 
who reigned until the Christ Himself, ceased. The 
order [of succession] failed and stopped at the time 
when He was born in Bethlehem of Judyea, in the days 
of Alexander, who was of high-priestly and royal race ; 
and after this Alexander this lot failed, from the times 
of himself and Salina, who is also called Alexandra, for 
the times of Herod the King and Augustus Emperor 
of the Eomans ; and this Alexander, one of the anointed 
(or Christs) and ruling princes placed the crown on his 
own head. . . . After this a foreign king, Herod, and 

1 These quotations of Epiphanius refer to the Septuagint 
translation of Genesis xlix. 10, which, however, the Authorized 
Version renders : " The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, 
nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come ; and 
unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Here 
" Shiloh " stands for " the things stored up," and " gathering " 
for " expectation." 


those who were no longer of the family of David, 
assumed the crown." l 

This passage is perhaps the most remarkable in the The Most 
whole range of Patristic literature; it might very Passage In 
well be called the " Eiddle of Epiphanius " par excellence, Literature 
for it is the most enigmatic of all his puzzles. It is 
remarkable for many reasons, but most of all because 
no Father has given more minute indications of the 
date of Jesus, according to canonical data helped out 
by his own most positive assertions, than Epiphanius. 
Nevertheless here we have the Bishop of Salamis 
categorically asserting, with detailed reiteration, so that 
there is no possibility of escape, that Jesus was born 
in the days of Alexander and Salina, that is of Jannai 
and Salome ; not only so, but he would have it that it 
needs must have been so, in order that prophecy, and 
prophecy of the most solemn nature, should be fulfilled 
that there should be no break in the succession of 
princes from the tribe of Judah, as it had been written. 
There is no possible way of extricating ourselves 
from the crushing weight of the incongruity of this 
statement of Epiphanius by trying to emend the 
reading of the text; for not only does the whole 
subject of his argument demand such a statement, 

1 I use the most recent text of W. Dindorf (Leipzig ; 1859-1862), 
who took as the groundwork of his edition the valuable and 
hitherto unused MS. in St. Mark s Library at Venice (Codex 
Marcianus 125), which is dated 1057 A.D. The MS. contains a 
much more original text than any of those previously used for our 
printed editions, the oldest MS. previously employed bearing date 
1304 A.D. As Lipsius says : " With its help not only are we 
enabled to correct innumerable corruptions and arbitrary altera 
tions of text made by later writers, but also to fill up numerous 
and very considerable lacunae." 

394 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

but he supports it by a number of subsidiary asser 

Patent Errors It is hardly necessary to point out that the Bishop of 
Salamis is in error as to the continuity of the kingly 
line from Judah, and as to the cessation of the kingly 
and high-priestly office with Janmeus. The priestly line 
had no connection with Judah, and the line of kings 
had long ceased, before the Hasinonaean Aristobulus, 
who was of priestly descent and not of Judah, assumed 
the crown in 105 B.C. ; he did not succeed to it. 
Jannseus also assumed the high-priestly office. On the 
death of Jannseus, Alexandra became regent, and sub 
sequently her sons Hyrcanus II. and Aristobulus II. 
enjoyed in succession the combined kingly and high- 
priestly dignities. 

When, moreover. Epiphanius says that Alexander 
placed the crown on his own head, we are at a loss to 
understand him; some MSS., however, read "his" 
simply and not " his own " head, and this would mean, 
presumably, that Alexander placed the crown on the 
head of Jesus ; that is to say, at his death the succession 
passed to Jesus. 

The Silence So much for this part of Epiphanius argument ; but 
mentators. what of his extraordinary assertion that Jesus lived in 
the days of Jannai ? So far, apparently, no commentator 
has been able to make anything out of it. The learned 
Jesuit Dionysius Petavius (Petau) in the second edition 
of Epiphanius (Paris ; 1622) whose notes have been 
added to every subsequent edition of this Father, can 
make nothing of this "ghastly anachronism," as he 
calls it. He tries to arrive at a solution by transposing 
some of the sentences, but when he has done this, he 


honestly confesses that he has no confidence in his 
attempt, for he finds precisely the same " confusion of 
history" repeated by Epiphanius in another passage. 
Indeed, so far I have been able to discover no commen 
tator who has grappled with this Eiddle of Epiphanius. 
They all leave it without remark where Petavius aban 
doned it in despair. Even " the valuable contributions 
to the criticism and exegesis of the Panarion," as Lipsius 
calls them, added to (Ehler s edition 1 by Albert Jahn, 
breathe no word on the matter ; while, as far as I am 
aware, Lipsius himself has not referred to the subject. 

Petavius honestly admits that his attempted emenda- Epiphanius 

on the 

tion of the text by a transposition of several of the Canonical 

sentences is perfectly illegitimate, for he has to reckon 

with precisely the same statement repeated further on 

in the voluminous writings of the worthy Bishop. 

In treating of the Alogi, who rejected the fourth 

Gospel, Epiphanius enters into a long discussion 

concerning the date of Jesus ("Hser.," li. 22 ff.). 

Without the slightest attempt at style or clarity, he 

piles together a mass of assertions to show that Jesus 

was born in the forty-second year of Augustus, " King " of 

the Romans ; not only so, but he knows the month and 

the day and the hour. Epiphanius apparently counts 

the " first year " of Augustus, that is of Octavi[an]us, from 

the date of the murder of Julius Caesar, 44 B.C., and 

therefore makes the date of the birth of Jesus fall in 

B.C. 2, when Octavian was consul for the thirteenth 

time with Sil[v]anus. This leaves Herod, who died in 

B.C. 4, out in the cold, and with him the murder of the 

1 In his "Corpus Haeresiologicum," vols ii., iii. (Berlin ; 1859- 

396 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

innocents and much else which the compiler of the 
first Gospel thought of importance ; but this does not 
seem to bother the Bishop of Salamis, for he appears to 
have no suspicion of the conclusions which can be 
drawn from his confident assertions. This, however, is 
a very minor point. 

Mystically In giving the age of Jesus at the beginning of the 
Numbers! ministry as thirty years, Epiphanius follows evangelical 
precedent, but he adds a remark that is not without 
significance (" Haer.," li. 23). " It is because of this," x 
he continues, " that the former heresies which grouped 
themselves round Valentinus and others fell to pieces ; 
these set forth their thirty aeons in mythologic fashion, 
thinking that they conformed to the years of Jesus." 
There are those who would be inclined to argue the 
very opposite ; but this need not detain us, except to 
remark that Epiphanius, after adding the further precise 
number " three " for the years of the ministry, uses a 
two-edged sword when he proceeds to say : 

" For it is in the thirty -third year of His advent in 
the flesh that the passion of the Alone-begotten 
conies to pass, of Him who is the impassible Logos 
from above, but who took on flesh to surfer on our 
behalf, in order that He might blot out the writing 
of Death against us." 2 

Epiphanius In the midst of these categorical assertions the 
Riddle hW Bi sn P f Salamis in a most confused paragraph 
writes : 

" From the time that Augustus became Emperor, for 

1 That is, the exact number of thirty years. 

2 Cf. " Coloss.," ii. 14 : " Blotting out the handwriting of 
ordinances that was against us." 


four years, more or less, from [the beginning of] his 
reign, there had been friendship between the Komans 
and Jews, and contributions of troops had been 
sent, and a governor appointed, and some portion 
of tribute paid to the Komans, until Judaea was made 
[entirely] subject and became tributary to them, its 
rulers having ceased from Judah, and Herod being 
appointed [as ruler] from the Gentiles, being a proselyte, 
however, and Christ being born in Bethlehem of Judaea, 
and coming for the preaching [of the Gospel], the 
anointed rulers from Judah and Aaron having ceased, 
after continuing until the anointed ruler Alexander 
and Salina who was also Alexandra ; in which days the 
prophecy of Jacob was fulfilled : A ruler shall not 
cease from Judah and a leader from his thighs, until he 
come for whom it is laid up, and he is the expectation 
of the nations l that is, the Lord who was born." 

We may conveniently omit any discussion of the " in Order 
precise dates of the various changes in the political t^FulfiTled^s 
relationship between Eoman and Jew; the point that it is Written." 
interests us is that Epiphanius repeats categorically 
his puzzling statement about Jannseus and Salome and 
the date of Jesus, and again brings this into the 
closest relation with what he regards as a most solemn 
prophecy and promise in " Genesis." There is no 
possible way of escape from the conclusion that 
Epiphanius is arguing most deliberately that the kingly 
and high-priestly offices were transferred immediately 
from Jannai to Jesus, so that there should be no 
break in the succession. 

1 Epiphanius quotes this with a different reading from his 
previous citation. 

398 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

This argument is historically absurd, as we have 
already seen ; we have now to consider whether there 
was any other reason in the strangely irrational mind of 
Epiphanius for this historicizing of a dogmatic specula 
tion, which he himself immediately contradicts by going 
into the most minute arguments to prove that Jesus was 
born at a date which was 77 years later than the death of 
Alexander. We will preface our enquiry by a quotation 
from a recent address 1 by Dr. James Drummond to the 
students of Manchester College, Oxford, in which 
Epiphanius is brought into court. 

Drummond " Justin Martyr tells us that when Christ was born 
in Bethlehem, Joseph, not having where to lodge in the 
village, lodged in a certain cave close to the village 
( Dial., Ixxviii.). It is therefore plausibly argued that 
his gospel was different from ours. But when we find the 
statement in Origen that agreeably to the history of 
his (Christ s) birth in the gospel, the cave in Bethlehem 
where he was born is pointed out ( C. Gels., i. 51), and 
learn that Epiphanius, in endeavouring to harmonise 
the accounts in Matthew and Luke, expressly affirms 
that * Luke says that the boy, as soon as he was born, 
was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lay in a manger 
and in a cave, because there was no room in the inn 
( Hser./ li. 9), we must view the argument quite 
differently, for that which would prove an absurdity, 
if applied to Origen and Epiphanius, cannot have any 
weight in its application to Justin. The fact seems to 
be that all alike rely upon a tradition that Christ was 
born in a cave, and assume that this is sufficiently 

1 " Remarks on the Art of Criticism in its Application to 
Theological Questions" (Manchester ; 1902). 


indicated by Luke s allusion to a manger, just as in 
modern times the same allusion leads to the supposition 
that the birth took place in a stable, the stable being 
really as foreign to the evangelical text as the 
cave." 1 

Whether Epiphanius in this was " endeavouring to The " Har- 
harmonise " Matthew and Luke is somewhat beside the imfuSr of 
point, for Matthew has nothing about swaddling clothes, 
manger or inn, while Luke (ii. 7) says : " She brought 
forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling 
clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no 
room for them in the inn." What is clear is that 
Epiphanius was seeking to " harmonise " Luke with a 
very ancient tradition which he (Epiphanius) could not 
afford to disregard, and in order to effect his " harmony " 
he has no hesitation in roundly declaring that Luke 
states that the manger was in a cave. 2 

From this and from other instances we see that the 
Bishop of Salamis sought to dispose of ancient extra- 
canonical traditions by boldly incorporating them with 
canonical data, and in so doing he had not the slightest 
hesitation roundly to assert that data derived from 

1 See, however, " Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew " (xiv.) : " Now on 
the third day after the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most 
blessed Mary went out of the cave, and, entering a stable, put her 
child in a manger, and the ox and ass adored him." 

2 The " cave " tradition is also preserved in the apocryphal " Gospel 
of Jarnes " (c. xviii.), and in the " Gospel of Pseudo- Matthew " (c. 
xiii.), and in the Arabic " Gospel of the Infancy " (c. iii). It is still an 
open question whether or not the " originals " of these Gospels may 
have been of an early date, in fact, whether they may not have been 
included among the "many" of the introduction to the third 
canonical Gospel. They were doubtless edited, re-edited and 
transformed, but some of their elements seem to be ancient. 



His Magnifi 
cent Incon 

ancient traditions, but not found in canonical scripture, 
were actually part and parcel of the orthodox evan 
gelical record. This was his way of disposing of incon 
venient early traditions to which, we must suppose, even 
in his day, a wide circulation was still given. 

Can it then be that Epiphanius did not invent this 
astonishing statement as to the birth of Jesus in the 
days of Jannseus, but that he is simply carrying out his 
plan of weaving inconvenient data into an orthodox tex 
ture ? I have little doubt myself that this is the case. 
But think of the magnificent inconsistency of the thing ; 
try to imagine the state of mind that could seriously 
weave together those gorgeous incongruities ! Truly a 
heavy retribution for those who developed the " in order 
that it might be fulfilled " theory of history. Epiphanius 
is dazzled with his own exegesis of prophecy ; the 
Church was the legitimate heiress of the royal and high- 
priestly dignities of Jewry, bequeathed to her by Jesus 
Himself ! A brilliant idea had come to him, and he 
would work it out for the greater glory of the Church. 
He accordingly sets out to argue the unbroken line of 
succession of the princes from Judah, in the face of all 
history, for the Hasmonsean or Maccabsean dynasty was 
not from Judah at all, since Mattathias himself was the 
son of John, a priest of the order of Joarib, and long 
before then the kingly line had ceased. Why, then, 
if the Bishop of Salamis can so easily set the plainest 
facts of history aside in support of his theory, should 
he hesitate to have brought down the combined offices 
to the days of Herod, for Herod made the Hasmonsean 
Aristobulus III. high priest about 36 B.C., and this 
might have given Epiphanius a chance to argue that 


Aristobulus was really the legitimate king and priest 
combined, Herod being an upstart ? 

Why should Epiphanius have hit on Alexander, of all 
people in the world, as the person to whom Jesus suc 
ceeded in these combined offices ? True it is that 
Alexander as a historical fact did combine these offices 
in his own person, but so did his son Hyrcanus II. in 67 
B.C., from whom subsequently his brother Aristobulus II. 
wrested the titles, until in 63 Pompey constituted Syria 
a Eoman province, leaving Judaea, Galilee and Persea to 
the restored high priest Hyrcanus in subordination to 
the governor of the province, while he took Aristobulus 
and his children with him to Rome. Revolt followed 
on revolt in favour of the Maccabsean dynasty, but the 
hopes of Jewish patriotism were finally put an end to 
by the elevation of the Idumsean Herod to the kingly 
dignity in 37 B.C., and Herod made it his business to wipe 
out the remaining male descendants of the Hasmonsean 
princes, and finally succeeded in his task of extermina 
tion about 25 B.C., when he put to death the sons of Baba. 

Turn the matter over as one will, there seems no 
escape from the conclusion that there was some other 
deciding factor in the mind of Epiphanius besides the 
simple fascination of his dogmatic theory, strong as 
that was. It would seem that the Bishop of Salamis 
was overjoyed to find that he could kill two birds with 
one stone, enhance the glory of the Church, and slay 
an ancient foe who had greatly inconvenienced him in the 
past. This ancient foe was the tradition that Jesus had 
lived in the days of Jannai ; it was this inconvenient 
tradition which Epiphanius thought to dispose of by 

working it into his dogmatic theory and elaborating it 


402 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

in historic terms. The horrible incongruity of his 
statements does not seem to have in the least disturbed 
the self-complacency of the Church Father ; least of all 
does he seem to have had any suspicion that he was 
handing on to posterity the very thing which he desired 
to slay once for all. 

Whence, then, did Epiphanius derive this tradition ? 
It might be argued that he got it from the " Essenes," 
or from some other of the allied communities with 
which he had come into contact. But of this we 
cannot be sure, for we have no precise data upon which 
we can go. This much, however, we may say with 
confidence, it derived originally from Jewish sources, 
and formed no part of the tradition based on the 
Hellenized Christianity of Paul and the Evangelists. 
Indeed, we have already seen that this is not the only 
instance in which Epiphanius has treated Jewish 
tradition with a similar subtlety of finesse. 

Epiphanius Our great heresiologue is arguing against those who 
"Histories." venture to assert, as indeed they must if they follow 
the clear statements of the Evangelists, that Mary had 
other children besides Jesus. He says (" Hser.," Ixxviii. 7) 
that such an assertion is due to the ignorance of those 
who are not acquainted with the Holy Scriptures and 
who have not studied the " Histories." The truth of the 
matter is that the Virgin was given to Joseph, because 
the lot so fell out, referring presumably to the story 
preserved in the apocryphal " Gospel of James " and else 
where. 1 She was not given to Joseph to wife in the 

1 " Gospel of James," ix. ; " Gospel of Pseudo- Matthew," viii. ; 
" Gospel of the Nativity of Mary," viii. ; " History of Joseph the 
Carpenter," iv. 


ordinary sense, for he was a widower and of extreme 
old age. It was " on account of the law," whatever that 
may mean, that he was called her husband. For 
11 according to the succession from the tradition of the 
Jews," it is proved that the Virgin was not given to 
Joseph for the ordinary purpose of marriage, but in 
order that she might be kept for the testimony of the 
future, that " the dispensation of His advent in the flesh 
was not [a] bastard [birth]." For how, Epiphanius 
goes on to say, could a man of such great age (as he 
assumes Joseph to have been) have a virgin to wife, 
after he had been so many years a widower ? For this 
Joseph was the brother of Clophas, and son of Jacob 
surnamed Panther. Both of these were sons of this 

Now it is to be observed in the first place that The 

, . i . T ,. ,i P , . . "Succession 

Lpiphamus distinctly refers to a certain " succession f rom the 
from the tradition of the Jews," that is to say, 
apparently a tradition handed on from generation to 
generation to his own time, and afterwards he asserts 
that this tradition proves that Mary was legally 
married to Joseph, in order that there might be no 
charge of bastardy with regard to the miraculously- 
born Jesus. Whereas we know on the contrary that 
this was what the Jewish Pandera tradition did not 
state, but the very opposite. The Bishop of Salamis is 
arguing against the accusation of bastardy, and meets 
the charge with his usual boldness by invoking as wit 
nesses on his side the very sources which make most 
directly against his assertion. Nor can there be any 
escape from this, for immediately afterwards he dex- 
trously inserts Panther (Pandera) into the genealogy of 

404 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

Jesus on the father s side ; and here it is interesting to 
observe that, as Joseph is said to have been very old, 1 
say some eighty years, and that Joseph was son of 
Panther, Panther is to be placed about 100 B.C. 
The Children Epiphanius, then, beyond all question knows of the 
Jewish traditions concerning Jesus; he knows of the 
name Ben Pandera and also of the Mamzer legends. 
But this is not all, for, in arguing for the perpetual 
virginity of Mary, he goes on to tell us, that Joseph 
had six children by his first wife, four sons and 
two daughters, and the former were the " brethren " 
mentioned in the Gospels. The eldest son was called 
Jacob, otherwise Oblias (sic), who was a Nazorsean (he 
means Nazir), commonly called the " brother of the 
Lord." He was the first Christian bishop. This son 
Joseph begat when he was forty years of age, and after 
him were born Jose, Simeon and Judas, and two 
daughters Maria and Salome. 2 

James. If Joseph had been a widower so many years before 
he married the Virgin as to make Epiphanius exclaim 
over their number, we must suppose that his widow 
hood dated from about his fiftieth year, and that 
perhaps he was eighty when he entered on his second 
purely legal nuptials. This would make Jacob some 
forty years old at the time of the birth of Jesus accord 
ing to the common reckoning (B.C. 4), and one hundred 

1 Cf. " History of Joseph the Carpenter," where Joseph is called 
" widower " (ii.), and " a pious old man " (iv., et passim), and where 
he is said to have been 111 years old when he died (v.). 

2 The " History of Joseph the Carpenter" gives these names as 
Judas, Justus, James and Simon, and the daughters as Assia and 
Lydia (ii.) ; and Assia is further mentioned as apparently the elder 
of the daughters (xx.). 


and seven years old when he was martyred by Jewish 
zealots in about 63 A.D., 1 a somewhat advanced age, 
even for a rigid ascetic. But it is unnecessary 
seriously to follow Epiphanius in his wild assertions in 
the interests of an ever-developing dogmatism. 

The point that interests us most deeply in his bold The Names 

, . , . , of the Sisters 

statement is the question of the names or these O f Jesus, 
supposed step-brothers and step-sisters of Jesus. Jacob, 
Joseph, Simeon and Judas are all common enough 
Jewish names, and so are Miriam and Salome. But 
Epiphanius seems to be up to his tricks again and to 
have worked the names of Mary and Salome into the 
family of Joseph, just as he has worked Pandera into 
the genealogy of Jesus. For while we can find some 
data in the canonical records which may enable us to 
conjecture some reason for Epiphanius bringing forward 
Jacob, Joseph (Jose), Simeon and Judas, as names of 
lt brethren of the Lord," there is nothing to warrant 
his introduction of the names of Maria and Salome. 

Salome is only mentioned (" Mk.," xv. 40) as a woman Salome and 
present at the crucifixion, and afterwards (" Mk.," xvi. 1) 
as a visitor to the sepulchre. " Nothing else is known 
of her, though there are many conjectures, of which 
the principal is that she was a sister of Mary, the 
mother of Jesus. In support of this view may be cited 
a reading of the Peshitta version of Jos. xix. 25 (vf. also 
the Jerus. Syr. lectionary), and a presumptive unlikeli 
hood, on account of the similarity of names, that Mary 
the wife of Clopas was a sister of the mother of Jesus." 2 

1 See Cone s art. " James " in " Enc. Bib." 

2 See Moss art. "Salome" in Hastings "Dictionary of the 

406 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

In the " Gospel of James " (xix.), however, Salome is 
the name of the midwife who delivered Mary ; while in 
the "Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew " there are two midwives, 
Zelomi and Salome (evidently a double). " The Gospel 
of Pseudo- Matthew " (xlii.) also contains the following 
interesting passage : " Now when Joseph came to a 
feast with his sons, James, Joseph, and Judah, and 
Simeon, and his two daughters, Jesus and Mary, his 
mother, met them, together with her sister Mary the 
daughter of Cleophas, whom the Lord God gave to 
Cleophas her father and Anna her mother because they 
had offered to the Lord Mary the mother of Jesus." 
One might almost fancy that a twin of Epiphanius had 
had a hand in the redaction. 

Salome and Q n the other hand we have seen that in the Jewish 
legends, based on earlier tradition, Miriam the mother 
is said to have been related to Helene (Salome), and 
we know that Simeon (ben Shetach) was the brother 
of Salome (Alexandra). Can it then be that here again 
Epiphanius is influenced by Jewish tradition ? If so, it 
would be a strong confirmation of our hypothesis with 
regard to the Helene puzzle, for here in Epiphanius we 
find that the name Salome appears undisguised. 
Epiphanius a It thus is not only certain that Epiphanius was 
jew. acquainted with such main factors of Jewish tradition 

with regard to Jesus as the by-name Ben Pandera and 
the 100 years B.C. date, but it also appears probable 
that he was acquainted with the other details. Nor is 
this surprising, for not only did Epiphanius know some 
Hebrew, 1 but he also spoke Aramaic or Syriac. More- 

1 Though not as much as he had the credit of knowing. " His 
learning was much celebrated," says Lipsius ; " he was said to have 


over, he was a Jew by birth, and his parents remained 
faithful to the Law till the day of their death. 1 He 
was born in Palestine at Eleutheropolis, and was con 
verted in early youth to Christianity. The exact date 
of his birth is unknown, but may be conjecturally 
placed about 315 A.D. After spending some years 
among the monks of Egypt, Epiphanius, who was still 
only a youth of twenty, returned home, and founded a 
monastery near Besanduke, over which he presided 
until elected to the see of Constantia in Cyprus in 
367 A. D. He thus spent no less than fifteen years of his 
boyhood and thirty-two years (335-367) of his manhood 
in Palestine, with which indeed he was closely con 
nected till the end of his long life in 403. 

Everything, therefore, is in favour of his being The Living 
acquainted with the Jewish traditions concerning Jesus, 
and we may be confident that the sources of these very 
curious scraps of information, dropped in the course of 
his indiscriminate and indiscreet polemic, are the same 
as those from which the Talmud compilers and Toldoth 
writers drew the living oral tradition of Jewry. 

But before finally leaving this very interesting but 
impolitic champion of Church orthodoxy, we must bring 
forward another passage from Epiphanius, which, though 
having no immediate bearing on our subject, is of the 
greatest possible importance for the critical study of 
Christian origins. 

spoken four languages, Hebrew, Syriac, Egyptian, Greek, and 
also a little Latin, for which Rufinus satirised him with the 
remark that he thought it his duty as an evangelist to speak evil 
of Origen, among all nations in all tongues." Art. sup. cit. 
1 Photius, " Bibliothcca," cod. cxxiv. 

408 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

We have already stated that all the editions of the 
" Panarion " prior to that of Dindorf were based on MSS. 
which had been greatly bowdlerized and "emended." 
The very early Codex Marcianus 125, however, has 
enabled us to correct much of this " emendation " and 
to supply many very important lacunae. The following 
is one of the censured passages (" Hser.," li. 22). 

The Birthday The Saviour was born in the forty-second year of 
of the Christ. 

Augustus, King of the Eomans, in the consulship of 

the same Octavi[an]us Augustus (for the thirteenth 
time) and of Sil[v]anus, according to the consular 
calendar among the Eomans. For it is recorded in 
it as follows: When these were consuls (I mean 
Octavi[an]us for the thirteenth time and Sil[v]anus), 
Christ was born on the sixth day of January after thir 
teen days of the winter solstice and of the increase of 
the light and day. This day [of the solstice] the Greeks, 
I mean the Idolaters, celebrate on the twenty-fifth day 
of December, a feast called Saturnalia among the 
Komans, Kronia among the Egyptians, and Kikellia 
among the Alexandrians. 1 For on the twenty- fifth day of 
December the division takes place which is the solstice, 
and the day begins to lengthen its light, receiving an 
increase, and there are thirteen days of it up to the sixth 
day of January, until the day of the birth of Christ (a 
thirtieth of an hour being added to each day), as the 
wise Ephraim among the Syrians bore witness by this 
inspired passage (logos} in his commentaries, where he 
says : The advent of our Lord Jesus Christ was thus 

1 Epiphanius presumably means that it was called Kronia by 
the Greeks, Saturnalia by the Romans, and Kikellia by the 
Egyptians, or, at any rate, by the Alexandrians. 


appointed : [first] his birth according to the flesh, then 
his perfect incarnation among men, which is called 
Epiphany, at a distance of thirteen days from the 
increase of the light ; for it needs must have been that 
this should be a figure of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself 
and of His twelve disciples, who made up the number 
of the thirteen days of the increase of the light. 

" How many other things in the past and present sup- The Cruci 
fixion and 
port and bear witness to this proposition, I mean the Resurrection 

birth of Christ ! Indeed, the leaders of the idol-cults, M y ster y Rite - 
filled with wiles to deceive the idol-worshippers who 
believe in them, in many places keep highest festival on 
this same night of Epiphany, so that they whose hopes 
are in error may not seek the truth. For instance, at 
Alexandria, in the Koreion * as it is called an immense 
temple that is to say, the Precinct of the Virgin ; after 
they have kept all-night vigil with songs and music, 
chanting to their idol, when the vigil is over, at cock 
crow, they descend with lights into an underground 
crypt, and carry up a wooden image lying naked on a 
litter, with the seal of a cross made in gold on its fore 
head, and on either hand two other similar seals, and 
on both knees two others, all five seals being similarly 
made in gold. And they carry round the image itself, 
circumambulating seven times the innermost temple, 
to the accompaniment of pipes, tabors and hymns, and 
with merry-making they carry it down again under 
ground. And if they are asked the meaning of this 

1 That is the temple of Kore. This can hardly be the temple of 
Persephone, as Dindorf (iii. 729) suggests, but is rather the temple 
of Isis, who in one of the treatises of the Trismegistic literature jf? 
cabled the World -Maiden, 

410 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

mystery, they answer and say : To-day at this hour 
the Maiden (Kore), that is, the Virgin, gave birth to the 

" In the city of Petra also the metropolis of Arabia 
which is called Edom in the Scriptures the same is 
done, and they sing the praises of the Virgin in the 
Arab tongue, calling her in Arabic Chaamou, that is, 
Maiden (Kore), and the Virgin, and him who is born 
from her Dusares, that is, Alone-begotten (monogenes) of 
the Lord. This also takes place in the city of Elousa 
[? Eleusis] 1 on the same night just as at Petra and at 

"Plagiarism Here again Epiphanius, to prove a dogmatic point 
tion." K and display his learning, lets a most important fact 
escape him. We have read many speculative opinions 
on the symbolic rite of " crucifixion " and the " resurrec 
tion from the dead," but have never seen this striking 
passage of Epiphanius quoted in this connection. Here 
we have a definite statement that one of the most wide 
spread mystic festivals of the ancients was connected 
with a rite of "resurrection," and that in Egypt the 
one who was " raised from the dead," and returned 
from the underworld or Hades, was sealed with five 
mystic crosses on forehead, hands and knees (? feet). 
This symbolic rite represented a macrocosmic mystery, 
Epiphanius tells us ; but was there not also an analogous 
microcosmic mystery ? And if so, must it not have 
been familiar to all those mystic schools and com 
munities, Essene, Therapeut, Hermetic and Gnostic, 
which are so inextricably interwoven with nascent Chris- 

1 The only Elousa I can discover was a small place in 


tianity ? Do we not meet with innumerable references 
to the mystic " again-rising from the dead " among the 
Gnostic circles ; do we not also possess long quotations 
from one of their esoteric writings which finds the 
closest analogies with this central mystery of man 
regenerate in all the mystery-rites of antiquity? Do 
we not further possess the ritual of a very early 
Christian mystery-drama, or form of initiation, in 
which " the things done " closely resembled that of 
the passion the crucifixion ? 1 

We need hardly direct the attention of the observant Farewell to 
reader to the aplomb with which Epiphanius categori- E P i P banius - 
cally asserts that the exact record of the birth of Jesus 
was to be found in the official Eoman Fasti ; this may 
be well paralleled by the like assertion of Justin that 
the trial of Jesus was to be found in the official Acts 
of Pilate. The wish was father to the thought, and 
there is an end of it. But may there not be some 
further reason for Epiphanius making so much of this 
Epiphany ? Can it be that the similarity between it 
and his own Gentile name, Epiphanius, may have 
nattered the vanity of our pious but credulous heresio- 
logue ? Who knows ? 

Distracting, therefore, as the Bishop of Salamis is for 
the student of history, he occasionally lets fall a scrap 
of information which is of greater value than anything 
we can procure from other and more sober sources. 
And so in concluding our review of some of those 
" blunders " of his, we thank him for his over-zeal, and 
forgive him his total lack of historical honesty. 

1 See my " Fragments of a Faith Forgotten," " The Naaseni," pp. 
198-206, and " The Acts of John," pp. 426-444. 

412 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Was Jesus in As we have frequently referred to the Apocryphal 
t(?30 B P c.T Gospels, or " Histories," as Epiphanius prefers to call 
them, it might be opportune to append in this place a 
curious passage from the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. 
The form in which we now have this Gospel is of 
course very late, but it frequently works up ancient 

In the middle portion of this apocryphon, which pro 
fesses to give a detailed story of what happened to the 
Holy Family during their three years sojourn in Egypt, 
ch. xxv. reads as follows : 

"Thence they went down to Memphis, and having 
seen Pharaoh, they staid three years in Egypt ; and 
the Lord Jesus wrought very many miracles in Egypt, 
which are not found written either in the Gospel of the 
Infancy or in the Perfect Gospel." 

Now the last of the Pharaohs was Cleopatra, whose 
tragic death occurred in B.C. 30. There is just the 
faintest possibility that this detail may have been 
taken from some ancient source ; but on the face of it, 
it seems to be the story-telling of some imaginative 
monk, following out his normal association of ideas 
(Egypt-Pharaoh), the na ive adornment of a tale. 

If, however, as some think, this Gospel came from 
Coptic circles, then the possibilities of our first hypo 
thesis would be slightly increased, for dwellers in Egypt 
might be supposed to hand on local tradition, even while 
transforming it out of all recognition. But who can 
recognize with any certainty the flotsam and jetsam 
from the shipwreck of history that may have come into 
the hands of late legend-makers ? 


WE have now reached the end of our enquiry, and look A Retrospect, 
back upon our labours with mingled feelings of thank 
fulness that they are temporarily ended, and of regret 
that the nature of the subject throughout has been such 
that, even with the best will in the world, we cannot 
have avoided giving offence to many who will never 
trouble themselves to reflect that an excavator in 
religious antiquity cannot justly be held to be re 
sponsible for the nature of the objects he unearths from 
the debris of the buried past. But apart from this, it is 
somewhat a thankless task to find oneself compelled 
to add to the already enormous mass of difficulties 
which confront the student of Christian origins, rather 
than to help in diminishing them. For we can hardly 
hope that any but the few will be optimistic enough 
to have confidence that the very increasing of the 
difficulties is the surest way of hastening the day when 
some more potent means of removing them will be 

As we said at the outset, most Christians, whether 
they be unlearned or learned, will not hesitate for one 
instant to answer the amazing question: Did Jesus 
live 100 B.C. ? with an indignant No. We shall, there- 

414 BID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

fore, have accomplished as much as we can reasonably 
hope for, if an impartial consideration of the evidence 
should persuade the reader that some cause has been 
shown why the asking of such a question should not as 
a matter of course be impatiently condemned on sight 
as the fantastic conceit of a disordered mind. 

A Legitimate For, in the first place, we hope to have shown that 
Criticism. the question is not of our own devising, but that, on the 
contrary, it arises as a legitimate subject of criticism 
out of an impartial enquiry into what appears to be one 
of the most persistent elements of Jewish tradition con 
cerning Jesus. We do not come forward with some 
wild theory of our own maliciously to vex the souls of 
those who naturally hold loyally to the thing they have 
grown used to in Christian canonical tradition ; we 
simply point to the existence, and what we consider we 
have shown to be the persistence, of an entirely contra 
dictory tradition held tenaciously for many centuries by 
the fellow-countrymen of Jesus. We have not the 
temerity to presume to decide offhand between those 
ancient oppositions, but simply show that they exist, 
and venture to think that they require further investi 

A Question The argument with regard to the persistency of the 
Scholarship. 100 B - c - date of Jesus is, of course, primarily addressed 
to Jewish scholars, and is put forward in the hope of 
drawing attention to Krauss treatment of the subject, 
which cannot be held to be flattering to the pride of 
Israel in its traditions. Krauss has practically aban 
doned the field without a struggle ; he categorically re 
jects the Jannai date, and tacitly accepts throughout 
his essay the entire validity of the Christian tradition of 


the Pilate date, and in this he is supported, as far as I 
can discover, by the vast majority of modern Jewish 
scholars who treat of Christian beginnings. 

As opposed to Krauss, who throughout his whole 
argument keeps the inconvenient factor of the Jannai 
date as much as possible out of the way, we have en 
deavoured to show that an analysis of Talmud passages 
and the Toldoth forms produces the impression that the 
100 B.C. date element goes back to the floating mass of 
tradition from which both Talmud and Toldoth drew, 
and reveals this date as a persistent obsession which 
even the most glaring contradictions of both Talmud 
and Toldoth could never oust from its secure asylum in 
the national consciousness of Jewry. 

Moreover, our enquiry into a number of problems 
connected with Christian origins seems to point to a 
field of investigation which appears likely to strengthen 
rather than weaken the possibility of a new considera 
tion of Israel s reminiscences, from a point of view 
that should make Jewish scholars hesitate before they 
entirely abandon without a struggle what appears to 
be one of the fundamentals of their Jesus tradition, 
although they may in courtesy very well regret some 
of the thought-images in which part of this tradition 
has been clothed. 

Nor can Jewish scholarship very wisely ignore the Its Import- 
problem now that Krauss has brought it again pro- Jewish 1 
minently into the arena of apologetics, in the train of A polg et ics. 
his motley assembly of sources for his " Life of Jesus " 
according to Jewish tradition. It is true that Krauss 
has placed the Jannai date well in the background as 
one of the most disreputable figures in the procession ; 

416 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

but it can hardly be expected that the majority of 
Jewish scholars will agree with Krauss without a 
further thoroughgoing enquiry, and be content to keep 
permanently in the background a factor of tradition 
which seems beyond all others to be the natural 
leader of the band. For there can be no doubt that if, 
from a thoroughgoing investigation of the subject, it 
could be shown that the Jannai date threw light on 
many obscure problems, the whole subject of Jewish 
apologetics would be enormously facilitated, and Jewish 
tradition would assume an importance for the study of 
Christian origins that would concentrate the attention 
of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century upon 
the Talmud and its allied literature. 

If, on the contrary, Jewish scholars find themselves 
compelled to abandon their tradition in this respect, 
what hope can they have that the " treasure " which 
the Israelites have guarded with their lives for so many 
centuries, will in other respects be regarded by the 
thinking world as worthy of very serious attention ? 
They may rather expect to be for ever confronted with 
the retort : Ex uno disce omnes ! 

The Bona J n the Talmud we have a collection of Jewish tradi- 
Talmud. tions compiled after the rise of Christianity, compiled 
during the very centuries when the new Faith was most 
strenuously fighting its way to the position of becoming 
the General Faith of the Western world ; herein we have 
the record of the national life, of the hopes and fears of 
the people amongst whom especially Christianity came 
to birth ; what greater test of the reliability and bona 
fides of the Talmud could there be, therefore, than the 
tradition which it contains concerning Jesus ? 


If, then, Jewish scholarship should find itself com 
pelled to abandon so prominent a feature of this 
tradition as the Jannai date, and to accept the Christian 
canonical tradition in this respect, it is difficult to see 
how the Talmud can be considered anything but a 
blind guide on the subject which of all others in it most 
profoundly interests the Western world. 

If, on the contrary, as some of my Jewish friends A Line of 
contend, the Life of Jesus, as set forth in elaborate 
detail by the later Evangelists, came as a complete 
surprise to the contemporary Eabbis, who possessed 
nothing but the most meagre traditions of their ancient 
colleague vague reminiscences, such as that it all 
happened a long time ago, perhaps when Jannai was 
king, that there was some heresy or other started by a 
Jeschu who had learned wonder-doings and other things 
in Egypt, and who was put to death for misleading the 
people then the Jews would seem to possess a largely 
extended ground of apology and justification for the 
rejection of what they already consider, even when 
they accept the Christian canonical date, to be for the 
most part a pseudo-historical setting of what was 
largely a dogmatic development. 

It is true that even when accepting the Christian The Method 
canonical date, the Jewish apologist can still argue 
that most of the Talmud Jesus stories may be accounted 
for as the " historicizing " or " legendarizing " of later 
doctrinal controversies, which may be set over against a 
similar " historicizing " of doctrinal formulas and dogmas 
in the Christian tradition; such, he might argue, was 
the common method of the religious mind of the time, 
and no one regarded it as a falsification of history ; it 


418 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

was understood as a legitimate method by all haggada- 
compilers, religious controversialists and writers for 
edification ; they wrote with strong religious emotion, and 
this emotion gave them consent ; saving and living ideas, 
not the dead facts of an uncertain past, were their main 
interest. It is true that this method has long passed 
out of fashion, and that to-day it is the exact antipodes 
of the scientific precision of fact we demand in all such 
matters in the twentieth century ; but it seems only 
just to remember that in endeavouring to appreciate 
the value of the evidence on either side, we have no 
right to condemn one side more than the other for its 
unhistorical forms, seeing that for the most part both 
used essentially similar methods for supporting their 
contentions, the actual facts of history being frequently 
set on one side or transformed the instant any doctrinal 
point became endangered by them. 

TheJannai All this can be fairly argued with regard to many 
points which have arisen in our enquiry ; but we must 
confess that the Jannai date is very difficult to explain 
in this way. There is a something peculiar about it 
which is somewhat fascinating. 

If we are told that Jesus lived in the days of 
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not so astonished ; for experi 
ence in contemporary apocalyptic and pseudepigraphic 
literature teaches us that Nebuchadnezzar is clearly 
a substitute for some other name. If even we are told 
that Akiba, one of the most famous of anti-Christian 
controversialists, at the beginning of the second century 
A.D. calls on Mary to witness to the illegitimacy of 
Jesus, we can understand that this is a pure device of 
haggadic polemical rhetoric, but when we are told that 


Jeschu was the disciple of Joshua ben Perachiah and 
lived in the days of Jannai, and find this date element 
cropping up again and again in many guises in Jewish 
tradition, we fail to find a satisfactory explanation 
in either of the above canons of exegesis. 

It all seems so senseless, so useless ; if it was untrue, Its Apparent 

, , ., ., , -,- ., ,, Senselessness. 

what purpose could it possibly serve ? If it was the 
truth, why did not the Eabbis invariably put it in the 
forefront of all their polemics, and bend all their 
energies on making their tradition consistent, even as 
the Christians devoted all theirs to making their story 
uniform ? But this is just what we do not find ; there 
is not a single word on the Christian side to show that 
the Eabbis ever argued that the Christian tradition was 
one hundred years out ; no early writer, no Church 
Father (if we except Epiphanius, who only does so in 
directly), breathes a word of such a terrific indictment 
of the fundamental historicity of the Christian tradition. 
Whatever we learn of the controversy from the Chris 
tian side, it all seems to show that the Eabbis spent all 
their energies on combatting dogmas such as the virgin- 
birth, the divinity of Jesus, the Messiah claim, etc. It 
is true that Celsus categorically accuses the Christians 
of continually altering the Gospel history to suit 
dogmatic considerations ; but is it credible that the 
Eabbis could have had so potent a weapon in their 
hands as an ancient and authentic tradition that Jesus 
lived 100 B.C., and yet have refrained from using it on 
every occasion ? 

It might, of course, be argued that this was not The Seeming 

Silence of the 

necessary in the first century ; the controversy then Rabbis. 
was simply with the Pauline view, in which there was a 

420 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

minimum of history and a maximum of opposition to 
Jewish legalism, and it was the latter which engaged 
the whole attention of the Kabbis. It might be said 
that the contest in that century was, so to say, a combat 
not of haggadoth but of halaclwtJi \ as far as popular 
Christianity was concerned, there were simply collec 
tions of sayings and such mystical forms of doctrine as 
those with which Paul was familiar and in which history 
played hardly any part. But even so, when later on 
the Jesus liaggadoth began to take ever more and more 
definite shape and the present Gospel narratives came 
to birth, why, if the Eabbis had in their hands a 
reliable tradition of the existence of Jesus 100 
years B.C., did they not employ it as their main weapon 
of controversy ? 

All the evidence seems to point to the fact that they 
did not generally do so, and, therefore, we are inclined 
to conclude that they could not have had any general 
confidence in their tradition ; and yet, on the other 
hand, it persisted among them, and did form an in 
convenient weapon of attack, as Epiphanius indirectly 
witnesses. It is, of course, a common experience to find 
what appears to the modern mind to be the main point 
in a great popular controversy obscured, and every 
possible subordinate consideration taking precedence of 
it ; this is common to the imbecility of human nature. 
But it is just possible that in this special instance the 
mind of antiquity, in considering that the energies at 
work were of more importance than the forms in which 
they were clothed, was nearer the truth than ourselves 
when we make history and external facts the more im 
portant things, and subordinate the consideration of 


the forces behind the phenomena to a secondary 

However this may be, it is a fact that ever haunts The Strength 
the consciousness of the historian and gives it no peace, Christian 
that the most careful research cannot discover a scrap ^ 
of external evidence in the first century that witnesses 
to the existence of Jesus, much less to the stupendously 
marvellous physical doings which the Gospel writers 
relate of him. 

On the contrary, it is almost impossible to believe 
that these detailed and circumstantial narratives even 
when shorn of every " miraculous " element to suit the 
preconceptions of extreme rationalists could have been 
evolved entirely from the inner consciousness of 
Christian scribism ; and, if there be any element in the 
whole narrative which bears on its face the stamp of 
genuineness, it is precisely the Pilate date. This, in 
my opinion, takes precedence far and away over all 
other date indications, and if it be not true, I cannot 
imagine any really satisfactory explanation for what 
otherwise must apparently have been inevitably shown 
to be a clumsy invention, for, as I have said before, the 
Rabbis could have instantly replied: There was no 
such trial under Pontius Pilate ! 

The Pilate story seems to have been in existence in 
written form not long after 70 A.D. This, of course, can 
not be proved, for what can we prove concerning the 
Gospel narratives in the first century ? But the whole 
phenomena of Gospel compilation seem to point to its 
existence somewhere about 75 A.D. If, then, this de 
duction holds good, we are compelled to think that, 
with barely forty years between the last year of Pilate s 




procuratorship and this date, the probabilities are 
largely on the side of its genuineness. 

A Suggested On the other hand, 1 have heard it suggested by one 
the "Common wno holds to 100 B.C. as the correct date, that the 
genesis of the Gospel story, which criticism is 
endeavouring to recover in the form of the " common 
document," is to be traced to the sketch of an ideal life 
which was intended for purposes of propaganda, and 
which could be further explained to those who were 
ready for more definite instructions in the true nature 
of the Christ mystery. To a certain extent it was 
based on some of the traditions of the actual historic 
doings of Jesus, but the historical details were often 
transformed by the light of the mystery-teaching, and 
much was added in changed form concerning the drama 
of the Christ mystery ; allegories and parables and 
actual mystery-doings were woven into it, with what 
appears now to be a consummate art which has baffled 
for ages the intellect of the world, but which at the 
time was regarded by the writer as a modest effort at 
simplifying the spiritual truths of the inner life, by 
putting them forward in the form of what we should 
now call a " historical romance," but which in his day 
was one of the natural methods of haggada and 

When it was further questioned: But why did the 
writer who put together this marvellous story place it 
at a date which you say was not the real date of Jesus ? 
the explanation suggested was somewhat as follows. 
The evangelical writer put the story at a date between 
himself and what we consider the actual historical 
date, most probably because he desired to avoid contro- 

The Pilate 
Date from a 
New Point 
of View. 


versy and criticism ; he did not desire that the public, 
and especially those inimical to his own tradition, 
should be put on the track of the actual date, so that 
the memory of one who was regarded in the tradition 
of his school as the beloved Teacher, par excellence, 
should escape being bandied about in the arena of 
vulgar curiosity and violent theological controversy. 
Although his affection induced him to weave many 
sayings and perhaps some doings of the Master into his 
work, he especially did not wish to have it mistaken for 
the actual historical account of the life of the real Jeschu. 

This was the main reason ; but the Pilate date was 
also determined by the fact that there seems to have 
been some Jewish semi-prophet who created a little 
disturbance in a very small way, and who was in conse 
quence brought before Pilate on a charge of sedition. 
The writer may have thus also taken some few facts 
from this incident and woven it into the main story ; 
but he never had the slightest idea that anyone would 
take the story in any sense except that in which he 
intended it. 

A further suggestion has also been made that the " Pontius 

Pilate " a 

name Pontius Pilate came most readily to hand in Name- 
this connection in those days of name-play, for it bore a 
close resemblance to a mystical term which played an 
important part in the mystery teaching. My colleague 
C. W. Leadbeater, in treating of the most ancient form 
of the creed-formula and the words " Suffered under 
Pontius Pilate," * writes : 

"Instead of IIONTIOYIIIAATOY, the earliest 

1 Leadbeater (C. W.), " The Christian Creed, its Origin and 
Significance " (London ; n.d. ? 1898),2p. 45, 

424 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

Greek manuscripts which the clairvoyant investi 
gators have yet been able to find all read IIONTOY- 
HIAHTOY. Now the interchange of A and H is by 
no means unfrequent in various Greek dialects, so that 
the only real alteration here is the insertion of the I, 
which changes TroVro?, meaning sea, into TTOVTIOS, which 
is a Koman proper name." 

The writer further says that later on evr) was 
substituted for VTTO , and, with regard to TTOVTOS 
TriXrjTos, states that the term meant a " compressed or 
densified sea," i.e., the sea of " matter." This " suffer 
ing " of the Logos under the " thickened sea," however, 
does not refer to physical matter, but to an earlier 
stage in the descent of the Soul, for " the first step 
mentioned is the assumption of the vesture of matter 
the incarnation ; then the taking of human form, 
though still in the higher principles only; then the 
suffering under Pontius Pilate, or descent into the 
astral sea ; and only after that the crucifixion on the 
cross of physical matter, in which He is graphically 
described as dead and buried " (p. 47). 
Review All things, we are told, are possible to him that 

of this 

Suggestion believeth, and we may add also to him that dis- 
believeth ; but the question here is not so much one of 
possibility as of probability ; that is to say, can a mind 
which endeavours to put on one side all preconception and 
prejudice for or against the means whereby the suggested 
explanation is stated to have been arrived at, and tries to 
judge of the matter solely on the ground of a hypo 
thesis to explain the puzzling facts of objective research, 
entertain this suggestion as one that is not inherently 
improbable ? 


It is true that TnA^ro? in Greek is used by Aristotle 
in the opposite sense to elastic, with the general mean 
ing of that which " may be pressed close without 
returning to its shape " ; while pilatus in Latin also 
means close-pressed, thick, dense (dcnsus, pi essus)." It 
is further the fact that the early mystical communities 
have much to say of " water," " sea," " ocean," in the 
sense or as the symbol of subtle matter. It might, 
therefore, be held that these considerations give some 
colouring of probability to the suggestion. But, even so, 
it can only remain as a speculation, and cannot emerge 
into the domain of generally legitimized hypothesis, 
until objective research into the nomenclature and 
thought-atmosphere of the early mystic schools con 
vinces us that the main secret of Christian dogmatics 
is almost entirely hidden in the mysteries of the inner 
experience. At present this latter view is repugnant to 
most minds engaged on the study of Christian origins, 
but that it is a very legitimate view I am myself 
becoming more and more convinced with every added 
year of study bestowed on the beginnings and earliest 
environment of Christianity. 

And in this connection I would venture to say that The Making 
the actual objective physical history of Jesus himself is 
one thing ; the continued inner presence of the Master 
whose love and wisdom and power were in the new 
dispensation first made externally manifest through 
Jesus, is another matter. The former is mainly a 
question of pure objective history, though psychologically 
it becomes complicated with mysterious influences with 
which our present very limited knowledge of psychic 
science is not competent to deal, while the latter is a 

426 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

question of subjective activity, of vision and spiritual 
experiences, of an energising from within, a divine 
leaven working in the hearts and minds of disciples of 
every class of society and range of ability, the actual 
inner history of which no purely objective research can 
ever reveal. 

From all of this there emerged in course of time a 
view of history and dogma that gradually shaped itself 
into ever more and more rigid uniformity ; a sameness 
which we cannot discover in the days when the leaven 
was most actively working. In earlier times this later 
special view let us call it Nicene Christianity was at 
best one of a number ; nay, in the earliest days it 
would have been probably unrecognizable as the view 
of any circle or group of immediate disciples of the 
The "Secret And in this connection it will be of interest to 

Sermon on the 

Mountain." set forth the mystic tradition of the true nature of 
the " Son of God " and of the " Virgin Birth " as pre 
served to us in those very instructive documents gene 
rally known as Hermetic, but which may be more dis 
tinctly characterized as the Trismegistic literature. It is 
impossible here to set forth the reasons which have con 
vinced me that the oldest deposit of this exceedingly in 
structive " Alexandrian " scripture must be referred to 
at least the first century A.D. ; to do so would require a 
treatise as large as, if not larger than, the present essay, 
and I have hopes only to perfect my researches in the 
subject in the next twelve months or so, and then to 
present the reader with a new translation of the exist 
ing treatises and fragments and with an extensive review 
of the whole matter. Meantime let us turn our attention 


to a most striking passage in the tractate entitled " The 
Secret Sermon on the Mountain," which further purports, 
according to its superscription, to be an instruction of 
" Hermes the Thrice-greatest to his Son Tat on the 
Mountain. A Secret Sermon on Rebirth and Con 
cerning the Promise of Silence." 

The phrase " on the mountain " in the title is to be 
remarked and compared with the phrase the " passing 
o er the mountain " of 1. This " mountain " seems 
to be symbolical of the grades of initiation in these 
inner schools ; the external rites may also have been 
performed frequently on a mountain or hill on which 
the " monastery " in our modern sense (or, to speak 
more correctly, the collection of " monasteries " or 
chambers for meditation) may have been situated. 
The " passing over (perd/Bcio-is) the mountain " was ap 
parently a grade of instruction, or one of the lower 
grades prior to the sermon or instruction " on the 
mountain," the substance of which is given in our 
present treatise. Perhaps the phrase may be rendered 
the " passage up the mountain," and the term " on the 
mountain " may refer to the top of the mountain. In 
this connection I need hardly refer the student to the 
frequent occurrence of the term " mountain " in the 
Gnostic Bruce and Askew Codices (containing the 
two " Books of leou," etc., and the " Pistis Sophia "). 
In these later presentations of fundamentally the same 
teachings adapted to more popular beliefs, the mountain 
is called the " Mount of Galilee," and on it all the great 
initiations and rites are performed. The term occurs 
also in many other places, and frequently in the extra- 
canonical and apocryphal sayings. 

428 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

The "Son of Our sermon is in the form of a dialogue between 
" Virgin pupil and master, and the first two paragraphs rim as 
Birth -" follows: 

" TAT. In thy discourse On Generation, father, thou 
spak st in riddles most unclear, conversing on divinity ; 
and when thou saidst no man could e er be saved before 
rebirth, thy meaning thou didst hide. Further, when I 
became thy suppliant, upon the passing o er the 
mount/ after thou hadst conversed with me, and when I 
longed to learn the lesson on rebirth (for this beyond all 
other things was just the thing I knew not), thou saidst 
that thou wouldst give it me when thou shalt have 
become a stranger to the world. Wherefore I got me 
ready and made the thought in me a stranger to the 
world-illusion. And now do thou fill up the things 
that fall short in me with what thou saidst would give 
me the tradition of rebirth, setting it forth in speech or 
in the secret way. 

" I know not, Thrice-greatest one, from out what 
matter and what womb man comes to birth, or of what 

"HERMES. Wisdom conceived by Mind in Silence 
[such is the matter and the womb from out which Man 
is born], and the True Good the seed." 

" TAT. What is the sower, father ? For I am alto 
gether at a loss." 

" HERMES. It is the Will of God, my child." 

"TAT. And of what kind is he that is begotten, 
father ? For I have no share of that essence in one 
which doth transcend the senses. The one that is 
begot will be another God, God s son ? " 

" HERMES. All of all, out of all powers composed." 


" TAT. Thou tellest me a riddle, father, and dost not 
speak as father unto son." 

" HERMES. This race, my child, is never taught ; but 
when He willeth it, its memory is restored by God." l 

Much more might be quoted in which the master 
endeavours to make the mystery clearer to the under 
standing of his pupil, but for the present purpose it is 
only necessary to add from 4 the following pregnant 
sentences : 

" TAT. Tell me this too. Who is the author of re 

" HERMES. The Son of God, the One Man, by God s 

In the second paragraph of Tat s opening words the The "Sup- 
term "suppliant " is to be specially remarked and taken " World," 
in close connection with the treatise of Philo " On the 
Contemplative Life," which, as Conybeare tells us, 2 most 
probably formed the fourth book of Pliilo s great work, 
or rather apology, " De Legatione." The alternative 
title of this work was " The Suppliants." By " sup 
pliant " Philo tells us he means " one who has fled to 
God and taken refuge with Him." 3 

The phrase, " when thou shalt have become a stranger 
to the world" is also to be remarked, and among 
other things may be compared with the new-found 
Saying : " Jesus saith, except ye fast to the world, ye 
shall in nowise find the kingdom of God." 4 The idea 

1 For text, see Parthey (G.), " Hermetis Trismegisti Poemander " 
(Berlin; 1854), pp. 114, 115. 

2 " Philo about the Contemplative Life" (Oxford ; 1895). 
3 " De Sac. Ab. et C.," i. 186, 33. 

4 See " AOFIA IH2OT : Sayings of Our Lord," discovered and 
edited by Grenfell (B. P.) and Hunt (A. S.) (London ; 1897), p. 10. 

430 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

is a common-place in the extant treatises and fragments 
of Gnostic literature, and is, of course, found frequently 
in the canonical documents of general Christianity. 

Again in the phrase, " and now do thou fill up the 
things that fall short in me" (ret ^crre/o^ara 
uvaTrXrjpwTov), we have the familiar technical terms of 
the christianized Gnosis (Pleroma and Hysterema, the 
Plenitude or Fullness and the Insufficiency or Empti 
ness), but not yet apparently systematized as in the 
Basilidean and Valentinian schools. l 

The "Mind." The treatise leaves on one side all questions of 
cosmogenesis and at once proceeds to deal with spiritual 
anthropogenesis or the spiritual birth of man. It will 
be remembered by students of these theosophical sermons 
that the birth of Man, the inner spiritual Son of God, 
is given as follows in " The Shepherd " treatise ( 12) : 
" But the All-Father, Mind, being Life and Light, 
brought forth a Man co-equal with Himself." Man 
is the Son of the Great Mind of the universe, He is the 
Son of God. The christianizing Gnostic schools loved 
further to elaborate these ineffable processes, but 
" Hermes " is content to put forward a far more simple 
statement, and gives the whole answer to the neophyte s 
question in a brief sentence or two. It is true the 
pupil cannot as yet understand the words, nevertheless 
the whole process of rebirth or regeneration is given in 
the two opening answers of Hermes in 2, and this 
process of rebirth is the same in man s small universe 
as the birth of the spiritual Man the Regenerator, 
cosmically the third member of the trinity God the 
Creator, God the Preserver, and God the Regenerator, 
See especially Hippolytus, " Pliilosophumena," iv. 29 ff. 


who are all One God looked at from different points of 
view. The Preserver apparently evolves the substance 
of the universe, the Creator seemingly fashions it 
according to the necessary laws, and the Kegenerator is 
thought of as breaking through the spheres, freeing the 
spirit once more and restoring it to its primal source. 

The whole secret of rebirth is Wisdom, which is 
conceived by Mind in contemplative Silence ; the object 
of this contemplation is the True Good or God. The 
Will of God so to speak turns on itself and becomes the 
will of man to know God. 

But the neophyte is represented as still without The "Mind" 
understanding of this great truth. He still desires to 
understand it in what we may call, in spite of the con 
fusion of terms, his natural mind, the mind of the 
senses ; he has not in him, he declares, any portion of 
that Mind which transcends this physical consciousness, 
or, perhaps, better, the " sensible world " in its proper 
philosophical meaning. To him Man must be some 
thing different from God. If God brings forth a Son, 
then there must be two Gods, and the unity is destroyed. 
To which doubt the master mysteriously replies : " All 
in all, out of all powers composed." So far from being 
different from God, Man is all in all, out of all powers, 
endowed with all powers not, of course, the little man 
we think we are, but the Great Man we really are in 
our Selves, nay rather in our Self, which is One. 

This truth, says Hermes, is not taught by ordinary The 
means, not argued out and demonstrated by the senses, of 
or by physical processes. It is a memory that God of the Logos, 
awakes in the soul. It must be self -perceived. " This 
race (yeW), my child, is never taught." What is the 

432 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

meaning of the strange term " race," which, as far as 
I am aware, all translators and commentators have 
previously missed? Let me again refer to Philo s 

" But as for the race of devotees," 1 he says, " who are 
taught ever more and more to see, let them strive for 
the intuition of That-which-is ; let them transcend the 
sun which men perceive [and gaze upon the Light 
beyond], nor ever leave this rank 2 which leads to 
perfect blessedness. Now they who betake themselves 
to [the divine] service, [do so] not because of any 
custom, or some one s advice or appeal, but carried away 
by heavenly love." 3 

And again : " Now this race (ye^o?) of men is to be 
found in many parts of the inhabited world, both 
Grecian and non-Grecian world, sharing in the perfect 
Good." 4 

This " race," then, seems to be the race of the Logos, 
even as was the " race of Elxai," or those who have the 
higher mind active in them. 

The Mind and The manner of this rebirth, of this restoring of 
memory, is given in the opening paragraph of 3, where 
Hermes describes one of the results of contemplation, 
in which the consciousness is, so to speak, transferred to 
the spiritual " vehicle " ; but even here it is not taught, 
it is seen. This state of consciousness is not a mediuin- 
istic state of trance ; the master has still full contact 
with the physical world, but the centre or focus of his 
consciousness is, so to speak, transferred to the higher 
spiritual part of his nature. 

1 Or the " therapeutic race." - Order, space or plane. s 

3 P. 891 ; M. 473, 10. 4 P. 892 ; M. 474, 35. 


Yet is the pupil still confused, for he still sees the 
physical body of his master before him. It is not the 
lower man, the master goes on to explain, who can 
bring about this inner change of consciousness, it is the 
higher Man who does so. Even the belief of the pupil 
that he actually sees the physical body of his master 
as a continuous thing is a sense-illusion, for every 
particle of it is in perpetual change. Accordingly, with 
6, Hermes lays down the great doctrine of the really 
True, the One Keality, as opposed to the perpetual 
change of manifested things. How can This be per 
ceived with mortal eyes ? he asks. 

Hereupon Tat loses courage, and begins to think that Virtue and 
the thing is too high for him, and that he has no higher 
mind. But Hermes warmly sets aside such an impious 
doubt, and proceeds to explain why the spiritual 
" senses " of his pupil are clouded and blinded by the 
brutish or irrational things of matter. The psycho 
logical problem is then stated in what seems to 
me to be a perfectly scientific fashion. The soul 
" substances " or " forces " have no direction in them 
selves ; it is the will of man that can turn them upwards 
or downwards, so that they become manifest as virtues 
or vices. These virtues or vices are simply the tenden 
cies of the distinct substantial things, or component 
parts or forces, of the soul, rational if ruled by the 
reason, irrational if out of its control. 

Indeed, it is the real " mind," the " man," that is the The Root of 
eternal idea of true humanity in us ; it is, as it were, 
individual and yet not separate, sharing with all, 
sympathizing with all, yet showing forth in every 

manifestation some special aspect, one yet many, the 


434 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

true source of fellowship and communion, the mystery 
of all mysteries, man and humanity in one, the that 
" which prevents us if we are about to do a thing not 
rightly/ if we will but follow its loving guidance, and 
finally the only way by which we can know God and 
recognize our eternal sonship. 

The Christ. But we have already gone far beyond what was 
necessary for our immediate purpose, namely, the show 
ing forth of the mystic and truly philosophic view of 
the nature of the birth of " the Christ " in the hearts of 
men, which was held by pious and thinking minds in 
at least the first century of our era. In it we have 
in my opinion a setting forth of the mystery which can 
shock no man s intelligence, but which on the contrary 
was, I most firmly believe, the central truth insisted 
on by the great Master of Christendom Himself. 
Those who, in spite of the evidence which is coming to 
light on all hands from a thoroughgoing analysis of 
tradition, still hold desperately to the gross materialism 
of the popular dogma of the physical virgin birth, must 
do so at peril of destroying the whole comfort derivable 
from the Life of Jesus. For if, as it is claimed by 
theology, Jesus Christ was born miraculously without 
sin, what example can He possibly be for men born in 
sin ? There can be no " imitation " on these premisses ; 
for miracle alone can imitate miracle. The true 
Conqueror is he who wins his way through human 
nature, sinful human nature, towards the Divine ; and 
unless I am grievously mistaken and read quite 
wrongly the records of the world s greatest Teachers, 
it is in this precisely that the triumph of a Christ 


In the Foreword of this essay I said that I would The Ground 
endeavour to show how even Jew and Christian could tion Between 
learn to understand and respect each other even on the i? w and 


ground of religion I meant of course the Jew of to-day 
and the Christian of to-day. I believe that in the 
central fact above referred to, the basic truth not only 
of Christianity but also of Judaism and of every other 
great religion, all men may meet together in true 
fellowship and concord. 

Doubtless I have put forward the matter in a very 
crude and imperfect fashion; I have probably used 
erroneous expressions and terms, have unwillingly 
hurt those whom I have not the faintest wish to dis 
tress, have misrepresented the position of others owing 
to my ignorance of what they really think and feel ; but 
I have endeavoured to be just and accurate, and have 
been guided by a profound sympathy for humanity, 
a fellow-feeling with all, whatever creed they may 
profess ; for the central fact of our general experience 
is that we are all in the same ignorance, struggling and 
battling for light. And I fear this ignorance will never 
be removed from our midst unless we co-operate together, 
and speak with utter frankness man to man, without 
fear of endangering our several vested interests, be 
they material, or psychic, or mental, or spiritual. 

In conclusion, therefore, if it be not thought imperti- A Humble 
nent for so obscure an individual to do so, I would 
courteously ask the learned of the Jews for a thorough 
going explanation of their traditions of Jesus with 
special reference to the date question and to pre- 
Christian mystic and heretical schools of every kind; 
and the learned of the Christians for a reconsideration 

436 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

of the history of their origins by the light of such facts, 
for instance, as the patristically acknowledged striking 
similarity between the practices of the Therapeut Essene 
communities and the earliest Christian assemblies, the 
puzzling phenomena of the " Churches of God " which 
Paul found, using the " gifts of the Spirit " as some 
long-established practice, and the members of which 
he addresses in language which shows them as familiar 
with the most technical terms of the Gnosis, and the 
widespread pre-Christian rites of resurrection, and if 
not of crucifixion at any rate of stigmatization, as 
admitted by Epiphanius, and thereafter for a reinvesti- 
gation of the canonical date in connection therewith, 
and with the now well-known facts of the manner of 
making of haggadic, apocalyptic and pseudepigraphic 
literature, prior to and contemporary with the writing 
of our present canonical Gospels. 

For my own part, I feel at present somewhat with 
out an absolutely authoritative negative to the very 
strange question : " Did Jesus live 100 B.C. ? " and 
doubtless shall continue to feel so until all sides of 
the question have been again rigorously scrutinized by 
the ever finer critical equipment which the twentieth 
century must inevitably develop, and in the light of 
the great toleration which the ever-growing humanism 
of our day is extending to the most intractable questions 
of theology. 


P. 47. With regard to the chronology of the Christian era and 
the influence of the Coesar cult on Christian dogmatics, a field of 
immense interest and importance has recently been opened up by 
the researches of Alexander Del Mar, in his painstaking study, 
" The Worship of Augustus Ctesar, derived from a Study of Coins, 
Monuments, Calendars, .ZEras and Astronomical and Astrological 
Cycles, the whole establishing a New Chronology and Survey of 
History and Religion" (New York ; 1900). In his Preface (pp. 
viii, ix), Del Mar writes : 

"It will be shown upon ample evidences that after the sub 
mission of the Oriental provinces and consolidation of the empire, 
Augustus Csesar set himself up for that Son of God whose advent, 
according to Indian chronology, synchronized with the reappear 
ance of the Oriental Messiah ; the date being A.U. 691 (B.C. 63), 
the alleged year of Augustus birth ; that this claim and assump 
tion appears in the literature of his age, was engraved upon his 
monuments and stamped upon his coins ; that it was universally 
admitted and accepted throughout the Eoman Empire as valid 
and legitimate, both according to Indian and Roman chronology, 
astrology, prophesy and tradition ; that his actual worship as such 
Son of God Divus Filius was enjoined and enforced by the 
laws of the empire, accepted by the priesthood and practised by 
the people ; and that both de jure and de facto it constituted the 
fundamental article of the Roman imperial and ecclesiastical con 

In an exceedingly interesting article, " The Time of the World," 
in " The Indian Review " of January 1903, Del Mar writes : 

" I. If we accept the epoch of the zodions fixed by Godfrey 
Higgins . . . Alexander the Great altered such epoch to the ex 
tent of twenty-eight or thirty years, in order to bring the beginning 

438 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C.? 

of Pisces to the year of his Apotheosis. Higgins epoch of Pisces 
is B.C. 360. The Apotheosis of Alexander took place in the 
Libyan Temple of Jupiter Ammon, December 25th, B.C. 322. In 
that temple he found Aries regnant ; he left it with Pisces 
triumphant. He was afterwards known as Ichthys, the Fish, the 
Great Isskander, etc., titles that are connected with the zodion 

" II. Julius Cpesar altered the Olympiads from five to four years 
each, and their starting-point from a year equivalent to B.C. 884 to 
one equal to B.C. 776, an initial difference of 108 years. . . . 

"III. Augustus Csesar altered the epochs of the Ludi Sseculares 
to the extent of seventy-eight years. This changed the year of the 
Foundation of Borne from the equivalent of B.C. 816 to B.C. 738, 
and had a variable influence on other important dates. 

"IV. Some time before the seventeenth century the Latin 
Sacred College restored fifteen years to the Koman calendar. All 
the years were inserted into that portion of the calendar which 
preceded the Christian era ; it had the effect to remove the year of 
the foundation of Rome backward to B.C. 753, where it now stands. 
It also changed the Anno Augusti. 

" To recapitulate, Alexander altered the zodions ; Julius Csesar, 
the Olympiads ; Augustus, the Ludi Srcculares and year of Rome ; 
Pope Gregory VI. or XIII. (?) the Augustan era ; and Gregory 
XIII., the New Year Day and some other festivals, perhaps also 
the Year of the Nativity. 

"The net result of these various alterations shows a present 
difference between Oriental and Western chronologies of sixty- 
three years ; that is, when both are computed from any certain 
astronomical event. . . . 

" Had the calendar, as arranged by Augustus, remained un 
altered to the present day, his Apotheosis would have answered to 
our A.D. 0, or the year before A.D. 1 ; but owing to the fifteen 
years shifting already alluded to, his Apotheosis now bears the 
date of B.C. 15. ... 

"The introduction of the Christian era as a measure of time 
resulted in throwing all ancient dates into confusion. This was 
due to several circumstances. I. It was not an era, like the year 
of the world, or like Scaliger s astronomical era, which ante-dated 
all historical epochs, and ran on continuously from its own year to 
an endless succession of years. On the contrary, the Christian era 
is used both backward and forward ; and as no allowance is made 
in it for a year between A.D. 1 and B.C. 1, it makes a difference of 


one year as between itself and every era more ancient than itself. 
II. As it took its starting-point from the Roman era, more especi 
ally the ^Era Augusti, it embraced all the chronological alterations 
which that era embraced. III. In correcting vitiated dates, the 
same number of years must be deducted from A.D. dates which 
have to be added to B.C. dates. This is a source of endless con 
fusion. IV. As before stated, it was itself altered to the extent of 
fifteen years. Its use, therefore, involves three classes of errors, 
viz., the ancient alterations as between the Olympiads and the year 
of Rome ; the single year between A.D. 1 and B.C. 1 ; and the 
fifteen-year alteration of the Middle Ages." 

What exact bearing all this may have on our question I have 
not as yet been able to discover, but that Del Mar s researches must 
be taken into account in any thoroughgoing investigation of 
Christian chronology I am fully persuaded. 

P. 154. A curious subject of speculation in connection with the 
Mam/er stories is opened up by the criticism of the artificial 
genealogy prefixed to the first Gospel (Matt. i. 1-17), "with the 
singular stress laid upon Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth, the converted 
sinners and heathens, as mothers of the elect one (compare Gen. R. 
ii. ; Hor. lOb ; Nazir 23b ; Meg 14b) "as Kohler puts it in his 
article, " Christianity in its Relation to Judaism," in the " Jewish 
Encyclopaedia." Von Soden, in his article, " Genealogies of Jesus," 
in the " Encyclopaedia Biblica " (in the just published fourth 
volume), referring to the only three women mentioned in the 
genealogies, says : " Rabbinic scholars also interested themselves in 
these women. On Tamar and Ruth compare Weber, Altsynag. 
Theol., 341. Rahab they transformed into an inn-keeper (Jos., 
Antt., v. i. 27), and traced to her eight prophets (Lightfoot, 
Hor. Heb., 180 ; Menschen, N. T. u. Talm., 40). She was an 
object of interest also to the early Christians, as * Heb. xi. 31 and 
* James ii. 25 show. Perhaps they interpreted harlot allegori- 
cally as heathen. " Compare this with " Deborah the landlady" 
and the "inn" of our Talmud stories. The curious student of 
human nature may also refer to the use made of these genealogical 
details by Guy de Maupassant in his short .story, " Nos Anglais," 
in the collection entitled Toine (Paris ; 1903). 

P. 301. A Jewish friend has just communicated to me an oral 
form of Toldoth which differs in some particulars from any other 
form with which I am acquainted. My correspondent says that 
it comes from ancient Poland, and was included among the Jewish 
"old wives tales," but he cannot trace its origin further. The 

440 DID JESUS LIVE 100 B.C. ? 

name of the betrothed is Jochanan and of the seducer Joseph, the 
name of the boy is Jeschu, as in other forms ; then follows the 
accusation of bastardy, and the robbing of the Shem, and the 
doing of wonders thereby. " But the spirit of the Eabbis was dis 
tressed, and fearing lest Israel should be enticed by the magical 
powers of Jeschu, R. Meir volunteered to profane his own powers 
and so bring about the fall of Jeschu." He accordingly does so in 
the way familiar to us in the other Toldoth forms. " When the 
women-reapers saw that the magician had fallen, they pelted him 
with cabbages until he died. But the Romans had already be 
lieved that Jeschu was a superhuman being, and when they heard 
of his death, they wished to exterminate all the Jews. R. Meir, 
in order to appease the anger of the Romans, and save his people 
from destruction, again made use of his extraordinary divine 
powers, and again mounted into the air, exclaiming : Lo ! I fly 
higher than Jeschu flew, as a sign that he hath sent me to institute 
your festivals. And this he did with great wisdom, so that the 
Jewish festivals should always come first and be spent more 
happily. Thus he instituted Sunday the next day after the 
Sabbath," etc. R. Meir was the pupil of Akiba, and does not 
appear in any other form of Toldoth. 




Some short Sketches among the Gnostics, mainly of the First 
Two Centuries a Contribution to the Study of Christian 
Origins based on the most Recently Discovered Materials. 

I. Introduction. Outlines of the Background of the Gnosis ; Literature and 
Sources of Gnosticism. 

II. The GnosiS according: to its FOBS. Gnostic Fragments recovered from the 
Polemical Writings of the Church Fathers ; the Gnosis in the Uncanonical Acts. 

III. The Gnosis according: to its Friends. Greek Original Works in Coptic 

Translation ; the Askew, Bruce, and Akhmim Codices. 
Classified Bibliographies are appended. 630, xxviii. pp. large octavo. Cloth. 10/6 net. 


" Mr Mead has done his work in a scholarly and painstaking fashion." The Guardian. 

" The ordinary student of Christian evidences, if he confines his reading to the Fathers, learns 
nothing of these opinions [the so-called Gnostic heresies ] except by way of refutation and angry 
condemnation. In Mr Mead s pages, however, they are treated with impartiality and candour. 
.... These remarks will suffice to show the unique character of this volume, and to indicate 
that students may find here matter of great service to the rational interpretation of Christian 
thought." Bradford Observer. 

" The book, Mr Mead explains, is not intended primarily for the student, but for the general 
reader, and it certainly should not be neglected by anyone who is interested in the history of 
early Christian thought." The Scotsman. 

"The work is one of great labour and learning, and deserves study as a sympathetic estimate 
of a rather severely-judged class of heretics." Glasgow Herald. 

" Written in a clear and elegant style The bibliographies in the volume are of world 
wide range, and will be most valuable to students of theosophy." Asiatic Quarterly. 

" Mr Mead writes with precision and clearness on subjects usually associated with bewildering 
technicalities and mystifications. Even the long-suffering general reader 1 could go through this 
large volume with pleasure. That is a great deal to say of a book on such a subject." Light. 

"This striking work will certainly be read not only with the greatest interest in the select 
circle of the cultured, but by that much larger circle of those longing to learn all about Truth. 
.... May be summed up as an extraordinarily clear exposition of the Gnosis of the Saints 
and the Sages of philosophic Christianity." The Roman Herald. 

" Mr Mead does us another piece of service by including a complete copy of the Gnostic 
Hymn of the Robe of Glory .... and a handy epitome of the Pistit Sophia is another item for 
which the student will be grateful." The Literary Guide. 

" The author has naturally the interest of a theosophist in Gnosticism, and approaches the sub 
ject accordingly from a point of view different from our own. But while his pointof view emerges 
in the course of the volume, this does not affect the value of his work for those who do not 

share his special standpoint Mr Mead has at any rate rendered us an excellent service, and 

we shall look forward with pleasure to his future studies." The Primitive Methodist Quarterly. 

" The writing of the present work has been a congenial task to Mr Mead, and he has brought 
to bear, lovingly and zealously, upon the portraiture of the figure of Christ and of early Christianity 
all the knowledge which a deep study of Oriental religions from their emotional side could fur 
nish. The book is published by the Theosophical Publishing Society, and bears, of course, the 
marks of its associations ; but it may be stated at the outset that there is very little of what is 
commonly regarded as the Theosophic method apparent in the work, which is the product of a 

scholarly though, withal, very devotional spirit In his endeavour to realise the object 

which he has set himself, Mr Mead has traversed a wide field In fine, we have in his 

volume a bird s-eye view of the whole field of early Gnosticism written for the general reader 
in a style and method requiring no knowledge of the ancient tongues." The Mimixt. 

" We are glad to see that the Theosophists .... are settling down to the study of religion. 
.... Though we do not appreciate their fundamental philosophy, so far as we understand it, 
we think they may do good work if they produce books like this of Mr Mead comprehensive, 

interesting, and scholarly though evidently biassed Headers not familiar with the learned 

German works on Gnosticism will find here an account of its varying phases and of the influences 
which helped to produce it. The chapters entitled Some Rough Outlines of the Background of 
the Gnosis are well written, and they tend to focus the philosophic and religious movement of 
the ancient world There is a very excellent bibliography." The Spectator. 

" Mr Mead, whose translation of the Pistis Sophia was a welcome boon, gives us here some 
short sketches among the Gnostics, mainly of the first two centuries. Most readers, unless they 



are Theosophists, will thiiik them too long, and Mr Mead s enthusiasm for the Forgotten Faith of 
Gnosticism will remind them of the proverb : The cow in the meadow, knee-deep in clover, often 
looks over the hedge and longs for the common. .... Justice was not done to the Gnostics by 
their opponents, and we cannot wonder. Moderns like Harnack, however, have tried to make 
amends, and Mr Mead has done his best. We commend this book to all who are tired of 
Christianity, and who want something deeper than the Lord s Prayer, more sublime than Paul s 
hymn to Love, and more practical than the Sermon on the Mount." The Christian World. 

" L opera, cui 1 autoi e da modestamenti il nome di Brevi studi, e invero il frutto di dotte 
e pazientissime ricerche, di vasta e profunda erudizione ; fc d interesse grande per il soggetto 
che tratta ed e accessibile anche a chi non sia uno studioso di religione comparata od un 
teologo, per la maniera abile e piacevole con cui il sogetto 6 trattato. L autore stesso spiega 
perche voile cosi 1 opera sua con queste parole : poiche io stimo tal sogetto di profundo 
interesse umano e nou di mera importanza accademica. II libro, che vide la luce proprio 
all alba del nuovo secolo, risponde ad un bisogno del memento o, meglio, risponde ad un 
bisogno che sempre si e fatto e si fara sentire, ma che mai forse come uell epocha presente 
ebbe fra noi tanta intensita." La Nuova Parola. 

German Translation. 

Ulrich. Berlin : C. A. Schwetschke und Sohn. 

This is the Firtt Attempt that has been made to bring together All the Existing Sources of 
Information on the Earliest Christian Philosophers. 

Apollonius of Tyana : 


A critical Study of the only existing Record of his Life, with some account of the War of Opinion 
concerning him, and an Introduction on the Religious Associations and Brotherhoods of the 
Times and the possible Influence of Indian Thought on Greece. 


i. Introductory, li. The Religious Associations and Communities of the First Century, iii. 
India and Greece, iv. The Apollonius of Early Opinion, v. Texts, Translations and Literature, 
vi. The Biographer of Apollonius. vii. Early Life. viii. The Travels of Apollonius. ix. The 
Shrines of the Temples and the Retreats of Religion, x. The Gymnosophists of Upper Egypt. 
xi. Apollonius and the Rulers of the Empire, xii. Apollonius the Prophet and Wonder 
worker, xiii. His Mode of Life. xiv. Himself and his Circle, xv. From his Sayings and 
Sermons, xvi. From his Letters, xvii. The Writings of Apollonius. xviii. Bibliographical Notes. 

1GO pp. large 8vo. Cloth. 3. Gd. net. 


" Mr Mead s work is careful, scholarly, and critical, yet deeply sympathetic with those 

spiritual ideals of life which are far greater than all the creeds Will be found very use- 

f ul to English readers." Bradford Observer. 

"With much that Mr Mead says about Apollonius we are entirely disposed to agree." 

" Mr Mead s sympathetic monograph is based upon a careful study of the literature of the 

subject Writes with moderation, and has rendered good service by examining Apollonius 

from a fresh point of view." Manchester Guardian. 

" We give a specially cordial welcome to Mr G. R. S. Mead s Apollonius of Tyana. . . . . It is a 
book which all well-instructed spiritualists will be able to appreciate and understand." Light. 

" A charming and enlightening little work, full of knowledge, bright with sympathy, and 
masterly in style." The Coining Day. 

" It is not only interesting, it is fair, and to a great degree scholarly, although it is slight and 
popular in conception. The spiritand tone are admirable. .Mr Mead neither flouts what he thinks 

mistaken nor states uncritically what he believes He uses his authorities with care and 

judgment, and gives exact references. Some good suggestions are made in the book."--,tt0fl0tlff* 

"Through this jungle of fable, controversy, and misunderstanding, Mr Mead has heroically 
set himself to cut his way to the man as he was. Practically he regards him as a theosophist of 
the first century, who had been initiated into the loftier orders and commissioned to regenerate 
the cults at many of the larger sanctuaries. The author has studied the original authorities 
carefully, and als o the work of his predecessors. It is, of course, impossible to say whether his 
attempt to get back to the real Apollonius has been successful. In most respects his account is 
plausible, and quite possibly may represent the facts At any rate, impartial students will 



be grateful for his sympathetic vindication of Apollonius from the too frequent charge that he 
was nothing better than a charlatan. He thinks that Apollonius must surely have visited some 
of the Christian societies, and have met with Paul, if not earlier, at least at Rome in 66. It 
seems to us very problematical that he should have taken any interest in the Christians, though 
the probability would be much enhanced if Mr Mead s view of primitive Christianity could be 
substantiated." The Primitive Methodist Quarterly Review. 

"Students of the religious history of the earlier centuries of the Christian era are already in 
debted to Mr Mead for his elucidations of more than one obscure document of that remote age. 
His account of Apollonius of Tyana will be all the more welcome because, treating its subject 
without theological or denominational prepossessions, it reveals the ancient philosopher in a new 

light, which may very Avell be also a true one Mr Mead gives a readable and well-studied 

account of him, reviewing what little remains known of his life, and inquiring, without contro 
versy, what must have been the character of one who had so real an influence on the religious life 

of his time The book is ricli in suggestions of the actualities of the religious life of the 

ancient world when Christianity was still in its infancy. It is well worthy of the attention of all 
who are interested in the subject." The Scotsman. 

" This little book is an attempt to tell us all that is definitely known of one of the most extra 
ordinary figures in history It is done in the main with absolute impartiality, and with 

considerable learning. It is not a satisfactory book, but it is useful and interesting, and, in 
default of anything better, it may be recommended." Saturday Review. 

"The task Mr Mead has set himself is to recover from Philostratus highly romantic narrative 
the few facts which can be really known, and to present to the public a plain and simple story 
which shall accord with the plain and simple life of the humble Tyanean ; and he has achieved 
no little success. His book is thoroughly readable, the manner of writing most attractive, and 

his enthusiasm evidently sincere Mr Mead s last work is a thoroughly scholarly one, and 

lie has contributed a very valuable page to philosophical history." Chatham and Rochester 

" Mr Mead s works are always worth reading. They are characterised by clearness, sanity, 
and moderation ; they are scholarly, and are always conceived in a profoundly religious spirit. 
The bibliographies are excellent. With Mr Mead s workmanship we have only one fault to find. 
In order to give elevation to the utterances of his hero, he not only affects poetical expressions 
which is permissible and poetical inversions of speech which are not permissible but he 

indulges in a whole page of irregular blank verse Mr Mead is master of an excellent prose 

style, and Pegasus is a sorry back when Pegasus goes lame." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 

"This well-written volume affords a critical study of the only existing record of the life of 

Apollonius of Tyana His principles, his mode of teaching, his travels in the east and in 

the south and west, his mode of life, his sayings, letters, and writings and bibliographical notes, 
are all set forth in a clear and interesting style." Asiatic Quarterly Review. 

" Verfasser will auf Grund der philostratischen Biographic ein Bild vom Leben und Wirkeu 
des Apollonius geben. Es fehlt ihm dazu nich an besonnenen Urteil, eben so wenig an der 

notigen Belesenheit in der einschlagigen Litteratur Verf. halt sich auch, obwohl 

olfenbar selbst Theologe, freivon der theologischen Voreingenommenheit, die bei der Beurteilung 
des Appollonius so fruh und so lange Unheil gestiftet hat." Wochenschrift fur klassisc.he 





Preamble A Glimpse at the History of the Evolution of Biblical Criticism The 
"Word of God" and the " Lower Criticism" The Nature of the Tradition of the 
Gospel Autographs Autobiographical Traces in the Existing Documents An Exam 
ination of the Earliest Outer Evidence The Present Position of the Synoptical 
Problem The Credibility of the Synoptists The Johannine Problem Summary of 
the Evidence from all Sources The Life Side of Christianity The Gospel of the 
Living Christ. 

200 pp. Large octavo. Cloth, 4s. 6d. net. 


"A clear, intelligent, and interesting account of the history of the development of Biblical 
criticism .... a thoughtful and learned, yet readable book, which well deserves the attention 
of readers interested in its subject." The Scotsman. 

" Mr Mead begins with a sketch of the recent progress of Biblical criticism. The tone is not 
altogether what one would wish the Conservatives were, after all, lighting for what they held 
to be very precious but it is substantially true." Spectator. 

" Mr Mead describes his book as a study in the most recent results of the higher aud the 



lower criticism. The description is incomplete rather than inadequate, for the study is made 
from a neo-Gnostic point of view, and under neo-Gnostic prepossessions ..... Mr Mead has 
shown, in previous volumes, how the fascinating glamour of their writings has attracted him, 
and, though they are mainly represented by imperfect but suggestive fragments, he has done his 
best to reconstruct them and to revive, where possible, their lingering vitality. His work, on 
these lines, has met with due appreciation ..... He regards Gnosticism as a suppressed religion 
which may yet result in an all-embracing creed, which will combine and focus the scattered rays 
now dispersed abroad among divergent faiths." Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 

" In his modest preamble the author describes himself as neither scientist nor theologian, but 
as a friendly spectator, who, as a devoted lover of both science and religion, has no partisan 
interest to serve, and, as a believer in the blessings of that true tolerance which permits perfect 
liberty in all matters of opinion and belief, has no desire to dictate to others what their decision 
should be ou any one of the many controversial points touched upon. Further on he strongly 
advises the disturbed reader, who fears to plunge deeper into the free waters of criticism, 
to leave the matter alone, and content himself with the creeds and cults of the churches. We, 
therefore, cannot complain if in the sequel he puts forth conclusions widely different from those 
generally held, even in this advanced age, by the average thoughtful student. He claims to 
treat the subject without fear or favour, and, while disclaiming the ultra-rationalism of the 
extreme school of criticism, he nevertheless feels himself compelled largely to accept the 
proofs brought forward of the unhistorical nature of much in the Gospel narratives, and also the 
main positions in all subjects of Gospel criticism which do not involve a mystical or practical 
religious element." As a theosophist, lie seems to have a peculiar affection, on mystical grounds, 
for the fourth Gospel, which, however, he sees fit to class with Hermes Trismei<istus. It would 
be far too elaborate a task to attempt to deal with the details of his argument here. Its results 
claim to be based on Nestle s deservedly popular work. Anyone who wishes to see Nestle 
theosophically interpreted may well read Mr Mead s lucid and interesting pages for himself. 
.... There are many other points we should criticise if we had space. But there are many 
points, on the other hand, which call for hearty commendation ; not least, Mr Mead s crusade 
against book-worship." The Guardian. 

"This work consists of various chapters which have appeared from time to time in a Review 
devoted to the study of religion from an entirely independent point of view, and perused by a 
class of readers belonging to many Churches of Christendom, to schools or sects of Brahmanism, 
Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Zoroastrianism, and others who follow no religion. The author 
considers that the controversies which have been waged under the term of the Higher Criticism 
have almost exclusively been that of progressive knowledge of physical facts (natural, historical, 
and literary) and the conservatism of theological traditional views, and never, at any time, 
between Science and Religion in their true meaning." Asiatic Quarterly Review. 

" O t/j.fjptOr)s fpdwn r ^s rSsv apx^f rov xp0"riaj/io>ioi} K. G. R. S. Mead 
&pri fjif\fTT]f irtpl TJJS xpHTTiaviKiis 0tAofJo0ias e|o^co$ SifiaKTiKriv .... OK. Mead 
tTi e cfs rH)? Kopvfpaicav ffKairavewv TTJS fptvurjriKris ravrrjs epyaffias Kal irav o, 
Kpivo) i8iaov(rris irpoffox^s #|toj/ ..... E/j.irvt6/j.evos virb ffis vyiovs Taurrjs 
6 K. Mead o yt eTeA.eo ej/ effx&TMS Oav/JLaffiov epyov." Erevna. 

PISTIS SOPHIA: A Gnostic Gospel. 

(With Extracts from the Books of the Saviour appended.) Originally 
translated from Greek into Coptic, and now for the first time 
Englished from Schwartze s Latin Version of the only known 
Coptic MS., and checked by Amelineau s French version. 
With an Introduction and Bibliography. 394, xliv. pp. large 
octavo. Cloth. Vs. 6d. net. 


" The * Pistis Sophia has long been recognised as one of the most 
important Gnostic documents we possess, and Mr Mead deserves the 
gratitude of students of Church History and of the History of Christian 
Thought, for his admirable translation and edition of this curious 
Gospel." Glasgow Herald. 



i{ Mr Mead has done a service to other than Theosophists by his 
translation of the Pistis Sophia. This curious work has not till lately 

received the attention which it deserves He has prefixed a 

short Introduction, which includes an excellent bibliography. Thus, the 
English reader is now in a position to judge for himself of the scientific 
value of the only Gnostic treatise of any considerable length which 
has come down to us." Guardian. 

" From a scholar s point of view the work is of value as illus 
trating the philosophico-mystical tendencies of the second century." 

" Mr Mead deserves thanks for putting in an English dress this 
curious document from the early ages of Christian philosophy." 

Manchester Guardian. 



With three Charts and Bibliography. Octavo. Price : cloth, 
4s. 6d. net. 


With Bibliography. Octavo. Price : cloth, Is. net. 



Half Octavo. Paper, 6d. ; cloth, Is. 6d. each net. 


Contains a Translation of the Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mnndaka, 
and Mandukya Upanishads, with a General Preamble, Arguments, 
and Notes by G. R. S. Mead and J. C. Chattopadhyaya (Roy 


Contains a Translation of the Taittirlya, Aitareya, and Shvetashvatara 
Upanishads, with Arguments and Notes. 









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