Talk:Yeshu/Archive 1

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See Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Yeshu for a July 2004 deletion debate over this page.

Copied from Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Yeshu

    • VfD is not the place for accuracy disputes, but the accuracy of the very premise of an article can have a bearing on whether an article by that name should exist. In this case, it is as though someone created an article called "Jorge Washington" that discussed a person mentioned in Mexican writing, treating him as different person from George Washington when most scholars thought this obviously was the famous George Washington.

I agree that the Talmudic story is encyclopedic, but it belongs at the existing Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud (kind of like we already had "Mentions of George Washington in Mexican Literature"). Josh Cherry 13:02, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Andrewa 18:30, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well if I read about a Mexican dude named Jesus I would most definitely assume it is someone other than the Jesus :D

--- As I said in the VfD subpage, I think this argument is relevant to the VfD debate, unlike most of the rest of what's in the subpage. I've replied at length here rather than there because VfD is getting unworkably long as a result of these essays. IMO we need to keep VfD votes and comments short and snappy, out of consideration not just for the other users who need to load the whole page, but also the sysop who must eventually untangle the votes and act on the decision.

To the argument Josh has put above. If someone did create such an article on Jorge Washington, the exact treatment would depend on the information in the article. But assuming that significant use of this name in Mexico was well documented (which seems to be the scenario he proposes if most scholars had a view on the matter), the possibilities would be keep or merge and redirect. There would be no justification for delete.

The only decision that VfD needs to make is whether to delete. The matter of merge and redirect doesn't need sysop action. But I'm not criticising Josh for listing the article on VfD, just BTW. But I do think that both sides are doing their cause damage by raising irrelevant points in the subsequent discussion. Andrewa 18:55, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Josh's version

Can anyone else here see problems with this but me? Zestauferov 16:49, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Yeshu (usually translated Jesus), or Yeishu (sometimes called Yeshu Ha-Notzri, Jesus the Nasaraean) is a name mentioned in the Mishna. Most scholars believe that the Mishna is referring to Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure of Christianity, despite an anachronism in the Mishnaic legend and some other inconsistencies with Christian tradition. Other people claim that despite the many similarities, which go beyond the names, the person mentioned in the Mishna is different from the more famous Jesus. It is possible that different references to "Yeshu" in the Mishna refer to different people.

According to the Mishna, Yeshu was a Jewish sectarian of the second century BCE (approximately 110-70 BCE). "Yeshu" is used as an acronymic curse meaning "May his name be erased", and Ha-Notzri interpreted as The Watcher. He was originally the student of Yehoshua Ben Perachiah but was sent away for judging a woman by her physical appearance. After several returns for forgiveness he mistook Perachiah's signal to wait a moment as a signal of final rejection, and so he started his own school of thought. This apparently happened during their period of refuge in Egypt during the Pharisee persecutions 88-76BCE ordered by Jannaeus Alexander. He gathered five disciples Matai (who some have identified as Jesus's Grandfather), Nekai, Netzer, Buni, and Todah. Because of his connections with the Hasmonean house a town crier was sent to call for witensses in his favour for forty days before his execution. No one came fourth and in the end he was stoned and Hung on the Eve of Passover and ended up in Hell a decade before the start of the Roman occupation.

He is criticised in the Talmud for "burning his food publicly". In the uncensored Rosh Hashanah 17a text of Rashi certain apostate minim (literally "gnostics" the same meaning as Mandaeans) heretics are described as "the students of Yeshu HaNotzri who have twisted the words of the Torah". In some versions of Gittin 57a and Sanhedrin 43a as well as one version of Sanhedrin 107b (Sotah 47a?) the Yeshu mentioned is further identified with the title Ha-Notzri.

Sanhedrin 103a Berakoth 17b

Mentioned in

Talmud Sanhedrin 107b & Sotah 47a (Ben Perachiah sends Yeshu away)
Talmud Sanhedrin 43a (his disciples and exectution)
Talmud Gittin 57a (summoned from Hell)

Tradition has long connected Yeshu Ha-Notzri with the second century CE Ben Stada and the early first century CE Ben Pandera, both of whom have also been connected with Jesus of Nazareth. These figures are merged in the Sepher Toledoth Yeshu (Yeshu's Lineage Book), a twelfth-century folkloric work that is not part of the Talmud or Mishnah. Although many scholars accept this identification, it is controversial. R. Jehiel Heilprin (Seder Ha-Dorot, p.151) has argued from Talmudic evidence that these figures were not the same person.

Just to be sure, I've done some additional research. I stand by my edits, so I have restored them. I believe I have come reasonably close to NPOV: I stated what seems to be the mainstream view, but mentioned the difficulties it has and the existence of an alternative view.

I don't understand why you (Zestauferov) consider the belief that the Talmud refers to Jesus to be Christian-centric. Certainly it cannot be said to be pro-Christian, given the negative portrait painted of this figure. In any case, this appears to be the predominant view, among Jews and gentiles alike. Thus Wikipedia should discuss it, even if it is not your view.

You asked for references. I have already cited the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Intervarsity Press, 1992; Ed. by Green, McKnight, and Marshall). This has a whole section on Jesus in Rabbinic writings. It states (pg. 366) that "there is good reason to identify this 'Jesus' with Jesus of Nazareth" (the 'Jesus' in question is the one who was an associate of ben Parahiah). I also mentioned this article from the American Jewish Committee, which takes it as fact that the Talmud refers to Jesus. To these I will add The Jewish Encyclopedia, which identifies Yeshu with Jesus. The Jewish Encyclopedia includes the following:

The references to Yannai, Salome Alexandra, and Joshua b. Perahyah indicate that according to the Jewish legends the advent of Jesus took place just one century before the actual historical date; and some medieval apologists for Judaism, as Nahmanides and Salman Zebi, based on this fact their assertion that the "Yeshu'" mentioned in the Talmud was not identical with Jesus; this, however, is merely a subterfuge.

I don't know where the idea that "Yeshu" should be translated as "Esau" came from (the version to which you reverted made this seem like fact, ignoring the standard translation as "Jesus"). "Yeshu" begins with a Hebrew yod, whereas "Esau" begins with an ayin. Jewish and Christian sources alike translate "Yeshu" as "Jesus" (see the above citations for examples). Even those who question whether the Mishnaic Yeshu was the Jesus seem to accept that he was a Jesus, i.e., that the names are the same.

I will add that the version to which you reverted had the following to say about a mainstream view:

Many amateur or overenthusiastic historians in an attempt to find historical evidence besides the christian bible concerning the existence of Jesus have sought to merge all these characters into one person.

And you accuse me of being POV?

Josh Cherry 00:12, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Category:Jewish Christian topics

The facts of the character as described in the Talmud should be mentioned *first* -- the different interpretations on whether this character has a connection or even identification with the Jesus of the gospels should come second *after* the facts.

And your sentence "many similarities, which go beyond the names, " is hopelessly POV. You are trying to predispose the readers about the seeming similarities of the character's story before you list Yeshu's story itself.

The facts of the character as described in the Talmud should be mentioned *first* -- the different interpretations on whether this character has a connection or even identification with the Jesus of the gospels should come second *after* the facts.
And your sentence "many similarities, which go beyond the names, " is hopelessly POV. You are trying to predispose the readers about the seeming similarities of the character's story before you list Yeshu's story itself.
Aris Katsaris 03:37, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's hopelessly POV. I ended the previous sentence about the alternative hypothesis with despite an anachronism in the Mishnaic legend and some other inconsistencies with Christian tradition. Partisans of the identification hypothesis might think that that was POV, but they would be wrong, it's actually NPOV. I was simply summarizing the difficulties with the view. Similarly, I summarized the difficulties with the alternative view. I would also note that many of the similarities in question are not mentioned in the article, so just letting the reader judge the similarities (or lack) himself is not an option.
With that said, if somebody had simply deleted that phrase, I could have lived with that. But reverting to the pre-existing mess is unconscionable.
As for what should be mentioned first, the main interest in Yeshu, among Jews and gentiles alike, seems to be that he may be Jesus. To bury this like a footnote at the end would be to hide what's interesting. Josh Cherry 15:34, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)
In the place where you should have described the opposing theory, you still kept on arguing for your own preferred theory by using biased language. In short you were viewing the theories not from a neutral viewpoint but from your own Point Of View, where you mentioned them only in order to reject them. You don't have a right to judge the "similarities" to be many -- for me atleast, who am neither Jewish nor Christian, they seem to me to be only few, and the difference more. Interesting but hardly overwhelming. *State* the similarities and then let people decide whether they are many or few.
I also dislike the reverting. Whenever people revert in full, the whole of Wikipedia suffers. Restructuring yes, rephrasing yes. Adding stuff yes. But reverting is extreme.
And as you may have seen, in the last version, the connection with Jesus is hardly buried, I added a whole freaking section concerning it with a nice big title. Under that title you can first add the arguments that the supporters of your theory have. And other people can add the arguments that exist *against* that theory below it.
You may be right that the main interest in Yeshu seems to be that some people have identified him with Jesus Christ. I agree that perhaps this should be mentioned in advance. As long as you don't use biased language or start arguing the position in advance.
Aris Katsaris 15:47, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I apologize for the full revert. I got angry and this is always a bad prerequisite for editing. Pjacobi 16:09, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I see problemss with Josh's version and I will revert it now (once). If this is going on, this article will be in dire need of Peer review, not that I have much hope, that it will get some.

I'm not an expert in this field, but by applying simple logic and checking some sources on the Web, Josh is simply taliking about another real or fictional person and this is already handled at Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud, as Josh himself stated in the VfD discussion.

Pjacobi 09:26, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Agreeing in one point with Josh, I tried a NPOV formulation without the "amateur" and "over-enthusiastic" judgements. Pjacobi 09:42, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Have you actually read the Jewish Encyclopedia article that I cited above? It is quite clearly talking about the same person (or persons) discussed in the Wikipedia article. Here's another quote from there:

The Talmud also says that Jesus was in Egypt in early manhood. R. Joshua b. Perahyah is said to have fled with his pupil Jesus to Alexandria in order to escape the persecutions of the Jewish king Yannai (103-76 B.C.); on their return Jesus made a remark on the not faultless beauty of their hostess, whereupon R. Joshua excommunicated him; and when Jesus approached him again and was not received he set up a brick for his god, and led all Israel into apostasy.

This is obviously the same person, isn't it?

And what about the "translation" of "Yeshu" as "Esau"? Do you have a source to support your reversion to this apparent inaccuracy? Josh Cherry 15:16, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

As I've said I'm not a expert in this domain and I agree that that the article is best served by getting input from from contributors, hopefully attracted by the NPOV listing. And to repeat another point, only from the structure of the debate, there is the interpretation possible, that believers in religion X are trying to set the interpretation of scriptures of religion Y. Pjacobi 15:43, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well I really wish you had read my citations for comprehension before reverting my edit and declaring that "simple logic" told you that I was confusing different characters. You don't have to be an expert to see that the sources I cited think that this Yeshu was the famous Jesus. It wouldn't have taken much effort; if you don't want to put in such minimal effort, don't revert other people's work.

As far as religious stuff, we should generally be wary of people with a religious agenda. This particular case is clearly not a matter of Christians trying to dictate the interpretation of Jewish writings. I gave two Jewish sources that clearly think that the Talmud is discussing Jesus. It shouldn't matter, but for the record, I am not a Christian. My only interest is in reflecting what scholars think. If anyone has a religious agenda here, it's not me. As it stands, the article misrepresents mainstream Jewish thought (along with other mainstream thought). Josh Cherry 16:19, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I already apologized for my full revert, but your edit from 15:11, 24 Jul 2004 also was a nearly full re-write and POV. But we shouldn't focus on these past struggle, as I hope all can agree, that the article is already improving. Pjacobi 16:36, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I have absolutely no problem with Josh's version, and it makes much more sense to me than the version that is currently up. I never knew until reading this article that there was any doubt as to whether Yeshu and Jesus were one and the same. As far as I knew up to now, Yeshu was simply the Hebrew name of Jesus. I was aware that the spelling ישו is considered derogatory, being the acronym of ימח שמו וזכרו, and the correct spelling is ישוע. I did not know before reading this article, that there are people who argue that ישו was actually a different person than ישוע. I think it should be stated in the opening paragraph that most people associate the name Yeshu with Jesus, and the rest of the article should deal with the evidence to the contrary. I say this from a logical perspective, not a religious one, I don't have strong beliefs one way or the other. There are other cases on Wikipedia where the same title seems to allude to more than one historical figure, see Little Egypt (dancer) for a case that isn't religiously charged. The aim of the article should be to clear up confusion, not to create it. --Woggly 11:33, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I am not sure how many times I am going to have to write this. Which Yeshu are we talking about? All of them as if they were 1? that would make his life span 4 centuries!!! Can we give the primary sources some prominence and use a little common sense here please over the opinions of writers who have made a conscious effort to cover up facts which demolish the views they attempt to build? Jesus probably is mentioned in the Mishna (Josh's continual reference to the Yeshu and Talmud highlights his ignorance in the matter. Which Yeshu? Which Talmud? And why presenty a Jewish connection as some kind of qualification? Another one ימח שמו וזכרו better known as Hitler also had one so should we adopt his views? The only thing which would impress me would be if he could proove he was an observant orthodox Jew.) as one of the Ben Panderas, but that is all. There is nothing of certainty so lets just present what is certain from the sources and leave the speculations up to those who want to do something with the source material.Zestauferov 08:55, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

My ignorance, eh? Well I keep saying, and backing it up with references, that the standard view is that the story of this Yeshu, the one described in this article, who was associated with Perachia, is a reference to Jesus of Nazareth. I am the only one who has posted any references, and that is what they, and all the books I've looked at, say. These sources are well aware of the chronological issues, as a quote I gave above demonstrates. I suppose that they accept that Talmudic legends about Jesus might contain anachronisms. You will have to take it up with them.

I'm really puzzled as to where you're coming from. Either you are unaware that most scholars hold this view (some reading should fix this, perhaps starting with this Jewish Encyclopedia article that I posted earlier), or you are well aware of this but you disagree with the commonly held view (sorry, Wikipedia has to report that the majority view is the majority view, even if Zestauferov disagrees with that view).

I only mentioned religion when others made it an issue: Pjacobi (above) suggested that this was a case of non-Jews forcing their interpretation on Jewish writings (which I can't understand, given the references I gave), and you, Zestauferov, publicly accused me of anti-semitism here (had I expected an apology, I would have been sorely disappointed; and did you just compare me to Hitler?). Josh Cherry 15:32, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Josh from almost the very first post I made on wiki you started stirring things up between quite noble unsers (like Llywrch) against me to very regretable degrees. It is bad enough you keep building up straw man arguments against me, if I have directly accused you of something then please quote it and lets see if it is unfair in a conflict between users debate (which does not belong here). If so I will appologise, if not then why do you insinuate and twist together testimony which doesn't exist? Are you seeing a cap which fits and thinking it must be for you perhaps? Then that is an issue you have to deal with for yourself and here is not the place to get into that. Lets have no more Ad Hominem here now.

You make two points. 1) You read a lot of work by "christian" (pseudo)scholars. My response is, to each his own I suppose. 2) You seem to think I have no references. My response is, what do you think the original sources are? And besides this I have directed you to wonderful sources on the Ben Pandera page. If there is anything I have missed it is probably because I have not read carerfully because of time restrictions. Anyway I think this discussion page & article is progressing in exactly the right way with all points being covered from all the appropriate angles and not being a person with a particularly strong opinion on the matter (except that NPOV is achieved) I don't see that I can add much to the discussion at this point. Keep up the good work folks.Zestauferov 05:17, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

So let me get this straight. 1. You decline to provide any references that support your claims or that shed any light on what contemporary scholars think about this issue. You do this despite your having demanded references from me, and my having provided them. 2. The Jewish Encyclopedia was written by Christian pseudoscholars. Steven Bayme, National Director of the Contemporary Jewish Life Department of the American Jewish Committee, is a Christian pseudoscholar. 3. The many Wikipedia users with whom you have had conflicts are hapless dupes of me, rather than people who have taken exception to the content of many of your "contributions".
I'm not going to engage any further in this silly discussion. Josh Cherry 15:02, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Its not like I have been hiding these, but since you want them all listed in one place. Any mainstream time line of Jewish figures just prior to and under the Roman occupation along with Sanhedrin 107b, Sotah 47a, Sanhedrin 43a, Gittin 57a, Ibn Daud, Nahmonides (Vikuakh Ha-Ramban, Mossad edition, p.306) Jacob Tam (Tosafists, shabbat 104B uncensored) R. Jehiel Heilprin (seder Ha Dorot p.151) Aboda Zara 16b-17a, Jerusalem Talmud Avodah Zarah 2. 40d, Shabbath 14 4, Shabbath 14 14d (Ecc. 10:5), Tosefta Hullin 2:23, Sanhedrin 67a, Shabbath 104b, Kalah 1:16 & Kallah 18, Mishnah Yevamot 4:18 add to that the works of Maccoby & Falk, and that should suffice for a good Jewish perspective. As for Steven Bayme and the Jewish Encyclopaedia, general paraphrasing and quoting intricacies are very different. No careful Jewish scholar places Ben Pandera in the early 1st C. BCE. As for your third point why do you build up a scenario which no one but you believes? This is the second time now I ask you to bring any personal grudge to mediation rather than dirty the discussion pages. Lets have no more mud here please. Why not gather the "many" you indicate while you're at it and do something together if you're into that sort of thing. All the best. Zestauferov 16:19, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

That's not really a response. As you must know, citing the Talmud and other centuries-old sources sheds no light on how modern scholars view the Talmudic passages or where they stand on the question at hand (I have given a quotation from one Jewish source that explicitly claims that Nahmonides was wrong about this). Your vague comments about the Jewish Encyclopedia and Bayme do nothing to explain why you accused me of reading "'Christian' (pseusdo)scholars" when two of the three citations I gave were from Jewish sources, and they in no way undermine these citations as representatives of mainstream Jewish opinion. As for the third point, your comments above speak for themselves. Josh Cherry 23:07, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The article is about people called Yeshu in the Mishnah so that is a very good response. If you want to write a section on how modern scholars interpret these passages then be sure to quote the official perspective summed up in Ency. Jud., 10.15-16. Nothing conclusive can be said beyond the following quotation from EJ (loc. cit., emphasis added and spelling changed to Yeshu):

"Statements in rabbinic literature that explicitly mention Yeshu by name or that allude to him and to his actions are few. Nothing has been transmitted in the names of the rabbis from the early half of the first century. Even those statements dating from the second century are to be regarded as reflecting the [post 135 C.E.] knowledge and views of Jews of that time about Christians and Yeshu, which derived in part from contemporary Christian sources. They were partly a reaction to the image of Yeshu as it had crystalllized in the Christian tradition."

In other words, Talmud at most refers to the christian concoction of Yeshu but not to any historical reality; and even that is highly speculative and blurred with other figures of other times also named Yeshu. And there were a lot of Jews named Yehoshua including the Wicked Priest of the Qumran Scrolls (Hellenized to "Jason"). Please try not to create a biased POV in that section if you do make one. All serious scholars accept that (as cited by the scholars mentioned in the paragraph above) the passages in question refer to at least three and possibly more people and only sloppy researchers who have not bothered to check the chronology think otherwise (which is enough reason to discount their opinions) it is as simple as that.Zestauferov 00:18, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Where are we now?

Is this article to be re-written? Merged with Quotes about Jesus in the Talmud? The material in the two articles re-organized? Jayjg 21:28, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

This article is a mess. I believe it is based on a mistaken assumption. The assumption behind this article is that there is a single person in the Talmud named "Yeshu", who is definately not Jesus. The article goes on from there to discuss just who this Yeshu is. The problem is that most Talmud scholars deny the very premise: In the Talmud there are many quotes from different people, with different points of view, about a person named "Yeshu"...and they do not necessarilly all refer to the same person. In fact, most Talmud scholars I know of state that the name "Yeshua" became a stand-in for many people considered to be false Jewish messiahs in early rabbinic Judaism, both real people and legendary. Jesus is certainly meanto be Yeshu in some chapters, yet is certainly not mean to be Yeshu in other chapters. Now, this still could be made into a decent article if this point istaken into account, and it is merged with the current article on Quatations about Jesus in the Talmud. Such a merge along with a clarification could go a long way towards fixing this up. RK 23:24, Aug 4, 2004 (UTC)

If you "merge" it with "Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud" you are not actually "fixing it up", you are *removing* it as an article. Whether most Talmud scholars deny any given premise supported by others and for which reasons is something for the article *itself* to describe. But if the name itself is so important (meant something to Christian investigators, meant something different to Talmudic scholars), then that does certainly mean that an article on the subject is required. Fix it. Include all the crucial tidbits that you saw fit to mention here. But the Yeshu article has already survived an attempt to delete it. Aris Katsaris 00:23, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Jayjg, feel free to express an opinion about what should be done. I agree with most of what RK says, though I would emphasize that the particular story that is the main focus of this article (despite its more generic name) is considered by most to be a reference to Jesus. Josh Cherry 01:20, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I feel they are different topics to an extent, but they also overlap. For that matter, there is overlap (and contradiction) with Pandera, Toledoth Yeshu, and Jesus and textual evidence. All told its quite a mess. On your question,
  1. There are a number of references to a "Yeshu" in the Talmud, with conflicting stories told about each.
  2. There are a number of stories in the Talmud told about various individuals (not all named Yeshu) which are seen by some as referring to Jesus.
  3. There is also a post-Talmudic usage of the name Yeshu, which is definitely associated with Jesus.
That said, the only thing that is really of interest to people is what the Talmud has to say (or doesn't have to say) about Jesus; if it wasn't for the alleged link, no-one would care about or bother writing a Wikipedia article about Yeshu, or Pandera. For that reason, I think this should all be put into some "The Talmud and Jesus" type article which discusses the sections and points of view, and the other articles (Yeshu, Pandera, etc.) deleted. Jayjg 04:30, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
By the way, I wouldn't rely too heavily on Jewish Encyclopedia articles when it comes to what a "majority" of scholars think; what the author of that article thought in 1908 may not correspond with what the majority of scholars think today. Jayjg 04:33, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
OK, my thinking is much the same. And I take your point about the Jewish Encyclopedia. I cited it because it's an actual book that is also conveniently available online, and it is in accord with more recent works on this point. Josh Cherry 12:39, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
For good reasons my name is marked in this debate, but I just want to give my, maybe naive, view on this. I always thought this article is about your point 1, (There are a number of references to a "Yeshu" in the Talmud, with conflicting stories told about each.), and I voted against deletion for the simple reason, that I'd like to have a place where this can be explained. In contrast, points 2 and 3 quite clearly belong to Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud. If there is enough source material (and editors to put it in), for point 1, it makes more sense to me to have a separate article. Such material even may be in danger of being deleted from Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud, for being off topic. -- Pjacobi 14:32, 5 Aug 2004(UTC)
At the risk of repeating myself, there are hundreds of different individuals mentioned in the Talmud, and stories told about many of them. Some of the stories are far more interesting than the brief stories told about the various Yeshu's. Wikipedia has virtually no articles on the many individuals that the Talmud mentions; the only reason there's an article about the stories regarding Yeshu (or the Yeshus) is because of their alleged connection to Jesus. For that reason, I think the focus should be on that alleged connection, and the other stuff ignored. Jayjg 16:38, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I have a question about the change you recently made to the article. Is there any doubt that the Greek word that gives us "Jesus" was a Greek rendering of "Yeshua"? I though that this was agreed upon fact. Josh Cherry 01:20, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Yes, of course there's doubt. Although the Messianic Judaism movement has promoted the idea that we actually know Jesus' Hebrew/Aramaic name, to the extent that people take it as given, we actually don't have any original Aramaic documents naming Jesus (if indeed any such documents ever existed). Instead we have to rely on the earliest Greek document talking about Jesus, the Septuagint. Unfortunately, the Septuagint transliterates both Yehoshua and Yeshua as Iēsoûs (the name it also uses for Jesus), so Jesus' original name could be either name, or some third similar variant. It's not even clear if Yeshua is a Hebrew short form for Yehoshua, or an Aramaic equivalent. Jayjg 04:30, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'll look into this a bit. I know that we don't have Aramaic writings about Jesus, so there can always be some formal doubt, but we're fairly certain that, for example, "Simon"="Simeon", in part based on how "Simeon" is translated into Greek in other contexts. Maybe the ambiguity about "Jesus" is resolved by some other consideration, maybe not. But I'm confused because you seem to be saying the the Septuagint, which is a translation of the Old Testament that was made in pre-Christian times, refers to the Christian Jesus. Josh Cherry 12:53, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The term Septuagint is typically used in three senses; the first most narrow usage refers to the original translation of the 5 Books of Moses into Greek. The second broader usage refers to Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible, including various deuterocanonical/apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works. The third, widest usage, refers to any of the ancient Greek copies of Christian scripture, which included the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Scriptures, and various deuterocanonical/apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works. Thus if you look in the Wikipedia article on the Septuagint, while it sticks to the second definition, you will note that it refers to Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Alexandrinus as being ancient, relatively complete copies of the Septuagint; yet all of these contain both the Old and New Testaments. The Hebrew Bible refers to a number of individuals named Yehoshua and/or Yeshua, and the Septugaint uses the Greek transliteration Iēsoûs for those names. The Greek New Testament refers twice to Yehoshua (Moses' successor), refers quite often Jesus of Nazareth, and even mentions other similarly named individuals (i.e. Jesus Barabbas), and it uses the same transliteration (Iēsoûs) for all of them. Is that clearer? Jayjg 16:38, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I have never seen "Septuagint" used to include any version of the New Testament. But no matter, that terminological point is irrelevant to the question at hand. Josh Cherry 22:59, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)

So, umm, where are we now? Jayjg 18:30, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Count up the opinions and you will see.Zestauferov 19:55, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I don't even know what the opinions are. Jayjg 14:43, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Merging the articles

The articles Yeshu, Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud, Pandera, Toledoth Yeshu, and Sources about Jesus#Mishna all contain overlapping and often contradictory information. I propose that one comprehensive, agreed upon text be created from the information in all these sources, giving all sides of the "debate" on whether or not the Yeshus of the Talmud are references to Jesus or not. This article would then be linked to from the various other articles. Comments? Jayjg 16:55, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It would be virtually impossible to give such a broad entry one absolutely neutral entry title which would not upset somewone. I say keep them separate and well defined but also cross-linked.Zestauferov 17:26, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What's wrong with having the title be "Yeshu", and have the various other titles re-direct to it? The Yeshu article could present the various statements in question, beliefs and arguments about who they refer to, information about Pandera, Ben Stada, Toledoth, etc. Jayjg 18:39, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Jayjg, it seems I've been bothered by the same phenomenon some time ago. At that time User:IZAK and I agreed that these articles contained a lot of superfluous stuff about possibly unhistorical people, and that their content would be better served if everything was under Yeshu. At that time, no action was taken by us, but I fully agree that Wikipedia does not need duplicative information - especially Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud needs to go. PS If you're really fed up, you can always get some community opinion by listing them on VfD, but I would keep this as a last resort. JFW | T@lk 18:48, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

PS That would not be the first time this article goes through VfD. Please make sure you phrase your deletion request eloquently.

Thanks Jfdwolff. That sounds like a good idea as a final resort, but I was hoping if I could get some consensus here that we could work together to clean this up without having to resort to VfD. Jayjg 19:06, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
As a relatively unbiased observer, having looked at the various articles I'm in favour of merging them under Yeshu, starting with a statement about the possible relationship with Jesus Christ, and pruning drastically! --GRutter 19:43, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Jfdwolff writes "At that time, no action was taken by us, but I fully agree that Wikipedia does not need duplicative information - especially Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud needs to go. "

I agree that it, as a separate article from Yeshu, the Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud articles does need to go. However I think we should preserve the information within that article. RK 20:37, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with RK here, but disagree with Grutter about starting with a statement about the christian icon. That should be a small subsection at the end of an article objectively presenting the info.Zestauferov 16:39, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree that having this and Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud as separate articles makes no sense, and maybe others should be merged as well. My inclination would be to add what's not redundant here to Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud, since, as has been pointed out by others, the only reason that there's significant interest in Yeshu is the alleged Jesus connection. Certainly what's at Quotations should not be eliminated. And it makes little sense to conceal the alleged Jesus connection from the reader until the end, since that's the most important thing about Yeshu. Also, if the name of the merged article is to be something like "Yeshu", I would hope it could be "Yeshu (Talmud)" or "Yeshu in Jewish legend" or something. For one thing, I think that "Yeshu" might be the word used in modern Hebrew for Jesus, so an Israeli reader might expect to find a very different article under this title. Josh Cherry 22:31, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Don't forget that all those other titles can re-direct to this article. Jayjg 03:34, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Oh, and Yeshu is the modern Hebrew word for Jesus, and I agree that the article has to at least mention at the beginning the connection (alleged or real). Jayjg 03:38, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Josh wrote: "since that's the most important thing about Yeshu" but actually the most notorious Yeshu in the Mishnah is the one who was contemporary with Salome Alexandra, and the most important thing about him is that he is the only record in the Mishnah of a character who may have been the wicked teacher of the Qumran scrolls.Zestauferov 05:41, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

P.S. mentioning an alledged connection with Jesus is all well and good but since trhere are several Yeshus, it should be phrased something like

"Yeshu is an acronym applied to several figures mentioned in the Mishna one of which may alledgedly be connected with the historical Jesus."

Zestauferov 05:44, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

One theory is that there are several Yeshus, only loosely connected to Jesus, if at all. Another theory is that they are all various versions of Jesus. Yeshu as acronym is likely a later invention, but is indeed another theory. All should be presented. Jayjg 07:14, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
OK, how about this, as the first couple of paragraphs for the new Yeshu (Talmud) article:

In the Talmud (a record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories compiled in the first few centuries CE), the name Yeshu repeatedly occurs. This name is usually translated as Jesus, and therefore has lead to debates about the relationship between the Yeshu of the Talmud and the Jesus of Christian worship.

There are a number of competing theories on this subject:

  1. Most of the mentions of Yeshu in the Talmud are references to Jesus Christ.
  2. None, or very few, of the references are about Jesus Christ, whilst a number of different people are refered to, all known by the common name of Yeshu.
  3. Yeshu is used as an acronymic curse "ימח שמו וזכרו" meaning "May his name be erased" and therefore refers to enemies of rabbinic Judaism.
It would then be possible to discuss the various theories under different sections, and add any other theories people find. Obviously it needs further work, but hopefully this is a useful start. To pre-empt any complaints, I've started with the theory that Yeshu is Jesus Christ because, as has been mentioned before, if that theory (however erroneous) didn't exist then we wouldn't have 5 articles in the English language version of Wikipedia on the subject! --GRutter 07:52, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Good intro Grutter. It should not be overlooked that Yeshu as a name also indicates dishonour as an abreviation of Yeshua. It should also be noted that the first theory requires us to mess-up the entire otherwise acceptable chronology of the Mishnah's early figures.Zestauferov 16:31, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To be precise, it's not the fact that "Yeshu" is usually translated into English as "Jesus" that makes people suspect a connection. It's the fact that "Yeshu" is close to what is believed to be the original Aramaic/Hebrew name of the person we call Jesus (the translation of "Yeshu" as "Jesus" is just another consequence of this fact). And it's not only this fact that makes people think there's a connection. There's the fact that he/they is/are sometimes referred to as, essentially, "Jesus the Nazarene", and various similarities in the stories (e.g., execution on the eve of Passover). Josh Cherry 22:40, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Zestauferov, I'm glad that you think the intro's OK! Thank you both for the suggested improvements that you made. If no one has any objections would the best thing to do be to create the new "Yeshu in the Talmud" page (if anyone can think of a better name, do say!)? I'd then put a corrected version of my intro on there, along with headings for a general discussion and the specific theories. I'd suggest the following headings:
  1. "Yeshu" in the Talmud - talk about where Yeshu is mentioned, about Pandera and briefly about the Toledoth Yeshu.
  2. "Yeshu" as Jesus Christ
  3. "Yeshu", a common name
  4. "Yeshu" as a curse
We could then collaborate on merging the articles using this structure. Are people happy for this to happen? --GRutter 10:59, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I think the article itself should just be called "Yeshu". The "Yeshu in the Talmud" section should actually be called "Yeshu in Jewish writings", and have subsections which include things like "Yeshu in the Mishna", "Yeshu in the Talmud", "Toledoth Yeshu", and possibly a couple of others. The other section title should be "Yeshu as Jesus". Jayjg 02:57, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I've changed the names of the sections to ..."the Christian Jesus". As Yeshu is normally translated Jesus anyway, we need some way of identifying which Jesus is actually meant. --GRutter 14:24, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Merged from Talk:Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud

I removed the piece by user:Jesus Saves! because it, too, was incorrect. For anyone who can read Hebrew/Talmudic Aramaic, the actual quote is found here: [1]. It distinctly says ישו הנוצרי (Jesus Christ). Danny 14:13, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I'm delighted by your freedom to delete others' content, Danny. Does everybody have this power? If I think something is incorrect, say, in Creationism, can I just delete it? Dbabbitt 14:20, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

If you encounter an article on a controversial subject that you would like to edit, first read the comments on the talk page and view the Page history to get a sense of how the article came into being and what its current status is. Then, if you want to change or delete anything substantial in the text, you should either:

  1. Move it to the Talk page, if it is a sentence or so, and list your objections.
  2. Only list your objections to the section on the Talk page if it is longer.

You did just that. Dbabbitt

Thus, legends referring to Balaam are sometimes understood to be referring to Jesus.

I am deleting this, because it's definitely incorrect. Some "uncensored editions" of Talmud do mention Jesus in connection with Balaam (Gittin 57a). However, far from being identified with Balaam, Jesus is contrasted with Balaam there: whereas Balaam, in hell, continues to advise the cursing of Israel, Jesus ("sinners of Israel" in most "censored" editions), in hell, gives advice regarded as sound: "Seek their welfare, seek not their harm." That a favorable comparison is intended is made clear by the sentence: "Observe the difference between the sinners of Israel and the prophets of the other nations who worship idols." See article "Balaam" in Encyclopedia Judaica.

Danny, I agree with your original deletion of my new material. As written, it mistakenly implied that the specific above quote was not about the Christian Jesus. The quote, of course, clearly was about the Christian Jesus. I only meant to say something about the many other "Jesus" quotes. If this article continues and does not get deleted, it will eventually discuss a number of these quotes. As this happens, I want people to know that some historians believe that many of these quotes (some believe most of them) are not really about Jesus. The rabbis just took any and all examples (real or legendary) and stuck the name "Jesus" in front of them. The person "Jesus" in the Talmud has become like the legendary trouble trouble makers "Reuven" and "Simon" in the responsa literature, who seem to be the only two people ever involved in legal disputes. I think they are probably all related to the same ancestor, the famous Ploni ben Ploni. RK 14:41, Jan 3, 2004 (UTC)

Another Talmudic scholar on the loose ... "Many" and "most" are rhetorical devices. Identify those scholars with reference to specific quotes, and we have room for discussion. Aggadata (Jewish legends) uses certain terminologies and identifies names for specific reasons. To compare them to Reuven and Shimon, the equivalent of x and y in English (xs ox gored ys ox = Reuven's ox gored Shimon's ox) is hardly the same. Danny 14:52, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Danny, I am trying to work with you in good faith. You are a very smart man, and can be a great contributor to Wikipedia when you aren't in flaming mode. Chill out. In regards to your specific point, you initially cited Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz as an authority, yet you attribute his view to me and then mock me. Please don't do this. Please consider this article from The Jewish Week, entitled Jesus Death Now Debated By Jews: AJCommittee scholar cites Talmudic passage, by Eric J. Greenberg, 10/03/03
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, whose Talmud edition has been translated into English, Russian and Spanish, said he believed the Talmudic Jesus is probably not the Christian Jesus. “It could very well be somebody else” who lived 100 or 200 years earlier because the stories don’t match the Gospel account, he said. Rabbi Steinsaltz noted that the Hebrew name Yeshu was popular back then and that “stories about the resurrection of dead leaders are a dime a dozen, before Jesus and after him. This is not a historical issue.”

Also, I have come across a number of others who share his view. RK 15:09, Jan 3, 2004 (UTC)

I want to question the last paragraph, which I'll copy here for convenience:

Summing up, there are many quotes which deal with false messiahs named Yeshu or Yeshuva; interestingly, in the Talmud the name "Yeshua" became a stand-in for many people considered to be false Jewish messiahs in early rabbinic Judaism, both real people and legendary. Many of the stories are far removed from anything writtem in the New Testament; many scholars are convinced that some of these people, often identified as "Jesus", cannot be about the Christian Jesus. Instead, they are a conflation of views about early Christianity, views of previous Jewish messiah claimiants, and legend.

First, how can the "many quotes" and "many people" be correct when there are actually rather few passages involved? Second, as Danny points out at the top of this Talk page, the text actually says "Yeshu ha-Notzeri" (Jesus the Nazarene) which is the expression used for Jesus Christ in countless Jewish texts ever since Talmudic times and still today. (But does the Talmud say "the Nazarene" each time, or just some of the time?) Third, there is no reason that Chazal was required to accept the New Testament account of Jesus, even the basic chronology, so the fact that they wrote things contradicting the NT account is not a reason in itself to dismiss the identification. Fourth, how did the great Talmudic commentators interpret the Talmudic Yeshu? --Zero 12:51, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Hi. I didn't write that paragraph so I can't vouch for everything in it. On the other hand, I think that there is a misunderstanding in the basic assumption of this page. The Talmud is one corpus of writing, but there are many others that are contemporary to this text, such as the Midrash. I distinctly remember other stories, but I cannot find sources for them (Jesus was a student of Rabban Gamaliel, he used the Tetragrammaton to fly, etc.). All of these probably appear in other texts. Like I originally wrote, there is little about Jesus in the Talmud per se. Frankly, he wasn't that important to the authors. As for the Talmudic commentators, it is hard to tell, since the texts mentioned in the article (and any others like them) were all censored, so they either did not see them, or their commentaries were lost. Danny 00:04, 7 Jan 2004 (UTC)


I would really like to see pointers to all the Talmud pages that are supposed to be involved. I have a list that I have compiled. I want to at least see if they match. 23:51, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

what do you mean by "pointer"? Jon513 13:50, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
are you seriously pretending not to know what he means? (talk) 17:37, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Yeshu ha-Notsri

This name is clearly shown in Talmud to refer to a student of Jehudah ibn Perachia, a contemporary of Shimon ben Shetach, from 80 BCE. Please make this clear in the discussion. Patrij (talk) 00:45, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Yeshu on Gittin 57a

The Kollel Iyun ha Daf responsa for this page in the Babylonian Talmud shows that the Yeshu on this page is Yeshu ha-Notsri. Patrij (talk) 00:45, 2 March 2009 (UTC)


Mishnah was not necessarily written down as a whole but it is referenced: in Haggai 2:13 (Kelimn 1:1, 520 BCE); in reference to King John Hyrcanus (Maaser Sheni 5:15); in the letter about the founding of Qumran in the same times (Yadayim 4:7); in the rulings of Shimon ben Shetach from 80 BCE; and those of R.s Hillel and Shammai up to about 10CE. Amos 2:7 may refer to Kidushin 2:1. The article leaves the incorrect impression that Mishnah did not exist until it was written down. Patrij (talk) 00:54, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Yeshu' was Jesus (Yeshua') of Nazareth

Jesus' mother was Mary, or their names in Hebrew:

Disinformation. There is no statement in the Talmud that Yeshu's mother was named Miriam. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Yeshu's mother Miriam's husband was a carpenter:
  • Yeshuas mother Miriam's husband Joseph was a carpenter: See: Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3.

“she was the descendant of princes and rulers.”

Disinformation. There is no statement that Yeshu's mother was named Miriam and no statement that her husband was a carpenter. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:41, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Yeshu's mother Miriam's, descended from princes.
  • Yeshus's mother Miriam's, descended from princes of the Davidic dynasty. Luke 3:31; Romans 1:3
Disinformation. There is no statement that Yeshu's mother was named Miriam and no statement that she was descended from princes. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Disinformation. There is no statement that Yeshu was a Judean. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Disinformation. There is no statement that Yeshu was hung on a stake. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Yeshu' did "magic".
  • Yeshua did miracles.
Disinformation. The term translated "magic" specifically means selling potions or charms to harm people, did your Yeshua do this? Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Disinformation. One of the Yeshu's died the day before passover, your Yeshua died during passover, mismatch. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Disinformation. There is no statement that many Rabbis didn't like Yeshu. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Coincidence! -Stevertigo 19:10, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Not coincidence just plain old lies, the Talmud simply doesn't say the things claimed. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:42, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

CE, BC, AD, after Eden, whatever

the year references on this page need to include CE (I think) looks funny and confusing otherwise

Information removed from Sources about Jesus page

RK removed this information from the Sources about Jesus page, I just thought I'd park it here for now in case there's anything of value that can be retrieved from it. Jayjg 06:57, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

References to Jesus in the Jewish Toledoth Yeshu compiled in the twelfth century but preserving traditions that go back to the 6th century are even less detailed. There is mention of the late 2nd century BCE Yeshu Ha Notzri who had some disciples, and was executed, and a certain early second century CE Ben Stada who practiced some form of "sorcery" (Sanhedrin 43a). There are traditions about Ben Stada's illegitimate birth and attempts to link him with a certain early first century Ben Pandera (Shabbat 104b, Sanhedrin 64a) whose disciples were healers and respected by Rabbis Eliezer ben Hyrcanus and/aka Eliezer ben Dama. The currency of this last story around 180 is corroborated by the anti-Christian polemic philosopher, Celsus, who reported hearing the story from an anonymous Jew.
The Toledoth Yeshu combines the traditions of these three men whose lives spanned four centuries (from the second century BC to the second century CE) and other characters like the 5th century Rabbi Tanhuma Bar Abba into one satirical and cautionary would-be messiah tale. It starts with the story of his allegedly illegitimate birth reports that in the time of King Jannaeus, a certain Miriam of noble blood, while engaged to Jochannan of David's line had an affair with a certain mid first cnetury BC Joseph Pandera and that the late second century BC Yeshu Ha Notzri was the result of this affair. Ben Pantera so means "Son of Pantera". It should be noted that the name of this alleged father means Panther in Aramaic. The chronological mess is because this is not taken to be a historic account but a satirical folk-tradition.
The word "panther" was also used as a metaphor for unbridled sexual desire (according to who?), so this could have begun as an allegation that Jesus was born out of wedlock because of his mother's sexual waywardness. Another theory is that the story of "pantheras" comes later than the chistian accounts as a deliberate distortion of and play on the Greek word for virgin, "parthenos".

Jesus in the Mishnah

Jesus is not mentioned in the Mishnah. At best there is an allusive reference to "ploni" (= rabbinic parlance for "so and so") in M. Yev. 4:13. Aside from that slender possibility, there is no mention of Jesus at all anywhere in the Mishnah. There are references from the Tosefta and from the Talmuds. However, it seems extremely unlikely that the Rabbinic literature can be appealed to for any independent historical data on Jesus of Nazareth. There is nothing to suggest that any reference to Jesus, from anywhere in the entire vast rabbinic corpus, is anything more than a reaction to contemporary Christian claims.

Jeshu page

I've redirected your Jeshu article here. Wikipedia does not need four articles on the same topic, it already has three. Here is the text you wrote. Please incorporate any NPOV text, with references, into this article. Thanks. Jayjg 22:18, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Jeshu is an acronym used in the Talmud for individuals who were guilty of enticing Jews into idolatry. It is an abbreviation of the Hebrew expression yemach shemo vezichro meaning may his name and memory be obliterated. The usage of the acronym reflected the belief amongst the redactors of the Talmud that people guilty of such a sin should not have the honour of being remembered in history.
The use of the term Jeshu in the Talmud is of historical importance as it lead to misconceptions amongst both Jews and Christians that the passages were references to Jesus. Amongst Jews this lead to the class of documents known as the Toldoth Jeshu or Generations of Jeshu. These contain legendary accounts of the origins of Christianity that confound anecdotes about individuals designated Jeshu in the Talmud with elements of the Gospels. Amongst Christians it lead to the belief that the Talmud contained derogatory comments about Jesus and the early Christians, resulting in the censoring of the Talmud.

Isn't this version similiar to the old version of Yeshu before VfD and rewrites: [2] --Pjacobi 22:55, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It is pretty clear that the people who have written the various articles relating to Yeshu are not qualified to do so. I have studied the topic of Yeshu and ben-Stada in the Talmud for nearly 15 years and am undertaking to rewrite the articles. I have started a page titled Jeshu that uses the Soncino spelling and with time will merge in relevant material from "Yeshu" and "Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud". The very name "Quotations about Jesus" implies that it is a fact that the references to Yeshu are about Jesus when modern scholarship clearly rejects such a claim. The very name "Yeshu" is an acronym for the Hebrew expression "may his name and memory be obliterated" NOT the Hebrew form of the name Jesus! - 15 Oct 2004

Ok Jayjg won't let me have my Jeshu page so I have begun rewriting the Yeshu page. Things I have changed:
  1. Added alternative form Jeshu, this is the form used in the Soncino and is consistent with JPS conventions for transliterating Hebrew names.
  2. Removed claim that the name is usually translated Jesus, the usual translations are Jeshu, Yeshu or even Yeishu and Jeschu. "Jesus" is a POV translation. Jesus is a Greek name, used also as a translation of the Hebrew names Joshua and Jeshua and even Hoshua when the latter refers to Joshua.
  3. Removed claim that the Mishna refers to him, it does not!
  4. Mentioned that the majority Jewish understanding of the name is acronym yemach shemo vezichro.
  5. Added mention that the Ben Perachiah story is from the Talmud.
  6. Busy adding references to Talmud passages for each anecdote about Yeshu.
  7. Removing the use of the term "stories" when describing these references, this term is misleading they are not stories but refernces mentioned in passing to illustrate points that the Talmud makes.
  8. Splitting primary references from Toledot Yeshu stories.
  9. Will try make a proper easily readable article instead of a cobble of quotes from the Judaica.
  10. Removing claims that Yeshu was a common name, it is not even understandable as a real Hebrew name and is not attested anyone other than the few references in the Talmud.
  11. Combining sections on Is Yeshu Jesus and Jesus as other people.

User:Kuratowski's Ghost 15 Oct 2004

I've put back some of the info you deleted from the "Is Yeshu the Christian Jesus?" section. I realise that you don't agree with this, and I'll obviously accept your claim that most scholars don't think this anymore. However, in the interests of NPOV all the views need to properly discussed and I don't think that it's helpful to delete named references to people who believed the contrary. If you could provide references to "critical historians" who argue against Yeshu being Jesus Christ it would be even better. --G Rutter 12:53, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
@User:Kuratowski's Ghost: If you are right (I'm far from being able to judge) and if the other authors agree, this solution is even better that having separate Jeshu and Yeshu pages. --
@G Rutter: Mentioning the Jesus identifcation POV should be a part of the article, of course. Independent from the current scholarly view, it is quite often heard and the fact alone that several authors insisted to make this the article's main POV, is sign for this. It would be intersting whether User:Kuratowski's Ghost can give enough evidence to stop these other authors from reverting.
Pjacobi 13:02, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I deleted the stuff because it contains factual errors such as claims of Yeshu in the Mishna (he isn't mentioned there) and the claim that Yeshu was a common name - it simply isn't true, it occurs nowhere other than in the Talmud and Tosefta and no example is known of anyone having Yeshu as a real name. There is also absolutely nothing about Mary and a carpentar in the Talmud passages - that comes from Celsus not Jewish sources.

Important things to remember about keeping NPOV

  1. Assuming all references to Yeshu in the Talmud are about one individual is POV, its like assuming everything about "John Doe" is about one guy.
  2. Assuming all references to Ben Pandira is about one guy is also POV, assuming Ben Pandira, Ben Stada and Yeshu are all one guy is extreme POV. Its like saying Bill Gates is Bill Clinton is George Clinton. No one would be so silly with English names but seem all to willing to do it with Hebrew names which they don't know or understand.

I will add a section on Ben Stada and Ben Pandera in good time.

User:Kuratowski's Ghost
Thanks. I think that the page looks a lot better now. I've added the References and Links sections from Quotations about Jesus in the Talmud- I'm sure you can add more. Does anyone now have any objections to removing the NPOV warning at the top of the page? --G Rutter 14:08, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)


To illustrate "The resemblance of the name Yeshu to Yeshua which some assume to be the original Hebrew or Aramaic for Jesus, is in fact superficial, the latter name contains a gutteral consonant in the original Hebrew which is absent from Yeshu" and perhaps at other places, can somebody please insert the names in Hebrew and in academic transliteration? --Pjacobi 16:52, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It's a bit deceiving as well; the latter indeed contains a "guttural consonant", the letter ayin to be specific, but it is at the end of the word. In other words, Yeshu is just Yeshua with the last letter dropped. Jayjg 19:26, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The point is, one cannot simply drop letters at the end of names.
Of course one can, it's done all the time. Rob is short for Robert. And in Hebrew Yishaya is short for Yishayahu. Jayjg 07:32, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Bearing in mind that the ayin was pronounced like the Arabic pronunciation of G in Gaza and that the patach under a final ayin is pronounced before not after the ayin, blending into the preceding vowel, Yeshu is pronounced YE-shoo but Yeshua is ye-SHOOAGH
Assuming that the Masoretic vowellization accurately reproduced first century pronunciations. Jayjg 09:37, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Actually the precise pronunciation of the vowels is not important, the important things is whch syllable is emphasized and and the fact that Yeshua has the GGGHHHH sound at the end. Kuratowski's Ghost 12:05, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Syllable emphasis is also a feature of Masoretic convention, and the emphasis varies depending which syllable becomes the penultimate one. And it's still just one brief sound, regardless of how many letters you use to "re-produce" it. Moreover, loss of the distinct sound of the "ayin" is a common an early feature of Hebrew; the Talmud itself comments on it. Jayjg 18:35, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Please folks, can anybody be so kind to add the Hebrew and the academic transliteration to illuminate to clueless? --Pjacobi 09:31, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Ben Stada redirects

I redirected Ben Stada to Yeshu instead of Pandera. Similarly with Plony Ben Stada. My advice is that Plony Ben Stada should be removed completely it doesn't even deserve a redirect. Plony is not a name it is Hebrew for "a certain person" and the combination "plony be stada" is not found in the Talmud its baloney :P

I will be adding more about ben-Pandera to the Yeshu article especially regarding Celsus and Christian writers talking about a Panthera and the relationship this has to the Toledot Yeshu, once this is done we can redirect Pandera as well, its the dodgiest page I have ever seen on Wikipedia :p


Please sign with four tilde signs, so your comments are dated. Jayjg 07:33, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • BTW the R. Pappos you reference in connection with this Miriam was a contemporary of R. Akiva who was martyred in the reign of Hadrian, after the fall of Betar, something like 132 CE. I'm sorry, did you say this Miriam was the mother of Ben Sateda? If you did then he and Yeshu ha-Notsri cannot be the same person because their lives are separated by over 100 years (80 BCE to about 130 CE).

Yeshu in medieval and modern Hebrew

"Yeshu" is the common term for Jesus in medieval and modern Hebrew; this point should be incorporated into the article. Jayjg 18:39, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hi.. Another point, Yeshu is often understood as the name for Jesus in Hebrew speaking circles today outside/notwithstanding the acronym stuff. And it is wrong to say that this is only a late or Talmudic usage, there is ossuary evidence without the ayin, and some folks, like the late historian David Flusser, consider it a gutteral Galilean Aramaic usage. An Introduction to the Names Yehoshua/Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus and Yeshu by Kai Kjær-Hansen

One problem is that Christians (Messianics especially) became defensive because of the acronym situation, and attempted to eliminate the Yeshu form from consideration, scholarship on all sides tended to be through glasses. The formation of the acronym is by no means proof that Yeshu was not an actual form of the name of Jesus, we have to watch out for variants on the 'post hoc ergo propter' hoc fallacy.

Shalom, Steven Avery Praxeus 07:15, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Maimonides Hilchos Melachim 11:4

In the un-censored version of Maimonides Hilchos Melachim 11:4 he refers to Jesus; doesn't he use "Yeshu HaNotzri" there? Jayjg 18:38, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Can you confirm that it is indeed a comment by the Rambam and not a 17th century addition to Hilchos Melachim? Kuratowski's Ghost 21:46, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It is indeed an original comment by the Rambam, as found in uncensored Yemenite manuscripts; as far as I am aware there are no scholars who dispute this. Jayjg 22:19, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Interesting, it is not included in the standard Rambam. Rambam is indeed earlier than the Munich Manuscript and that needs to be mentioned. Ok how is this for a rewrite of the paragraph:
In the Munich manuscript of the Talmud (1342 CE), the appelation Ha-Notzri is added to to this last mention of Yeshu. However it literally means the watchman and its original intended meaning is unclear. The term Yeshu Ha-Notzri is already found in the (uncensored) Maimonides Hilchos Melachim 11:4 where the reference does seem to be to Jesus. Even if Nazarene is meant, the addition in the Munich manuscript is considered far too late to have any authority. The term is not found in four other early manuscripts. Herford's translation takes liberty and not only translates Ha-Notzri as Nazarene but appends it to other occurrences. The use of the expression Yeshu Ha-Notzri led to this becoming a standard Hebrew translation of Jesus the Nazarene.
Kuratowski's Ghost 23:06, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • and Munich (Sanhedrin 354v/355v) makes clear that the person travelled to Alexandria with R. Joshua b. Perachiah during the persecution of of the Perushim by Alexander Jannai so this can't refer to Nazarene as an equivalent to Christian. I read it today. 20:25, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

However it literally means the watchman

Well, yes, that's one thing it means. But why does that rule out other possible derivations, including "off-shoot" (from netser), or even "from Nazareth"? Jayjg 18:43, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • see my note above 20:25, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

A derivation of Notzri from netzer or Nazareth is not grammatically plausible. A derivation of "Nazarene" used to describe Jesus in the Gospels is indeed plausibly derived from netzer in addition to the traditional understanding of being derived from Nazareth, leading to the whole debate about whether Nazareth even existed in the 1st century or if it was inserted into the Gospels based on a misunderstanding of Nazarene. But that belongs in the article on Nazarene not in the Yeshu article. I already mentioned that the occurrence in the Talmud led to Notzri being applied to Christians on the assumption that it meant Nazarene, I will add mention that it in fact led to Yeshu Ha-Notzri being used for Jesus the Nazarene. Kuratowski's Ghost 21:20, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, just to push the point, "Notzrim" is the Hebrew word for Christians, and it sure as heck doesn't mean "watchmen" or "offshoots" or "Nazirites". And claiming its "not grammatically plausible" and actually proving it are two entirely different things. Jayjg 22:22, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well actually there are two things complicating the matter. Firstly is the conventional vowelization Notzri correct? If yes then I don't see how it could get that vowelization from netzer. BUT if the vowelization is wrong resulting from people misunderstanding the word as being the word for watchmen (which is notzri) when it should really be vowelized Netzari then yes it does come from netzer. The second complication is what do we actually mean by Nazarene? If we mean someone from Nazareth. Then no notzri and a supposed alternative pronunciation of netzeri is unlikely to mean someone from Nazareth. But if Nazarene itself never really meant someone from Nazareth but instead comes from netzer then the supposed alternative pronunciation of netzari does correspond to Nazarene. Notzrim is standard Hebrew for Christians but this would result from the mediaeval usage of Yeshu Ha-Notzri for Jesus the Nazarene. Hows this for a rewrite of the paragraph.
In the Munich manuscript of the Talmud (1342 CE), the appelation Ha-Notzri is added to this last mention of Yeshu. The term Yeshu Ha-Notzri is already found in the (uncensored) Maimonides Hilchos Melachim 11:4 where the reference does seem to be to Jesus. With the conventional vowelization this word literally means the watchman and its original intended meaning is unclear. It became the standard Hebrew word for Christians and Yeshu Ha-Notzri became the conventional rendition of Jesus the Nazarene in Hebrew. However, the addition in the Munich manuscript is considered far too late to have any authority. The term is not found in four other early manuscripts. Herford's translation takes liberty and not only translates Ha-Notzri as Nazarene but appends it to other occurrences.

Kuratowski's Ghost 09:07, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Changes to Intro

The introduction said However, scholars now generally argue that there is no connection between Yeshu and Jesus. This is apparently not true. I base this on sources I've cited above, plus a trip I just made to my local library. In fact the majority argue that references to Yeshu are references to Jesus. There are, to be sure, a minority who say otherwise, but this is not what scholars generally argue.

Yep. I teach The Bible in sophomore classes in college and I'm convinced that the two are one and the same. Anecdotal, sure, but there it stands. (talk) 17:39, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
This only shows that you haven't read the original, either censored or uncensored. The timing is incorrect. You need to explain how somebody who was an adult in the reign of Alexander Jannai was an infant in the time of Herod. There is no acceptable physical explanation. Therefore you are teaching a physical impossibility.


Also, the status of Yeshu as an acronym is not inconsistent with its being connected to Yeshua. The generally held view is that it is a play on words, derived from Yeshua by dropping the final letter to keep it from implying "salvation" and to make it into an insulting acronym. Josh Cherry 01:46, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Who are these people and how many of them have read Talmud? 20:25, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I note that Judaism has many other examples of "inventive" (and often post-facto) acronyms; Maccabi is a classic example. Jayjg 03:19, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well Toledot Yeshu narratives do try explain it as wordplay. They clearly borrow ideas from the Gospels but being aware of the fact that it is an acronym they explicitly go out their way to argue that Yeshu is indeed a wordplay on Joshua = yehoshua in order to justify the identification. The application of Yeshu to a student of ben Perachiah in the Hasmonean period and to the teacher of Jacob of Sichnin in the second century CE CANNOT be considered wordplay on Joshua or Jeshua meaning Jesus. I'm moving the mention of wordplay to the Toledot section, it is too strong a POV to be in the intro. This whole Yeshua thing doesn't deserve so much emphasis. The popular idea that Jesus original name is Yeshua is based on ignorance that there is nothing odd about Jesus coming from Joshua/Yehoshua and that Jesus is consistently used for yehoshua in the Septuagint as well as Philo and Josephus. Kuratowski's Ghost 09:46, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
That's your opinion. It is not the view of the majority of scholars. Downplaying something believed by the majority of scholars because you personally disagree with it is the essence of POV editing. I've put this back. Josh Cherry 13:01, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Where do you get the idea that the majority of scholars believe this? Laymen tend to believe it because they are unaware of the fact that Jesus is used for Joshua and think that yeshua matches it better than Joshua because of the way it looks in English. Kuratowski's Ghost 13:56, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I get this idea from my survey of various books and other sources, some of which I've quoted or provided links to above. Certainly those sources that find a connection between Yeshu and the Christian Jesus--and these are the majority--can be counted as accepting a connection between the names. In addition, many of those who deny that Yeshu is connected to the Jesus accept that he was a Jesus, i.e., that there is a connection between the names. Josh Cherry 22:31, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well there is a nice study that was done on the subject and the only references to Yeshua that were found were Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles. Oh and the James Ossuary but thats a can of bones I'd rather not open :p Kuratowski's Ghost 00:53, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Ah, we're talking about different issues. I should have realized it earlier. My remark about "the majority of scholars" was directed toward your conclusion that the name Yeshu "CANNOT be considered wordplay on Joshua or Jeshua meaning Jesus." That's not what most scholars think. On the Yeshua vs. Yehoshua quesion I have little to say at the moment. Josh Cherry 01:26, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Pandera information from Pandera page

Pandera (also Pantera, Pantiri, Pantheras and Pantira), meaning "panther" in Aramaic was the name of a Jewish family around the end of the last century BC and first century CE suggested as centered in a certain Bethlehem. (There was at least one Bethlehem in Galilee besides the one in Judea).

The independent sources for information about the family are Epiphanius, the church historian (in identifying "the sacred family" of early Christian writings); Tertullian in 198 CE; Origen, in writing about the 178 CE comments of anti-Christian polemic philosopher Celsus; passages from the Jewish Mishnah; and less seriously the satirical Toledoth Yeshu.

  • There is no information on Pandera in Mishnah. 23:27, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

The names of people mentioned from these sources as belonging to this family are Jacob ben Matthan; his sons Joseph and Clopas; their sons Yeshu, James, Joseph (or Joses), Simon, and Jude. Finally and most controversially a certain "Plony" Ben Stada is supposed to be illegitimately descended from the same family because of his mother Miriam Mgadla (Miryai the Hairdresser) called Stath-Da as "she was unfaithful" to her husband Paphos Ben Jehuda.

Christian scholars have often suggested that the application of the name Pantheras to the family in question grew out of poking fun at the use of the term "huios parthenou" amongst Helenized Israelites meaning "son of a virgin by repeating it as "huios pantherou" meaning "son of a panther". Otherwise the surname may be of Moorish origin indicating origin from a proselyte.

Yeshu Ben Pandera

In the Talmud very little is known about an early first century CE rabbi called Yeshu Ben Pandera whose disciple Jacob of Kefar Soma/Sama or Sakanin, though described as a "Min" (i.e. heretic), later enjoyed a certain amount of admiration from Rabbi Eleazar ben Hyrcanus (c.70-100CE) the Shammaite and later Rabbi Eleazar (Eliezer) ben Dama (the nephew of Rabbi Yishmael/Ishmael Ben Elisha c.90-135CE).

  • There is no information about Pandera in Talmud. 23:27, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

R. Eleazar (Eliezer) is mentioned in a few traditions a couple concerning Yeshu Ben Pantere describing one of two incidents. One of Yeshu Ben Pandira's disciples was called Jacob of Kefar Sakkanin (Tosefta Hullin 2.24; cf. Zara 16b-17a where in manuscript M Sekanya and Ha-Notzri are written) whose comments amused R. Eleazar. Tosefta Hullin II, 22,23, discusses the case where R. Eleazar ben Dama was bitten by a serpent and wanted to be healed in the name of Yeshu ben Pandira (See also Avodah Zarah 40d, 41a) but died before he could prove to R. Ishmael that it was permitted.

  • pandera is not mentioned in avodah zara in this story, not even in the Munich manuscript -- see page 376v. 14:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

From the passages about Yeshu Ben Pandera in the Mishnah it can only be determined that his school were doctors, opposed the period's establishment of Roman conspirators, and that they were not popular with the House of Shammai. Hyam Maccoby (SCM Press, 2003) has presented good evidence that this particular Pandera was a Pharisee. Orthodox Rabbi Harvey Falk (NY 1985) further classified him as a Hillelite who sided with the Shammai Pharisees only on the matter of divorce. For centuries many Jews have thought him to be the Historical Jesus behind the figure Christians have been worshipping as Messiah because of the certain similarities between their biographies. For example Epiphanius said Jesus's mother's husband Joseph was the brother of Cleophas, the son of James, surnamed Panther (the literal meaning of Pandera). Interestingly the teachings attributed to Jesus identify his origin from the House of Hillel which was opposed by the House of Shammai.

Ben Pandera mentioned explicitly in

Aboda Zara 16b-17a
  • just read them, not there, nothing marked destroyed by the censor 00:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

no such pages

Jerusalem Talmud Avodah Zarah 2. 40d
  • no such page as "d" 00:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Shabbath 14 4 (Eleazar's death)
  • no such page designator 00:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Shabbath 14 14d (Ecc. 10:5) Yehoshua Ben Levi's Grandson)
  • no such page designator 00:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Tosefta (c)Hullin 2:23 (Rabbi Ishmael)
  • looked at my copy, no such page designator 00:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

  • There is no such reference as Tosefta Chullin 2:2x

It ends at 2:7 23:27, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Other Sources

It is thought that those fragments of the Toldoth Yeshu which are not obviously adapted from the Mishnah concerning the early first century BC Yeshu Ha Notzri or the early second century CE Plony Ben Stada may be referring to this Yeshu Ben Pandera. Ibn Daud, Nahmonides (Vikuakh Ha-Ramban, Mossad edition, p.306) Jacob Tam (Tosafists, shabbat 104B uncensored) R. Jehiel Heilprin (seder Ha Dorot p.151) have all highlighted the fact that these three men are different people from different times.

Pandera information from other pages

For NPOV purposes some of this [3] information should be incorporated into the page:

"The story of Mary's seduction by Pandera was in circulation around 150 C.E., when it was cited by Celasus [Origen (ca. AD 185-254), Contra Celsum]; and the Toldot Yeshu was quoted by Tertullian in 198 C.E. Almost certainly its author did not intend his work to be taken seriously, but was rather riduculing Matthew by writing a parody. Nothing else could explain his making Jesus huios pantherou (son of a panther), a transparent pun on huios parthenou (son of a virgin)." William Harwood, Mythologies Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus

Biblical scholar Morton Smith disagrees that Pandera was based on a pun.

The word parthenos "depends on a Greek translation of Isaiah 7.14; it cannot be derived from the Hebrew with which the rabbis were more familiar. Jesus is never referred to as 'the son of the virgin' in the Christian material preserved from the first century of the Church (30-130), nor in the second -century apologists. To suppose the name Pantera appeared as a caricature of a title not yet in use is less plausible than to suppose it [was] handed down by polemic tradition." Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God? (1978) p. 61

The name Pandera, Pantera or Panthera "is an unusual one, and was thought to be an invention until [a] first century tombstone came to light in Bingerbrück, Germany. The inscription reads: 'Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera of Sidon, aged 62, a soldier of 40 years' service, of the 1st cohort of archers, lies here'." Ian Wilson, Jesus, The Evidence

"...Panthera was a common name in the first two centuries of the Christian era, notably as a surname of Roman soldiers....There is no proof that Jesus was referred to by the title bo buios tes parthenous ['son of the virgin'] this early on. It is possible, though, that the accidental similarity of the Infancy Narratives' parthenos to 'Panthera' ...caused 'Panthera' to be picked as the name of the adulterer, once the theme of an adulterous soldier arose in the tradition." John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew - Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Vol. 1.

"Eusebius, about 300, tried to explain 'their' [the Jews] Panthera story as a misunderstanding of scripture, and Epiphanius, a century later, actually gave Panther a legitimate place in the Holy Family - he became the Savior's 'paternal' grandfather! Later Christian writers found other places for him in the same genealogy." Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God? (1978) p. 80 --Jayjg 17:22, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The gist of most of it is in the article. Celsus' Pantheras claim is mentioned as are the rebuttals making Panther a family member. The parthenos claim is mentioned. The Roman form of Pantheras, Pantera, is mentioned. Do we really need more detail? Kuratowski's Ghost 21:31, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)


After the recent merge, there is a lot of information on the page. However, it needs to be tidied up, some points need to be bulleted.

Maybe the "is/not Jesus" section needs to be in the form of


  • Case For
  • Case Against

Where Issue is Name, Censorship, etc.

Thoughts, issues? CheeseDreams 12:48, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I removed the parenthetical explanantions in the ben Perachiah paragraph. The passage doesn't say that the gesture was covering the eyes for prayer (ha ha arguing about this is really pendantic). The claim that Yeshu set up a brick and worshipped it is understood to be a sarcastic idiomatic way of saying he turned to idolatry, it is also used to describe the idolatry of Elisha's servant Gehazi, no need to assume that they literally worshipped bricks. Kuratowski's Ghost
Again I removed the comment that the gesture was covering the eyes, the sources do not make such a claim, it is an unfounded assumption. The impression one gets from reading the source is that the gesture was probably holding up hands to request silence. Kuratowski's Ghost 20:50, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I would like the brick mentioned, its quite funny. CheeseDreams 18:43, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I have reworded the reference. If one wanted to say that Yeshu died one wouldn't simply write "Yeshu kicked the bucket" leaving people unfamiliar with the idiom to misunderstand what is being said, similary with saying that he worshipped a brick. Kuratowski's Ghost
Nor would one state "Jesus made the blind to see and the death to hear", the populus being unfamiliar with the references to those who do not understand, and those who are unwilling to. Oh, but, urm, people do assume these things are literally true miracles. CheeseDreams 22:20, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Phonetic Difficulties

As well there are significant phonetic difficulties in finding parthenos in the epithet son of Pandera, and this ignores the understandable Hebrew meaning of betrayer.

This seems off-point to me. I don't think anyone argues that Pandera is a corruption of parthenos. They see it as a deliberate wordplay. So the part about phonetic difficulties seems not to apply, and a Hebrew meaning of betrayer fits well with the hypothesis. Josh Cherry 23:58, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Actually it is argued by some that is a corruption of parthenos. You can mention that the phonetic difficulties do not preclude deliberate wordplay. However the strong counter arguments are that the expression is used to describe a Yeshu who lived about a century after Jesus and moreover, "son of the virgin" was not an expression normally used for Jesus so it is an unlikely candidate for being the target of wordplay. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:56, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Could you point me at some souces that argue that it's a corruption? I haven't run into that yet. Anyway, I changed the relevant section. Josh Cherry 05:12, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Read it too long ago to rememeber the book although it discussed the name and ruled out normal phonetic evolution from parthenos while pointing out that "garbled" pronunciation of an unfamiliar foreign word was possible as such pronunciations do not always follow normal phonetic rules. Kuratowski's Ghost 10:21, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

BTW the current wording of the article suggests that the explanation of Pandera as coming from Pandaros is highly conjectural, my understanding is that the use of Pandaros and derivative forms to mean a betrayer is well known and is the reason Shakespeare chose it for one of his characters, Pandare. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:56, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I have been trying to find info on this. It was Chaucer who used Pandare based on Pandaros in the story of Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare uses the form Pandarus. There was also a Pandareus in Greek mythology, those familiar with the Toledot Yesha will recognize the origins of the bronze dog and stealing from a temple elements as being derived from the Greek story of Pandareus. Kuratowski's Ghost 15:39, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The article says betrayer is an easily understandable hebrew meaning. Well it was not easy for me to make any connection at all.

Because you are unfamiliar with Hebrew from the Middle Ages where "kol Pandar" (voice of Pandar)is an expression meaning the false promises of a betrayer, the reference being to Pandaros of Greek literature. Pandera is the same word with the Aramaic definite article -a at the end. Kuratowski's Ghost 22:58, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"Hebrew from the Middle Ages" really? Where can I learn more about this? It sounds like it comes from translating some renaisance literature into Hebrew which I understand was not in use at the time.

Now you are just showing your ignorance. Much poetry, midrashim and responsa were written in the Middle Ages in Hebrew. Pandar (i.e. Pandaros) to denote treachery is found in the Midrash Rabbah in Hebrew.

I have changed the article to state as a fact that Pandaros' name was used to mean betrayer and borrowed by Hebrew - the usage in Midrash proves this, it is not simply conjecture. Kuratowski's Ghost 16:07, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It's unattributed. Which Midrash Rabbah mentions it? Which section and verse in that Midrash? Also, the Midrash Rabbah compilations generally preceded the Middle Ages. Jayjg 17:35, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Depends if you consider the Middle Ages to have begun with the splitting of the Roman empire or with the end of the Western empire or later. I checked the reference at its in fact in Bereshit Rabbah 50. Bereshit Rabbah if I am not mistaken dates to same era as the Talmud so I think its quite a strong case for Eisler's explanation of Pandera.

Kuratowski's Ghost 22:33, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • the medieval source page at Fordham university says the middle ages began with the fall of Rome in Italy. 14:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

  • you don't say which section of chapter 50 in Breshit Rabbah has tnis so I looked at my copy. In section 3 it says that among the 5 judges established in Sodom, one was called "kl' pndr" where ' represents aleph. The spelling given on Student's page does not appear in Torah, Midrash, Mishnah, or Talmud. Please provide the edition of your Midrash translation. 14:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Distinction Difficulties

Can someone please go through the article and clear up paragraphs like this one?

"Some see the Greek for virgin parthenos in the word "Pandera" either as a corrupted pronunciation or an intential play on words. Others see the names of Jesus' disciples amongst the five disciples of Yeshu; principally Matai and Todah as Matthew and Thaddaeus, though some have gone further and see the names John and Andrew in Buni and Netzer."

It talks about two different Yeshu's as if they were one. The article is full of things like this so it makes it very difficult to know which passages from the talmud (and indeed which talmuds) are being refered to, and what the chronologies are etc..I know that Ben Pandera & Ha-Notzri have only been equated due to one passage spceicifally manuscript M version of the Babylonian Talmud, Aboda Zara 16b-17a but historical factors indicate this is a later gloss and anyway it is not oldest nor only surviving version of the story.

  • they can't be equated, see my comment about above the Munich manuscript. 14:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

The point is that those who argue that "Yeshu" means Jesus believe that there is only one Yeshu being referred to and that it is Jesus. They are either unaware of the chronological impossibilities or they assume that these are due to mistakes. Kuratowski's Ghost 04:47, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Could we avoid trading off logic and appraisals of historical source documentation against opinions of various schools? If a passage talks about all the Yeshu's as one then it should be clearly attributed to the school of opinion which takes that stance as is good journalistic practice. Phrases like "some see" are not good enough.

There is a whole spectrum of opinions not clearly defined schools of thought. Kuratowski's Ghost 04:51, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Either way.

Erroneous beliefs cannot override the facts

Erroneous beliefs even be they of the majority cannot override the facts as they stand. There are four centuries between the birth of one Yeshu and the death of another in question (later in this article mingled together as one) they cannot be the same it is pure insanity. Will someone please address this issue, as there is an editor who has looking through the history pages at least three times now (if my eyes are correct) attempted to override the statements in the books as they are. In the mishnah there are no two ways about it there must be at least two Yeshus.There is absolutely nothing wrong with going into detail as to why some people believe these references to be to one person, but this belief must be shown to be pulling the historical veracity of the Mishnah into question. Anything else is mis-information. 11:34, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Please review the Wikipedia:NPOV policy. Some historians believe these Talmud references all refer to Jesus, some do not. NPOV demands both views must be expressed. "One or more" captures that, while the text itself makes it clear what the arguments are on both sides. Jayjg (talk) 16:53, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • npov issues do not trump the fact that no human has lived 180 years and no human has been active as an adult for that period of time. 14:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Analysis of Chullin text

An analysis of the reference in Chullin was recently added. I have removed it for the following reasons:

  1. Largely irrelavant to the topic of Yeshu (deals with the details leading to the mention of Jacob of Sichnin)
  2. Uses a dodgey translation of Chullin which, for example, has Notzri in it which is absent from the Hebrew text.
  3. Assumes that the passage is talking about Christians etc when that still has to be decided. Kuratowski's Ghost 06:21, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Do not remove valid content. This is an encyclopedia, and knowledge is good. This article makes it clear that there is some debate over what "Yeshu" refers to. Minimally, it refers to a set of texts in the Talmud. I added content about those texts. Some people do believe they are about Christians, although the point of my additions is that they are about the rabbis. Also, what I added comes from published scholarly literature. I will be clearer about the sources, but do not delete content. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:09, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Slrubenstein, I have to agree with Kuratowski's Ghost here; the additional information about Chullin is largely irrelevant to Yeshu, but seems more about theories about early Jewish-Christian relations; it probably belongs an article on that topic. Jayjg (talk) 16:45, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, Jayjg, what then is the purpose of an article called "Yeshu?" Since there is little agreement not only as to who the name refers to, but even if it is the name of a person, or if the person ever really existed, the one thing we can be sure of is that "Yeshu" is a literary character in the Talmud. How this literary character is used and to what purposes seems entirely appropriate in an article on Yeshu. If we had an article on "Moby Dick" (name of a whale, not the name of a book) we wouldn't just have some speculation on whether Moby Dick was the real whale that destroyed the Essex, or an invention of Melville. We would also have an account of how scholars have interpreted the meaning of "Moby Dick" in the novel. To put it another way, the article opens by saying "Yeshu" is the name of someone, and it seems that you and KG agree. I, on the other hand, say that "Yeshu" is a rhetorical device. I am not excluding your view from the article, and I do not think you have a right to exclude my view (which is actually the view of at least two published scholars whom I source). This seems entirely reasonable to me and I honestly do not understand Kuratowski's Ghost's or your objection. Can you explain your objection more patiently to me? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:02, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
If you want to include the views of scholars who believe that the "Yeshu" of the Talmud is a rhetorical device, that's certainly a valid thing to do. However, the material you've included doesn't really seem to talk about that, but rather about early Jewish-Christian relations. If you could include material specifically discussing Yeshu in the Talmud in the context of a rhetorical device, that would be great. However, as it stands, the material seems peripherally related at best. Jayjg (talk) 18:02, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I did a little more editing to introduce the section that I hope makes this point clearer. The article already stated that Yeshu is always used in relation to a story about the threat of heresy, I just did some editing to make this point stand out more clearly. I think the point itself is pretty clear: "Yeshu" marks a genre of stories, these stories are about the threat of heresy and possibly ambivalent relations between rabbis and early Christians. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:22, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Better, but I think the article still gives far, far too much information on the specifics of the stories; rather, it should just summarize what the various scholars say about the use of "Yeshu" in this context. Jayjg (talk) 18:28, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

I dunno -- it seems to me that Yeshu is the perfect place for a detailed exposition of the Yeshu narratives. I don't see any harm. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:46, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

But it's not that at all; it's discussing narratives that don't even mention Yeshu, at great length. Furthermore, it is recapping theories about the origins and relations of Judaism and Christianity the really belong in other articles. In my opnion the material you have presented here should be summarized in three or four sentences, and expanded in an article on early Jewish-Christian relations. Jayjg (talk) 18:48, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

According to Rubenstein and Boyarin, they are Yeshu narratives. These are two legitimate scholars. Rubenstein's book is part of "the Classics of Western Spirituality" series which is very well-respected. The introduction is by Shaye Cohen, an extremely well-respected historian of the late Second Temple period. Rubenstein discusses the tosefta in Chapter 27: Jesus and his Disciples. Now, Jayjg you have every right to disagree with Rubenstein and Boyarin. And if you know of scholars who take another view (I assume you do) you have every right to make sure they are represented in the article. But the fact that you disagree with Rubenstein and Boyarin is not sufficient to exclude their views from this article. You suggest that this material can be in an article on early Jewish-Christian relations and perhaps it could go there. But in that article, people could well make the following objections: "we do not know for sure if these stories are historically accurate; they really say more about Rabbinic values than about actual relations between actual Christians and Jews." Of two things, however, we are certain: these stories mention Yeshu, and they are in the Talmud. So let's talk about them in the article on the Talmudic figure "Yeshu." Slrubenstein | Talk 19:01, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I don't really have an opinion on Rubenstein and Boyarin, though I think you should declare a conflict of interest regarding the former. ;-) However, the stories you have brought don't mention Yeshu, so they're peripheral to this article, which is about the use and meaning of the term, not how Jewish communities framed their relationship with early Christianity through the use of Talmudic narrative. Jayjg (talk) 19:22, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

According to Rubenstein (no connection, honest! ;-) both stories mention Yeshu. And it seems to me that "the meaning of the term" is the way the Rabbis used it to frame their relationship with early Christianity. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:59, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

The analysis as stands should not be in the article and certainly not in the primary references section which is intended to present short accounts of the primary references without interpretation.
One immediate glaring problem that jumps off the screen at me is the POV translation of the Tosefta:
  • The original Hebrew text does not have Ha-Notzri as a description of Yeshu.
  • The use of Yeshua is also POV, as mentioned later in the article some manuscripts have Yeshua (in fact only in one place, perhaps the translation being used was based on such a manuscript) but as noted later this is not the case in all manuscripts and is regarded as an error.
  • Also the Hebrew text refers to the town as Sechania in the main body (the Aramaic form of Sichnin) but when quoting the words of Rabbi Eliezer uses the Hebrew form Sichnin. This translation however translates Sechania as "Samma" - a town in Lebanon now known to be a different site to Sichnin/Sechania. Oddly it translates the Hebrew form Sichnin by an unusual form Sakhnia" that appears to be based on the Aramaic. This sloppy translation creates the false impression that there are two different Jacobs, yet if you read the Hebrew and are aware of the fact that Sechania is the Aramaic for Sichnin one understands only one Jacob.
I would suggest cutting down the description of the Chullin passage + correctuon of the translation. I would suggest moving the discussion on Jewish Christian relations to the section on identification of Yeshu with Jesus. Kuratowski's Ghost 22:13, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

I see the "Ha-Notsri" has found its way into the Talmud references. Please correct this, as pointed out its only in the Munich manuscript in one place and magically appears in biased English translations. Also move discussion identifying with Jesus to the appropriate section. Kuratowski's Ghost 22:33, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

I've moved some new material to the right section but I have again cut out the material added to the primary reference section as it is POV and uses wrong and highly POV translations containing speculative embelishments. Kuratowski's Ghost 23:24, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

NPOV violation

Kuratowski's Ghost, NPOV polity requires that articles present different views, even if editors disagree with or reject entirely one of the views. The view of Rubenstein and Boyarin is a legitimate view; it is simply irrelevant that you disagree with it. When I added their views to the article, I was careful to explain that this is their view, and not everyone's view. Do not delete it. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:19, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Your wording is not very careful in places; you sometimes present their views as fact. Moreover, as I've said before, there is far too much in this article about this; it really needs to be cut down to a reasonable amount of material. As it is, it is repetitive, and quotes far too much. Jayjg (talk) 19:56, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Honesty violation

I was pulling my punches before, but we are in fact dealing with more than POV we are dealing with factual accuracy and honesty.

Slrubensteins additions to the article uses the Herford translation. This translation contains erroroneous and extraneous material:

  • It misidentifies the Kfar Sechania of the Tosefta with the Lebanese town of Kfar Samma, the location of Sechania is known and it lies in Israel. Ok this is minor but Herford is inconsistent in his translation which leads to a misconception that there are two Jacobs, a Jacob of Samma and a Jacob of Sichnin. You will find in the popular literature on the subject much ink spilt over whether these two Jacobs are the same or different and its all a result of sloppy translation. (Because he also has the anomalous spellings of Yeshu and Pandera I suspect Herford used a poor quality manuscript in which the kaf-nun-yud of Sechania looked like a mem, not sure precisely which manuscript this is.)
The identification of Samm comes not from Herford's translation but from Zuckermandel's critical edition of the Bavli.Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
  • It adds in Notzri when its not in the Tosefta - dishonesty.
A mistake. Please assume good faith — you are correct in this case. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Slrubenstein's version of events adds further dishonesty:
Dishonesty suggests intent. Do you really believe this was my intention, or are jou just mean-spirited? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
"Akiba suggests that perhaps R. Eliezer had been seen listening to, and enjoying, a Christian preacher, and R. Eliezer agrees."
Complete lies, Christians preachers are not mentioned in the text.
Again, you are correct. I have no problem admitting to mistakes, though you seem to believe you are perfect. I have no objection to you restoring the literal meaning.Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Then unjustified POV biased interpretation, e.g.
"This tale reveals that there was greater contact between Christians and Jews in the second century than commonly believed. But it also provides the rabbis with an opportunity to mock Christianity."
This is not unjustified when the person whose POV it is is identified. Many articles provide multiple interpretations of texts; this is one.Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Again in reality there is no mention of Christianity in the real passage.
  • More fabrication:
"Yaakov of the town of Sakhnia, a follower of "Yeshu Ha Notsri," quoted Deuteronomy 23:19, "You shall not bring the fee of a whore or the price of a dog into the house of the Lord your God in fulfillment of any vow," and asked whether it was permissable to use the money to build a toilet for the high priest. When R. Eliezer did not reply, Yaakov told him that Jesus, quoting Micah 1:7, "For they were amassed from whores' fees and they shall become whores' fees again," etc
This text is not in the original passage, no Ha-Notzri, no quoting of Deuteronomy by Jacob, no Jacob telling him about Jesus, its simply not there!
You are wrong. Ha Notzri, and the quote from Dvarim, are in the text. Your research, however good it may be, is obviously not thorough. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Kuratowski's Ghost 20:45, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Kuratowski's Ghost, you have to distinguish between two things here, whether information is relevant, and whether it is correct. If the information indeed is relevant, then it certainly can be cited, regardless of whether or not you think it is incorrect, or improperly translated, or biased. While I think the insertions are far too long, not expressed in the best way, and rely on too many quotes, that doesn't mean they can be removed entirely because they are "biased". I would recommend summarizing the positions of those authors and re-inserting them; that would seem to be a reasonable compromise. Jayjg (talk) 22:01, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
Well my initial reaction was that it was largely POV comments in the wrong place and irrelavant material. Upon checking the source, I realized that its more than just biased translation, its making up things that aren't there. Another example, theres nothing about the judge being a Roman either, indeed why would a Roman care about minuth. Kuratowski's Ghost 22:29, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
It's certainly at least partly on topic. And again, regardless of how incorrect you think it is, it can't be deleted simply on the grounds that you don't agree with it or think it is wrong. Jayjg (talk) 22:50, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
ROFL oh come on Jayg, thats equivalent to saying that a Wikipedia article can never be edited or corrected!! Why should Slrubenstein be allowed to delete my information then? What if someone started adding in translations from neo-Nazi websites that also fabricate quotations? Should those be allowed to stay simply because Jews disagree with then and think they are wrong? (BTW in case anyone is wondering, Herford and Slrubenstein's fabrications are largely based on statements taken from the Munich manuscript of the Bavli and shoved into the Tosefta, not from anti-semitic fabrications.) Kuratowski's Ghost 23:09, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
First, the Rubensteins are different, please stop claiming they are the same, and in so doing call Slrubenstein a liar. Second, the sources themselves are scholarly, Jewish, and on topic, so the analogy regarding neo-Nazis is silly. They should indeed be allowed to stay (or at least their positions summarized. Jayjg (talk) 14:38, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Its about as scholarly as discussing the Gospel of Matthew while making statements like "when the UFO appeared over Bethlehem" and "this shows that aliens were impregnating human females already in Roman times". Capisc? Kuratowski's Ghost 15:06, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Your analogies are again quite weak; these are reasonably serious authors, not kooks. Jayjg (talk) 17:57, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Huh? I wasn't apologizing :) Kuratowski's Ghost 21:40, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Was that a joke? I said analogies, not apologies. Jayjg (talk) 21:58, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Oops just tired and using a 1600x1200 monitor without my specs :) Kuratowski's Ghost 22:09, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Although I'm not sure what you are getting so up tight about, I did move the summary of Rubenstein & Boyarin's views to the Identification as Jesus section. I would not object to the detailed analysis of chullin if it was placed in this section, clearly distinguished between what the source says and what is interpretation (saying its about mocking Christians is pretty close to the neo-Nazi site stuff), clearly distinguished between what is in Chullin and what is from Avodah Zarah and, didn't use interpolations and mistranslations. Kuratowski's Ghost 15:31, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
As a sign of good faith why don't you give that a try? Jayjg (talk) 17:57, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Checking original text

I think the above debate illustrates an important point: checking original sources. A lot of things written about Yeshu in popular literature is based on statements that are only found in translations of the Talmud or unsupported reconstructions of censored material.

As the article notes the Talmud was censored by the Church and the standard texts of the Talmud in fact contain none of the Yeshu references. Subsequently people have tried to restore the censored material and have often done this without supporting evidence from actual pre-censorsed manuscripts. Herford is very guilty of this kind of thing. He has Jesus the Nazarene all over the place in his translation. Not only is this a POV translation, it is unsupported by manuscripts - Notzri occurs only in the Munich text in one place. Now people realize that the translation Nazarene is POV but then instead have Ha-Notzri based on Herford in places where he has added Nazarene not realzing that its Herfords own addition. Similarly Yeshu ben Pandera is not attested in any pre-censored Talmud manuscript but Herford and others add it into their reconstruction of the censored Avodah Zarah based on its occurrence in the related Tosefta passage.

I suspected as much having reviewed the Munich texts. If Herford is making things up and interpolating things, why is he doing it? If he doesn't do it, does his thesis fall apart? If his thesis falls apart without changing the text, then it falls apart period. (talk) 13:44, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

The Kfar Samma vs Sichnin case is another example of unnessary debates based on something that only exists in translations not source texts. For example in Zindler's book he gloats over how the rabbis confused Sichnin and Samma. (Zindler is rabidly anti-all Judaeo-Christian religion but he is isn't the sharpest pencil in the box, he even thinks that Sechania is a different place to Sichnin and accuses the rabbis of confusing three places.)

Kuratowski's Ghost 09:14, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

KG, you have an axe to grind with Herford, Rubenstein, and Boyarin. Okay. But do not take it out here. You are an editor and an editor does not put his own views into articles. For you to make decisions about what the correct version of the text is, or what it means is to violate both our Wikipedia:No original research policy and our Wikipedia:Neutral point of view policy. I have not deleted any claim you made. Do not delete the content I put in. Jayjg, if you feel that the way I wrote it doesn't clearly enough ascribe these views to Rubenstein and Boyarin, please make what you think are appropriate changes, I trust you (if you don't mind!) Slrubenstein | Talk 16:13, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

You have again contaminated the primary reference section with the non-neutral opinions and interpretations of Rubenstein and Boyarin which belong under the section discussing the identification of Yeshu with Jesus. You have also jumbled up the order of the sections so that the article no longer makes any sense, early sections are assuming later sections have been read. You have also introduced inconsistent spelling and naming. I honestly don't see how to tidy things up without reverting again and then carefully introducing the Rubenstein and Boyarin material in the right places. And BTW there is indeed a Wikipedia:No original research but there isn't a Wikipedia:No checking of facts allowed policy or a Wikipedia:Blindly accept whatever anyone says policy. Kuratowski's Ghost 22:03, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

To quote the Wikipedia:No original research policy:

"However, research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and secondary sources is strongly encouraged. In fact, all articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from primary and secondary sources. This is called source-based research, and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia."

Kuratowski's Ghost 22:11, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

If you want a primary reference section that is neutral, provide no summaries, simply provide a list of the citations. Any summary is POV because it reflects a particular manuscript. Perhaps we could have a section comparing the different manuscripts. Moreover, it makes perfect sense to have the discussion of what "Yeshu" refers to before going into specific cases. Certainly, no one is going to make up theri own minds on what "Yeshu" refers to by reading the summaries; moreover, there is the question on NPOV (each summary should mention which ms. the summary comes from. The "primary sources'As to spellings of names, I followed the spellings of the sources I used. I understand the argument for consistency and agree that in non-quoted material the spelling should be the same. How is this for a compromise? Slrubenstein | Talk 22:51, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree. As I mentioned on Jews as a chosen people, interpertations of primary material needs to be grounded in the scholarship, namely 2ndry sources (i.e. editorial opinion is insufficient and counts as original research). El_C 03:39, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
And before Slrubenstein's edits we had no original research and very neutral article which stated what was said in the original sources without interpretation. Now we have Rubestein and Boyarin's interpretations stated as fact and POV summaries. Do you see why I am so frustrated? Kuratowski's Ghost 08:15, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Which scholars do you highlight as refuting the position of R&B, KG?

How is that possible though, KG, without it being a part of and introduced within a uniform narrative ? Are ♪R&B♪ not legitimate scholars? Are there no scholars who refute their position? How are those (and possible other) positions viewed within the critical scholarship in general? You say, and I revise: [a] neutral article which stated what was said in the original sources without interpretation, but is it not true that there is an ongoing debate within the scholarship as to what was said? Thus, the (so-called?) original, true reading —which, again, I see as inherently interpertive— undoubtedly has scholars which support it. Why not present their views alongside those (R&B) who oppose them instead of arguing that these shcolars which SlR added be excluded from the article? Finally, I return again to the matter of consensus within the critical scholarship wrt these views as the overarching framework for comparing the two (and/or any other) reading of/view/position/interpertation/etc. The point is, KG, is that there is a(n original research) limit as to how much editors here can engage in and debate the various philological points of contention in isolation from and without relying on the pertinent scholarship. El_C 09:39, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

R&B are part of the school of thought identifying Yeshu with Jesus and we already have quite a good section on criticism of the identification. There is no debate amongst scholars what was originally said. Its a case of some scholars failing to clearly indicate what was said and what is their own interpretation of what was said. We could give full texts in Hebrew/Aramaic but this would not be understood by most readers, full translations would clutter the article (people can look them up in the references at the end anyway) I think the current neutral paraphrase approach is the best option. Kuratowski's Ghost 10:02, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I understand that; not what was originally said, but what was originally meant. Feel free to elaborate in case I'm overlooking something pivotal wrt the source (I am as fluent in Hebrew as I am in English, so you may cite in abundance). The way I understand it, the debate is over a more literal versus comparative reading of the text. I am inclined on having scholars for each school of thought represented (I noticed you have yet to mention any specific ones) – is this debate, then, more philological in nature viz. straight-forward translation... How they are to be represented, again, I maintain, depends on how these approaches, in general, are viewed within the critical scholarship. El_C 13:51, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Scholars critical of the identification of Yeshu with Jesus are listed in the article. Kuratowski's Ghost 14:09, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Heh, yes, I know that, I'm interested in the other side at this juncture; sorry, I thought that was obvious from the above. El_C 14:15, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
I also like to add, that I would prefer to wait and for you to address all my questions, then recieve one partial answer right away, to avoid repetition. Please have another look at my 13:51 comment, and take your time. Thanks. :) El_C 14:19, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Not really sure what you are asking if anything. I don't see too many statements ending in a "?" :) Kuratowski's Ghost 14:34, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I guess I misphrased some of these...(?), and the rest is rather rambling on my part. Still, it almost make sense! What I'm getting at, KG, in the interests of sound representation of views, I'm interested to learn (your perception of how) the two schools of thoughts are viewed in relation to one another in the scholarship, and beyond too. Those are questions, by the way (and I hope your first thought isn't: what are questions?) :) El_C 07:37, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Ok, in the context of _my perception_ I'd start off by saying that in my perception the scholarship on the subject is very poor on all sides. In all the works I've read I've spotted obvious errors and blatant ignoring of other points of view. I'm a mathematician and so maybe I'm biased - in mathematics the lack of rigor I see would never be tolerated. All the writers seem to have an axe to grind: Those identifying Yeshu with Jesus are either desparate to find proof of an historical Jesus or wish to prove that Judaism insults Jesus. Those against the identification wish to demonstrate the lack of any evidence of Jesus outside the NT. There is also a middle ground that the article (currently) doesn't fully address, those who associate Yeshu with Jesus, but not as an historical Jesus but as different individuals who contributed to the formation of a myth of an earthly Jesus. My understanding of the different views is that initially identification with Jesus was the main point of view but after a more critical examination of the texts the tide has turned and the other views (i.e nothing to do with Jesus or various contributors to a myth of Jesus) have become more popular. Kuratowski's Ghost 08:36, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, that, answers the question of representation (with a greater emphasis, of course, placed on that which enjoys more shcolarly consensus at the moment), but you also raise another interesting point which intimates significant imporvement. I am interested to hear SlR thoughts on this and how he thinks it can all be tied in to further enhancing the article. The key, though, I think, is that, text of primary source/s aside, what it means (and respective debate) needs to be (concretely) tied to with specific scholars, works, theories, models, etc., as much as possible. I'm positive everyone here is in agreement of that. El_C 10:51, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, I think that KG makes the nature of his violation of the No original research policy crystal clear when he states "in my perception the scholarship on the subject is very poor on all sides. In all the works I've read I've spotted obvious errors and blatant ignoring of other points of view." If KG believes this to be the case, he needs to publish it in a peer-reviewed journal before this view can be expressed in the article. Spotting errors is original research. You can't put what you think to be the correct version in. It violates our policy. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:44, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Reread this Talk section, El_C was asking for my opinion, I gave _my opinion_ on this _Talk page_ because it was asked for, none of this opinion is stated in the article. Spotting and noting errors is not original research its honest reporting of the facts. Obviously if a source makes an error (as shown by other sources) the source with the error carries less weight. The policy is "No original research" not "No application of common sense". Kuratowski's Ghost 09:57, 8 May 2005 (UTC)


The (non-hidden) agenda:

  1. Clarify the names of the sections, the new names that have been introduced can confuse and mislead as they sound like statements of fact instead of descriptions of scholarly interpretations they discuss.
  2. Move the Rubenstein and Boyarin interpretations of Chullin to the section mentioning their views at the same time restore the neutral description of the contents of Chullin (more detail if necessary).
  3. Ensure that the sections are in a logical order with earlier sections not assuming that later sections have been read.
  4. Tidy the Rubenstein and Boyarin interpretations so it is clear what is fact and what is their interpretation.
  5. Throughout ensure common spelling in unquoted material.

Is everyone ok with this? Kuratowski's Ghost 08:54, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Ok, I've basically done the above, very painful. The one thing I did still completely cut was the really irrelevant Br'er Rabbit comment. Kuratowski's Ghost 17:18, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

For the most part, I have no problem with your recent work. I do have two strong objections. First, I put the Br'er Rabbit reference back in. You still do not get it: you do not own this article, and if you want to criticize Boyarin's book, you can't do it through wikipedia articles — go out and write your own book or article (which we could then cite). This is an important point for Boyarin, and the article makes it clear that it is his view, so it stays. Second, since there is debate over the accuracy of texts, the "primare references to Yeshu" section needs to specify which manuscript is being relied on. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:53, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
I certainly don't own the article which is why I would have preferred if others had rushed in to help clean up. The thing I really don't get is why the Br'er Rabbit rabbit comment is so important??????? Its a very obtuse description, isn't there a better way of saying this.

I will try to figure out a better way to word it, Slrubenstein | Talk 19:25, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

There aren't widely varying manuscripts, the article notes where the Munich and Florence manuscripts differ from the rest. Kuratowski's Ghost 18:06, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Tidy the Rubenstein and Boyarin interpretations so it is clear what is fact and what is their interpretation. I'm sure you mean what is literal interpertation (translation), and what is the comparative one (philological) ;). El_C 07:43, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

What I meant what is in the source text and what is their interpretation of the text. For example they speak of a "Christian preacher" yet the text merely speaks of a "min" (heretic/apostate/sectarian). They speak of "the Roman Governor" yet the text speaks merely of the "hegemon" (Talmudic term for chief judge, from the Greek for leader). So to me its just as scholarly as referring to the star of Bethlehem as "the UFO" and the virgin birth as "impregnation by aliens" :) things that are not in literal text are being read in based on conjecture about the circumstances. Kuratowski's Ghost 08:53, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Heh. Yes, though I doubt they'll stress that much on the sci-fi aspect of it! But, if I could play the devil's advocate here, the other side would say that reading the literal text (merely) literally, would amount to conjecture. Undoubtedly, they, as well, have some examples they consider persasuive. Perhaps SlR would want to shed some light on these, and beyond, and in general how he feels the good, the bad, and the obscure can best be addressed in the article (esp. in light of the suggestions you made in the section above). El_C 10:51, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

I did some more checking and made a few corrections. Although Notzri does not appear in the Tosefta, it appears in the Babylonian Talmud in all the manuscripts, Munich, Paris, and JTS. According to the Zuckermandel critical edition of the Babylonian Talmud, which is highly regarded, the Tosefta Hullin uses the name Yeshua, not Yeshu. Zuckermandel's edition also identifies Yaakov as being from Samma. The Deuteronomy 23:19 quoted by Yaakov is in all Talmud manuscripts. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:57, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Zuckermandel highly regarded?? By whom is it highly regarded?? State your sources :D :D :D (just kidding) :D Kuratowski's Ghost 10:04, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
Jokes aside, one of the things Lieberman is known for is his correction of mistakes in the Zuckermandel. I am curious, would you do some independent research for me ;) and see if there is a mem instead of a kaf-nun-yud in the Zuckermandel you have access to, I'm just personally curious about it. Kuratowski's Ghost 10:22, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
Notzri does not appear in early manuscripts other than the Munich. It has been placed in more recent printings like the Paris of 1865 and the Koenigsberg (which has it in parentheses). (Not sure what the JTS is, I assume it is also a relatively recent printing?) These should not be given weight, the inclusion of Notzri in these are relatively recent editorial decisions, we need to be concerned with what the early source manuscripts say, not what 19th century scholars assumed. As noted in the article some manuscripts of Chullin are known which have Yeshua in one place, but as the article notes these are regarded as errors and the normative text says Yeshu.

Is this based on your own research? I mean, this claim about what is "normative?" If so, this counts as original research and cannot be included in the article. If on the other hand this is a claim that has been made by an acknowledged authority (e.g. in a peer-reviewed journal or in a scholarly book) then of course you can follow our NPOV policy and state "According to X, ...."

Regarding Samma, the text says Sechania - samech-kaf-nun-yud-aleph. This is the Aramaic name for Sichnin. I have not been able to find out for certain where the translation Samma comes from - modern Samma is 9 miles from Sichnin so it might simply be because at the time of translation the area was considered part of Samma (after the the Israeli War of Independence, the border between Israel and Lebanon split Sichnin from Samma, one of the reasons the area is known today, that and its soccar team :). As I noted earlier in the talk I have a personal suspicion that Samma comes from a misreading of the kaf-nun-yud as a mem, but that would be independent research so I won't put that in the article :)

Scholarly sources seem to agree that the its one Jacob that is being referred to even Herford who uses the Samma translation. On the contrary, I provided a scholarly source that identifies this Jacob as coming from Samma. If you know of scholars who, in peer-reviewed articles or in a scholarly book, who claim otherwise, of course you can put that in "A and Y however claim that this is a mistake, based on the evidence of ..." However, you cannot be the arbiter of truth in this article, that is a clear violation of our policies. If different scholars have different views, we must represent all of them. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:55, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Deuteronomy is quoted in all Avodah Zarah passages but the point is not in the Tosefta passage. Kuratowski's Ghost 23:10, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps you did not see that I had already corrected that mistake. In my last edit I specified that the passage in question was from the Talmud, not the tosefta. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:55, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

I see also that the current article says that one account is in Chullin and the other in Avodah Zarah. Chullin in fact has both accounts about Jacob of Sichnin (Eleazar's snake bite and Rabbi Eliezer's arrest) following each other. Thats partly why the Samma translation is so odd, the Aramaic form sechania is translated Samma while in the quoting of Rabbi Eliezer's word where the Hebrew form sichnin is used, the translation is sometimes Sakhnia which is another vocalization of sechania. Avodah Zarah only has the second anecdote and adds in the quotes from Deuteronomy etc which are not in the Tosefta version.

The anomalous Yeshua instead of Yeshu is found in the 19th century restoration of censored text in the Vilna printing of the Tosefta of 1881. It also has the anomalous spelling of Pandera in the second Chullin account. The Vilna printing is known for numerous errors. These are corrected in the Lieberman edition which is viewed as authorative. Kuratowski's Ghost 03:02, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, if that is the case, the article can and should clearly spell that out. Sorry, am I missing something about the YeshuYeshua bit? (I havane't read the rest as closely, I'll revisit it when I get a chance). Little יְשׁוּעָה, please?  ;) El_C 03:48, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes the article should spell it out, but not based on KG's say-so. Who considers the Lieberman edition authoritative? Then, specify "According to the Lieberman edition...." Also, KG has been disregarding our policy, Cite sources. Your claims come from various sources. You need to name the sources and put them in the "references" section. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:55, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Tsk tsk, how about you follow policy as well instead of changing the article based on your say so. The article has the main literature used in researching the article listed in the references. These unfortunately are often sloppy and don't clearly indicate themselves the level of source that we are interested in. And stop insinuating that I am the sole author of the version of the article before you arrived, the article has a long history and involved mergers of other articles. Kuratowski's Ghost 17:56, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Any time I changed or added something to the article, I explicitly mentioned my source. You should learn to do the same. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:53, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

KG, I have to agree with SlR's point as, in all honesty, I was going to pose the same question myself. You maintain that the Lieberman edition is considered authoritative, so the logical next step is to ask: by and according to whom? I need for you to name names! :) El_C 23:19, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
k, I'll include an entire list of every scholar who uses Lieberman's version, might clutter the page bit though ;) Lets not be silly people, firstly this is the talk page, not the article, I agree the article needs a better mapping of statements to references, the lack of it is still the result of its legacy as a merger of several messy articles. Kuratowski's Ghost 09:23, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
Heh, an (holistic) list was a tongue in cheek comment :p, but I'm glad you also see the need for better referencial attribution. Though, I think there's no harm to mention some of these sources in the talk page, in relation to and within the context of a broader overview for certain important points, certainly those which are (or where the presentation of which is) disputed here. El_C 09:38, 8 May 2005 (UTC)


Instead of petty bickering lets work together on sorting out remaining problems with the article:

  • The current article still states that only one account is in Chullin and the other in Avodah Zarah. Earlier versions correctly pointed out that both accounts were in Chullin (snake bit + arrest for minuth) and only the second in Avodah Zarah (arrest for minuth).

No objection, except we need to be clear that the version of the second account in Avodah Zarah is different from the version in Chullin. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:57, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

  • Regarding the mystery over Samma, Sichnin etc, when I checked the other day what the Hebrew text has for Samma, I noticed that the Hebrew has samech-kaf-nun-yud-aleph (Sechania). I was in a hurry and didn't check what it has in the second anecdote. Since Zindler goes on about it in his book that the first says Samma and the second Sichnin, I assumed he knew what he was talking about. But I checked the second one and it too has samech-kaf-nun-yud-aleph also Sechania thus explaining renditions like Sakhnia. It seems that both "Samma" and "Sichnin" are artifacts of translation existing only in English translations. From what I understand Zindler doesn't actually know Hebrew or Aramaic and has relied purely on the translation of others. I think the article should reflect that the text in fact has Sechania in both cases while mentioning perhaps in parenthesis that as a result of varied translation Zindler and Herford have considered the question of whether there were two different Jacobs.
  • yes, this is quite obvious and I also note that he places stories on pages that don't exist or where the stories don't exist, and these pages have no annotation that the censor was at work. 00:21, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Although we can discuss what "seems" to be the case on this talk page, it violates our NPOV and NOR policies to put it in the article itself. However, we certainly can and should provide an account of any debate among scholars or differences between manuscripts. I object to an editor chosing which is the "correct" version. I have no objection to an editor adding "Manuscript x reads ..., manuscript y reads ..." and "Scholar a interprets the difference between anuscripts this way, but scholar b interprets the difference betwen manuscripts that way" Slrubenstein | Talk 16:57, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

I won't have access to a university library for a while. Perhaps someone else can help out here, the obvious place to look for the info we want is Lieberman's edition Of the Tosefta with his commentaries, where he has corrected errors based on the evidence of various manuscripts including those of the Cairo Genizah. I have only seen the text itself and it has "samech-kaf-nun-yud-aleph" in both places. Kuratowski's Ghost 13:17, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
  • The article needs to clarify that of the 5 pre-censorship manuscripts, only the Munich has Notzri (as pointed out by Gil Student, Zindler), and that its inclusion in historically recent printings like the Paris, JTS, Koenigsberg are the decision of their 19th century editors based only on the occurrence in the Munich manuscript.
Can you incluse the accurate dates for the manuscripts involved? Slrubenstein | Talk 16:57, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Although wikipedia articles don't have owners some people are more motivated at some times to work on a particular article than at others, I was motivated back at the time of the merger, at the moment I'm more motivated to kvetch in the Talk page. Slrubenstein seems to be the most motivated to work on the article, so I say go for it, but check what people have to say on the talk.

I did work on the page, and I added information from two recent works of scholarship I cited. I am not opposed to your working on the article as long as you do not put your own interpretations or evaluations of the sources in, and do cite the scholars whise interpretations or evaluations you want to put in — this has been my main objection to your changes thus far. I have never objected to your working on the article as such, I just want you to adhere to Wikipedia policies. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:57, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
yup, but I'm too lazy at the moment (and I'm supposed to be working ;) Kuratowski's Ghost 13:17, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Maybe we need one of those "List of" articles presenting all the Hebrew text color coding what is standard censored Talmud, what is censored material found in all pre-censorship manuscripts and what are the Munich and Florence comments unique to those manuscripts. El_C can type the Hebrew for us ;)

Kuratowski's Ghost 09:23, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm afraid can't :(, I don't have Hebrew support on this machine, and I must in turn resort to copying and pasting letters from .he or — but I can certainly proofread such additions for typos, spelling, and whatnot! :) El_C 09:41, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
I can help you with that, if you need it. --Zappaz 00:31, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

A good deal of this article's references are mostly if not all Jewish sources. Jews offering their opinion would propably not want to state what is really says since their religion and culture states that they should lie and confuse when dealing with attitude towards gentiles, because they are tribal. This is a fundamental problem considering the English version of the Talmud was translated by a Jew, and that most of the Talmud has not been translated. Why it might be a fallacy to suggest all Jews prefer to lie, it would be a good assumption on basis of what the Talmud states.

Policy Review

Hi there, Ghost. I was invited by Prof. Rubenstein to drop by and see what's going on. Before I get in too deep, let me just mention a couple of quick points:

  • Wikipedia is not a place to present one's own research. As an encyclopedia, it is meant more for digesting and describing a comprehensive view on what is already understood. Hence the heavy reliance on sources, documentation, bibliography, etc.
Will someone please explain what exactly in the article do they think is my or anyone elses own research? The information is obtained from the listed references. (Well any stuff I added is, I assume info that other people added is indeed from listed sources). We are in the process of doing _source based research_ to find out more about the origin of variant translations of the Tosefta etc. If source based research is not allowed then it is impossible to write an article. The policy says no research in the sense of producing new primary sources or new secondary sources, it does not say don't research the existing primary and secondary sources to report their contents, in fact it says the exact opposite. It also doesn't say don't apply common sense in gauging the standard of the source, otherwise one could write in an article that the earth is flat and have only to reference an essay on the flat earth society website to make it kosher by wikipedia standards. Kuratowski's Ghost 15:01, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Unlike other encyclopedias, Wikipedia makes no claims to have discovered THE TRUTH. It tries to be as accurate as possible with facts, but in all disputes it backs off and merely describes each point of view as fairly as possible - without drawing any conclusion about which one is "right".

When I have time, I'll catch up but 85 KB of talk is a lot of reading! Cheers. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 14:42, May 9, 2005 (UTC)

KG, you violate our NOR policy when you reject claims made by publisched scholars like Rubenstein and Boyarin in favor of your own interpretation of the correct text. Period. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:08, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
Above, KG writes "only the Munich has Notzri (as pointed out by Gil Student, Zindler), and that its inclusion in historically recent printings like the Paris, JTS, Koenigsberg are the decision of their 19th century editors based only on the occurrence in the Munich manuscript." He is still mistaken. Paris and JTS are manuscripts of Avodah Zarah, not printings, and both have Notsri. These three (with Munich) are the only three full manuscripts of Avoda Zarah to the best of my knowledge. They are not printings. So all manuscripts agree on "Notsri." Rabbinowicz in his "Dikdukei Soferim" gives a whole bunch of other text witnesses that agree on this. There is zero doubt that this is the correct reading of the Talmud. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:08, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
Is this your own research? :) Both Zindler and Student say its only in the Munich. Your violate NOR when you reject the published work of Zindler and Student. Who are we to believe? There is a difference between Paris manuscript and 19th century Paris printing btw. What about the Karlsruhe and Florence manuscripts of the Talmud?
KG, I got this information from Jeffrey Rubenstein who is no relation to me but who is a rabbi, has an MA in Talmud, and a PhD. in religion — and I respect his statements on this particular matter more than yours. Now, I have never said to exclude any view. I have only said accept our NPOV policies, which means you should not reject/delete properly sourced views no matter how wrong you think they are. By all means, write in the article "According to Zindler and Student, Notsri appears only in the Munich ms, but according to J. Rubenstein, the Paris and JTS ms.s also have Notsri, see Rabbinowicz' Dikdukei Soferim for other examples of the use of Notsri" This is an NPOV and accurate statement. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:51, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
KG also writes "The anomalous Yeshua instead of Yeshu is found in the 19th century restoration of censored text in the Vilna printing of the Tosefta of 1881. It also has the anomalous spelling of Pandera in the second Chullin account. The Vilna printing is known for numerous errors. These are corrected in the Lieberman edition which is viewed as authorative." It is true that the VIlna printing has many errors. BUT there is no Lieberman edition of the tosefta, Hullin -- he did not get that far in his edition. Zuckermandel in his critical edition based on the Erfurt and Vienna manuscripts reads yeshua. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:08, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
Yet even Student presents a text with Yeshu and remarks that its based on Lieberman. Again who do we believe? Kuratowski's Ghost 15:34, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
Again, this comes from J. Rubenstein, so the NPOV way to handle this is "According to Student, Lieberman claims that Hullin reads "Yeshu" text, but according to J. Rubenstein, Zuckermandel's edition, based on the Erfurt and Vienna ms's, claims that Hullin reads "Yeshua" or something like that. It is when you simply present unsourced information and delete alternate views that you violate our NOR and NPOV policies.
I see that Lieberman didn't get as far as Chullin in his Tosefta ki-Feshutah, but to quote the article on Jewish Virtual library on Lieberman:

"In the comparatively short period of three years (1937-1939) he published the four-volume Tosefet Rishonim, a commentary on the entire Tosefta with textual corrections based on manuscripts, early printings, and quotations found in early authorities."

Kuratowski's Ghost 17:08, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Personally, I trust Rubenstein more than the "Jewish Virtual Library" -- I know Rubenstein has an MA in Talmud and a PhD. in religion, and I do not know the credentials of the authors of the JVL. No matter. The way to handle this is to write "According to Rubenstein, Leiberman's text does not include Hullin, although according to the JVL it does" That is the way we comply with our policies. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:51, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Early Manuscripts

My understanding is that the early manuscripts of the Talmud before it was censored are the Munich of 1342, the Florence of 1176, the Hamburg of 1184 (Zindler), thats three, Student speaks of 4 independant manuscripts including the Munich so I was wrong when I said 5 earlier - its 4 with the Munich not in addition to the Munich, from a text by McKinsey available online at [4] I understand that the remaining early manuscript is the Karlsruhe although I don't have a date. Kuratowski's Ghost 21:28, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

For JTS ms. see Friedman, Shamma "Avodah Zara, Cod. JTS - A Manuscript Copied in Two Stages"[in Hebrew]. Leshonenu, vol. 56, 1992, p. 371-374. I think but am not at all sure that this is from the Cairo Genizah (and it is incomplete) I will try to find details about the Paris ms. I think that the Munich is the oldest complete Talmud codice but JTS and Paris have Avodah Zarah. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:08, 9 May 2005 (UTC)


SlR can you be more specific when you say the translation Samma comes from the Zuckermandel. Does it in fact have samech-mem-aleph in the text? The texts I have seen all have samech-kaf-nun-yud-aleph. Kuratowski's Ghost 21:28, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

My source is Rubenstein; I will investigate further, Slrubenstein | Talk 22:54, 9 May 2005 (UTC)
Any followup on this? I have been promised an electronic text of the Tosefta based on Lieberman's Tosefet Rishonim but no sign of it yet. BTW, of course the Tosefet Rishonim exists and covers the whole Tosefta, its his later Tosefta Kifeshuta that he never finished, this can already be mentioned in the article. I can't see myself managing to get to the university library where I looked at it once before until I'm on vacation at the end of the year so other peoples help would be much appreciated. Also there is in fact a parallel account about Jacob the min in the Talmud Yerushalmi (which is not mentioned currently in the article as it doesn't mention Yeshu) and there the hometown is also clearly Sechania. Even without knowing yet where the reading Samma comes from, something can be mentioned in the article about what Herford's view was and similarly Zindler's. Kuratowski's Ghost 22:26, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually Jacobs hometown is Sechania also in the Bavli which of course also contains a parallel account although like the Yerushalmi does not mention Yeshu. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:51, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
I finally found a Sama!! Although a translation I looked at of the Yerushalmi account of ben Dama's snake bite had "Sekanya" the Aramaic text has Sama! (I checked the TorahPlus and Mechon Mamre texts). The Bavli Aramaic has Sechania. I'm still not aware of a Tosefta text with Sama. Kuratowski's Ghost 12:38, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

I am sorry, I have been pre-occupied; I will try to check again, Slrubenstein | Talk 22:32, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

I've made some additions in particular the second chullin account paralleling the avodah zarah account which went missing. I will add some more info on where Noztri occurs and where it doesn't, not sure if what we've got currently is correct. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:58, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

I notice that the Jewish Encyclopedia in the Ben Dama article refers to Jacob the min as "Jacob of Kefar Sama (Sakonya)", seems that they consider it to be just another name for the same place. Kuratowski's Ghost 12:46, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

"The Talmud may mention Jesus and Christianity in coded terms, such as min (???, sometimes translated "apostate" or "heretic"), though this term refers to various sectarian groups. In terms of labeling Christians as minim it is important to note the adage of Rav Nahman in the name of Rava bar Avuha in Tractate Chullin 13b: There are no minim among the gentiles, i.e., the appellation could only be applied to converts from Judaism." Min in modern hebrew means sex,species(same as english word :sex).Minim could mean species too(plural:many species).

This whole page is full of extraneous nonsense. He was the soul Onkelos conjured from hell, period. Look in Chesronos Hashas, oh I forgot Soncino doesn't publish that. These editors need to: 1.Learn to learn Gemara, wait a second they can't because no one who really knows Gemara would ever teach it to a Non-Jew just like the Kabbalah center doesn't really teach Kabbalah.

you obviously haven't found the two complete online daf yomi sites or any of the English audio that goes with them. 00:21, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

2. Disregard the Gregorian calendar, it's worthless. After meeting these requirements, then start writing these entries.

onkelos conjured his uncle Titus, Balaam, and Jews who deliberately sinned. 00:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

If you look at the external link to the Gil Student site, it references your spirit as one of the Yeshu's referenced, but it is NOT the only reference to Yeshu that some historians attempt to read in as being evidence of 'Christ' in the Talmud. In fact, it is generally agreed upon by most rabbis that there are at least 2 seperate people being referenced by the name "Yeshu" and I would hazard to guess that this spirit conjurred up by Onkelos is likely a third person altogether. If it were one of the other 2, it would have to be Yeshu ben Pandira (c. 80BCE) rather than the later Yeshu ben Shada (c. 100CE) because the time of the second Temple's destruction (i.e. the time of Titus and Onkelos) was in 70CE. It is doubtful that all 3 of these instances reference the same Yeshu conjured by Onkelos before his conversion. Also, your POV that the Gregorian calendar is worthless is unsubstantiated. I think it has much worth being it allows for a universal method of dating -- which allows us to bring dates from other world events in synch with other calendars such as the Jewish one.
   The name "Yeshu" is not on that page.  I want to know the names of the rabbis who hold the above opinion. (talk) 19:56, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Thus this article is not only valid but also helpful to us non-Jewish historians who might not necessarily be able to look in Chesronos Hashas as Mr. Student and others have done to help us out, by presenting a good summary and then pointing us in other directions to research. Your POV that the page is "nonsense" you are entitled to, but I must humbly disagree. I think the work that Ghost and Slr and others have done here is highly commendable, and I hope to see more work from them on Wiki in the future! Kudos! Caspian Greywolfe 18:27, 14 April 2006 (UTC)


The story about roman army officer Panthera originate from the fact jews misunderstood the greek word parthenogenetis (= being born to a virgin) and used this to create a slander, since Talmud always describes Jesus as the worst kind of fake prophet.

gey shloffen Kuratowski's Ghost 22:20, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

NOR concerns

The following appear to violate our NOR policy:

Critics of the identification of Yeshu with Jesus point to inconsistencies between the Talmudic references to Yeshu and ben-Stada and the stories about Jesus in the New Testament. The oppression by King Janneus mentioned in the Talmud occurred about 87 BCE, which would put the events of the story about a century before Jesus. The Yeshu who taught Jacob of Sechania would have lived a century after Jesus. The forty day waiting period before execution is absent from the Christian tradition and moreover Jesus did not have connections with the government. Jesus was crucified not stoned. Jesus was executed in Jerusalem not Lod. Jesus did not burn his food in public and moreover the Yeshu who did this corresponds to Manasseh of Judah in the Shulkhan Arukh. Jesus did not make incisions in his flesh, nor was he caught by hidden observers. In the 13th century Jehiel ben Joseph of Paris wrote that the Yeshu in rabbinic literature was a disciple of Joshua ben Perachiah, and not to be confused with Jesus the Nazarene (Vikkuah Rabbenu Yehiel mi-Paris). Nahmanides too makes this point, and Rabbis Jacob ben Meir (Rabbeinu Tam) (12th century) and Jehiel Heilprin (17th century) also belong to this school. Likewise the comments of Rabbi Jacob Emden cannot be reconciled with the collective identification. In addition, the information cited from the Munich, Florence and other manuscripts in support of the identification are late comments written centuries after the original redaction of the Talmud.
The resemblance of the name Yeshu to Yeshua which some assume to be the original Hebrew or Aramaic for Jesus, is of questionable importance. The guttural consonant ayin at the end of the latter name forms part of the root but is absent from Yeshu. Although, as remarked above, the ayin became a silent letter no other case is known of where this led to a dropping of the consonant in spelling nor of where it led to a complete dropping of its accompanying vowel (the patach genuvah denoting a modified pronunciation of the preceding "u") as would be the case if Yeshu were derived from Yeshua. The occurrence of Yeshua instead of Yeshu in certain manuscripts of the Tosefta is accompanied by anomalous spellings of Pandera and based on comparison of texts both are seen as erroneous attempts at correction by a copyist unfamiliar with the terms. Moreover, Yeshua (Jeshua in English) is not necessarily the original form of Jesus. In the Septuagint and Greek language Jewish texts such as the writings of Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, Jesus is the standard Greek translation of the common Hebrew name Yehoshua (Joshua), Greek having lost the h sound. Yeshua on the other hand is a shortened form of Yehoshua originating at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Clement of Alexandria and St. Cyril of Jerusalem viewed the Greek form itself to be the original name of Jesus.

NOR concerns can be addressed simply by naming the critics who make these claims, and if possible providing citations. The section ends mentioning Herford. if all of these arguments are of Herford, I suggest he be named right at the top. If this arguments have been forwarded by a number of scholars they should all be given credit. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:46, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Much of the article still lacks proper detailed referencing although the main sources that contributers used seem to be listed, not sure why you would single out just the section that deals with criticism of the identification. Offhand I recognize info pointed out by Zindler and Student as well as Herford and the first paragraph clearly mentions content from Nahmanides, Rabbeinu Tam etc Kuratowski's Ghost 14:34, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I guess this section caught my eye as being particularly argumentative. Other sections seem pretty descriptive of the rabbinic literature; I focussed more on the argumentative sections. And many of those sections actually do ascribe the scholarship. Certainly, any section with argument should be sourced. I won't argue with your main point. Whoever has claimed that Yeshu is Jesus for example should be sourced too, or course. Of course there are othe examples from the article For example, "It has been used as an acronym for the Hebrew expression yemach shemo vezichro..." we should provide some examples of who has used it this way, with citations. Also, "Some argue that this has always been its meaning" - do you know who? Can you add the sources and citations? Also, "Others point out that the word is similar to, and may be a wordplay on, Yeshua, believed by many to be the original Aramaic or Hebrew name of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity" - do you know who the others are? Can we add them and citations? And most obviously, just adding sources to this would resolve a lot of the problems (since this is a summary of much of what is to come: "There are currently at least three approaches to this question. Some argue that there is no relationship between Yeshu and the historical Jesus; some argue that Yeshu refers to the historical Jesus; some argue that Yeshu is a literary device used by Rabbis to comment on their relationship to and with early Christians" - we should have one, two or three names for each basic view and citations. I think I have made only one major contribution, which I sourced. Frankly, I think you know this literature better than I do so i think you are more likely to know the appropriate sources. Can you add the Zindler and Student as appropriate? My point remains the same, no matter what examples I provide: much here appears to be Original research and violates our NOR policy. Anyone who knows who holds these views and can provide the sources brings us into compliance. Who else has worked extensively on this article besides you? Are there others who may know the sources? Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 14:37, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I worked a lot on the merge from previous articles as did Jayg although there was a lot in the previous articles that was unsourced to start with. This is just one of numerous articles that needs a lot of stuff that I could contribute if I had the time, will see what I can do over the next few weeks although I don't have any copies of Klausner's works at the moment and if I recall a lot of statements came from there. Kuratowski's Ghost 15:19, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

I will ask Jayjg too. look, I am not going to delete anything - I take everything in the article on good faith. The fact is, I think it is a very good article that more people should read. This lack of sources is I think the main flaw and I don't want to leave other people grounds to challenge the article. I am sure you are busy as I am ... just want to keep this issue on the radar. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:35, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

yeshu/yisho in Syriac?

When reading about the origins of Jesus' name, why does it seem that no one ever mentions the Syriac-Aramaic version (found in the Peshitta, for example), which is yisho, spelled with four letters: yud, shin, vav, ayin, with vowel markings to indicate it is pronounced yisho, and not yeshu (or yeshua)? What is the etymology for the Syriac-Aramaic spelling and pronunciation? Is it a valid, early source, or not?Jimhoward72 12:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC). I will add another question - is there any etymological/historical relationship between the Hebrew Esav (Esau) and the Arabic Isa (Jesus)? The spelling is almost identical: עֵשָׂו/عيسى Actually the Arabic name 'Isa/عيسى literally means Against/Opposing/Facing/Anti-Yeshu and corresponds to the Hebrew letters עישו. In Arabic, the name Esau is spelled quite differently.

In my opinion, the Syriac form is based on the original Hebrew, and is a valid, early source. But a couple comments on the pronunciation. The vowel in the first syllable is indicated (at least in my copy of the Syriac NT) by a little mark that looks like an epsilon, and was originally pronounced like an epsilon. In the second syllable, the vowel mark derives from the Greek letters omicron and upsilon (the upsilon written like a y, upside down over the omicron!) and was originally pronounced like this combination in Greek, that is, as in "acoustics". The `ayin was pronounced as well, but either it did not have a "patach furtive" before it (the "a" sound that is inserted before final `ayin in Hebrew), or else they simply didn't feel a need to write such a "furtive" letter. So in other words, the name was pronounced quite similar to Yeshua`, perhaps with less of an "a" being heard before the `ayin. Now, almost 2000 years later, the pronunciation has changed.

As for the Arabic form, I don't know. I have noticed myself that it is basically the name Yeshua` spelled backwards, except that it has a ya instead of a waw. (Notice that it has two ya's, not a ya and a waw.)

EricK 12:28, 16 October 2007 (UTC)


I have reworded the introduction to the "primary references" section, to make it more accessible (and also to improve language).

I move this passage over from the article:

There are no references to Yeshu in censored versions of the Tosefta but manuscripts exist that preserve the references although with slightly different readings.
In 1937–1939 Saul Lieberman compared various manuscripts, early printings, and quotations found in early authorities in order to determine the correct text of passages in the Tosefta that had variant readings. His results were published as the four-volume Tosefet Rishonim which includes a commentary on the entire Tosefta with textual corrections. (He also embarked upon an extensive commentary of the Tosefta called the Tosefta ki-Feshutah but died before completing it. The volumes that were produced do not cover the tractate Chullin relevant to Yeshu.)

The first paragraph is merely a rehash of what has already been stated above about the censoring of Talmud. The second paragraph is intersting information on Liebermann and his work but in how far is it really relevant to this article, given what the last sentence here says. Also, we have no such introduction in the section on the Babylonian Talmud.

Another open question would be, whether the current sequence Tosefta - Talmud is better than the reversed one.

Str1977 (smile back) 16:12, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I think the reasoning for putting Tosefta first, and providing the explanation of who and when it was edited, especially when it was edited so recently (long after the Talmud) is that the tosefta themselves are generally believed to have been composed before the Talmud and thus represent an early source. However, they existed in fragmentary form - thus the importance of Lieberman's achievement in producing a critical edition bringing the fragments together. For this reason, I believe that a revised version of the text you removed ought to be restored to the article. I think there is an ambiguity in the passage you removed: does the Lieberman edition lack only the critical commentary on Chullin, or both the critical commentary and tosefts on Chullin, and is there no rference to Yeshu in the Lieberman edition? I do not know the answer to this question but assume someone watching this article does. IF the Lieberman edition includes material relevant to Yeshu, I think that a revised version of this text - removing the redundancy and ambiguity - should be restored to the article. If the answer is no then I agree with your edit. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:08, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

The stuff on Lieberman is relevant because some works discussing references to Yeshu in the Tosefta e.g. Zindler only use the Vilna edition and are unaware of variant readings while Student on the other hand uses Lieberman and presents a different text to Zinder. These variant readings can be very confusing, the aside on Lieberman explains what's going on.
Also why was the anguipede pic removed? I'm tempted to revert Str1977 edits which seem to mainly supress relevant info rather than adding anything to the article.Kuratowski's Ghost 20:05, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Kuratowski's Ghost's explanation of the relevance for the brief discussion of Lieberman satisfies me as a reasonable justification for putting it back in. However, I do think Str1977 is right about the redundancy and the ambiguity. I would think that KG could make minor edits to the passage that would eliminate these problems - am I right? If so, I propose that you leave ou the first paragrtaph (just a sentence), put the second one back in, fix up the ambiguity about Lieberman's coverage of Chullin and perhaps add the point about Zindler and Student - i.e. explain that some disagreements have to do not with the interpretation of the source material, but that some people use different (or more i.e. Lieberman as well) sources. This should satisfy Str1977 and make the whole thing clearer. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:12, 28 January 2007 (UTC)


"Massey's identification of this character as the Jesus of the New Testament is, however, radically outside of the scholarly mainstream and enjoys no support from any New Testament scholar of any stature."

How very true. Egyptologists always seem to go seriously astray when they venture into textual criticism. Why not delete the entire reference? PiCo 06:05, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I removed the legnth Massey quote as per the consensus established on Fringe theories noticeboard, because it was putting undue weight on a fringe source
Here is the full quote from the page: "The personal existence of Jesus as Jehoshua Ben-Pandira can be established beyond a doubt. One account affirms that, according to a genuine Jewish tradition 'that man (who is not to be named) was a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia.' It also says, 'He was born in the fourth year of the reign of the Jewish King Alexander Jannæus, notwithstanding the assertions of his followers that he was born in the reign of Herod.' That would be more than a century earlier than the date of birth assigned to the Jesus of the Gospels! But it can be further shown that Jehoshua Ben-Pandira may have been born considerably earlier even than the year 102 BC, although the point is not of much consequence here. Jehoshua, son of Perachia, was a president of the Sanhedrin — the fifth, reckoning from Ezra as the first: one of those who in the line of descent received and transmitted the oral law, as it was said, direct from Sinai. There could not be two of that name. This Ben-Perachia had begun to teach as a Rabbi in the year 154 BC. We may therefore reckon that he was not born later than 180-170 BC, and that it could hardly be later than 100 BC when he went down into Egypt with his pupil. For it is related that he fled there in consequence of a persecution of the Rabbis, feasibly conjectured to refer to the civil war in which the Pharisees revolted against King Alexander Jannæus, and consequently about 105 BC If we put the age of his pupil, Jehoshua Ben-Pandira, at fifteen years, that will give us an approximate date, extracted without pressure, which shows that Jehoshua Ben-Pandira may have been born about the year 120 BC."
Massey, Gerald. .
Madridrealy (talk) 17:09, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

"(e.g. Hanukkah is only mentioned in passing in the Talmud, because of the holiday's connection with the Hasmonean dynasty, whose legitimacy was challenged by the Pharisees). " POV issue, It's just as likely that Hannukah is not mentioned because the Romans wouldn't have approved of a holiday asserting Jewish independance. I think this example should be removed or changedWolf2191 12:32, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

"Still, the names are not identical, as the Hebrew d (dalet) does not correspond to the Greek th (theta); comparison with other Greek words transliterated into Hebrew indicates that any original Greek would have had a delta as its third consonant, not theta as in "Pantheras"." R' Yaakov Kamenetzky in Emet L' Yaakov posits that dalet should really have a "TH" sound not "D" as is pronounced today.Wolf2191 12:55, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

The quote concerning Hanukkah and the Talmud - should it say "Mishnah" and not Talmud? Because if Talmud = Bavli, Wolf2191's explanation concerning the Romans doesn't really work. Of course, either way an explanation about the Talmud's treatment of Hannukh needs a source, otherwise it violates NOR. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:31, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

It should in fact say Mishna. The Talmud (Shabbos - 22b) has a long discussion starting "What is Hanukkah?" because it isn't discussed in the Mishna.Wolf2191 00:50, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

R' Yehuda Ha'Nassi the redactor of the Mishna lived sometime after the Bar Kochba revolt. So the explanation (I think Reuvein Margolies says it) works there as well. The explanation mentioned in the article is (most surprisingly) from the very RW Orthodox R' Moses Sofer. The point is that R' Yehuua Ha'Nossi who was from Davidic ancestry was upset about the Hashmonean usurpation of the Davidic right to the throne and therefore limited his discussion of their actions. As usual some say that (my ancestor) R' Sofer never said it (It's really more in line with Graetz's modus operandi)Wolf2191 16:06, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Interestingly, Yosef Kappah in his critical edition of Maimonides commentary to Mishna speculates that Maimonides included in his principles of faith (and in his letter to Yemen), that the Messiah will descend from the Solomonic dynasty as a polemic against those Christains that claim he will descend from another son Nathan (see Genealogy of Jesus). Even stranger is the Zohar's claim that the Messiah will come from "Nathan's Wife" (though there does exist a (questionable) tradition that the house of Solomon was wiped out.Wolf2191 01:27, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

"Whereas the Pharisees were one sect among many in the Second Temple era," This is a POV statement. It would be good if we can make it clear that this is only the opinion of one scholar. In fact one can make a strong case that the Pharisess influenced most of the country, with the Essenes being a small irrelevant minority sect and the Sadducees consisting of the aristocratic priestly segment, however most of the country followed the Pharisees. Certainly one of MANY is a gross exaggerationWolf2191 15:40, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

I think "several" is a better word-choice and it seems to resolve the issue. In context I don't think we need to go into any more detail as to the extent of the influence of/support for the Pharisees ... I think that would be a tangent. Several is a good improvement. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:21, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Hebrew Wikipedia article on Yeshu

Congratulations to those of you who have put together this interesting and informative entry. After I read it, I wondered what the Hebrew Wikipedia had to say about it, so I looked. I found that they have an entry he:ישו (Yeshu) which simply identifies Yeshu with Jesus. I have been trying, on the discussion page, to convince a couple people that this is not proper and that the title should be changed. (I suggested "Yeshu (Yeshua` minNatseret)".) That would allow room for an article similar to this one (Yeshu) on the subject of the person (or persons) in Jewish literature called Yeshu. But I'm not having much success. Apparently they had a vote a couple years ago on whether to change the title to Yeshua`, and it was about 2 to 1 against changing it. But the arguments put forward did not reflect the contents of this entry. If any of you want to weigh in on the Hebrew talk page, you're welcome. EricK 12:28, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

WP:V Concerns

Can someone provide sources for the following claims:

  • The word is found as a name in manuscripts of the Talmud, albeit rarely, and it has also been used as an acronym (יש"ו) for the Hebrew expression ימח שמו וזכרו (yemach shemo vezichro), meaning "May his name and memory be obliterated", a term used for those guilty of enticing Jews to idolatry. Some argue that this has always been its meaning.
  • Critics of the identification of Yeshu with Jesus point to inconsistencies between the Talmudic references to Yeshu and ben-Stada and the stories about Jesus in the New Testament.
Gil Student for example although this ia merely a sentence introducing what is said next which are points I recognize as being at least partly from Student and Zindler. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:19, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Then can you put in th appropriate citations to Student and Zindler? Slrubenstein | Talk
  • The resemblance of the name Yeshu to Yeshua which some assume to be the original Hebrew or Aramaic for Jesus, is of questionable importance.
This is a sentence that introduces the detailed discussion that follows I don't see why it needs a reference. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:19, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
"some assume" - it refers to "some." Who are the some? This is a reasonable request. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
  • There are significant phonetic difficulties in seeing the epithet son of Pandera as a corruption of parthenos, and this interpretation ignores the understandable meaning of "betrayer" as explained above. Moreover, Jesus was not commonly referred to as son of the Virgin making an intentional play on such an expression very unlikely.
This is from Klausner and partly Zindler. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:19, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Can you put in a precise citation? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

We need verifiable sources for these claims. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:59, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Assertions need to be verifiable. If you know the sources, please add in references/citations please. Thanks Slrubenstein | Talk 21:21, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

I have a copy of Zindler's book and Student has online stuff, I will see what I can do, but I don't have Klausner's book or easy access to any journal articles that discuss various points. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 06:14, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. As for the other assertions - maybe whoever put them in can find the sources; I never meant to imply that you alone are responsible for all the content in the article! Slrubenstein | Talk 08:10, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Its just that no one else seems particularly interested :) Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 08:56, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm slowly putting together a rewrite (with references) of the Interpretations of the name section that will emphasize that there is only disagreement over the identity and meaning of Yeshu in the Talmud and Tosefta, in later works it was consistently used for Jesus and is used for Jesus in modern Hebrew (starting with Klausner's writings). Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 18:15, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Thank you. I hope you understand that I have no particular feelings about the contents, and I also know and respect the amount of work you have put into this article. My only concern, but it is one to which I am deeply committed, is simply that the article comply fully with our WP:V and WP:NOR policies. Your own views (like mine), no matter how well informed, cannot enter into the article. But if we have a reliable source to which we can peg various views, well, then, all we need to do is cite it to make this an even better encyclopedia article. i know you know the literature better than I do and i also know if may take you time to track down the cources, so I am not rushing to delete anything. As long as the disagreement over the identity and meaning of Yeshu in the Talmud and Tosefta is supported by reliable secondary sources, I see no problems and again express my appreciation for your dedication to the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:20, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I've started making changes and adding references. Besides the need for references the article needs to make it clear that the dispute over the identification of Yeshu with Jesus concerns only the Talmud and Tosefta, not for example modern Hebrew usage where Yeshu Ha-Notzri is certainly used for Jesus without any doubt nor the usage in the Toledoth Yeshu where without a doubt certain aspects of the character are based on Jesus. Also there is a wider spectrum of interpretation than the article originally suggests, e.g Klausner takes it as a given that Yeshu means Jesus but disputes that the anecdotes where it occurs originally contained the term so to him Yeshu = Jesus but the individuals in the Talmud aren't Jesus they have merely been wrongly called by a term meaning Jesus. The view of several writers besides Massey mentioned by Gil Student that Yeshu is not simply Jesus but a contributer to a myth of Jesus needs to be mentioned, that view differs from Zindler and MacKinsey (who see both the Gospel Jesus and Talmud Yeshu as myth) as well as from a traditional simplistic equation of Yeshu with Jesus. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 00:18, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

You know this literature beter than I do but everything you say sounds like very positive ways to develop the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 02:12, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Bad references

  • Avodah Zara 16b-17a does not reference Yeshu. It references somebody named Yaaqov.
  • Gittin 57a does not reference Yeshu. It references Balaam, Titus, and the sinners of Israel.
  • Berachot 17b does not reference Yeshu.

None of these locations are marked as ever having been censored. Therefore I have removed these false references from the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:34, 17 June 2008

Yes, they do exist. Take a look at [5], [6], and [7].Eric Kvaalen (talk) 13:43, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

No they don't. In the first two cases they are marked as interpolations. Who interpolated them? You need to answer that. In the last case the name Yeshu is not on the page at all. (talk) 19:47, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

criticisms section

I am remving a section of the article to this talk page; I will explain why in a sec.

Criticism of the identification of Yeshu with Jesus
Critics of the identification of Yeshu with Jesus point to inconsistencies between the Talmudic references to Yeshu and ben-Stada and the stories about Jesus in the New Testament.[citation needed] The oppression by King Jannæus mentioned in the Talmud occurred about 87 BCE, which would put the events of the story about a century before Jesus. The Yeshu who taught Jacob of Sechania would have lived a century after Jesus. The forty day waiting period before execution is absent from the Christian tradition and moreover Jesus did not have connections with the government. Jesus was crucified not stoned. Jesus was executed in Jerusalem not Lod. Jesus was executed on the eve following passover according to the Synoptic Gospels, not the eve of passover. Jesus did not burn his food in public and moreover the Yeshu who did this corresponds to Manasseh of Judah in the Shulkhan Arukh. Jesus did not make incisions in his flesh, nor was he caught by hidden observers. In addition, the information cited from the Munich, Florence and other manuscripts in support of the identification are late comments written centuries after the original redaction of the Talmud.
There are significant phonetic difficulties in seeing the epithet son of Pandera as a corruption of parthenos, and this interpretation ignores the understandable meaning of "betrayer" as explained above.[citation needed] Moreover, Jesus was not commonly referred to as son of the Virgin making an intentional play on such an expression very unlikely.[citation needed] Regarding the names of the disciples, the accepted origins of Thaddaeus is Thaddai, Todah, and the identification of John and Andrew with Buni and Netzer is not considered tenable by linguists.[citation needed]
Furthermore, many critical historical scholars hold that for a variety of reasons, early Christianity was simply one of many factions competing with rabbinical Judaism, and the early sages of the Talmud paid no special attention to Jesus or Christianity.

Many, many months ago I added the "fact" tags because I saw no source for these claims; they are either false, or violate original research. Several months have passed and no one has found citations for them. I think the risk of having false information, or a passage that violates our policies, does too much damage to the credibility of the encyclopedia to justify keepoing this material in.

I did not simply delete it because it is my hope that some editor will find appropriate citations and at least parts of this section can be reincoprorated into the article. I ask the editors who work on this article to be patient and kep this section here on the talk page, undeleted and available for improvement, until and if such time occurs when we can move it or parts of it back into the article.

I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that Kuratowski's Ghost and other editors have done terrific work lately in adding citations and that this article is much much better than it was a year or two ago. I appreciate and value that hard work. It is precisely because we all value adding citations that I have removed this from the article. And frankly, it is because i hope KG or someone else can find appropriate citations that i did not just delete it.

The article is stronger without these paragraphs, littered with citation tags, in it. Perhaps it would be even stronger if we could find citations for these points, so I ask other editors not to delete this but rather to renew their efoorts to add citations if they have any.

For what it is worth, I think the article without this passage remains very strong. I really think removing the passages with so many dubious claims makes the article much stronger. Slrubenstein | Talk 07:32, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi SL I still have a lot of rework to do with the article but checking the references takes time and also tend to edit only when I get a burst of inspiration to do so. I will get to the arguments around Pandera in time. They can be taken out in the mean time as they can be put in again once references are found. Some of it is in Zindler which I have a copy of, but some I know comes from fairly old works cited in usenet newsgroup debates about Yeshu years ago, at the time I remember looking them up but we are talking about 15 years ago, it was either Klausner's or Neusner, will need time to track the stuff down. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 11:49, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi KG - sounds good. We agree to keep this section on the talk page and as you (or others) find appropriate sources we can move it back in (and perhaps into different sections? i am not arguing against the previous organization, just observing that with reliable sources we may also have more information and decide that the material works better in another section). I'm glad to have another oppotunity to thank you for the work you have been doing finding more sources for this article. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:50, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Ad hominem attacks

Calling Shibli Zaman a "conspiracy theorist" is an ad hominem attacked for which I could not find any references that meet Wikipedia's rules for such citations. Therefore, it has been removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Deletion of acronym

Wolf just deleted this: "Yeshu (ישו in Hebrew) is also an abbreviation for the Hebrew words ימחק שמו וזיכרון "Y'machk Sh'mo v'Zichron" (May his Name and Memory be Erased)." Now, I did not add it to the artile and hav eno personal investment, but it was in for long time so i assume many editors here supported it. i am not challenging Wolf's deletion, but I think his point is that it shoud no be returned to the article unless we specify who believes this (to comply with NPOV) and provide a verifiable, reliable source or sources (V and RS, as well as NOR). Slrubenstein | Talk 15:51, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

It first shows up in Czarist Russia - to support Pogroms (similarly Akum was made as an acronym for "Ovdei Christos U' Miriam") - I know of no evidence that the expression was used in Talmudic times. Of course, if there is a reputable source for it it can stay. Best!Wolf2191 (talk) 16:04, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Its still mentioned in the discussion of the derivation of the term "Yeshu". When used in modern times as an abbreviation it is typically not pronounced as an acronym. Whether Yeshu in the talmud is really the same abbreviation is part of the debate Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 16:41, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
I see you mean this - יש"ו- I think its actually spelled - ימ"ש- in contemporory hebrew. Do you have any sources that say that the acronym is meant in the Talmud as well.Wolf2191 (talk) 16:50, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
I genuinely hope the two of you can reach consensus. for what it i worth, I think the kwy is simply to collow our cour policies: is this a significant view? Does it come from verifiable and reliable sources? Are these sources secondary sources (Wikipedia editors cannot use Wikipedia to publish their own research - any interpretation of a text or explanation of a word, name, or title, or abreviation, has to come from a reliable and notable secondary source)? If so, we can and must add it to the article as long as we clearly identify whose view this is and from what reliable sources, provide any necessary context to understand the view, and add any other significant competing or conflicting views if found in reliable sources. If either one of you comes up with something that meets these criteria, the other should accept ading it to the article. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:02, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
The section in the article that discusses the origin of "Yeshu" from the expression is referenced and as it says, the explanation of these letters as an acronym goes back to the Toldoth Yeshu texts themselves. There is also a reference for the usage simply as the stated acronym. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:02, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Checking the reference, its referring to the Toldot Yeshu texts. I think the concern is whether the Toldot Yeshu and subsequent anti-semitic claims following Eisenmenger are the only places that state that the letters are this acronym. The article as it stands at the moment doesn't make any further claim regarding the acronym so it should be ok to leave it as is. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:20, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

OK!Wolf2191 (talk) 19:24, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Still lots of work needed in the article, such as debate around "notzri" which needs to be consolidated in the section around the usage in Talmud and Tosefta. Then discussion of usage in later writings: the toldoth narratives which needs more discussion, usage in Rashi for Jesus etc, then usage in modern Hebrew as a standard translation of Jesus resulting from Klausner's writings and criticism of the modern usage. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 19:35, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Rashi's use of Toledot Yeshu is discussed in Sid Leiman's '83 JQR article - he cites a 71 cambridge critical edition of the Toledot Yeshu will check Proquest later.Wolf2191 (talk) 20:00, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

and see also this - #Christians and Heretics in Rabbinic Literature of Late Antiquity# Richard Kalmin # The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 87, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 155-169

My computer isn't doing PDF's for the moment for some reason but I will see what can be added when its fixed.Wolf2191 (talk) 20:08, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Yeshua ben Sira/ Sirach

There needs to be some treatment of this person here. Though autobiographical details are scarce, he appeared to have lived in the second/first century BCE, and the Greek transliteration of his name appears to have come in the first century, by the work of his grandson. Its appears to have some relevance to the Jesus/Yeshua transcription issue, as the Hebrew texts are surviving from that era, and the Greek transcription came well before Jesus. -Stevertigo 05:38, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I do not know of any reliable, notable secondary source who relates Sirach to the Yeshu narratives that are the topic of this article. Do you have any such sources? Slrubenstein | Talk 19:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The name "Jesus son of Sirach" in Hebrew is, presumably, something like "Yeshu (or Yeshua) ben Sirach". The Hebrew wiki articles (same person/book article actually) don't treat this version of the name, even though fragments of the text apparently have been found, indicating a more full name. If its Yeshua ben Sira, and not Yeshu, then it need not be mentioned here. But given the apparent flexibility or variance in the use of the "a" ayin, I thought it worth querying what the Hebrew (or Aramaic, if you like - have it your way) form was; if it was Yeshu, then it should be relevant, as this article treats the variant usage of the name. -Stevertigo 19:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
This article is not about a name, it is about a set of stories in Rabbinic literature. What source to you have saying that ben Sirah is one of the protagonists (or antagonists, as the case may be) of any of the stories that this article is about? I am simply asking you for your source. This is not an unreasonable request. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:36, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I understand - I misunderstood its context as confined to the literature, not a treatment of the name Yeshu (as somehow distinct from Yeshua). -Stevertigo 21:42, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

There is no text calling ben Sirach by the name "Yeshu" and so he is not relevant to this article. Extant Hebrew texts of Sirach call him Yeshua ben Sira, not Yeshu. These texts are possibly back translations into Hebrew of the Greek text and not the original Hebrew, but the view is that his original Hebrew name would have been either Yehoshua or Yeshua, no one believes he was called Yeshu. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 02:48, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Article restructure

I have completed as much as I can for now on the development of the usage of the term. I am busy trying to follow the development of usage section with sections on each of the Yeshu accounts giving more detail. There is much that can be added to the accounts other than the Yeshu ben Pandera account. Currently the latter has the most information but a lot of it is actually about Rabbie Eliezer and Jacob the Min and not about the name Yeshu. Since there is already an article on Jacob the Min which is in need of attention I would like to move the Jacob the Min material not directly related to the name Yeshu to that article and cut down the detail in this article. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 03:02, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Another resource fir the interested - [8] - —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Gil Student is not a RS

This page makes repeated reference to a self-published web site, all in favor of the minority view that "Yeshu" doesn't refer to Jesus. All these references should be removed. I was doing just that when Eugene Krabs reverted me. Please discuss. Leadwind (talk) 06:06, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I have a question here : how much is it the minority view ? And where ? I mean: among the historians in general ? The historians of Judaism ? The historians who actually studied the question ? And when ? Maybe the consensus has changed among them lately ? I don't know, I am just asking. Benjil (talk) 14:55, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Its certainly not a minority view, the article notes several prominant commentators from various centuries who stated that Yeshu does not mean Jesus, including Steinsaltz in modern times whose commentary is highly esteemed. Its is also the straightforward common sense view if one actually reads the references to Yeshu in context without embelishing with preconceived notions. Yeshu ben Pandera is 2nd century, Yeshu the student of ben Perachiah is Hasmonean era, Yeshu who burns his food is explicitly Manasseh of Judah in a parallel account, Yeshu summoned by Onkelos is part of a list of three enemies of the Jewish people one who tried to put a curse on the entire nation, one who destroyed the temple and neither of whom were Jewish (so how does Jesus fit into such a list?) and the Yeshu who was executed, was executed in Lod. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 21:10, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Saying that Gil Student is not a reliable source is just plain silly, he is an ordained Rabbi, has been published in journals and has studied the sources and is qualified to comment on the subject. Moreover everything published on his site can be verified by going to the sources he cites. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 18:58, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Benji, when general references say one thing (Yeshu is a reference to Jesus) and a few scholars say otherwise, then the few scholars are holding a minority view.
K, if you think Gil Student's web site is a reliable source, then please review WP:RS and quote us some support. Self-published web sites are not reliable sources unless the self-publisher is a standout expert in the field. Leadwind (talk) 17:58, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no doubt that the common view is that Yeshu = Jesus. My question was: among scholars who have actually studied the issue, what is the view, and is there a shift between former scholars who studied it in the past and new scholars, maybe because of some developments in other related fields ? For example, the understanding of the Quran has evolved when the field was covered by scholars who also had a strong knowledge of the Talmud and explained that what was formerly known as "pre-islamic arab sources" was in fact talmudic and midrashic material. Do we have something similar here ? Once again, I am just asking with no idea about the answer, I had no idea that there was a view that Yeshu is not Jesus before coming here. Benjil (talk) 18:35, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Gil Student is regarded as a standout expert in the field and is cited by the Rabbinical Council of America. The Steinsaltz Talmud and commentary represents contemporary mainstream views not minority views. Out of the commentators from previous centuries who discuss Yeshu, five out of six (i.e. Rabbeinu Tam, Nahmanides, Jehiel of Paris, Heilprin, and Emden) say that it does not refer to Jesus and only one out of six (Ibn Daud) connects Yeshu with Jesus but even he does not consider the term to refer to Jesus as understood in Christianity but instead conjectures that the Jesus of Christian is merely a legend having roots in Yeshu. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 18:38, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
"Gil Student is regarded as a standout expert in the field." Prove it. If you can prove it, I'll shut up. If you can't, I'll remove references to his self-published web site. Then you'll just have to find a book he wrote or article he published to back up what he says on his web site. Leadwind (talk) 04:19, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Benji, I have a better answer for you now. It turns out the the scholars who refute that Yeshu is Jesus are fringe writers. They also refute that Jesus even existed as a historical, first-century holy man. They rightly point out that the Yeshu in these stories is nothing like the historical or biblical Jesus, but they conclude that the gospels are of equal merit to these Jewish accounts. They represent a tradition of scholarship whose high point was about 100 years ago. A lot has been learned about Jesus, the gospels, and the early Christians since then. Leadwind (talk) 04:17, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry but from the article and sources about the people who refute the Yeshu=Jesus idea, I see nothing like that. The people cited by Kuratowski's Ghost are not fringe writers and they do not deal with the existence of Jesus, they are important Jewish sources. I am getting the feeling that you reject the "Yeshu is not Jesus" thesis only because it may undermine the existence of Jesus. But I think these are separate issues. Yeshu and Jesus can be separate figures with no connections at all and irrelevant to each other. I must admit that the arguments against the identification of Jesus with Yeshu sound much strongly based, starting with the fact that the narrative of the flight to Egypt is based on real history of the anti-pharisaic persecutions and does not seem to be an erroneous recollection of the history of Jesus.Benjil (talk) 07:17, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Take a look at another article here on WP, Toledot Yeshu. It provides another useful look at the "Yeshu" stories in the Jewish tradition. If you want to see the fringe views of the scholars cited on this page, just google them and their book titles. This article doesn't tell you what these scholars say about "Yeshu," only that they think the term doesn't refer to Jesus. Leadwind (talk) 14:29, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I know Toldot Yeshu. It just means that the identification between Yeshu and Jesus started at least during the middle ages. It also goes along the thesis that Jesus is an alteration of (one of the) Yeshu and not the contrary. Maybe some fringe writers think that Yeshu is not Jesus but I don't think that Steinsaltz, the Ramban, or Rabbeinu Tam are fringe writers. I don't care is Yeshu is Jesus or not or the contrary but you seem to give it a lot of weight. Let's try to focus on the the evidences and the facts, not what we would like them to be. Benjil (talk) 15:12, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I do not believe that scholars who do not believe Yeshu is Jesus are all fringe, many are significant. But there are also many contemporary scholars sho believe Yeshu = Jesus, and they are also significant. There are a variety of issues involved, some having to do with interfaith politics, some having to do with people's beliefs about sacred texts (e.g. Orthodox versus non-Orthodox views) as well as trends in historiography. A good article will lay out all these views and issues clearly and nuetrally - let's strive for that. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:04, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
SLR, you would do this whole effort a big favor, and me personally, if you would point out many significant, contemporary scholars who both affirm the historical Jesus and also say Yeshu doesn't refer to Jesus. Leadwind (talk) 23:02, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Benji, you're right, Steinsaltz is a legit scholar, not a fringe writer. The source cited, however, seems to be a popular magazine, not an academic journal, independent book, or university textbook. That's OK, but not ideal. Rabbeinu Tam, however, dates from the 12th century. He's not fringe, but he's not contemporary, either. I don't know who the Ramban. If Steinsaltz is the only legit proponent of the idea that Yeshu isn't Jesus, well... Leadwind (talk) 23:13, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Gil Student is not a standout expert on this topic, so his self-published web site doesn't count as an RS. Anyone want to say anything before I excise Student, too? Leadwind (talk) 02:12, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

See my comments below on compromising due to the general lack of academic quality material. Ramban is Nachmanides btw. If you are going to start wiping views of famous commentators in history the we might as well just delete the whole article, there would be nothing to say. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 02:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad you agree that Student and company lack academic quality, but I don't agree that we have any right to lower WP standards at our own discretion. If the whole article is made of nothing but Student-level expertise, then blank it. Luckily, there's plenty of RSs on the topic. Leadwind (talk) 02:30, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

I deleted Student. Regular old web sites like the one cited are not up to WP standards. See WP:RS. Leadwind (talk) 14:33, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Zindler isn't an RS either

Student is a self-published web site. Put a link in the "External Links" section. Now it turns out Zindler is an atheist propagandist, and his book was published by Atheist Press. He touts the fringe view that the gospel account of Jesus owe something to the same community that produced the Life of Yeshu. Not a reliable source for historical information. Zindler doesn't belong as a source on this topic. Leadwind (talk) 02:07, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

If no one defends Zindler, I'll get started removing the cited material. Leadwind (talk) 04:21, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Done. Leadwind (talk) 23:21, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

The fact that Zindler is an atheist and promotes skeptical views is irrelevant. Herford was a Christian and promoted Christian views, Steinsaltz is Jewish and promotes Jewish views. So what? Zindler is the auther of a prominent book on the subject of Yeshu in the Talmud and Toldot Yeshu, blanking him would be censorship. He is a scientist and debator promoting the skeptical science view of the Gospels. This view is a minority view but not an insignficant one, it is minority by virtue of skeptical scientists being a minority but is typical of the view amongst skeptical scientists. You can't go labeling everyone whose religion and views you personally disagree with as not reliable. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 23:24, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I deleted Zindler again. The issue isn't that he's an atheist but that the source itself is a POV source. If his work can't be published by an independent publisher or by an academic publisher, but only by a biased publisher, then it's not a reliable source. You say that his view is significant. Prove it. Show us some evidence that Zindler's view that Jesus didn't exist has any traction in mainstream scholarship. Leadwind (talk) 23:42, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Here we go again, define mainstream scholarship in this area? Theological seminaries? Jewish Yeshivas? Muslim Madrassahs? Skeptical scientists and atheists would consider those to be biased publishers in the same way you consider AAP to be biased. You are censoring the article. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 23:51, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Go read WP:RS for what counts as a reliable source. We don't really have any choice but to pay more respect to mainstream sources than to minority views. It doesn't matter who's right, Klaussner or Zindler. What matters is who's mainstream. Scholars who think that Jesus lived in the first century and that Yeshu refers to him are mainstream. WP favors mainstream scholars. Leadwind (talk) 00:15, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Again how do you define mainstream in this area which is generally lacking in recent detailed study? There are no works dealing with the subject in depth published by a purely academic press. If you blank Zindler you can also blank most of the other writers cited and then the whole article vanishes. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 00:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Here's how I define mainstream: represented by a really solid reliable source. Really solid reliable sources are things like papers published in peer-review scholarly journals and like university textbooks. Got any of those by Zindler? All the scholars who are as weak as Zindler should get cut off the page. If the page is shorter, it will also be better and more in line with WP policy. Leadwind (talk) 01:13, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

The problem with this topic is the lack of academic journal or university textbook material on the subject. Most of the material is sloppy, e.g. the big name theological scholars such as Flusser, Klausner, Schonfield have been criticized for poor linguistics regarding etymology of Yeshu and Notzri, does that mean we should drop them? Kjaer-Hansen's work is peer reviewed, but by other missionaries it seems, does that mean we should drop him despite his thorough and well referenced research? Given the lack of quality academic material to use we shouldn't be quick to drop reference or else the article will evaporate. I think the best approach is to keep what is available but clearly indicate in the article the nature of the source and their standing. I think even Zindler should go back because although he is published by a popular rather than academic press and although I personally find his writings to be damn annoying and of biased tone the fact remains that no one else has investigated the subject to the extent that he has and that alone makes his work important enough to include, albeit with appropriate clarification that his work is of a popular rather than purely academic nature. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 02:16, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

"Given the lack of quality academic material to use we shouldn't be quick to drop reference or else the article will evaporate." Then let it evaporate. If there's only a little material that's up to WP standards, then keep it a little article. We can't lower WP standards just because the topic is obscure. Especially not such a controversial one. On the other hand, if you can find any reference in WP policy to handling Zindler the way you suggest, show me. Leadwind (talk) 02:27, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

mystery solved: Jesus as myth

I've been trying to figure out why this page is so messed up and why there's so much bad scholarship on it, and now I see why. There are a couple of current writers who say that Jesus never existed. They use the early Yeshu stories as evidence that the gospels were written in the 2nd century. That's what scholars thought 100 years ago. Now we know that the gospels were written c 65 to 100 about a historical figure who died c 30. The writers who want to portray Jesus as a myth also want to deny that the Jewish Yeshu stories are based on any historical, first-century figure. That's where lots of the weird scholarship on this page is coming from. If we eliminate the spurious scholarship, the topic will come into focus. Leadwind (talk) 02:19, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Zindler and McKinsey are examples of this school of thought but Zindler follows Klausner and Herford and considers the term to refer to Jesus while McKinsey considers the possibility that it doesn't. The idea of a mythical Jesus is actively promoted by modern skeptical science writers such as Zindler and although a minority view it is one that is seriously studied. Please don't go blanking views you disagree with. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 02:57, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
So basically I think I am understanding the issue a little more now: some details of the Yeshu narrative are similar to the story of Jesus. But many more details are not. So why exactly should we accept the similarities as proof and reject the differences as "errors" ? It looks like wishful thinking - and it is. I think that the idea behind this thesis is that the Talmud *has* to speak about Jesus. Scholars of Christian origin or culture (it can include some Jews) can't imagine that such an important character would be ignored by the Talmud that contains the oral tradition of the Jews who lived at the time of Jesus. And it is indeed puzzling how little and maybe nothing is said about Jesus and Christianity in the Talmud even if we accept the "Yeshu is Jesus" thesis. So I propose to check this issue with new eyes, let's admit that the Talmud does not have to tell us anything about Jesus and let's see if the Yeshu is Jesus thesis still holds water.Benjil (talk) 09:50, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
If you look at those claiming that Yeshu refers to Jesus they fall into the following groups:
  • Anti-semites out to make the Talmud look bad.
  • Christian scholars desparately seeking evidence of Jesus outside the Gospels.
  • Skeptics like Zindler seeking to show that accounts outside the Gospel, if any, contradict the Gospels completely.
  • The early Jewish writer Ibn Daud who assumes it must be Jesus because it looks like the word Jesus, but notes that the accounts are very different to the Gospels and tries to explain it away.
  • Recent Jewish writers like Klauser who assume without further investigation that the term refers to Jesus because all the above say it does and the contrary view does not even occur to them. They also notice that the accounts differ and again try explain it away.

Those who say it doesn't include:

  • Jewish commentators writing after Ibn Daud who point out that its a mistaken assumption that it refers to Jesus, particularly because the accounts differ from the Gospels.
  • Skeptics like McKinsey who rightly ask for proof that it refers to Jesus when the names are not identical despite looking similar and who note that the accounts differ.

Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 12:25, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Kuratowski's Ghost for providing this range of scources - it is of course important that Wikipedia represent all significant views. You are however wrong that modern scholars who believe that Yeshu refers to Jesus do so because the contrary does not occur to them; you seem to be promoting your own personal view, which violates WP:NPOV and WP:NOR. In response to Leadwind, from what I understand, most contemporary scholarship on Yeshu narratives I know of do not claim that Jesus was a myth. They claim that rabbis believed that Jesus was real, but accepted at face value those accounts (like the Gospels) that were available to them. The precise dating of the Gospels is not the issue - what is an issue is: whenever the Gospels reached the form they were in when they reached the rabbis, they were already so "christianized" that the Jewish Jesus was almost unintelligible to them. Many scholars believe that at least some of the Yeshu narratives are responses to this Christianized Jesus - responses that both try to make sense of Christian claims and that respond to such claims (including what is in effect parody, but which may have been what rabbis felt must have happened); one could say that the rabbis were constructing their own mythic Jesus, but in their own minds were simply trying to make sense out of sources that they took to be historically based, yet in some ways absurd (e.g. the claim that Jesus was the messiah or divine). This is a point made by Michael Cook (a professor of religious studies) in Modern Jews Engage the New Testament (basically, he says Jews will always misunderstand the NT as long as they ignore recent critical scholarship on how it was composed and the politics between Jewish and Gentile Christians and different followers of Peter, Paul, and James, that produced an account of Jesus that is just incomprehensible to Jews ... his goal is to show Jews how to understrand how this came to be rather than just taking the Gospel accounts at face value. But he does not claim Jesus was a myth).
The reason the authors of the first Yeshu accounts relied on the Gospels, or orally transmitted accounts of Christian beliefs, and not some Jewish tradition about Jesus, is not because Jesus never existed; it is because he was unimportant to most Jews until Christianity began to dominate the Roman Empire.
These are modern Jewish scholars that Kuratowski's Ghost neglects to mention, including J. Rubenstein (already in the article) who believe that Yeshu refered to Jesus, and the "errors" exist for the same reasons that many texts people believe to be historically accurate are full of errors: people regularly believe to be historically accurate texts that "make sense" to them because they make sense in terms of their lived experience or situation, or relations with others. I do not see how this fact makes the Talmud or Tolodt Yeshu look bad, or at least any worse than the Gospels, which many also take to be historically accurate but which, while likely based on a historical person and certain historical events, were composed in order to express theological truths. Or any worse than the Torah, which many also take to be historically accurate but which, while likely based on a historical persons and certain historical events, were composed in order to express theological truths. Today we may consider theological truths and historical truths to be different, but there seems to have been a time when people, or some people believed they could be the same. This view must also be represented in the article.Slrubenstein | Talk 17:50, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
My agenda (not hidden agenda :) is to expand each section on the individal occurences giving all sourced views and how difficulties are handled. Remember this ia talk page so as I have done before I will openly state my opinion on the talk page but will try my utmost to prevent my own opinions affect what is included in the article. At the moment I find the whole diversity of views an interesting subject in its own right.
When it comes to the views of J. Rubenstein, Cook etc I have trouble making sense of what they say. "Yeshu" is buried in a handful of miniscule anecdotes in the Talmud typically a few sentences each illustrating a particular point of Jewish law under discussion, so in what sense are these reponses to Christianity's view or their own "mythical" Jesus? One gets the impression that Rubenstein, Cook etc have never even bothered to read the passages in context in the Talmud, to me they seem to be reading a different Talmud on a diffrent planet that has vast reams on Yeshu. I'm saying this in open discussion on the talk page, obviously I wouldn't put my personal view on them in the article. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 21:14, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I appreciate your saying this. I appreciate your being plain about your view, and also agreeing not to put it into the article. I may be oversimplifying Cook's view, but he, Rubenstein and Boyarin to be reputable scholars - they certainly meet all of Wikipedia's criteria for their views to be included in the article in a neutral way.
By the way, are you able to clarify for me the position of contemporary Rabbis involved in interfaith work who state that Yeshu is not Jesus? It seems to me that it is possible to say "Jews in the Middle Ages (or Rabbinic period, or whatever) believed Yeshu to be Jesus, but today we know he is not" or something like that. The way the text is currently written, there seems to be some time compression. What I mean is, it is not clear whether Rabbi X is saying "I do not believe that Yeshu is Jesus" or "No Jew has ever believed that Yeshu is Jesus" or "The authors of the Yeshu stories did not believe Yeshu is Jesus." Does this make sense? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
That's what I wanted to say. The Yeshu stories in the Talmud are not a coherent narrative and not an answer to anything. The Toldot Yeshu stories are a clear answer to the Gospels on the other hand and maybe they are confusing the two. Regarding historical accuracy, I don't exactly understand why the stories of the Talmud should be seen as less accurate than the Gospels. If we take the view than Yeshu is a reference to Jesus, why should we consider that if the Gospels say he was born at the time of Herod, this is true, but if the Talmud puts him 100 years before, this is a mistake. It could be the contrary or both could be wrong or they can refer to different people. Anyway, speaking about accuracy, the story of Yeshu fleeing with his master to Egypt because of the persecutions of the Asmoneans is much more accurate historically than the Gospel story of Jesus fleeing to Egypt because of a mass murder order from Herod that nobody never heard of outside the Gospels.Benjil (talk) 21:27, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Benjil, this appears to be your own POV. Editors POV's do not go into the article. KG and I have both provided sources - can you? Slrubenstein | Talk 22:14, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
My POV ? I was just writing I have no clear opinion on the issue, and I did not edit anything in this article, I am just trying to ask and learn and help the discussion as there are here people who understand the issue far more than I do.Benjil (talk) 06:48, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Benji, I'm not historian, but I like to speculate, as well. The trick is that here on WP we aren't reporting the truth. We're reporting expert opinion. When expert opinion is wrong, it's our duty to report it anyway. Let's just stick to what contemporary scholars say. Leadwind (talk) 23:00, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it is possible to give a more clear view of what Jews on the whole believed over the centuries as there is hardly any mention of Yeshu. Meiri notes that Ha-Notzri is an addition but this says nothing about what he believed about Yeshu. Ibn Daud believed that the Talmud accounts were references to Jesus but he assumes the Talmud to be historically accurate whence the Christians must have been confused about when Jesus had lived etc. Five later commentators consider the term not to be a reference to Jesus but show awareness that people assume it is which is their motivation for mentioning it. No one else mentions Yeshu until modern scholarship and as the article explains there are differing views.
The Toldot Yeshu are not a clear answer to the Gospels because the parts that show commonality with Gospels are not directly derivative of the Gospels but instead the Toldot and the Gospels have used common material. One view is that this common material was an early Gospel in Hebrew from which Matthew was derived. Zindler instead regards the common material to be merely common fanciful folktales that had emerged around a mythical figure by spurious associations. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 23:09, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
My main concern is representing people like David Rosen accurately. I am sure David Rosen does not believe that the accounts of Yeshu correspond either to the historical Jesus or to the Christ worshipped by Christians. But is he also saying that the authors of those passages did not believe this? I can imagine at least three possibilities: he is saying that this was not th authors' intent; he believes it was the authors' intent but that this is not a view he or those Jews he represents share; or he is unsure/agnostic on the matter. Hopefully he has expressed himself clearly on the matter! Slrubenstein | Talk 00:18, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Slr, you can read for yourself what Rosen says because the article is now online. Apparently someone cherry-picked this article to support the idea that Yeshu isn't Jesus, even though the article mostly about Yeshu being Jesus. It's not an academic article, and it's been misused, so we should probably just cut it out, but stick it in the external links section, along with Gil Student's web site. Leadwind (talk) 03:10, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

One thing that is clear from this article (which I consider a reliable source) is thast how rabbis interpret the Talmudic passages is linked to discussions among Jews about how they relate to Christianity. I think this article would be a whole lot clearer if it just said this. The article provides a range of views - Baymer who at first at least takes one story pretty literally to be historically accurate; Steinzaltz who also seems to consider the Talmud historically accurate, but therefore not about Jesus and about someone else, and then David Kraemer, who may not be reading the Talmud as historically accurate. This article must be clear at the beginning that how rabbis interpret the Talmudic stories about Yeshu - whether they think the stories are about the Gospel Jesus or not - is heavily colored by a more general view about the Talmud stories as a whole, whether they are to be considered historically reliable, or not. Someone who views a Talmud story as historically accurate, and someone who reads it as a fable, may seem to agree that it is about Jesus, or agree that it is not about Jesus, and yet be holding radically different interpretations. I think that whether they read it as historical or mythological is a crucial distinction this article insufficiently highlights.
I also think this article should give more space to the view of Kraemer which seems to be the same view as Cook (and Cook lays his views out in detail in his book on Modern Jews engaging the NT - I do nto have it but if someone can get it it woudl be easy to provide an adequate account of his view), but basically it is that what Jews believe about Jesus, and whether they believe these stories are about Jesus or not, depends a lot on the relationship they have or wish to have with Christians, which sounds very sensible to me. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:45, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that Greenberg's article makes this point pretty well, and we can all verify it. As for this sentence: "what Jews believe about Jesus, and whether they believe these stories are about Jesus or not, depends a lot on the relationship they have or wish to have with Christians," how about we put it in the article and cite it to Cook. Leadwind (talk) 00:41, 22 April 2009 (UTC)


I rewrote the lead. The lead should summarize the topic, which it now does. The details are, naturally, open to discussion. Leadwind (talk) 00:07, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

There are several things wrong with your new lead.
  • It creates the impression that all the references to Yeshu are about the same individual when this is not consistent with a literal reading and indeed a matter of debate.
  • The idea that the identification as Jesus is traditional is misleading as 5 out of 6 commentators of previous centuries say that it is not Jesus.
  • The Toldot Yeshu narratives do not claim to be a biography of "Jesus", that is again an interpretation that "Yeshu" means Jesus, although it is agreed that the Toldot Yeshu has a certain amount of commonality with the Gospels but also with other unrelated sources and the commonality is not simply derivation from the Gospels.

I'm running out of reverts otherwise I would revert it again. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 00:49, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

textbook information

As it turns out, I have a university-level textbook that includes a discussion of the early Yeshu material. It's only a couple pages, but it's dense and clear. These sorts of sources are the gold standard for reliable sources, so it ought to help us make sense out of all these conflicting claims. Leadwind (talk) 02:04, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Name of source, author, and page numbers needed. (talk) 13:44, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Nice but it is ignoring contrary opinion in the Steinsaltz commentary and the various traditional commentators who say that Yeshu does not refer to Jesus. The lead as it now stands does not reflect a neutral POV. To be neutral give both views keeping your reference for the view that it is Jesus and use say the Steinsaltz commentary for the opposing view. Don't blank information on Toldot Yeshu drawing from sources unrelated to the Gospels, commonality with e.g the Acts of Peter with Yeshu matching Simon Magus is well known. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 02:38, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

The Steinsaltz reference is an unremarkable author in an unremarkable magazine reporting the opinion of a legitimate Talmud scholar. That's pretty thin. The Theissen reference is straight from a university-level textbook. That's pretty solid. We are obliged to weigh these sources differently and to prefer the textbook over the magazine article. WP policy forbids us from treating these different opinions as equally weighty. Leadwind (talk) 02:58, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Hey, good news, there's apparently a solid reference for Steinsaltz, his edition of the Talmud. Does someone have that? Could they share with us what he says about the Yeshu stories? He gets cited as saying Yeshu wasn't Jesus, but let's hear his whole interpretation, not just his up-or-down vote on the Jesus issue. Leadwind (talk) 03:49, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
The discussion of Jehiel of Paris, Heilprin, Embden etc that appears in the article was originally taken verbatim from the Steinsaltz commentary when it was first introduced in the article if my memory serves me correctly and was reworded slightly over time. I'm trying to get hold of Steinsaltz on CD-ROM. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 14:18, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Is that magazine reference still there? I thought I had removed that ages ago. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 11:44, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
When you get hold of Steinsaltz, please report what he says. In the magazine article, Steinsaltz only says that Yeshu "might" be someone other than Jesus.

Leadwind (talk) 14:26, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Another work that needs to come into the article is Peter Schafer's recent book Jesus in the Talmud (he is a Princeton professor, solid as a rock). He is of the Herford / Klausner school of thought not questioning the equation Yeshu = Jesus but has some good insight into the various passages and how they may be connected to the Gospel Jesus and additional views on the meaning of Pandera. When the sections on each anecdote in the Talmud is expanded, his views (and of course any opposing sourced views) need to come into the article. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 21:20, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

restoring neutrality to lead

Can we please have a lead that correctly summarizes the article instead using one arbitrary source to boldly state that Yeshu refers to Jesus. Even without Student or even without Steinsaltz we have McKinsey questioning this view as well as the referenced works of several historical Jewish commentators who say it doesn't mean Jesus. Jehiel of Paris' view is particulary mentioned in the Encyclopedia Judaica article on Jesus. These alone are enough to show that "Yeshu = Jesus" is only one view not the unanimous view. Every attempt to provide a balanced view in the lead gets reverted by Leadwind. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 18:58, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Okay I did not want to get involved but I just restored the earlier lead. Leadwind, please do not take this personally. I genuinely feel the earlier lead is better. Correct me if I am wrong, but the differnce is this: first lead says some think Yeshu is Jesus, some do not; second lead says flat out Yeshu = Jesus. I prefer the first lead for three reasons. First, it includes the view Leadwind emphasizes in his version (some think yeshu=Jesus). Second, it complies with NPOV by making it clear that this i sjust a view, and one view among others. Third, it does what an introduction should do, that is, introduce the article as a whole - and the article has properly sourced examples of people who say or said Yeshu is not Jesus. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:22, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, I think we have to be clear about something: some scholars who believe that Yeshu refers to Jesus do not believe that the stories refer to the historical Jesus. This is NOT because they deny the existence of the historical Jesus. It is because they view different accounts of Jesus - whether in the Gospels or in the Talmud - to be accounts that the authors considered theologically true, because they were written at a time when people believed that what was theologically true was also historically true. Modern critical scholars do not however believe that theological truth and historical truth are the same thing. This is more complicated than saying Yeshu IS Jesus or Yeshu IS NOT Jesus. It is quite possible for scholars like Jeffrey Rubenstein and Daniel Boyarin to say, "Yeshu IS Jesus and Yeshu is NOT Jesus." What they mean is, the Rabbinic Yeshu is a theological response to the Christian's theological Jesus (Yeshu = Jesus). But they are quite firm that this Yeshu does not have anything to do with the historical Jesus (Yeshu / Jesus).
I think a major problem with this article is that it is not organized to make this third view clear. It is organized to distinguish between two views (Yeshu is/is not). We need to fiddle with it so that this third view - which is already int he article - is clearer, more understandable. I urge KG and LW to try to cooperate on doing this. I realize that this view may be hard to parse. Would you guys consider - as a good faith gesture/favor to me - to try to get from your local library this book: Modern Jews Engage the New Testament? If your library doesn't have it, try to get it through inter-library loan or ask them to buy it. You do not have to read all of it, but it does have some bits on the Yeshu narratives and a thoughtful discussion of the different ways Jews have talked about Jesus in the past. Neither of you have to agree with it but it would give you a common point of refernce that may help you restructure this article a little in a way that will improve it a lot. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:34, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
The bottom line for me is: it is not enough to distinguish between people who think Yeshu = Jesus and people who do not think this. This article also has to more generally distinguish between two kinds of views of sacred texts: those people who think they are liteally true or historically reliable, and those who think they are not. Only when the article makes this second distinction in "kinds of points of views" will it easily and clearly accommodate this third view I have been emphasizing, and make it easier to make sense of other people's views too. As long as you guys argue over whether Steinsaltz or Rosen or whomever say "black" or "white" your argument will go nowhere, you need to be able to recognize and explain more complicated or nuanced points of view. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:38, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Fully agreed. In addition its also not a case "all the references are to Jesus (whether historical or other)" vs "none are references to Jesus" which is why I began making separate sections for each reference. What makes things even more complicated is the early history of the references prior to censorshop which the article currently doesn't mention, there is the evidence of Ha-Notzri being added in late which the article points out but apparently also the Paris manuscript lacked Yeshu completely in the account of the son who burns his food - this would support the view of say Klausner that (at least in that case) Yeshu is a spurious addition to something that is not about Jesus. Indeed the whole section in which that reference occurs has been talking about Manasseh of Judah in previous sentences, its not only the Shulchan Arukh account that says Manasseh. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 14:54, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
"some scholars who believe that Yeshu refers to Jesus do not believe that the stories refer to the historical Jesus." Indeed, this is the mainstream view and the one that the article should emphasize (because it's mainstream). Leadwind (talk) 00:18, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Also the Mead, Massey, Korman etc view of a Jesus evolving as a legend from a proto-Jesus 100 years earlier is also not mainstream and it should be pointed out that this is not moderm scholarships understanding, but without cutting all mention of these views because they are part of the history of views on the subject as is Zindler who I still feel needs some sort of mention in the article even if not used as a general reference due to it not being published by an academic press. (Indeed as a general reference he can be replaced by mainstream scholars he uses, his main difference to them is essentially whining that the "glass is half empty" while they present a "glass that is half full" view if you catch my meaning.) Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 15:09, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
We should have a "history of scholarship" section so that all the outdated scholars can get a fair mention. Then the main content sections should restrict themselves to current scholarship and contemporary scholars. Leadwind (talk) 16:57, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

The discussion of the Toldot Yeshu in the intro should be less verbose, detail should rather be added to sections dealing with the Toldot. It is also unbalanced giving the view of one scholar, the Encyclopedia Judaica gives a broader view and points out that the final manuscripts have ended up as a sort of "romance", they are not polemical documents against Christianity despite having started out as "anti-Gospels". Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 20:42, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

authority of Tosefta and Babylonian Talmud

An important topic relating to how we read the rabbinic references to Yeshu is how much authority we grant to the rabbinic literature. If someone were to believe that the Talmud were somehow divinely inspired, one might give it more weight than a secular scholar would. Is there any evidence that scholars such as Steinsaltz regard the Talmud as carrying some measure of divine authority? In any event, is there something we can say in general about how Jews view these texts? Leadwind (talk) 14:56, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that even the most believing amongst the orthodox have the view that the Talmud is somehow "word of God" in the same way that fundamentalist Christians view the Bible or Muslims view the Koran. The Orthodox believe that the Mishna content but not necessarily final wording, started with revelation to Moses and was subsequently passed on orally until written down. Yeshu is not found in the Mishna, only the Gemara which is rabbinacal commentary, opinions, examples and debate that was added later with changes still occurring right up to the Christian censorship. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 17:39, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Would the Yeshu material in the Gemara have any more authority than the Toledot Yeshu? Leadwind (talk) 17:47, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Well the Toldot have zero authority, they aren't part of the rabbinical literature any more than the Harry Potter books are :), while the references to Yeshu in the Gemara are part of standard rabbinical literature, so in that sense alone they have some measure of authority. On the other hand they don't add anything of value to the passages where they occur, e.g. the account of Yeshu the student of ben-Perachiah has another anecdote using Gehazi to help illustrate the point under discussion and gains nothing by the addition of the Yeshu account, nor is any possible history lost by its censorhsip as the same anecdote about ben-Perachiah and a student occurs elsewhere without using the word Yeshu, to illustrate some other point. The account of Jacob the Min makes its point regardless of whether Jacob was a follower of Jesus or some 2nd century heretical healer etc so basically these Yeshu references are of little importance to the teaching being presented in the passage where they occur. Modern Talmud editions like the Mechon Mamre and Soncino don't bother to restore the Yeshu passages (Soncino includes them in a footnote for interest), in editions where it has been restored my understanding is that it has been done mainly for the sake of completeness and attempts to remain faithful to early manuscripts, not because it is felt that the Yeshu references are of great importance. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 18:35, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
While I do not dispute anything KG has written, I think we have to distinguish between the authority of texts for observant Jews, and the authority of scholars who write about Jewish history and culture. Orthodox rabbis in the past and today have religious authority and I think their views of the status of the Toldot Yeshu are certainly significant enough to include here. But modern scholars of Jewish history and culture and literature may consider the Toldot Yeshu to be as important sources on Jewish culture as the Talmud, and have their own analyses of these texts. Their views are also significant and should be included. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:35, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Is jesus the only one mantioned there?

is he the only preacher wich the talmud remainds?, or there are other preachers? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 9 June 2009 (UTC)