Examining Jewish Sources on Jesus Crucifixion, Genuine or Forgery?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Kaleef K. Karim

J.R: Josephus work is a huge volume. It consists of twenty books. What is strange, many pages are devoted to irrelevant leaders. Nearly forty chapters are devoted to the life of one king alone. Yet Jesus who was the greatest man, a person who was foretold thousands of times by the Prophets, greater than any King on earth, gets only a few lines about him in his book? It doesn’t make sense at all.

What would be a good historical non-Christian source on Jesus? A good reliable source would be a contemporary historian that lived and wrote during the time in which Christ was alive. Any historian living or writing about him after he had ascended cannot be taken as 100% fact, that we can rely on, because they never witnessed anything personally with their own eyes. A devastating fact to Christians is that there is not one single contemporary historian, when Jesus was alive, who had ever wrote about Christ, does not exist. All the supposed sources Christians cling to, were written decades after Jesus alleged crucifixion. In other words none of the historians that Christians cite have ever met Jesus in real life. Any historian writing decades after Jesus life is merely writing whatever others are saying. In other words, he is writing hearsay, not facts he himself witnessed.

So, what is the evidence Christians use in defence of the Crucifixion, outside the Bible? Flavius Josephus, who was a well renowned Jewish historian, was born two years after the alleged Crucifixion of Jesus. In the year 93 A.D to 94 A.D. Josephus wrote a book called:- “Antiquities of the Jews”, the book consists of 20 volumes. In the 18th Volume there is a passage which speaks of Jesus, according to Christians it was written by the pen of Josephus. Here is the passage on what it said about this so-called Jesus:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” [1]

Isn’t it just wonderful in this little piece of info, we have (1) Jesus is more than just a Human (god). (2) Miracles he performed. (3) His Ministry among Jews & Gentiles. (4) He is the Messiah. (5) He is condemned by the Jewish Priests. (6) Sentenced by Pilate. (7) He died on the Cross. (8) Came back to life on the third day. (9) He fulfilled the Divine Prophecy.

Would any sane person really believe that a hardcore Jew, a Pharisee would write something like this? This statement is written by a Christian not Josephus.

This brief passage is the ‘best proof’ for the crucifixion of Jesus outside the Bible; this is according to Christian Apologists. However, when one examines the passage and its historicity it becomes clear, that this passage was inserted into the work of Josephus. The passage was never quoted once by any of the Church Fathers such as:- Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and many, many more. Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea who flourished in the 4th century was the first Christian who made mention of it. Many Christian Scholars believe the passage was inserted into the work of Josephus by Eusebius. Isn’t it ironic for well over 200 years not one Church father quotes such a passage? Origen who was an early Church Father, quoted extensively from the work of Josephus in defence of Christianity. Yet neither he, nor any Church fathers quoted the passage before Eusebius in the fourth century. Before I proceed, showing evidences from Christian Scholars that the passage is a forgery, I would like to answer fictitious arguments raised by some desperate Evangelists who still cling to the passage being genuine.

Missionary arguments:

• TF is found in every manuscript
• It is the style of Josephus to write like that
• Some part of the TF is genuine

I will sum up all three arguments into one. When desperate Evangelists say: ‘TF is found in every Manuscript’, they mislead people, they do not tell their fellow Christians that the earliest manuscript for Testimonium Flavianum is an Arabic Manuscript from the tenth century. They do not have any Manuscript before Eusebius time, nor is it mentioned by any Church father before 3rd Century. Another fictitious argument they bring up, is they say:- ‘it is the style of Josephus to write like that’. How can we know what the style of Josephus is, when we don’t have any of his works intact from the time when he wrote it? They don’t even have one church fathers testimony before Eusebius saying anything on the TF. If the works of Josephus were in the hands of Jews, then we can give more credit that the passage is genuine. But Josephus Books were not stored by Jews, but Christian fathers, who copied, deleted, added stuff that should not be there. The last argument that ‘some part of TF is genuine’ came into the scene not long ago. Missionaries didn’t know what to do with overwhelming Christian and non-Christian Scholars condemning the passage as an outright forgery. Their new argument was simple; they removed all the parts that were Christian like.

Removal of parts in the TF:

(1) if it be lawful to call him a man.
(2) For he was a doer of wonderful works.
(3) He was [the] Christ.
(4) for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him

This is what we will be left with, when the above four is deleted:

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” [Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, 3]

The problem again as before, they do not provide any evidence how they came to conclusion that this what Josephus actually wrote. All this is mere guess-work. In order for missionaries to convince people the TF is genuine, they have to produce historical evidence that goes back before Eusebius. Origen whom I mentioned before, who used Josephus work widely never once came across any passage that mentions Jesus as the ‘Messiah’ or Christ being crucified. Actually in Origen’s work, he makes mention that Josephus did NOT believe Jesus was the Messiah. Here is what he wrote: “did not accept Jesus as Christ” [2] Isn’t the testimony from Origen enough proof that the whole passage, TF is a forgery? How can we believe that TF is genuine and say he is the ‘Messiah’, yet, Origen who wrote massively (using Josephus work) in defending Christianity says, Josephus did ‘not’ believe Jesus to be the Messiah. This evidence alone from Origen is enough to crush any desperate missionary in trying to defend the TF as genuine. I would like pseudo missionaries answer this question of mine. Since Origen makes mention in his work that Josephus did not believe Jesus to be the messiah, where is Josephus statement what Origen has stated? Where is Josephus statement where he denies Jesus being the Messiah? This is another prove that Church fathers have deleted statements from Josephus work.

Scholarly evidences that the TF is an outright forgery

Professor Oskar Holtzmann who is a Christian, was born in 1859, he was a German theologian and a New Testament scholar. He goes in detail on Testimonium Flavianum, he writes:

“Origen must still have read something like this in his Josephus; for in two places he tells us that Josephus did not acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah (Contra Celsum i. 47; cp. In Matth. X. 17). On the other hand, Eusebius already (Hist. Eccl., i. 11, and Dem. Evan., iii. 5, 105, 106) contains that passage about Jesus (Jos., Ant xviii. 63 f.)- now given all the MSS.- which, in view of its content and form CANNOT POSSIBLY BE GENUINE. If this section were indeed derived from Josephus, it would mean that he, a Jew, who everywhere steps forward as a champion of his Judaism, first called Jesus a wise man, and then added the hesitating qualification, ‘if indeed he may be called a man at all.’ The writer then proceeds to justify this qualifying clause by adding further, ‘for he was a performer of acts incredible’; though what those acts were he does not tell us. The same passage also goes on to say that Jesus was a teacher of such men as willingly accept the truth.
That is to say, Josephus here describes the nature and content of Jesus’ teaching by the simple term, ‘the truth’ (…..). Jesus drew to himself those who thirsted for the truth- SUCH A SENTENCE CAN ONLY HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY ONE RECKONED HIMSELF TO BELONG TO THE COMMUNITY OF CHRIST. Again, it is said Jesus, in distinct contradiction to historical fact, ‘and many Jews, many also of the people of the Greeks, did he draw to himself.’ Josephus the historian, in describing the earthly Jesus, COULD NEVER HAVE MADE SUCH A STATEMENT as that contained in the second clause. But the account goes on to say of Jesus, ‘this man was the Messiah.’ IF JOSEPHUS HAD WRITTEN THUS, HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CONTENT TO DEVOTE ONLY ONE SHORT CHAPTER TO THE ACCOUNT OF JESUS’ LIFE; for we must remember that Josephus was a Jew and perfectly familiar with the Messianic belief. If he could have so written, Jesus must have been for him the man of men, the future lord of the world; at any rate, from this particular passage onwards the fate of Jesus must have seemed important for the whole future development of his narrative. But of this there is not the slightest trace. The only further passage in which Josephus makes mention of Jesus is that already cited (Ant., xx. 200). This circumstance, more than any other, PROVES THAT THE PASSAGE UNDER CONSIDERATION (XVIII. 63, 64) IS NOT GENUINE. This same passage then goes on to speak of the end of Jesus: ‘When the chief men amongst us had notified him unto Pilate, and Pilate had punished him with the death on the cross, those who had formerly loved him fell not away, for on the third day he appeared unto them again alive, as the holy prophets had foretold (and many other wonderful things also); and even down to this present time the Christian folk who are called after him have not ceased to be.’ Here, then, the whole body of Old Testament prophecy is referred to Jesus; this is the standpoint of a Christian. Nor is the expression ‘the Christian folk’ (….) appropriate in the mouth of one who is a Jew and wishes to remain so.
The word ….expresses really the idea of a common descent; it is precisely the characteristic element of the idea that was manifestly wanting in Christianity, made up as it was of an assemblage from all peoples. Christianity knows differently: to it all the members of the Christian community are children of God and brethren of Christ. Almost the only designation for the Christian community that was available for a Jew to use was the term ….. (Acts xxiv. 5, 14, xxviii. 22).
THUS THE PASSAGE ATTRIBUTED TO JOSEPHUS IS UNQUESTIONABLY SPURIOUS. And as there no inherent contradictions discernible in it, it would be a piece of pure arbitrariness to ATTEMPT TO PICK OUT GENUINE KERNEL FROM WAS IS AS A WHOLE SPURIOUS. On the contrary, we are obliged to hold that the text which we now have has supplanted another which was LESS AGREEABLE to the Christians of a later date. And the time when his substitution took place was no doubt the period between Origen and Eusebius. THE CHURCH, STRUGGLING AS SHE WAS AFTER POWER, DELETED FROM JOSEPHUS, AN AUTHOR BOTH WIDELY READ AND IN MANY RESPECTS SERVICEABLE TO HER, A PASSAGE WHICH WAS REPUGNANT TO HER, AND SUBSTITUTED FOR IT A TEXT WHICH FROM HER STANDPOINT WAS UNASSAILABLE, BUT WHICH, AS A MATTER OF FACT, IS IN NO SENSE COMPATIBLE WITH THE AUTHORSHIP OF JOSEPHUS.” [3]

Dutch Experts such as Dr. Henricus Oort who is Professor of Hebrew Antiquities, Dr. I. Hooykaas [was a Pastor in Rotterdam] and Dr. A. Keunen Professor of Theology At Leiden, wrote a book called: ‘The Bible for Learners’, all three them agree that the TF is not genuine, but inserted into the work of Josephus by ‘Christian hand’ later, they wrote:

“……for this knowledge we have hardly any sources but the four books with which the New Testament begins. No other authorities deserve to be mentioned by their side. Paul gives us a few general characteristics, and makes a few allusions in his letters, but this is all. He had never known Jesus personally. Flavius Josephus, the well-known historian of the Jewish people, was born in A.D. 37, only two years after the death of Jesus; but though his work is of inestimable value as our chief authority for the circumstances of the times in which Jesus and his disciples came forward, yetHE DOES NOT SEEM TO HAVE EVER MENTIONED JESUS HIMSELF. At any rate, the passage in his ‘Jewish Antiquities’ that refers to him is certainly SPURIOUS, and was INSERTED BY A LATER AND A CHRISTIAN HAND.” [4]

Alexander Campbell who was a Bible teacher, Minister and a Leader in a Church also admits that the passage concerning Jesus from Josephus work is not original, but ‘spurious’:

“Josephus, the Jewish historian, was contemporary with the apostles, having been born in the year 37. From his situation and habits, he had every access to know all that took place at the rise of the Christian religion.
Respecting the founder of his religion, Josephus has thought fit to be silent in history. The present copies of his work contain one passage which speaks very respectfully of Jesus Christ, and ascribes to him the character of the Messiah. But as Josephus did not embrace Christianity, AND AS THIS PASSAGE IS NOT QUOTED OR REFERRED TO TILL THE BEGINNING OF THE FOURTH CENTURY, IT IS, FOR THESE AND OTHER REASONS GENERALLY ACCOUNTED SPURIOUS.” [5]

Leonhard Goppelt was born in the year 1911; he was a theologian and pastor in Germany. He writes:

“We would be very much inclined to ascribe special significance to non-Christian information about Jesus because of its ostensible lack of bias. Our expectations would be high, e.g., if the trial folios of Pilate should be discovered on a piece of papyrus. In all probability, however, such a discovery would lead to disappointment since they would offer only a sum of misunderstandings, much like the accounts of Plinius about the Christians.
Such is the confirmed the small number of extant non-Christian sources of information about Jesus from the 1st and 2nd centures. Among the Roman historians, Jesus is mentioned only once each by Tacitus and Suetonius. What they have to say about him ca. A.D, 110 has been taken from statements of Christians.
This fact is not astonishing at all since, after all, for the empire in this period, the activity of Jesus and his disciples was nothing more than a remote affair with hardly more than local significance. Conspicuous, however, is the fact that even Josephus, the Jewish historian of the epoch, is entirely or almost entirely silent on Jesus. THE TWO BRIEF REMARKS ABOUT HIM IN JOSEPHUS WORKS BEAR ALL THE MARKS OF EXTENSIVE CHRISTIAN EMENDATION, if they are not entirely interpolated. What is the reason for this silence? He was writing for a Hellenistic-Roman audience for one thing, and wished for this reason to avoid any identification of his movement with Judaism. It had, after all, fallen under suspicion in the entire Kingdom since Neronian persecution. The inner-Jewish, rabbinic tradition speaks only rarely and in veiled terms about Jesus or the Nazarenes. The references are so disguised and the information SO DISTORTED THAT ONE CAN HARDLY SAY WITH CERTAINTY THAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT JESUS OR THE CHRISTIANS AT ALL.”
Footnote 11 in the same page Leonhard Goppelt writes:

“Ant. 20.9.1 reported briefly that ‘a man James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ,’ was executed. This could have been genuine. In contrast, however, ANT 18.3.3 WAS SURELY INTERPOLATED: ‘About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.’ To what extent the interpolator used Josephus text as a source CANNOT BE DETERMINED. The places that mentioned Jesus in the Slavic text of the War are inauthentic.” [6]

Richard Brodhead Westbrook was born 1820 in Pike County, Pennsylvania. By 1839 he had obtained a license to preach. He remained a Methodist Episcopal preacher until 1852, but left the Methodist Church that year. Beginning in 1853 Westbrook served as a Presbyterian pastor in Burlington, NJ. Around the same time he was awarded an honorary Master of Arts (A.M.) degree from Princeton University. In 1854 he was serving as the secretary of the American Sunday School Union. Westbrook received another honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity (D.D.), in 1860 from Washington College (Maryland). Three years later (1863) he received a degree in law from New York University and admittance to the New York State Bar. [7] He is another Christian, thoroughly explaining and also saying that the TF is not original, but a ‘forgery’, he writes:

“The failure of Jewish writers of the first century to recognise Jesus of Nazareth, even in the most casual way, is significant fact. Philo, the celebrated writer of his day, was born about twenty years before the Christian era, and spent his time in philosophical studies at that centre of learning, Alexandria in Egypt. He labored diligently and wrote voluminously to reconcile the teachings of Plato with the writings of the Old Testament, and though in the prime and vigor of manhood when Jesus is said to have lived, and dwelling in the immediate vicinity of Judea, and in the very city where Christianity was early introduced, yet this learned, devout, and HONEST JEW MAKES NO MENTION OF JESUS OF NAZARETH.
Even more strange is the silence of Josephus, the Jewish Historian, who was born about A.D. 35, and lived and wrote extensively until after the destruction of Jerusalem, and yet he never mentioned the name of Jesus. THE CELEBRATED PASSAGE REGARDING CHRIST IS KNOWN TO BE A FORGERY, and the one respecting ‘James the brother of Jesus, called the Christ,’ is by no means worthy of confidence. It must be certain that in the first century of our era Jesus of Nazareth did not attract the attention of these fair distinguished Jewish writers, if he in fact existed.
In early times the name Jesus, as has been shown, was as common as the names John or James, and when the name is mentioned it is impossible to say who is referred to. Gibbon says: IT WAS FORGED BETWEEN THE TIME OF ORIGEN (A.D. 230) AND EUSEBIUS (A.D. 315). THE CREDIT OF THE FORGERY, HOWEVER IS GENERALLY GIVEN TO EUSEBIUS, WHO FIRST QUOTED IT. The distinguished authors of the Bible for learners distinctly state that Josephus never mentioned Jesus, and cite Josephus’s close following of the atrocious career of Herod up to the very last moments of his life, WITHOUT MENTIONING THE SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS, AS INDUBITABLE PROOF THAT JOSEPHUS KNEW NOTHING OF JESUS. The Rev. Dr. Giles, author of the Christian Records, adds to the reasons for rejecting the passage, as follows, “Those who are best acquainted with the character of Josephus and the style of his writings have no hesitation in condemning THIS PASSAGE AS A FORGERY INTERPOLATED IN THE TEXT DURING THE THIRD CENTURY BY SOME PIOUS CHRISTIAN, who was scandalized that so famous a writer as Josephus should have taken no notice of the Gospels or of Christ their subject. But the zeal of the interpolator has outrun his discretion, for we might as well expect to gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles as to find this notice of Christ among the Judaizing writings of Josephus. It is well-known that this author was a zealous Jew, devoted to the laws of Moses and the traditions of his countrymen. How, then, could he have written that Jesus was the Christ? Such an admission would have proved him to be a Christian himself, in which case the passage under consideration, too long for a Jew, would have been far too short for a believer in the new religion; and thus the passage stands forth, like an ill-set jewel, contrasting most inharmoniously with everything around it.
IF IT HAD BEEN GENUINE, WE MIGHT BE SURE THAT JUSTIN MARTYR, TERTULLIAN, AND CHRYSOSTOM WOULD HAVE QUOTED IT IN THEIR CONTROVERSIES WITH THE JEWS, AND THAT ORIGEN OR PHOTIUS WOULD HAVE MENTIONED IT. BUT EUSEBIUS , THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORIAN (I. 11), IS THE FIRST WHO QUOTES IT, AND OUR RELIANCE ON THE JUDGEMENT, OR EVEN HONESTY, OF THIS WRITER IS NOT SO GREAT AS TO ALLOW OUR CONSIDERING EVERYTHING FOUND IN HIS WORKS AS UNDOUBTEDLY GENUINE.”
Oxley in his great work on Egypt says: “However, I have found in some papers that this discourse was not written by Josephus, but by on Caius, a presbyter.” Here, according to their own showing, what had passed for centuries as the work of Josephus WAS A FRAUD PERPETRATED BY A DIGNITARY OF THE CHURCH. This is in perfect keeping with ancient custom. In addition to all this, there is not original manuscript of Josephus in existence…………
ANOTHER FORGED REFERENCE TO CHRIST IS FOUND IN THE ANTIQUITIES, BOOK XX. CHAPTER IX. SECTION 1, WHERE JOSEPHUS IS MADE TO SPEAK OF JAMES, “THE BROTHER OF JESUS, WHO WAS CALLED CHRIST.” Some theologians who reject the longer reference to Jesus accept this as genuine. But they do it without reconciling the discrepancies between the stories regarding the end of this same James. According to this passage, James was put to death under the order of high priest. But according to Hegesippus, a converted Jew who wrote history of the Christian church about A.D. 170, James was killed in a tumult, not by sentence of a court. Clement of Alexandria confirms this, and is quoted by Eusebius accordingly. Eusebius also quotes the line from Josephus without noticing that the two do not agree. The statement is quoted in various ways in early writers, and the conclusion is irresistible that the copies of Josephus were tampered with by copyists.” [8]

In light of the evidences I have presented from Christians scholars, Josephus statement on Jesus is a forgery, it was most certainly not written by him, which is a fact. The offender who is most likely to have inserted it into Josephus work, mentioned by some of the experts is Eusebius. He was the first person to have quoted it, as I mentioned earlier many Church fathers used Josephus work extensively, yet not one them came across such a passage. 

Examining Sanhedrin 47a, on Jesus Crucifixion

Another interesting passage Christian missionaries love to cite that Jesus was put to death, is Sanhedrin 43a. They assume that the Yeshu (Jesus) that is mentioned in the passage is the same Jesus from the New Testament. There are however many problems which Christian Apologists won’t be able to solve, if they still try to argue that the passage is talking about Yeshu (Jesus) of the New Testament. The passage in question is certainly not referring to the same Jesus of the Gospels. Reasons are very simple: The person who is mentioned in Sanhedrin 43a is a different Jesus to the one from the Gospels, this Jesus lived at the time of King Yannai that is well over 100 years before the Jesus of the Gospels was born.

Yeshu (Jesus) was a student of a Rabbi Yeshoshua ben Perahia (Sotah 47a). There is mention of NO teacher that Jesus had, in the four Gospels. Rabbi Yeshoshua ben Perahia (Sotah 47a) most certainly did NOT live at the time of Jesus, of the Gospels. Historical evidence shows that he lived at the time of King Yannai, which is well over 100 years before Jesus was born. Let’s read Sanhedrin 47a, it says:

On the eve of the Passover Yeshu
34 was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!
35 — Ulla retorted: ‘Do you suppose that he was one for whom a defence Dilling Exhibit 47 Begins could be made? Was he not a Mesith [enticer], concerning whom Scripture says, Neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him?
36 With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].’ Our Rabbis taught: Yeshu had five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah. When Matthai was brought [before the court] he said to them [the judges], Shall Matthai be executed? Is it not written, Matthai [when] shall I come and appear before God?
37 Thereupon they retorted; Yes, Matthai shall be executed, since it is written, When Matthai [when] shall [he] die and his name perish.
38 When Nakai was brought in he said to them; Shall Nakai be executed? It is not written, Naki [the innocent] and the righteous slay thou not?
39 Yes, was the answer, Nakai shall be executed, since it is written, in secret places does Naki
40 [the innocent] slay.
41 When Nezer was brought in, he said; Shall Nezer be executed? Is it not written, And Nezer [a twig] shall grow forth out of his roots.
42 Yes, they said, Nezer shall be executed, since it is written, But thou art cast forth away from thy grave like Nezer [an abhorred offshoot].
43 When Buni was brought in, he said: Shall Buni be executed? Is it not written, Beni [my son], my first born?
44 Yes, they said, Buni shall be executed, since it is written, Behold I will slay Bine-ka [thy son] thy first born.
45 And when Todah was brought in, he said to them; Shall Todah be executed? Is it not written, A psalm for Todah [thanksgiving]?
46 Yes, they answered, Todah shall be executed…… [9]

The above passage from the Talmud does not only say this Yeshu was hanged, but he had a teacher, his name was ‘Yeshoshua ben Perahia’. Another thing, it also mentions that this Yeshu had five disciples who got executed. Question to pseudo missionaries, how can this passage be referring to the same Jesus of the Gospels, when we know Jesus had way more disciples than what is mentioned in Sanhedrin 47a? Where in the Gospels does it ever mention anything about five of Jesus disciples bring murdered with him? Mark Allan Powell (Ph.D Union Theological Seminary) is the Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, he writes:

“Scholars debate whether there may be obscure references to Jesus in some of the collections of ancient Jewish writings, such as the Talmud, the Tosefta, the targums, and the Midrasim. Occasional polemical comments in these writings are sometimes thought to be veiled references to Jesus, but since he is not mentioned by name, no one knows for sure. The text that is most often accepted as referring to him comes from Babylonian Talmud. The main problem is here that the materials that make up this work were collected over a long period of time, finally coming together around 500-600 C.E. Thus, there is NO WAY OF KNOWING HOW EARLY (OR RELAIBLE) the references may be…….
Later this same text also says. ‘Jesus had five disciples: Mattai, Maqai, Metser, Buni, and Todah.’ THIS OF COURSE IS NEITHER THE TRADITIONAL LIST OF NAMES NOR THE TRADITIONAL NUMBER.” [10]

Talmud Sanhedrin 107b and Sotah 47a make mention that Rabbi Yehoshua fled to Egypt, but in Sotah 47a there is no mention of Jesus. Interesting thing, both of the passages mentioned from the Talmud says, Rabbi Yehoshua fled because of King Yannai (or jannaeus), this was well over a century before Jesus of the Gospel was born. Here is what is said:
What of R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah?
When John [Hyrcanus] the king killed the rabbis, R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah [and Yeshu] went to Alexandria of Egypt. When there was peace, Shimon Ben Shetach sent to him “From me [Jerusalem] the holy city to you Alexandria of Egypt. My husband remains in your midst and I sit forsaken.”
[R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] left and arrived at a particular inn and they showed him great respect. He said: How beautiful is this inn [Achsania, which also means innkeeper].
[Yeshu] said: Rabbi, she has narrow eyes.
[R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] said to him: Wicked one, this is how you engage yourself?
[R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] sent out four hundred trumpets and excommunicated him.
[Yeshu] came before [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] many times and said: Accept me. But [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] paid him no attention.
One day [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] was reciting Shema [during which one may not be interrupted]. [Yeshu] came before him. He was going to accept [Yeshu] and signalled to [Yeshu] with his hand. [Yeshu] thought that [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah] was repelling him. He went, hung a brick, and bowed down to it.
[Yeshu] said to [R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah]: You taught me that anyone who sins and causes others to sin is not given the opportunity to repent.
And the master said: Yeshu {the Notzri} practiced magic and deceive and led Israel astray. [11]

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Jannaeus), Yannai (or Alexander Jannaeus ) was king of Judea from 103 BC to 76 BC. This is a century before Jesus of the New Testament was born. How can this passage be talking about the Jesus of the New Testament, when these incidents occurred a century before Jesus was born? All this evidence presented by me proves that the references mentioned by Christians from the Talmud, could not be the same person it’s speaking about.

Here is Rabbi Boteach who makes it clear that this Jesus (Yeshu) is not the same person from Gospels. He writes:

“To be sure, there is a famous Talmudic citation that says that the high Jewish court condemned Jesus to death (Sanhedrin 43a). But the Jesus it is referring to cannot be the founder of Christianity. In the Talmud there is more than one Yeshu (Jesus). A case in point is where the Talmud says that Jesus if Nazareth was a student of Yeshoshua ben Perahia (Sotah 47a), a sage who died at least 100 years before the Jesus of the New Testament was born. More importantly, whoever this ‘Yeshu’ is, it most certainly is not Jesus of the New Testament because the narrative of their deaths is completely different. There is no Roman involvement, no crucifixion, and a number of students are put to death with this Yeshu, something that does NOT happen in the New Testament.” [12]


Conclusion: I believe all the evidence I have presented from Academics has thoroughly debunked Josephus’s TF as being genuine. I went in detail explaining and bringing Christian Professors who also acknowledged and thoroughly exposed the TF as an out-right forgery. Them sincere Christian Professors also made mention that the TF is a work of a Christian hand; it could not possibly be from Josephus, who was a devout Jew, a Pharisee. I also went over the citation in Sanhedrin 47a, which was assumed by Christian missionaries, strong evidence that it referred to Jesus. However as I have gone over the passage in detail, the verse could not talk about Jesus of the Gospels. As you would have read already the evidence presented, this Yeshu who was hanged, lived 100 years before the Jesus of the New Testament. Another evidence that the passage in Sanhedrin 47a was not the same Jesus of the Gospels, is how the Talmud Sanhedrin 107b and Sotah 47 state that Rabbi Yeshoshua ben Perahia fled to Egypt because of King Yannai, as stated before King Yannai lived one century before Jesus of the Gospels. It seems clear by now all the supposed sources Christians have used, that it is to do with Jesus of NT, is forgery or as in the case of the Talmud, it referred to a completely different Yeshu who lived a century before Jesus of the Gospels. All in all I believe I have presented enough evidence that there is no mention of Jesus of the  New Testament in any early Jewish source.

References:

[1] [Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, 3http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Antiquities_of_the_Jews/Book_XVIII#Chapter_3
[2] [Vol. IX, Origen on Matthew, Origen’s Commentary on Matthew, Book X by Origen, translated by John Patrick Chapter 17 –http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ante-Nicene_Fathers/Volume_IX/Origen_on_Matthew/Origen%27s_Commentary_on_Matthew/Book_X/Chapter_17 ]
[3] The life of Jesus (1904) Professor Oskar Holtzmann D.D. Translated by J.t. Bealby, B.A. And Maurice A. Canney, M.A. [London Adam and Charles Black 1904] page 15 – 16
[4] The Bible for Learners. By Dr. Henricus Oort [Professor of Hebrew Antiquities At Leiden] and Dr. I. Hooykaas [Pastor At Rotterdam] with the Assistance of Dr. A. Keunen [Professor of Theology At Leiden] – [Boston: Roberts Brothers 1879] Volume 3 page 27
[5] Debate on the evidences of Christianity; containing an examination of the social system, and of all the systems of scepticism of ancient and modern times, held in the city of Cincinnati, for eight days successively, between Robert Owen and Alexander Campbell. With an appendix by the parties (1839) Page 300
[6] The Ministry of Jesus in Its Theological Significance By Leonhard Goppelt Volume 1 [Copy Right 1981] page 18 – 19
[7] http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/pacscl/ead.pdf?id=PACSCL_WFIS_93003WFIS93003
[8] The eliminator; or, Skeleton keys to sacerdotal secrets By Richard Brodhead Westbrook, D. D., LL.D [Printed for the Author By J.B Lippincott Company, Philadelphia. 1894] Page 198 – 203
[9] http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_43.html
[10] Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee [Copy Right 1998] By Mark Allan Powell page 34
[11] http://www.come-and-hear.com/sotah/sotah_47.html
[12] A Jewish Philosophy of History: Israel’s Degradation & Redemption By Paul Eidelberg page 282

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