Freethought Archives > G W Foote & J M Wheeler > The Jewish Life of Christ



IN the year 671, of the fourth millenary [13:1] [of the world], in the days of Jannaeus, the king, a great misfortune happened to the enemies of Israel.

2. There was a certain idle and worthless debauchee named Joseph Pandera [13:2], of the fallen tribe of Judah.

3. He was a man of fine figure and rare beauty, but spent his time in robbery and licentiousness. He lived at Bethlehem of Judea. [14:3]

4. Near by there lived a widow, who had a daughter named Miriam [14:4], of whom mention is several times made in the Talmud as a dresser of women's hair.

5. This daughter was betrothed by her mother to a very chaste, gentle, and pious youth named Jochanan.

6. Now it happened that Joseph occasionally passed by Miriam's door and saw her. Then he began to have an unholy affection for her.

7. So he went to and fro about the place, and at length the mother said to him, What maketh thee so thin? He replied, I am madly in love with Miriam.

8. Then, said the mother, I would not deny thee the favor; see if she is willing, and do with her as thou pleasest.

9. Obeying her counsel, Joseph Pandera went frequently by the house, but did not find a suitable time until one Sabbath evening, when he happened to find her sitting before the door.

10. Then he went into the house with her, and both sat down in a dormitory near the door, for she thought he was her betrothed, Jochanan.

11. [15:5] Tum ea homine ait: Ne me attingio; in menstruis sum. Sed is morem ille non gerebat, cumque circa eam voluntati suae obsequutus fuisset, in domum suam abit.

12. Circa medium noctis iterum in eo exadescere desiderium malum. Ergo somno levatus ad domum Miriamis viam affectans, ad cellam se confert, factumque repetit.

13. Valde autem exhorruit puella, et quid hoc, ait, tibi vult, Domine, quod eadem nocte bis me convenisti? idque non passa sum ab eo inde tempore quo sponsam me tibi elegisti.

14. Verum in silens repetit, nec verbum ullum proloquitur. Ergo Miriam queri: Quousque tu peccato scelus addis? annon pridem tibi dixi esse me menstruatam?

15. Verum ille non attendebat ad ejus verba, sed desiderio satisfaciebat, ac tum postea iter pergebat suum.

16. After three months, Jochanan was told that his betrothed was with child.

17. In great agitation, he went to his preceptor, Simon Ben Shetach [15:6], and, telling him about the matter, asked him what he ought to do.

18. The preceptor inquired. Dost thou suspect anyone? Jochanan said, Nobody, except Joseph Pandera, who is a great debauchee, and liveth near her house.

19. The preceptor said, My son, take my advice, and keep silent; for if he hath been there he will surely go there again. Therefore be wise, and get a witness, so that thou mayest bring him before the great Sanhedrim.

20. The young man went home and was sorely troubled during the night. He thought to himself, When this thing becometh known the people will say it was my doing.

21. Therefore, to avoid the shame and disgrace, he ran away to Babylon [15:7] and there took up his abode.

22. In due time Miriam brought forth a son and named him Jehoshua, after her mother's brother.

23. She sent the boy to a teacher named Elchanan, with whom he made progress in learning, for his mind was very bright  [16:8].

24. And it came to pass by-and-bye that he met the senators of the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem.

25. It was then the custom that whoever met those senators should cover his head and bow down.

26. But this boy as he walked past them bared his head, and touching his forehead saluted the principal only.

27. Then all began to say, What impudence! probably he is a bastard. And one of them said, Indeed he is a bastard, and the son of an adulteress [16:9].

28. Presently Simeon Ben Shetach said, I remember now that not many years ago my pupil Jochanan came to me and said,

29. Alas! what a shame and disgrace has happened to me! for Miriam my betrothed is with child, not by me, but by someone else. This is the son of that Miriam.

30. And when I inquired if he suspected anyone, he said, Joseph Pandera,[16:10] who was a near neighbor of hers.

31. And soon afterwards Jochanan went in shame to Babylon, where he dwelleth even now,

32. Then they all said, If these things are so, this boy is indeed a bastard and the son of an adulteress [17:2].

33. Then they published him as such by the blowing of three hundred trumpets [17:3], declaring him not fit to come into the congregation, and called his name Jeshu, signifying that his name and memory deserved to perish [17:4].

34. When it became known that he was declared unworthy to be admitted into the congregation, Jeshu with a sad heart fled to upper Galilee, where he dwelt many years [17:5].

35. In those days there was a stone in the Temple on which was inscribed the inexpressible name of God [17:6].

36. For when David laid the foundation [18:7] he found a certain stone at the mouth of an abyss on which the name was engraved, and taking it up he deposited it in the Holy of Holies.

37. But when the wise men feared that perchance studious youths might learn this name and bring destruction upon the world (which calamity may God forbid), they made by magic two brazen lions [18:8], and placed them at the entrance of the Holy of Holies, one on the right and the other on the left.

38. If, therefore, anyone drew near and learned the hidden name, as he went away the lions would roar, so that in his fright he would forget the name for ever.

39. Now when the report that Jeshu was a bastard had spread abroad, he left upper Galilee and, coming secretly to Jerusalem, he went into the Temple and there learned the sacred letters.

40. And when he had written the hidden name on a piece of parchment, and spoken it, that he might feel no pain, he cut open his flesh and enclosed therein the mysterious parchment. Then, having again pronounced the name, he closed up the flesh [18:9].

41. But to enter the Temple it was necessary to use magic and incantations; otherwise how could the most holy priests, the descendants of Aaron, have allowed him to go therein.

42. Therefore it is manifest that Jeshu did all this by the art of magic and the power of an impure name [19:1].

43. As he was coming out of the door the lions roared and he forgot the name.

44. So he went outside the city, and, having reopened his flesh, drew forth the writing, examined well the characters, and got full retention of the name.

45. Then he went to the place of his nativity, and with loud voice cried out,

46. Who are these bad men who report me to be a bastard and of impure birth? They are themselves bastards and impure.

47. Did not a virgin bear me? Did not my mother conceive me in the top of her head? [19:2]

48. Indeed I am the Son of God, and concerning me the prophet Esaias spoke, saying, Behold, a virgin [19:3] shall conceive, etc.

49. Did I not form myself, and the heaven, earth, sea, and all things contained therein?

50. Then they all answered and said, Make known by some sign, and show by a miracle that thou art God.

51. He, answering, said, Bring hither to me a dead man, and I will restore him to life.

52. The people made haste, and having dug into a certain sepulchre, found there nothing but dry bones.

53. And when they told him that they had found only bones, he said, Bring them hither.

54. And when they were brought, he put all the bones together and covered them with skin, flesh, and nerves, so he that had been a dead man stood up on his feet alive.

55. The people seeing this, marvelled. Then he said, Do ye wonder at this? Bring hither a leper and I will cure him [20:4].

56. And when they had brought a leper he restored him to health in like manner through the Shem Hamphoras.

57. When the people saw this, they fell down and worshipped him, saying, Verily thou art the Son of God [20:5].

58. And it came to pass, after the fifth day, that the dismal tidings were brought to Jerusalem the most holy city, and there all the things were told which Jeshu had done.

59. Then the profligates rejoiced greatly; but the old men, the devout, and the wise wept bitterly; and in the greater and the lesser Sanhedrim there was sore lamentation.

60. At length they all resolved to send messengers to Jeshu, saying among themselves, It may be that by the help of the Lord we shall capture him, bring him to judgment, and condemn him to death.

61. Therefore they sent Ananias and Achasias, most honorable men of the lesser Sanhedrim, who went and fell down before Jeshu in adoration, thereby augmenting his wickedness.

62. Therefore, thinking that they were sincere, he received them with a smiling face and appointed them leaders of his wicked flock.

63. Then they thus began to appeal to him: Lo, the leading citizens of Jerusalem have sent us ambassadors to thee, praying that thou wouldst deign to come to them, for they have heard that thou art the Son of God.

64. Then said Jeshu, What they have heard is true, and lo, I will do all that ye ask, but upon this condition:

65. That all the senators of the greater and lesser Sanhedrin, and those also who have defame my nativity, shall come forth and worship me, receiving me even as servants receive their lords.

66. The messengers, returning with to Jerusalem, reported all that had been said.

67. The elders and devout men answered, We will do all that he asketh.

68. Therefore the men went again to Jeshu and declared that they would do whatever he desired. Then Jeshu said, I will go with you at once.


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