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



[34:1] The later, and more voluminous Sepher Toldoth Jeshu, edited by Huldrich, makes Joseph Pandera a Nazarene, and represents him as settling at Nazareth with Miriam and Jeshu after their return from Egypt, whither they had gone on account of a famine in Palestine.

[34:2] Probably an anachronism. It parhaps alludes to an actual occurrence in the early part of the second century of our era. Archdeacon Farrar says that "in A.D. 120 Aelia Capitolina was built by Hadrian on the ruins of Jerusalem, and Christians were allowed free access to it, while no Jew was suffered to approach it" ("Early Christianity," p. 491).

[34:3] Christian legends likewise represent the twelve apostles as going to various countries.

[35:4] Another anachronism, probably referring to the same period as verse 2. The Christians enjoyed immunity from persecution, but there is no doubt that the Jews suffered dreadfully from Pagan and Christian after the fall of Jerusalem.

[35:5] The whole of this chapter, which is no part of the life of Jeshu but merely an addendum, is terribly confused; and Mr. Gould's attempted elucidations only leave it in greater obscurity. He seeks to explain it by events that occured many centuries later. But a more obvious and satisfactory explanation may be given. Simeon Kepha is probably Peter, whose Judaising proclivities are well known; and Elias (verse 46) is perhaps Paul, who withstood him, and preached the gospel to the Gentiles. Christianity was originally nothing but a Jewish sect, and there were greater differences between the Sadducees and the Pharisees than between the Pharisees and the Christians. The Book of Revelation shows how intensely Jewish was the spirit of the early Church, and at the same time it indicates the intrusion of foreign elements. Peter and Paul represented respectively these opposing tendencies. It may be added that the miracles here ascribed to Simeon Kepha are somewhat similar to those recorded of Peter in the Acts.

[36:6] Compare Matthew xix., 28.

[36:7] Verses 36-37. The Christian festivals of Good Friday, Ascension Day, Christmas, and the Circumcision, are here plainly described. Peter was "of the circumcision," and it is natural to represent Simeon Kepha as enjoining its observance on the Nazarenes. The inclusion of the festival of the Circumcision in this list also points to the antiquity of the text; for it was commemorated in the early Church until its suppression by Pope Gelasius (A.D. 492-496).

[37:8] Rabbi Wise ("Origin of Christianity") considers Paul to be the Acher (Alias) of the Talmud, who was also called Elisha ben Abuah. He was an apostate disciple of Gamaliel, and was alleged to have visited Paradise, as Paul was lifted into "the seventh heaven." The views of Elias on the unimportance of ceremonies agree with those expressed by Paul in his Epistles; and Paul, like Elias, is supposed to have met a violent death at Rome.

Return to Chapter IV.


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