Things you didn't know about the early Church – part 2: Jewish witnesses

This is a continuation of some interesting things about the early Church that you may not know.  This post focuses on Jewish witnesses to Jesus.


1.  Jewish rabbinic texts claim that Jesus practiced sorcery and magic

The Jewish text of b. Sanhedrin says that Jesus was killed because he “practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.”  Another text says that Jesus practiced magic.  There seems to be a recognition here of Jesus’ miracles (explained away as sorcery) and the fact that he said he was God.


2.  The Palestinian Talmud makes reference to phrases that Jesus used

The Palestinian Talmud states, “If a man says to you ‘I am (a) God,’ he is a liar; ‘I am (a) Son of Man,’ he will regret it; ‘I go up to heaven,’ he has said it, but he will never be able to do it.'”  These are all statements that Jesus made, which the Palestinian Talmud attempts to reject.


3.  The Jews of the time claimed that Jesus was born as the result of adultery by his mother Mary

They claimed that Mary had a relationship with a Roman soldier named “Pandera.”  This name may have been a corruption of the Greek word “Parthenos,” meaning virgin and reflect some level of knowledge (or ridicule) of the virgin birth of Jesus.  It most definitely, though, means that the Jews of the time did not believe that Joseph was Jesus’ biological father.


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