|In the year 3671 [in Jewish reckonging, it being ca 90 B.C.]
in the days of King Jannaeus, a great misfortune befell Israel, when
there arose a certain disreputable man of the tribe of Judah, whose
name was Joseph Pandera. He lived at Bethlehem, in Judah.
Near his house dwelt a widow and her lovely and chaste daughter named
Miriam. Miriam was betrothed to Yohanan, of the royal house of David, a
man learned in the Torah and God-fearing.
At the close of a certain Sabbath, Joseph Pandera, attractive and like
a warrior in appearance, having gazed lustfully upon Miriam, knocked
upon the door of her room and betrayed her by pretending that he was
her betrothed husband, Yohanan. Even so, she was amazed at this
improper conduct and submitted only against her will.
Thereafter, when Yohanan came to her, Miriam expressed astonishment at
behavior so foreign to his character. It was thus that they both came
to know the crime of Joseph Pandera and the terrible mistake on the
part of Miriam. Whereupon Yohanan went to Rabban Shimeon ben Shetah and
related to him the tragic seduction. Lacking witnesses required for the
punishment of Joseph Pandera, and Miriam being with child, Yohanan left
Miriam gave birth to a son and named him Yehoshua, after her brother.
This name later deteriorated to Yeshu ["Yeshu" is the Jewish "name" for
Jesus. It means "May His Name Be Blotted Out"]. On the eighth day he
was circumcised. When he was old enough the lad was taken by Miriam to
the house of study to be instructed in the Jewish tradition.
One day Yeshu walked in front of the Sages with his head uncovered,
showing shameful disrespect. At this, the discussion arose as to
whether this behavior did not truly indicate that Yeshu was an
illegitimate child and the son of a niddah. Moreover, the story tells
that while the rabbis were discussing the Tractate Nezikin, he gave his
own impudent interpretation of the law and in an ensuing debate he held
that Moses could not be the greatest of the prophets if he had to
receive counsel from Jethro. This led to further inquiry as to the
antecedents of Yeshu, and it was discovered through Rabban Shimeon ben
Shetah that he was the illegitimate son of Joseph Pandera. Miriam
admitted it. After this became known, it was necessary for Yeshu to
flee to Upper Galilee.
After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene ruled over all Israel. In the
Temple was to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraven the
letters of God's Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name
and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the
Sages took measures so that no one should gain this knowledge. Lions of
brass were bound to two iron pillars at the gate of the place of burnt
offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name, when he left the
lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret would be
Yeshu came and learned the letters of the Name; he wrote them upon the
parchment which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the
flesh over the parchment. As he left, the lions roared and he forgot
the secret. But when he came to his house he reopened the cut in his
flesh with a knife an lifted out the writing. Then he remembered and
obtained the use of the letters.
He gathered about himself three hundred and ten young men of Israel and
accused those who spoke ill of his birth of being people who desired
greatness and power for themselves. Yeshu proclaimed, "I am the
Messiah; and concerning me Isaiah prophesied and said, 'Behold, a
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name
Immanuel.'" He quoted other messianic texts, insisting, "David my
ancestor prophesied concerning me: 'The Lord said to me, thou art my
son, this day have I begotten thee.'"
The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu was the Messiah he should
give them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man,
who had never walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the
Ineffable Name, and the leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshipped
him as the Messiah, Son of the Highest.
When word of these happenings came to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin decided
to bring about the capture of Yeshu. They sent messengers, Annanui and
Ahaziah, who, pretending to be his disciples, said that they brought
him an invitation from the leaders of Jerusalem to visit them. Yeshu
consented on condition the members of the Sanhedrin receive him as a
lord. He started out toward Jerusalem and, arriving at Knob, acquired
an ass on which he rode into Jerusalem, as a fulfillment of the
prophecy of Zechariah.
The Sages bound him and led him before Queen Helene, with the
accusation: "This man is a sorcerer and entices everyone." Yeshu
replied, "The prophets long ago prophesied my coming: 'And there shall
come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,' and I am he; but as for
them, Scripture says 'Blessed is the man that walketh not in the
counsel of the ungodly.'"
Queen Helene asked the Sages: "What he says, is it in your Torah?" They
replied: "It is in our Torah, but it is not applicable to him, for it
is in Scripture: 'And that prophet which shall presume to speak a word
in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak or that shall speak
in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.' He has not
fulfilled the signs and conditions of the Messiah."
Yeshu spoke up: "Madam, I am the Messiah and I revive the dead." A dead
body was brought in; he pronounced the letters of the Ineffable Name
and the corpse came to life. The Queen was greatly moved and said:
"This is a true sign." She reprimanded the Sages and sent them
humiliated from her presence. Yeshu's dissident followers increased and
there was controversy in Israel.
Yeshu went to Upper Galilee. the Sages came before the Queen,
complaining that Yeshu practiced sorcery and was leading everyone
astray. Therefore she sent Annanui and Ahaziah to fetch him.
The found him in Upper Galilee, proclaiming himself the Son of God.
When they tried to take him there was a struggle, but Yeshu said to the
men of Upper Galilee: "Wage no battle." He would prove himself by the
power which came to him from his Father in heaven. He spoke the
Ineffable Name over the birds of clay and they flew into the air. He
spoke the same letters over a millstone that had been placed upon the
waters. He sat in it and it floated like a boat. When they saw this the
people marveled. At the behest of Yeshu, the emissaries departed and
reported these wonders to the Queen. She trembled with astonishment.
Then the Sages selected a man named Judah Iskarioto and brought him to
the Sanctuary where he learned the letters of the Ineffable Name as
Yeshu had done.
When Yeshu was summoned before the queen, this time there were present
also the Sages and Judah Iskarioto. Yeshu said: "It is spoken of me, 'I
will ascend into heaven.'" He lifted his arms like the wings of an
eagle and he flew between heaven and earth, to the amazement of
The elders asked Iskarioto to do likewise. He did, and flew toward
heaven. Iskarioto attempted to force Yeshu down to earth but neither
one of the two could prevail against the other for both had the use of
the Ineffable Name. However, Iskarioto defiled Yeshu, so that they both
lost their power and fell down to the earth, and in their condition of
defilement the letters of the Ineffable Name escaped from them. Because
of this deed of Judah they weep on the eve of the birth of Yeshu.
Yeshu was seized. His head was covered with a garment and he was
smitten with pomegranate staves; but he could do nothing, for he no
longer had the Ineffable Name.
Yeshu was taken prisoner to the synagogue of Tiberias, and they bound
him to a pillar. To allay his thirst they gave him vinegar to drink. On
his head they set a crown of thorns. There was strife and wrangling
between the elders and the unrestrained followers of Yeshu, as a result
of which the followers escaped with Yeshu to the region of Antioch;
there Yeshu remained until the eve of the Passover.
Yeshu then resolved to go the Temple to acquire again the secret of the
Name. That year the Passover came on a Sabbath day. On the eve of the
Passover, Yeshu, accompanied by his disciples, came to Jerusalem riding
upon an ass. Many bowed down before him. He entered the Temple with his
three hundred and ten followers. One of them, Judah Iskarioto apprised
the Sages that Yeshu was to be found in the Temple, that the disciples
had taken a vow by the Ten Commandments not to reveal his identity but
that he would point him out by bowing to him. So it was done and Yeshu
was seized. Asked his name, he replied to the question by several times
giving the names Mattai, Nakki, Buni, Netzer, each time with a verse
quoted by him and a counter-verse by the Sages.
Yeshu was put to death on the sixth hour on the eve of the Passover and
of the Sabbath. When they tried to hang him on a tree it broke, for
when he had possessed the power he had pronounced by the Ineffable Name
that no tree should hold him. He had failed to pronounce the
prohibition over the carob-stalk, for it was a plant more than a tree,
and on it he was hanged until the hour for afternoon prayer, for it is
written in Scripture, "His body shall not remain all night upon the
tree." They buried him outside the city.
On the first day of the week his bold followers came to Queen Helene
with the report that he who was slain was truly the Messiah and that he
was not in his grave; he had ascended to heaven as he prophesied.
Diligent search was made and he was not found in the grave where he had
been buried. A gardener had taken him from the grave and had brought
him into his garden and buried him in the sand over which the waters
flowed into the garden.
Queen Helene demanded, on threat of a severe penalty, that the body of
Yeshu be shown to her within a period of three days. There was a great
distress. When the keeper of the garden saw Rabbi Tanhuma walking in
the field and lamenting over the ultimatum of the Queen, the gardener
related what he had done, in order that Yeshu's followers should not
steal the body and then claim that he had ascended into heaven. The
Sages removed the body, tied it to the tail of a horse and transported
it to the Queen, with the words, "This is Yeshu who is said to have
ascended to heaven." Realizing that Yeshu was a false prophet who
enticed the people and led them astray, she mocked the followers but
praised the Sages.
The disciples went out among the nations--three went to the mountains
of Ararat, three to Armenia, three to Rome and three to the kingdoms
buy the sea, They deluded the people, but ultimately they were slain.
The erring followers amongst Israel said: "You have slain the Messiah
of the Lord." The Israelites answered: "You have believed in a false
prophet." There was endless strife and discord for thirty years.
The Sages desired to separate from Israel those who continued to claim
Yeshu as the Messiah, and they called upon a greatly learned man,
Simeon Kepha, for help. Simeon went to Antioch, main city of the
Nazarenes and proclaimed to them: "I am the disciple of Yeshu. He has
sent me to show you the way. I will give you a sign as Yeshu has done."
Simeon, having gained the secret of the Ineffable Name, healed a leper
and a lame man by means of it and thus found acceptance as a true
disciple. He told them that Yeshu was in heaven, at the right hand of
his Father, in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1. He added that Yeshu desired
that they separate themselves from the Jews and no longer follow their
practices, as Isaiah had said, "Your new moons and your feasts my soul
abhorreth." They were now to observe the first day of the week instead
of the seventh, the Resurrection instead of the Passover, the Ascension
into Heaven instead of the Feast of Weeks, the finding of the Cross
instead of the New Year, the Feast of the Circumcision instead of the
Day of Atonement, the New Year instead of Chanukah; they were to be
indifferent with regard to circumcision and the dietary laws. Also they
were to follow the teaching of turning the right if smitten on the left
and the meek acceptance of suffering. All these new ordinances which
Simeon Kepha (or Paul, as he was known to the Nazarenes) taught them
were really meant to separate these Nazarenes from the people of Israel
and to bring the internal strife to an end.
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