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Talmud and Gospel

Sep 19, 1996 07:35 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Hi Abrantes,

>Ok let`s <collect together the New Testament stories, the Talmud
>stories, and whatever other contemporary evidence is extant>.

OK, but the list of "contemporary evidence" is very short.  We
have edited versions of Paul's Epistles (I am not including the
pastorals of Timothy and Titus and some other material, which are
now understood to be of a later date and not written by Paul).
We also have to exclude the Gospels because they are all of a
later date and cannot be linked to the apostles that bear their
names.  The Gnostic gospels are also written too late, but are
helpful to broaden our understanding of what was going on at that
period, and give us another point of view concerning the same
data. The one exception may be the Gospel of Thomas, which was
written in a very primitive style, and may be closer to the
source document from which the Gospels came.

Regarding the church fathers: Ignatius wrote too late.  If he had
written in 40 CE rather than having been born then, it would have
made all of the difference in the world.  Justin Martyr,
Irenaeus, Clement and Tertulian all wrote in the second and third
century, therefore they were only repeating an established
tradition which they were powerless to confirm or deny via
independent evidence.

For the Jewish evidence, we have Josephus, and those parts of the
Talmud that are generally accepted to have been copied from the
pre-temple period.  Thanks to the archaeologists and more than
one miracle, the Dead Sea Scrolls are becoming available for the
first time in two thousand years.  They have already yielded a
tremendous amount of lost information concerning the period when
the biblical Jesus would have lived, and scholars are still
searching for information to confirm the Gospel accounts.  So
far, they have been unsuccessful.  Besides the contemporary
mythologies concerning Adonis, Sampson, Heracles, Mithra etc.,
this is about all I can think of that still exists.  The Syric
documents might be another possibility, but I know almost nothing
about them.  I have translations of them here in the our library,
but never have had the opportunity to study them.

>Why did you conclude that NT were compile in the first and
>second centuries?  Surely because many christian fathers of this
ancient time make references to such material. For instance: Some
christians references about Jesus lived under Pilate`s time.

I am just repeating the consensus of opinion among biblical
historians, though the exact dates are still very loose.  The
evidence that biblical scholars use is complex.  For instance,
some considerations concern stylistic uses that might pin down
the area and time that the writer might have lived.  Also, the
usages of names and titles can sometimes pin down dates.
Therefore, sometimes a document can be dated by a particular
usage of style, or by the mention of a city or monument they may
not have existed after a certain known date.

Regarding the Church fathers: they can only give evidence as to
the lateness of the gospels, not to their alleged antiquity.
When a church father quotes from a particular Gospel, that is
taken as evidence that the said gospel was extant at the time
that father wrote his commentary.  But if that father lived in
the third century, that only confirms that the gospel was extant
as early as the third century, but does not prove that it was
around at an earlier date.  On the other hand, if a church father
does not quote a Gospel when it would have been appropriate for
him to do so, that is taken as a possible indication that the
father was not aware of that Gospel, or that it was not yet

>Let`s take an clear analysys, without prejudices. Who did
>mention the Jesus, as given by Talmud or Toldoth? Something like
>this <as stated in Talmud (or Toldoth) Jesus lived...>. There no
>clear evidence about it.

What kind of "clear evidence" do you require?

>This is a strong evidence that these passagges are later
>insertions.  Even HPB recognices (book III, chapter III,
footnote) that Toldoth was mentioned for the first time by Martin
at century XIII! because this text was maintained in secrecy by
jews. So historically there are difficulties to say that the
Jesus of Talmud or Toldoth were written BEFORE gospels.

Yes, the Toldoth story was kept secret because the Christians
held political power over the Jews for well over a thousand
years.  Between the fifth and fifteenth centuries, Christians,
operating under the policies and encouragement of the Church,
made regular raids upon the Jewish libraries and scriptoriums in
order to destroy their scriptures and records.  Because of these
raids, the Jews have no original copies of the Toldoth story (or
anything else for that matter) dated before the XIII century.
But is it fair for the Church to destroy Jewish records and
scriptures and then to discount their authenticity because the
originals no longer exist?  IMO, it is not fair.  I have said
twice before that the Toldoth story was mentioned by one or two
of the Church fathers in the Second century.  That long article
you sent us concerning the Jewish arguments against Jesus also
documents this, though I don't have the time to search for that
passage.  Theosophist scholar GRS Mead also mentions the same
thing in his book.  I also recall from reading Mead many years
ago, that Justinian made mention of the Toldoth story and ordered
all copies to be destroyed.  My guess is, if the Christians had
not been so intent upon destroying all of the Jewish records, we
would have a lot more information about the origins of
Christianity.  I have to conclude that the thousand year
holocaust carried out by the Church against the Jewish religion
is solely responsible for the destruction of historical documents
that might have thrown much light upon the birth and development
of Christianity.

In the beginning of this discussion I mentioned that the winners
are the ones who tell the history.  We agreed upon this point.
So far you appear to be advancing the evidence of the winners and
discounting as invalid or doubtful what little evidence remains
of the looser's point of view.  Do you agree?  In the interest of
a "clear analysys, without prejudices" I think we might be able
to create a more level playing field if we were to look more
critically at the evidence the winners have chosen to keep and
show us, and give more latitude to what little evidence remains
of the looser's point of view.


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