Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?

By G. R. S. Mead

Content | Previous | Next


IN the chapter on "The Earliest External Evidence as Toldoth as to the Talmud Jesus Stories," we ceased our enquiries with Tertullian at the end of the second century. We will now resume our researches with the special object of seeing whether any of the scattered notices of Jew versus Christian polemics which we have been able to collect, may be referred to the Toldoth as distinguished from the Talmud stories. Doubtless when the attention of scholars is more generally turned to the subject, some further out-of-the-way scraps of information may be added, but the following is as complete as we have been able to make it in the present state of affairs. 

We will first of all repeat the passage we have already quoted from Tertullian, for its last sentence shows that in every probability the "gardener" and "cabbage" elements were in existence in his day, and these indubitably form part of the Toldoth as distinguished from the Talmud tradition. 

Writing about 197-198 A.D., the Bishop of Carthage thus rhetorically addresses the Jews ("De Spect.," xxx.);

 "This is your carpenter's son, your harlot's son; your Sabbath-breaker, your Samaritan, your demon-possessed! This is He whom ye bought from Judas;


He who was struck with reed and fists, dishonoured with spittle, and given a draught of gall and vinegar! This He whom His disciples have stolen away secretly, that it may be said He has risen, or the gardener abstracted that his lettuces might not be damaged by the crowds of visitors." [l] 

When I mentioned this passage to a learned Jewish friend, he remarked that probably the Toldoth legend-makers had woven their story out of this sentence of the Church Father. It is, however, most highly improbable that the detailed Toldoth story could be based upon the scornful concluding sentence of Tertullian, for surely the Jews were not students nor even readers of the Fathers. 

It seems far more probable that the Bishop of Carthage is referring to some well-known Jewish story familiar to all his readers. The body was removed by the gardener; but why? Of course, says Tertullian, to save his cabbages, for his garden was being trampled out of all existence by the crowds who came to see! 

Now one of the earliest Toldoth recensions known to us from outside sources (Hrabanus Maurus) speaks of the body being originally buried in a garden,[2] and 

[1] The most recent translator—Cruttwell (C. T.), "A Literary History of Early Christianity" (London; 1893), ii. 582—renders the last sentence freely as: "Or if you prefer it, whom the gardener put away lest his herbs should be crushed by the press of feet." No explanation, however, is given, as, indeed, is invariably the case with all translators and commentators. 

[2] It is to be noticed that the only evangelist who speaks of the sepulchre being in a garden, and consequently of a gardener, is the mystic writer of the fourth Gospel (John xix. 41; xx. 15).


that, too, a garden full of cabbages, and being handed over to a certain Jew to guard.

We, therefore, conclude with very great confidence that this deposit of the Toldoth goes back to the story, whatever it was, which so roused the wrath of Tertullian. 

Moreover, in his polemic against the Jews, the Bishop of Carthage declares ("Adv. Judaeos," c. ix., last para.) that not even do they deny that Jesus performed wonders of healing, "inasmuch as ye used to say that it was not on account of the works that ye stoned him, but because he did them on the Sabbath." 

Is Tertullian here referring to some tradition of the Jews of which he had heard, or only looking back to John v. 17, 18, and x. 31, 33? And if the latter, had the writer of the fourth Gospel in mind some tradition of stoning, which he thus worked into his mystic narrative? The Talmud Lud stories know of a tradition of stoning, and they were presumably in existence in Tertullian's time. But did the writer of the fourth Gospel also know of such a tradition; and are we thus to push this element back to the end of the first century or so? Like the Talmud, the Toldoth recensions also knew of a stoning, or a stoning and hanging, or of a hanging alone, but never of a crucifixion. 

In the Clementine Recognitions (i. 42), of which the form lying before us is generally ascribed to the third century, but which contain far older material, we read: "For some of them, watching the place with care, when they could not prevent His rising again, said that He was a magician, others pretended that His body was stolen away." 


If the works of any Pagan writers could have helped us in this matter, it was to be expected that of all others the books of Porphyry, Hierocles and Julian against the Christians would have furnished us with some valuable information, but unfortunately only a few fragments of these polemical treatises have been preserved, and these, in spite of the closest scrutiny, can show us only that all these philosophers regarded the wonder-doings of Jesus as being due to his magical powers, or rather to the fact of his being a Magus, like many others in antiquity. Such miracles did not prove the contention of the Christians that Jesus was God, for similar wonders, equally well authenticated, and in a more recent case better authenticated according to Hierocles, had been done by others. 

Porphyry (233-? 305 A.D.) wrote fifteen books "Against the Christians," and no less than thirty champions of the Faith, we are told, attempted to refute him; nevertheless only a few fragments of what must have been a very drastic criticism have been preserved to us [1] for not only the original, but also every one of the thirty refutations, have disappeared, and this is strange, for it is to be supposed that at least some of these thirty must have been thought by the Fathers to have disposed of the Syrian's contentions. Porphyry knew Hebrew, and it might therefore be expected that he was acquainted with any tradition of the Jews hostile to Christian claims. It is true that a modern writer asserts that the disciple of Plotinus gives the name 

[1] See Georgiades (A.), peri twn kata Cristianwn apostasmatwn tou Porfuriou (Leipzig; 1891). 


Pandera as "Panzerius," but, so far, I have not been able to verify this unreferenced statement.[1] 

Hierocles, successively governor of Palmyra, Bithynia and Alexandria, and also a philosopher, in 305 A.D., wrote a criticism on the claims of the Christians in two books, called "A Truthful Address to the Christians," or more briefly "The Truth-lover." He seems to have based himself for the most part on the previous works of Celsus and Porphyry, but introduced a new subject of controversy by opposing the wonderful works of Apollonius of Tyana to the claims of the Christians to exclusive right in miracles as proof of the divinity of their Master. To this pertinent criticism Eusebius immediately replied in a treatise still extant.[2] 

Julian the Emperor (360-363 A.D.), somewhere about 362-363, wrote seven books "Against the Christians"; a number of Church writers replied, the most famous being Cyril of Alexandria, who wrote (somewhere between 429 and 441 A.D.) an enormous work of eighteen books, apparently, however, dealing with only three books of Julian's indictment. Unfortunately only fragments of Cyril's treatise have been preserved to us.[3] 

[1] Massey (G.), "The Natural Genesis" (London; 1883), ii. 489. 

[2] The most convenient text is by Gaisford, "Eusebii Pamphili contra Hieroclem" (London; 1852), see my "Apollonius of Tyana, the Philosopher Reformer of the First Century A.D." (London; 1901), pp. 32 ff.

[3] See Neumann(C..J.), "Juliani Imp. Librorum contra Christianos quae supersunt" (Leipzig; 1880). This is the third fasciculus of a proposed series, "Scriptorum Graecorum qui Christianam impugnaverunt Religionem," but the first and second parts, presumably containing the fragments of Celsus, Porphyry and Hierocles, have not yet seen the light. For the information of book-lovers I may mention that I have in my possession a rare work of Thomas 

[footnote continued on p. 286]

Taylor, "The Arguments of the Emperor Julian against the Christians," (London; 1809), which a slip from a catalogue gummed inside the cover states to have been "privately printed by Mr Meredith, who destroyed, for fear of prosecution, the entire impression with the exception of 5 or 6 copies. For one of these copies," it adds, "he in vain offered £100." What truth there may be in this statement I do not know, for I also possess a copy of a book called "Arguments of Celsus, Porphyry and the Emperor Julian against the Christians" (London; 1830), also plainly the work of Thomas Taylor, but without his name on the title-page, and this was not withdrawn from circulation. 


It is no part of our present task to enquire into the arguments of Julian, but there is one passage which contains a strange phrase bearing on the question of the confusion of Chrestos and Christos to which we have already referred in an earlier chapter. Julian thus writes: 

" At any rate neither Paul nor Matthew nor Mark dared to say that Jesus is God, but only the good John (o crhstos IwannhV) . . . ventured to assert this," 

What does Julian mean by distinguishing John from the rest as "the chrest John "? Does he refer to John as an illuminate? Did the original even read "the Christ John"? 

But to return to our "traces"; the Acts of Pionius, who is said to have been martyred in 250 A.D., and the original of whose Acta was certainly read by Eusebius at the beginning of the fourth century, state that the Jews "say that Christ practised necromancy, and that it was by its power that he was brought to life after the crucifixion." 

But that he rose again, in the physical sense, is just what all the Jews have ever denied, and we can only 
[1] See Bollandist Collection, under Feb. 1 (c. iii.).


suppose that the redactor of the Acts has here misunderstood the general charge of the Jews and Pagans that Jesus learned magic in Egypt.

Thus the converted philosopher Arnobius, who wrote his treatise "Against the Nations" somewhere about 303-313 A.D., tells us (i. 43), that the commonest argument against the claims of the Christians concerning Jesus was: "He was a Magus; he did all these things (sc. miracula) by secret arts; from the shrines of the Egyptians he stole the names of angels of might and hidden disciplines."[1] 

This, as we have already seen, was one of the main elements of the Talmud stories; the Toldoth, however, though they retain the strange fashion in which the magic was brought out of Egypt, have converted the shrines of Egypt into the sanctuary of the Temple at Jerusalem. 

We next come to a curious passage in Ephrem Syrus (c. 308-373 A.D.), which tells us that "the anti-christ serpent shall be born of a Danite mother and a Latin father, who stealthily and with unlawful love shall glide like a slippery snake to the embraces of his mate." [3] 

The "Latin father," says Krauss (p. 216), seems to refer to the "Roman soldier" Panthera spoken of by 

[1] Hildebrand (G. F.), "Arnobii Adv. Nationes" (Halle; 1844), p. 67.

[2] Cf. Gen. xlix. 17. "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path." 

[3] "Ephrem Syrus in Genesim," vol. i. p. 192 b.. of the Vatican edition of Benedict (Rome; 1737). See also Bousset (W.), "Der antichrist in der Überlieferung des Judenthums, des neuen Testaments und der alten Kirche" (Gbttingen; 1895), pp. 79 and 92. 


Celsus, and the rest of the sentence seems to represent the stealthy proceedings of Pandera in the Toldoth.[1] 

In his Letter to Heliodorus, which was written in 374 A.D., Jerome seems to have had in memory the passage of Tertullian ("De Spect.") which we have already quoted, for he writes: "He is that son of a workman and of a harlot; He it is who . . . fled into Egypt; He the clothed with a scarlet robe; He the crowned with thorns; He a Magus demon-possessed, and a Samaritan!"[2] 

Further, in his Letter to Titus (iii. 9), Jerome writes: "I heard formerly concerning the Hebrews . . . at Rome . . . that they bring into question the genealogies of Christ." Krauss (p. 4.) thinks that this refers to a distinct altercation, or a set synod, in which the question of the Genealogies, that is, the "Generationes" (Toldoth) of Jesus, were brought into question; but in the question of a synod I cannot follow him.[3]

About the same date (375 A.D.) we find Epiphanius stating in the genealogy of Jesus ("Haer.," lxxvii. 7), that Joseph was the son of a certain Jacob whose surname was Panther, an extraordinary declaration which we will treat at greater length later on when we come to speak of a still more striking statement of the Bishop of Constantia. 

[1] But, as I have already stated in the chapter on "The Talmud Mary Stories," I cannot discover the "Roman soldier" in Celsus; there is a "soldier" Panthera, but neither in i. 32 or in i. 69 is there anything to denote his nationality.

[2] Migne, "Patrol. Cursus Complet. Lat.," tom xxi., "S. Eusebii Hieronymi Opera Omnia" (Paris; 1845), tom. i. col. 354; Epistola xiv. 11. 

[3] Moreover, I cannot verify his quotation. 


That prolific commentator John Chrysostom, in the fragments which have survived of his Homilies on the Psalms, written somewhere towards the close of the fourth century, remarks (Ps. viii. no. 3. c. v.): "And if you ask them (the Jews), Why did ye crucify the Christ?—they reply, Because he was a deceiver and a sorcerer." 
But the Jews would never have admitted the question in this form, for the very simple reason that they consistently denied that Jesus was the Christ. Whether they would have admitted even that they had "crucified" him, is to be doubted. 

Oehler gives "Theodoret,[1] H. S., iii. 11" as a confirmatory reference to the passage of Tertullian we have quoted above, but I cannot verify this. 

From the "Disputatio cum Herbano Judaeo," attributed to Gregontius, Bishop of Taphar in Arabia, who flourished in the second half of the fifth century, we also learn that the Jews declared that Jesus had been put to death because he was a magician.[2]

John of Damascus, in the first half of the eighth century, in giving the genealogy of Mary, tells us ("De Fid. Orthod," iv. 14) that Joachim was the father of Mary, Bar Panther the father of Joachim, and Levi the father of Bar Panther, and, therefore, presumably Panther himself. As also in the case of Epiphanius, John does not breathe a word of Panther (Pandera) being the invention of an enemy, but simply records the name as a genuine piece of accepted history. 

[1] 385-453 A.D. 

[2] Bibliothèque des Pères de Margarin de la Bigue," t. i., as quoted by Bullet, , op. sub. cit., p. 95. 


It is also very plain that the famous Damascene does not copy from Epiphanius, but draws from some other totally different tradition. 

So far it must be confessed that if we except Ephrem Syrus, we have not, since the end of the second century, met with any indications which would enable us clearly to distinguish Toldoth stuff from Talmud tradition, but with the ninth century we come to undeniable proofs of the existence of highly-developed forms of Toldoth as contrasted with Talmud data. 

In his "De Judaicis Superstitionibus," Agobard, Bisliop of Lyons, writing somewhere about 820-830 A.D., makes the following highly interesting statement: "For in the teachings of their elders they (the Jews) read: That Jesus was a youth held in esteem among them, who had for his teacher John the Baptist; that he had very many disciples, to one of whom he gave the name Cephas, that is Petra (Rock), because of the hardness and dullness of his understanding; that when the people were waiting for him on the feast-day, some of the youths of his company ran to meet him, crying unto him out of honour and respect, 'Hosanna, son of David'; that at last having been accused on many lying charges, he was cast into prison by the decree of Tiberius, because he had made his (T.'s) daughter (to whom he had promised the birth of a male child without [contact with] a man) conceive of a stone; that for this cause also he was hanged on a stake as an abominable sorcerer; whereon being smitten on the head with a rock and in this way slain, he was buried by a canal, and handed over to a certain Jew to guard; by night, however, he was 


carried away by a sudden overflowing of the canal, and though he was sought for twelve moons by the order of Pilate, he could never be found; that then Pilate made the following legal proclamation unto them: It is manifest, said he, that he has risen, as he promised, he who for envy was put to death by you, and neither in the grave nor in any other place is he found; for this cause, therefore, I decree that ye worship him; and he who will not do so, let him know that his lot will be in hell (in inferno). 

"Now all these things their elders have so garbled, and they themselves read them over and over again with such foolish stubbornness, that by such fictions the whole truth of the virtue and passion of Christ is made void, as though worship should not be shown Him as truly God, but is paid Him only because of the law of Pilate." [1] 

The above is manifestly a very rough report of some recension; it is impossible to say whether the Bishop of Lyons, who knew no Hebrew or Aramaic, has reported quite correctly what he had heard of the Jews, who in his day had flocked to Lyons in great numbers, and of whom he was a strenuous and bitter opponent, writing no less than four treatises against them. As we shall see later on, however, he could not have been very far out as to some of the main features of his report. The most important point is that Agobard twice tells us that the Jews "read" such stories; Toldoth Jeschu had, therefore, been committed to writing at least prior to the early years of the ninth 

[1] I translate from the very poor Latin of the text printed by Krauss (p. 5) from "Patr. Lat.," civ. p. 87. 


century. So much is certain; how much earlier than this they existed in written form we have so far no means of deciding. 

Almost about the same date, moreover, we find Hrabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mainz, acquainted with a totally different form of Toldoth. In his book, "Contra Judaeos," written about 847 A.D. (K. 7), he tells us: 

"They (the Jews) blaspheme because we believe on him whom the Law of God saith was hanged on a tree and cursed by God, . . . and [they declare] that on the protest and by direction of his teacher Joshua (i.e., J. ben Perachiah), he was taken down from the tree, and cast into a grave in a garden full of cabbages, so that their land should not be made impure . . .; they call him in their own tongue Ussum Hamizri, which means in Latin, Dissipator AEgyptius (the Egyptian Destroyer). . . . And they say that after he had been taken down from the tree, he was again taken out of the grave by their forebears, and was dragged by a rope through the whole city, and thus cast . . ., confessing that he was a godless one, and the son of a godless [fellow], that is of some Gentile or other whom they call Pandera, by whom they say the mother of the Lord was seduced, and thence he whom we believe on, born." [1] 

As to the original from which this passage is taken, Bullet (op. sub. cit., p. 97) tells us that it was first printed at Dijon by the learned Father Pierre François Chifflet, of the Company of Jesus.[2] It was attributed 

[1] Krauss (p. 13) gives the text as taken from Wagenseil'e Foreword to his "Tela Ignea Satanse," p. 52. 

[2] There is no copy of this work in the British Museum. 


by him to Raban Maur, Archbishop of Mainz, who was subsequently identified by a number of scholars with Amolon, who succeeded Agobard in the see of Lyons.

If this identification is correct, as Agobard died in 840, we must suppose that Hrabanus wrote his treatise at Lyons. But the type of Toldoth quoted differs so entirely from that of Agobard, that it is taken by Krauss (p. 13) to represent a German form as distinguished from Agobard's recension, which he calls "romanische." In any case the name of the Archbishop argues that he probably had some acquaintance with Hebrew, and therefore that perhaps he is drawing from a written source; it is, however, very evident that he is at best summarizing very roughly. 

The otherwise unknown Ussum (? or Ussus = Jeschu) ha-Mizri is a puzzle; neither Krauss (p. 13) nor Bischoff (ibid., n.) can make anything out of it as it stands. I would, however, suggest that whatever the original of Ussum may have been, if it meant "Dissipator," we may have to do with some play on the meaning of Balaam (the Destroyer), and that the name means simply "the Egyptian destroyer of the people."  It is, however, of interest to notice that in Huldreich's text (pp. 20, 24, 26) the name of Pandera is given as "the Egyptian," because "he did the work of the Egyptians." 

As to the Mary story which Suidas, in the tenth or eleventh century, reproduces in his Lexicon (s.v. "Jesus"), and to which Krauss (p. 4) refers as apposite to our enquiry, I have carefully gone through it, and agree with Bischoff (ibid., n.) that it contains nothing of a Toldoth nature.


We next come to the "Dialogues" of Petrus Alphonsus (or Alphonsi), who lived in the early years of the twelfth century. Peter before his conversion had been called Moses; in the Dialogues between the Jews and Christians, therefore, the dramatis personae appear as Moses and Peter. 

Moses declares that the Jews contend that Jesus "was a magician and the son of a harlot, and that he led the whole nation into error." 

"He was a magician," he repeats, "and by magic art led the sons of Israel into error; and over and above this he proclaimed himself the Son of God." 

To Peter's objection, How could Jesus have learned magic enough to have turned water into wine, healed lepers, lame, deaf, dumb, and blind, and beyond all this to have brought the dead to life? — Moses replies: "Our learned men declare that he learned it in Egypt." [1]

With regard to this Peter, Kohler and Gottheil[2] write: "The first apostate that is known to have written against the Jewish creed was Moses Sephardi, known by the name of Petrus Alfonsi (physician to Alfonso VI.),

[1] The portion of the "Dialogues" bearing on our enquiry will be found in the Abbe M, Bullet's "Histoire de 1' Établissement du Christianisme tirée des seuls Auteurs juifs et payens" (Paris; 1764), pp. 99 ff.; Bullet gives his reference as "Bibliothèque des Pères de Lyon," vol. xxi. There is also a German translation of Bullet's work, "Gesch. der Gründung des Christenthiums," by P. J. Weckers (Mainz; 1830). Bullet, in the French edition, gives a paraphrase of Wagenseil's Toldoth text (pp. 75-84), a brief résume of Huldreich's (pp. 85 86), the Latin text (pp. 89-92) and a translation of Raymund Martini (des Martins) (pp. 86-89), and the text and translation of Agobard (pp. 96, 97). 

[2] In their article "Apostasy and Apostates from Judaism " the "Jewish Encyclopaedia "(New York; 1902). 


baptised in 1106, and author of the well-known collection of fables, 'Disciplina Clericalis.' He wrote a work against Jewish and Mohammedan doctrines, entitled, 'Dialogi in Quibus Impiae Judaeorum et Saracenorum Opiniones Confutantur.'  This book, however, seems to have had little influence." 

The importance of our quotations is that Peter Alphonsi was a Jew of Spain; it is true that we gain very little from Peter, but a fellow-countryman of his, or, at any rate, one who was familiar with Spanish Jewry, Raymund Martini, has more to tell us. Raymund was born at Sobriat in 1236, and died in 1286. He sat on the Inquisitorial Commission at Barcelona, and was very energetic against the Jews in Spain. Raymund was a Dominican, and is regarded as the first Christian of his time to study Oriental languages. His great work against the Jews was called "Pugio Fidei," or the "Poignard of Faith.”[1]  In it, under the heading "Fabula de Christi Miraculis Judaica, id est Maligna," [2] we find a lengthy quotation, of which, however, there is no need to give a translation, for with a few variants of no particular importance it is verbally identical with chapters 3-5 of the Strassbourg MS. Toldoth, a translation of which we have already given. 

It is thus proved beyond a doubt that this portion of the contents of the Strass. MS. goes back, verbally, at least to the middle of the thirteenth century. More- 

[1] This was first edited by J. P. Mansacci (Paris; 1642); second edition by J. de Voisin (Paris; 1651); copies of neither of these editions are in the British Museum; the last edition is by J. B. Carpzov (Leipzig; 1687). 

[2] Carpzov's edition, pars ii. cap. viii. §vi., pp. 362-364, corresponding to foll. 290, 291 of orig. edition. 


over, it appears probable that the written Toldoth from which E. Martini translated may have contained chapters 1 and 2 of the Strass. MS., otherwise there would be no point for the reader in the phrase put into the mouth of Jesus, "Behold, the wise say I am a bastard!" 

That the original otherwise contained more than the translator gives us is highly improbable, for one of the Oxford MSS. agrees substantially with Raymund's version, and therefore probably derives from the same original. 

After the phrase of the queen, "He is in your hands!"—Raymundus at once jumps to the hanging on the cabbage-stalk incident (of c. 7 of S. MS.), concerning which, his authority tells him, that this is by no means wonderful, "for every year there grows in the House of the Sanctuary one cabbage so large that a hundred pounds of seed come from it." This is different from Krauss' emendation of the defective passage in the Strass.  MS. In Martini the miraculous cabbage-stalk has its genesis in the mysteries of the Sanctuary, and is not merely the outcome of the fertile soil of Jerusalem. Martini here brings the "fabula" to an abrupt end. 

This Toldoth extract of Martini was copied by Porchettus (Salvagus, or de Salvaticis), a Carthusian monk of Genoa, who flourished in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and a good Oriental scholar, in his work against the Jews, entitled "Victoria," which was printed in 1520 [l]; from this Luther made a translation 

[1] "Victoria Porcheti adversua impios Hebraeos," ed. by R. P. A. Justiniani (Paris; 1520) 


into German under the heading, "Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi."[1] 

Finally we come to the very interesting passage in "The Touchstone" of Schemtob ibn Schaprut, who flourished at the end of the fourteenth century. This work has never been printed as a whole, but Krauss points the Hebrew text of our passage (pp. 146, 147),[2] and appends a German translation (pp. 148, 149).  This passage runs as follows: 

"Behold, ye find with them (the Jews) many writings which give account, of them (the wonders and signs of Jesus); for instance the document which was composed as a History of Jeschu ha-Notzri, and [states] that it took place in the time of Queen Helene; further, in the document which was composed as a History of Jeschu ben Pandera in Aramaic, which purports that it was in the time of Tiberius Caesar. 

"'In the first document it is written that Jeschu cut open the flesh of his hip, without it hurting him, placed the copy of the Shem ha-Meporesch therein, drew the skin together over it, so that it healed; afterwards he took the copy out again from under the skin and did signs and wonders.  He spake to the young men of Israel: Would ye have a sign from me? Bring me a lame man; I will heal him. Forthwith they brought unto him the lame man, who had never yet stood upon his feet; he uttered the letters over him, passed his hand over him, and he was made whole.

[1] (Jena; 1583 ed.), vol. iii. ff. 109, 110. 

[2] From pp. 180, 181 of the MS. in the Jewish Theological Seminary at Breslau; there is also, I find, another copy in the Orient. Dept. of the British Museum, Add. 66964. 


Further he said: I am Son of God; I raise the dead. Immediately Queen Helene sent trusty messengers to him; she sent and they saw that he raised the dead, They came, told it unto her, and she was affrightened, She said to the wise men: That is a great sign. And she gave the Jews who strove with him a reproof, and they departed from her ashamed and disgraced. 

"Further [it is written] that the people of Galilee made birds of clay; he uttered the Shem over them, and they new into the air. At the same hour they fell down on their faces and cast themselves down before him. 

"Further he said to them: Bring me a great millstone. They brought it unto him, and he launched it on the sea; sat himself thereon, and made it float on the water like an eggshell. He sat thereon, a wind bore him along on the surface of the water, and all the people were greatly amazed. 

"Further he said before the queen: I ascend hence to my Father in heaven! He spread forth his hands and raised himself in the air twixt heaven and earth. The queen was affrightened, and the whole people wondered greatly. 

"Further [it is written] that at the end he was to be crucified; he therefore laid a spell upon all the trees of the world, so that they might not bear his hanged body. When, then, he was hanged on the tree, it broke under him, and in like fashion all trees broke under him and received him not. 

"And in the second document it is written: There came Pilate, the governor, Rabbi Joshua ben Perachiah, Marinus, the great ancient of the Jews, R. Juda Ganiba, 


R. Jochanan ben Mut'ana, and Jeschu ben Pandera to Tiberias before Tiberius Caesar.  He (T.) said to them: What is your business?  He (J.) said to them: I am Son of God; I wound and I heal, and if any man die, I whisper over him, and he lives; and a woman who has not borne a child, I make her conceive without a husband.  He (T.) said to them: On that will I test you. I have a daughter who has not yet seen a man; make it that she conceive.  They said to him: Have her brought before us.  He gave commandment to his steward; he brought her. They [?] whispered over her and she became pregnant. 

"And when the condemnation of Jeschu was proclaimed, and the time came to crucify him, and he saw the cross about the fourth hour of the day, he spake words of magic, flew away and sat himself upon Mount Carmel.  R. Juda the gardener said to R. Joshua ben Perachiah: I will go after him and bring him back.  He answered: Go, utter and pronounce the name of his Lord, that is the Schem ha-Mephoresch.  He went and flew after him.  When he would seize him, Jeschu spake words of magic, went into the cave of Elias, and shut the door.  Juda the gardener came and said to the cave: Open, for I am God's messenger.  It opened.  Thereupon Jeschu made himself into a bird; R. Juda seized him by the hem of his garment and came before R. Joshua and the companions." 

It is very evident that the Hebrew form of Toldoth quoted by Schemtob is identical with that quoted by Raymundus Martini. It is a shortened form, but the wording is frequently identical. The only variant is that Schemtob adds to the mill-stone miracle that a 


wind arose and bore him over the water; he also has "crucified" where Martini has "hanged."  It is also remarkable that Schemtob practically begins and ends in his narrative where Martini does.  Did he, then, copy from Martini?  This is hardly to be believed. If not, then the copies of the Hebrew original which lay before those two scholars must have been a shortened form of Toldoth.  What connection this form of Toldoth may have had with that known to Hrabanus Maurus we cannot tell, for the incidents do not in any way overlap, and there are no names to help us out. 

With regard to the Aramaic form of Toldoth quoted by Schemtob, it is probable that it may be the recension used by the Jews at Lyons, some of the contents of which had come to Agobard by hearsay.  But of this we cannot be certain, for Agobard reports a form of Toldoth which speaks of stoning and hanging on a stake, while Schemtob speaks of crucifixion; as, however, we have found him altering "hanging" into "crucifixion" where we can check him by Martini, so here we must suppose that "crucifixion" is a gloss, and the original spoke only of "hanging." 

This Aramaic form may also be compared with the few tattered fragments of an Aramaic Toldoth, recovered from the Geniza (or "lumber room" for worn-out or imperfect MSS.)[1] of the Old Synagogue at Cairo, which have the distinction of being the oldest Toldoth 

[1] Maimonides describes the Geniza as follows: "A Codex of the Law which is decayed or is rendered ritually illegal is to be put into an earthen vessel and buried by the side of sages, and this constitutes its Geniza" ("Hilchoth Sepher Torah," x. 3). See Ginsburg's "Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible," p. 156, n. 


MS. known to us.  From them, however, we can make out little that will help us, except that they introduce Joshua ben Perachiah, and also the miracle of making a certain virgin pregnant without contact with a man.  As this takes place before a certain "emperor" who is not named, it must be supposed that it refers to the Tiberius legend. It is further to be noticed that the body of Jesus is said to have been dragged round in the streets of Tiberias; upon which we might speculate that this form of Toldoth arose in the famous Rabbinic circles of Tiberias and that the name of the school suggested the name of the emperor, just as the Lud stories brought Akiba into personal relationship with Mary. 

And here we may bring our enquiry into the nature of the earlier Toldoth forms to a conclusion; it may be that some day in the near future the industry of scholarship may be able to throw some further light on the subject, but at present it is impossible to say precisely how these different forms developed.