Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Joseph Panthera, Mary, And Jesus by William Burr 1879
Joseph Pandera, Mary, And Jesus by William Burr 1879
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There was a certain idle and worthless debauchee named Joseph Pandera He lived at Bethlehem of Judea. Near by there lived a widow who had a daughter named Miriam, of whom mention is several times made in the Talmud as a dresser of women's hair, (i, 2-5, f.)
In the Talmud we read of a Jesus, the son of Pandira and of Mary, otherwise called Stada, who transgressed the laws of chastity and separated from her husband. This Mary is several times mentioned in the Talmud as a plaiter of women's hair.
Mr. Gould points out that this reference is not found in the Mishna, which he says was compiled A. D. 219, but in the Gemara, and that the Jerusalem Gemara was completed A. D. 390, and the Babylonian Gemara about A. D. 500. This would seem to indicate a later date for the composition of the Toldoth Jeshu than that of the Gemara. But it should be borne in mind that all ancient manuscripts are full of interpolations, so that we can never be absolutely certain of the integrity of any particular part.
About A. D. 200 (some suppose earlier, others later) Celsus wrote a work against Christianity, entitled Logos Alethes, "True Doctrine" or "Word." All we know of its contents is what Origen has transmitted to us in a large volume of refutation. Celsus was familiar with gospel-stories, like ours, but not identical. He introduces a Jew, who has a personal discussion with Jesus.
"In the first place he accuses him of having invented his birth from a virgin, and upbraids him with being born in a certain Jewish village of a poor woman of the country, who gained her subsistence by spinning, and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery; that after being driven away by her husband and wandering about for a time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who having hired himself out as a servant in Egypt, on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God." (Orig. agt. Cels., i, 28.)
The father of the illegitimate child is afterwards described as "a soldier named Panthera," (i, 32.)
Celsus, by the way, discredits the story of the massacre of the infants by Herod, of the dove alighting on Jesus at his baptism, and of the resurrection.
Origen is indignant at Celsus for calling Jesus a carpenter, and says that "in none of the gospels current in the churches is Jesus himself ever described as being a carpenter," (vi, 36.) Oh yes he is, in Mark vi, 3, which reads, "Is not this the carpenter?" Did Origen overlook that passage, or was it wanting in the early editions?
Basnage in his "History of the Jews" reviews the Toldoth Jeshu of Wagenseil and also the later one of Huldrich. In regard to the genealogy of Jesus he says:
"Celsus is excusable in having upbraided Christians with the virgin being forced by a soldier called Pandera, but how can St. Epiphanius [A.D. 367] be excused, who assures us that Jesus was the son of Jacob surnamed Panthera? Or how can John of Damascus [A.D. 760] be justified, who is indeed of another opinion, but for all that makes him come into the genealogy of J. Christ? for he maintains that Panthera was great-grandfather to Mary, and Barpanther her grandfather. Raban Maur [A.D. 874] doth also speak of these two men; and the learned Grotius [A.D. 1640] made an advantage of this tradition, as if it had been well grounded, that so the romance invented about the virgin might appear more probable. And indeed the name given here to the soldier, Panther, is a Greek one; how then can it be introduced into the genealogy of J. Christ as the surname of a family? There is good reason to believe that it was invented only to make the birth of the Messiah more odious. The panther, or male of the panther, is a savage and cruel beast that couples with a lioness, and from thence proceeds the leopard The manuscript of a Rabbi is also quoted, wherein it is said that as the leopard is produced by the mixture of different species, so J. Christ sprung from a Greek soldier and a Jewish woman. Those who reckon Panthera among Christ's ancestors, fall into the snare which the most inveterate enemies of the Christian religion have laid for them." (B. iv, ch. 27.)
Epiphanius (Agt. Heres., iii) gives the genealogy of Jesus thus: