addressing number 7<quoted text>
McKinsey is a published biblical scholar whose works are consistantly of high quality.
By Dennis McKinsey
The first comment worthy of note is found in Sanhedrin 43a of the Talmud, which states,
On the eve of the Passover Yeshu (The Munich manuscript adds the Nasarean) was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried,'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.... Do you suppose that he was one for whom a defence could be made? Was he not a Mesith (enticer), concerning whom Scripture says, Neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him (Deut. 13:9)? With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government (or royalty, i.e., influential). Our Rabbis taught: Yeshu had five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni, and Todah.
Although difficult to imagine, this anemic passage is a reference to Jesus, according to some commentators. Reliance upon passages as weak as this can't help but dissipate respect for apologetic scholarship. Obvious inadequacies are:
(1) It says Yeshu, not Jesus.
(2) Even if Yeshu and Jesus were identical words, it was not an unusual name. On the contrary, it appears rather frequently in ancient Jewish literature. Josephus records the following out of 28 high priests in the 107 years from Herod to the destruction of Jerusalem: Jesus, son of Phabet; Jesus, son of Damneus; Jesus, son of Gamaliel; Jesus, son of Sapphias; Jesus son of Thebuthus.
(3) Jesus was crucified, not hanged.
(4) Jesus was not stoned, at least not according to the biblical record.
(5) The New Testament says nothing about a herald going forth for forty days before the execution occurred.
(6) Jesus had no connection with the government. At least nothing within the Gospels would lead one to believe that he lived among royalty or the influential class.
(7) Nowhere in the New Testament was Jesus charged with sorcery or leading Israel astray. The New Testament record tells of three accusations against Jesus:(a) blasphemy,(b) claiming to be the Son of God, and (c) assuming the role of King of the Jews. But he was never charged with practicing sorcery nor of leading Israel astray. Any attempt to apply this part of the Talmud to Jesus is doomed to failure.
a. claiming to be the son of god was blasphemy, or christ = christened; which meant he was the king because in ancient times the king was annointed on the forehead with oil. this signified the king. in ecclesiastes the term is signified by the use of preacher capitalized.
b. using the Name of names was idolatry because he was claiming to be god
c. already shown in a & b
the sorcery alone could be attributed to raising the dead and/or consorting with spirits.