Greetings! Next week on Friday I will post more on possible objects that may have been the Star of Bethlehem. I will be examining Novas and Comets this week. If you are a new visitor please read the first blog about the integral existence. The other blogs will make much sense.
On 12-10-17 the winners of the twitter contest will be announced. To qualify follow my twitter page at @stgenepress by that date.
On 12-24-17 I will announce what I believe to be the actual Star of Bethlehem based on my research.
An astronomical occultation is when one astrological object moves in the front of, or occults, another. Astronomer Michael R. Molnar, who is retired from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Rutgers University, has made a detailed case for his theory that the Star of Bethlehem, may have been a pair of astrologically significant lunar occultations. An occultation occurs when the Moon passes in front of another body, making it disappear from the sky. He writes of the Moon’s occultations of Jupiter in Aries on March 20 and April 17, 6 BCE, in his book,
The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi.
According to Molnar, the occultations signaled to the Magi that a “King of the Jews” was about to be born in Palestine. Hence, they soon embarked on one of the epic treks of the New Testament, with gifts in hand for the new king. Corresponding with Molnar, this was possible because astrologists, or Magi in this case, would view the Moon passing in front of Jupiter, a planet associated with royalty, while in Aries the Ram (the ram being the ancient symbol for Judea), indicating that a new king of Judea was about to be born, and under such rare circumstances, that he must be an especially important one.
Molnar’s theory connects somewhat well with the integral idea in that April 17, 6 BCE, would fall during the month of Nissan, the month in which the prophets were born and died, according to the belief from the Talmud, but it would not fall during the Passover celebration that commenced on April 4 of the year. One would have to decide how precise the integral idea needs to be, either by the exact month or by the exact Passover week to accept Molnar’s date. He does have his critics though. Mark Kidger points out many problems with the March 20 and April 17 occultations of 6 BCE. In this case, it was the planet Jupiter that the Moon moved in front of. If the Moon passes in front of a planet or star, when the celestial body suddenly reappears at the border of the Moon, particularly at the border of the Moon’s disk, which creates a shadow, the result is an amazing sight to behold. But Molnar’s occultation may not have been amazing. According to Kidger:
Although the March and April occultations were theoretically visible from Jerusalem, we must also consider practicality. The April 17 occultation occuured onear the heliacal rising of Jupiter, with the Moon exactly one day before the New moon, when it is unlikely to be visible . . . Furthermore, the occultation occurred around midday in Jerusalem and Babylon, and a thin crescent Moon would be totally invisible in the sky so close to the Sun during daylight . . . This occultation would thus have been totally invisible. The March 17 occultation occurred after sunset. It was not visible in Babylon because Jupiter had already set there at the time, but it was visible in Jerusalem, if only marginally . . . For Molnar’s theory to be tenable, we must assume that the Magi were able to interpret correctly an event that they could not have seen.
Consistent with a few of Kidger’s concerns is Arron Adair, who wrote the following in an article for Sky & Telescope:
When the book came out, the news media reported this idea as a major historical breakthrough. Ancient Babylonian tablets, however, state that this type of event foretold the death of a king. Talk about interpretive flexibility! Besides, the occultation was invisible, taking place in the daytime near the Sun.”
There are a few other issues with Molnar’s historical research. A significant part of his theory revolves around the purchase of coins from the region that show the zodiac Aries the Ram looking back at a star. The coins were supposedly issued to honor the rare occultations of 6 BCE and the coming of a new king in Judea. However, several other Roman coins from the time also show zodiacs with a star above them. Therefore, Molnar's coin was not minted to honor the Star of Bethlehem unless their were other "stars" in other Zodiacs. Molnar admits that Aries the Ram is often displayed as looking backward. He states, “The lore says that Aries is looking backward for Helle, and another interpretation says that Aries is admiring his Golden Fleece, not a star."
Therefore, a Roman coin is more likely to portray Aries looking backward at a Golden Fleece, not the occultation of Jupiter to proclaim the coming of Jesus. Perhaps Molnar gave too much significance to the coin with the imprint of Aries. Today, his theory provides readers only with questions about his true motives and research methods. Similar to conjunctions, there is no proof from ancient sources that can be used as possible evidence that the Magi used either to announce the coming of a new ruler. Until then neither should be used in theories on the Star due to lack of similar historical evidence.
171 Kider, The Star of Bethlehem, 106–9.
172 Aaron Michael Adair. "Science, Scholarship, & Bethlehem's Starry Night." Sky & Telescope 114, no. 6 (December 2007): 26. MasterFILE Complete, EBSCOhost.
173 Michael Molnar, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi (New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, 2000), 50.
There are several problem with the the Star of Bethlehem to have been a conjunction. First, Matthew informs us that the Star appeared. Conjunctions do not appear. If you know what they are, you know that it takes time for the objects to line up. Therefore, the Magi would not have lost track of the Star only to have it "reappear" to them after meeting with Herod. Second, Babylonians were reading horoscopes around the time of Jesus, and could have read a conjunction into a horoscope. But, if the Magi were from Parthia, which is more likely, they did not have the technology yet to follow conjunctions. Ancient horoscopes in general were more for living important people, and not as a future prophecy for an unknown leader to be. If they did there is no known evidence for this, if there is I have not found it, and would like to see it. Many proponents of conjunction just assume the ancients had this technology, so they did it. But, as a historian I want to see actual sources from the time that prove conjunctions were uses as used for prophecy. As for today, some Christians have used conjunctions to predict prophecy and end times discourse. I do not, and do not understand how this fad started. Nowhere in the Bible or Talmud are conjunctions used to predict or warn the people. Prophecy given by God to the Jews was done through dreams, angles, or God directly speaking to people, and never through interpretations of conjunctions. But, today some are using the signs in the heavens to justify current or future events. The alignment of Jupiter and Venus are not signs from God, only natural occurrences. But, people can use the flexibility of conjunctions to proclaim them as "signs" for the second coming of Jesus or events from Revelation.
Problems with Rick Larson"s theory:
According to Larson, a triple conjunction started on September 11, 3 BCE, which he believes is the Conception of Jesus. This is the first meeting of Jupiter and Regulus (looking east). Regulus is the brightest star in Leo and thought to be very special. The nation of Israel is often referred to as the “Lion of Judah,” so this meeting would have been important. Then, nine months (the duration of a pregnancy) later, on June 17, 2 BCE, Jupiter and Venus (the planet of mothers) met in Leo (over Israel this would have been in the west), and it would have been a very bright “star” indeed. This would have marked the birth of Jesus. Then on December 25, 2 BCE, if you were in Jerusalem looking south toward Bethlehem, Jupiter would be “standing” in Virgo, the constellation of the Virgin (Mary being a virgin). Larson believes that this was the day the Magi would have visited the baby Jesus.
Major flaws here include; First, many nations are represented by lions, its too easy to speculate. Second, most historians agree that Herod died in 4 BCE, thus Jesus could not have been born after that. Third, Herod's sons date the beginning of their reigns as 4 BCE. Herod, a mega-manic, would not have shared his reign with anyone. His sons would have to wait for him die. Finally, there are no primary sources from this time that mention anything special about the 3 BCE alignment. I know many Christians have watched Larson's documentary have been inspired by it, but his research is not valid, and way too much speculation is involved for any real historian to use.
Greeting all, this week I will be examining possible candidates for the the Star of Bethlehem. Don't forget to check the new blog on occultations below this post.The first is Conjunctions. From The Essence of Perfection:
Many scholars have suggested that the Magi were following a planetary alignment that led them to Bethlehem. But, many Christians prefer not to recognize anything that astrology has to offer. Perhaps if St. Augustine, whose influence on Western thought is as great as anyone’s, had not had such a love-hate relationship with astrology, then more Christians would take a more liberal approach to it and not cast it as an instrument of the Devil. It has been suggested by many scholars searching for a meaning to the Star of Bethlehem that is was not a “star” at all, but an astrological sign or a planet, perhaps Venus or Jupiter. But there are problems with this theory. The Magi more than likely would have been very familiar with these heavenly bodies and would not have mistaken them for a “star.” However, there is a case to be made that the star was a conjunction of two or more planets. Conjunctions occur when planets, which travel roughly along the same circle through the sky, pass each other.
Conjunctions are rather common and would not seem to be a significant enough event to send the Magi on a five-hundred-mile, or much longer, trip to Jerusalem. However, a triple conjunction may have excited the Magi. This occurs when a planet appears to travel backward in the sky in a movement known as retrograde motion. In retrograde motion, two planets pass each other, then one backs up and they pass each other again, and finally, they pass each other a third time as normal forward movement is resumed. The triple conjunction hypothesis appealed to many scholars because in Matthew the star somehow stood over Bethlehem to guide the Magi. This could indicate that it was an object in retrograde.
Retrograde motion may seem like a difficult subject to understand. But it is a natural occurrence. The next time you pass a car on the highway you will notice from your vantage point that the car, while traveling in the same direction as you, appears for a moment to be traveling backward. This is retrograde or retrogradation. The same phenomenon may be observed with planets, except that instead of watching from your car, you are watching from the Earth. Christopher Crockett neatly sums up the concept in an online article for EarthSky.org:
Typically, the planets shift slightly eastward from night to night, drifting slowly against the backdrop of the stars. From time to time, however, they change direction. For a few months, they’ll head west before turning back around and resuming their easterly course. Their westward motion is called retrograde motion by astronomers. Though it baffled ancient stargazers, we know now that retrograde motion is an illusion caused by the motion of the Earth and these planets around the sun.
A triple conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn occurred in 7 BCE and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Star of Bethlehem. Making the display even more impressive was a massing (a massing is when several planets move into close proximity in the sky) of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn that immediately followed the conjunction. The conjunctions and massing also occurred in the constellation of Pisces, which was often identified with the Jews. In December of 1996, Craig Chester wrote in an article for Imprimis about the possibility of a conjunction being the Star of Bethlehem:
According to him, “In 3 B.C. And 2 B.C., there was a series of close conjunctions involving Jupiter, the planet that represented kingship, coronations and the birth of kings. In Hebrew, Jupiter was known as Sedeg or “Righteousness,” a term also used for the Messiah.
176 Christopher Crockett, "What is retrograde motion?" EarthSky, February 6, 2017, http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-retrograde-motion.
177 Craig Chester, “Star of Bethlehem.” Imprimis 22(12) (December 1993): 1–7.
For more on the difference between conjunctions and occultations go NASA.gov
One of the popular theories about the Star of Bethlehem is that it was a occultation. From the book The Essence of Perfection:
An astronomical occultation is when one larger astrological object moves in the front of, or occults, another. Astronomer Michael R. Molnar, who is retired from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Rutgers University, has made a detailed case for his theory that the Star of Bethlehem, may have been a pair of astrologically significant lunar occultations. An occultation occurs when the Moon passes in front of another body, making it disappear from the sky. He writes of the Moon’s occultations of Jupiter in Aries on March 20 and April 17, 6 BCE, in his book, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi. According to Molnar, the occultations signaled to the Magi that a “King of the Jews” was about to be born in Palestine. Hence, they soon embarked on one of the epic treks of the New Testament, with gifts in hand for the new king.
On Friday I will examine Molnar's theory further.
To everyone following thank you, I'am enjoying blogging about this topic. If you are new I would read the bottom blogs first in order to better understand. Read the Integral Idea blog, everything relates to that in some way. It is at the previous page link on the bottom of this page.
On Wednesday, I will be exploring some of the more popular astronomical objects that scholars in the past have thought could be the Star of Bethlehem. This week I will focusing on conjunctions and osculations. Next week I will be examining Novas and Comets.
On Friday, I will critiquing two of the more popular theories on the Star. The first is a documentary done by Rick Larson, and the second is a book by Michael Molnar. Both are flawed. If you are a follower of either one, sorry. I call them as I see them.
On December 10, I be announcing the 5 winners of the free book contest. Remember the contest is for twitter followers. If you want to win follow me on twitter before December 10. Winners will be asked to provide a mailing address if they want their prize. I will not be using any mailing addresses for any spam or junk mail, only mailing the prizes.
On December 24, I will make my big announcement of the year on what I believe to be the Star of Bethlehem. Following along until then will make much more sense. As always, GO WITH GOD!
Luke informs us that one month after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. Once there, two witnesses came forward to predict the future of Jesus. Both were very devote, and more than likely knew of the tradition of prophets being born and dying during the month of Passover, and more specifically Issac being born and dying during Passover. From The Essence of Perfection:
In Jewish tradition, this was not uncommon; in fact, it was customary for parents to take their firstborn males to the Temple. This is because in Exodus 13:1–2 “the Lord said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.’” This meant that every firstborn son was to become the family priest, in charge of sacrifices for every member of the family. But, after the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites committed the serious sin of the Golden Calf, in which only the tribe of Levi were not guilty. Numbers 3:11–12 informs us that, because of this, God decreed that the Levites were his and were to take the place of the firstborn sons of Israel. In Numbers 18:15, the Lord ordered that that the firstborn of any woman not from the tribe of Levi or a priest had to be redeemed from service to God by paying five shekels of silver one month after birth to a Temple priest.
Thus, as tradition called for, Jesus, who was from the tribe of Judah, was to undergo the Pidyon HaBen, meaning “the Redemption of the firstborn son.” In the traditional ceremony, Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple 31 days after birth. He would next have to respond to a ritual set of questioning indicating that this was Mary’s firstborn son. This also required him to redeem the newborn Jesus by paying the five silver shekels to the Temple priest, followed by a sacrifice of two young pigeons.
By preforming this ritual and receiving the five shekel offering, the Levites took the place of Jesus as a priest. Later it was the Levites who offered Jesus to the cross. The irony is that Jesus could never be a Temple priest or preform important day-to-day rituals there because he was not a Levite, but his death in 30 CE and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE allowed him to become more than a priest. Jesus must have had something other than the role of high priest to aspire to.
Perhaps it was a combination of the testimony of the visiting Magi, Simeon and Anna at the Temple and Old Testament prophesy that inspired the young Jesus to become a prophet himself. If Simeon and Anna, who were elderly and worshiped on a regular basis at the Temple, were aware of the integral existence mentioned in the Talmud, then they also would have been aware of any future prophets being born during Passover and presented to the priest as part of the redemption of the firstborn son only 31 days after the Passover celebrations. Thus, their testimonies are important and they are the perfect witnesses. There must have been something special about Jesus; he more than likely did not have a halo over his head as depicted in Renaissance paintings, and probably would have looked like any other 31-day-old newborn, but the presence of signs in the night sky, the fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the prophesy found in the Talmud may have aided Simeon and Anna in making their prediction of great things for Jesus.
We know from Luke,
One question that bothered me in this quest was why would Mary travel to Bethlehem when so close to delivering Jesus? Luke informs us that Joseph needed to travel to Bethlehem for a census, Matthew does not give a reason. Some theologians have suggested that Joseph owned land in Bethlehem or had some other type of connection. It may have been that they were living in Bethlehem at the time, we really do not for sure. But, if they did not would Mary risk being a part of Passover in her condition? The Talmud informs us that the Temple had a special section for women to gather, and yes pregnant women were involved with Passover. From The Essence of Perfection:
The Talmud mentions that pregnant women were close enough to the Temple during times of worship that they could smell the sacrifices. In Avot 5:8, it is acknowledged, “Ten miracles were wrought in the Sanctuary: No woman miscarried from the scent of the holy meat, and the holy meat never stank . . . and a man never said to his fellow, “The place is too strait for me to lodge in Jerusalem.”[Hence, according to this passage, even women close to birth had a special place to worship. Never too strait refers to the fact that rooms to stay in were always available. Therefore, women were an important part of Temple worship, and a special place was set aside for them, as shown in the map above.
The verse is from Rabbi Nathan, although scholars believe the commentary was not written by him, only attributed to him, just as many books of the New Testament are thought to be attributed. The commentary suggests that pregnant women were part of the celebration, even though it was believed that the smell of burnt meat could cause a miscarriage. There were even special areas were the women met. The Temple included several courts, one for gentiles, one for women, one for men, and one for the Priest, and of course above the Court of the Priest from the Heikal (Temple) was the Holy of Holies, or Debir, where the Ark of the Covenant once stood.
This passage from the Talmud also informs us that rooms were available in Jerusalem throughout holy weeks, something Luke disagrees with. Therefore, if the Nativity occurred during the holy week of Passover, it was possible for Joseph and Mary to find a room in nearby Bethlehem, as recounted in Matthew. The city of Jerusalem was always full of people at Passover. James Charlesworth informs us in the introduction to Jesus and Temple: Textual and Archaeological Explorations, “The thousands of priests and the treasures demanded a Temple police. They also controlled the crowds that could become mobs during the festivals, especially at Pesach (Passover), when Jerusalem frequently tripled in size." This could also explain why Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, somewhat away from the possible Passover crowds, since Matthew does not give a precise reason for the young couple to be in Bethlehem, like the census spoken of in Luke. Tradition, although questioned by some scholars, holds that Joseph was from Bethlehem, and this might further explain why the young couple were in that town.
It was demanded in the Torah (Deut. 16:16, Exod. 23:14) that every Jew make a pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Temple three times a year—at Passover, 50 days later at Shavuot (also known as Pentecost or Feast of the Weeks), and in the autumn at Sukkot (also known as Tabernacles or Festival of the Booths). Jews living far away, or in Galilee, were required to make a pilgrimage only once a year. If the account given in Matthew did happen during a Passover celebration, and Joseph did own property in the city, this might explain why Jesus was born there. We may never know for sure. This missing information, or lack of information, by the authors of Luke and Matthew later affected the date for the Nativity. Tomorrow's post will examine the prophecy of Simeon and Anna, mentioned in Luke, after they meet the infant Jesus at the Temple. Until then, GO WITH GOD!
114 Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, 2765.
115 James H. Charlesworth, ed., Jesus and Temple: Textual and Archaeological Explorations (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014), 10.
Greetings all, thanks for the continued interest in this blog! For the new people just joining I would suggest reading earlier blogs. Pay close attention to the blog about the integral idea. Most of my blogs originate or have something to do with this interesting verse stated in the Talmud.
This week I will be blogging about the birth of John the Baptist. Over the last week, I have come across many tweets and internet sites proclaiming the birth of Jesus in the month of September. In my book I do not address this topic, but I will update the book based mainly on what I am blogging here. The September birthday of Jesus has flaws. Unfortunately, once the flawed information gets out, it is echoed across the world in a matter of seconds and takes on a life of its own. Quite often Christians are good natured and accept whatever is posted in a positive way, such as evidence as the existence of Jesus, as true because the name Jesus is mentioned. As a historian I do not. The September birth theory is based on Luke 1: 5-26. Luke 1: 5-26 from the New American Standard Bible, states:
Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.
24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
Jesus' Birth Foretold
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
Thus, historians know that Jesus was 6 months younger then John the Baptist. This is where things get misconstrued. Based on information for the Talmud, we know Zacharias' duty was over in late June. But, Luke only mentions that "after these days" that Elizabeth became pregnant. Therefore, as a historian I can not use this as evidence for when Jesus was born. Was "after these days" suppose to mean days, weeks, or months. Unfortunately, some have calculated a Passover birth for John, and a September birth for Jesus. For Friday's blog think about these two questions. First, why would Mary travel to Bethlehem when so close to delivery? Second, how important are Simeon and Anna's predictions of greatness for Jesus? Until then, GO WITH GOD!
Greetings all! My last post showed the wisdom of the Talmud, but most Christians do not know what it was or who or when it was written. From my book:
The Talmud is second only to Torah as the most sacred and influential written work for Jews. Judaism considers studying Talmud full-time to be one of the most honorable occupations an individual can perform. Adin Steinsaltz de-scribes the Talmud as follows:
The Talmud has two main components: the Mish-nah, a book of law written in Hebrew; and commentary on the Mishnah, known as the Talmud (or Gemarah), in the limited sense of the word, a summary of discussions and elucidations of the Mishnah written in Aramaic-Hebrew jargon . . . The Talmud is the repository of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom, and the oral law, which is as ancient and significant as the written law (the Torah), finds expression therein.
Author Morris Adler notes its complexity:
The Talmud is not a code though it contains cases laws and legal decisions. It is not history though it abounds in historical information and is so indispensable a source-book for the period it covers that those who have written of that era without adequate knowledge of the Talmud have been invariably betrayed into error. It is not a biographical dictionary though sages and scholars are cited in it . . . It is not an anthropological treatise, yet is a mine of folklore. It is not a theological tract though Rabbinic thought is a major element in the Jewish outlook. It does not present us with a philosophical system, yet perceptive students have found an organic unity underlying its rich diversity . . . It is not a book neither of religion nor of history nor of ethic nor of philosophy, yet each of these disciplines and others are embraced by it. Indeed, the Talmud is not a book at all. It may more appropriately be described as a literature.
Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, was handed down from God to Moses. For Jews, the Torah is the written Law of God. The Torah is also referred to as the Pentateuch, from the Greek word, penta- plus -teuch, meaning five books. According to some sources, during the third century BCE, a group of 72 Jewish scholars, six selected from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, translated the first part of the Hebrew Bible into Greek for the Hellenized Jews living in Egypt—a translation that was called the Septuagint. The Talmud, the other great book of Judaism, was also first spoken to Moses by God and, as I have noted, at first passed down orally.
6 Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud (New York: Basic Books, 1976), 4.
7 Adler Morris, The World of the Talmud (New York: Schocken Books, 1963), 16.
I have found many post and blogs on the web stating that the Talmud was written from 2 CE to 8 CE. That may be true, but it was based on much older Jewish oral traditions. Similar to ancient Native American narratives that were written down in the 1800s. The laws are very old, and most likely just as old as the Bible. The reason it was written down was because after the Roman rebellion, that lead to the destruction of the Temple, Jews realized they were about to be dispersed and may lose the wisdom of the Talmud. The result was a written version of the oral laws, including the integral idea and the belief in eclipses being bad signs. It also contains the commentary of the 2nd century Rabbis who wrote down the oral laws. Some of their comments were very hostile to Christians and Jesus. From The Essence of Perfection:
Over the next few centuries, some of the more unflattering suggestions made throughout the Talmud contributed to Christian negativity. According to James Parkes, the few references to the life of Christ mentioned included the following:
Jesus was the illegitimate child of a soldier called Panthera. He performed His miracles by Magic, which He had learnt in Egypt. After His death, which was a legal condemnation in which He was given every chance to prove His innocence, His body was stolen by His disciples in order to invent the story of the Resurrection. He was a ‘deceiver of Israel’ and His teaching was evil.
Before the destruction of the Temple, there still remained a small amount of civility between Christians and Jews, but that was short-lived. Their separation most likely occurred sometime after the Gospel of Matthew was written. Matthew provides evidence that Jesus desired his followers to observe the Law of Moses. In Matthew 5:17–18, Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Most scholars place the writing of Matthew after 70 CE and as late as 110. Perhaps its selection in the New Testament occurred during a time of struggle between the two religions. Whatever the case, the Torah would remain a staple of Christianity, while the Talmud was to become a more contentious issue. It must be remembered that the Talmud was just starting to be translated from oral to written around the time of, or soon after, Matthew.
According to Parkes, it was the non-Jews who created the rift: “Had the Judeo-Christians been the only members of the new faith, the breach between them and the Jews might have been healed, for they also desired to observe the Law.”[Therefore it was the Gentile Christians who were ignoring the Law.
This relationship became even more strained by the second century, when most of the Christian leaders were Gentiles. It was no wonder that Christians had no desire for Jesus to be connected to Judaism, as attacks against Jesus mounted in the Talmud and other Jewish writings, and Jews would not even consider Jesus a Jewish prophet. To them, his life and death were just another magician’s trick, and as Messiah he failed to end Roman rule.
20 James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (Cleveland, Median Books, 1964), 109.
21 Ibid, 77.
Thus, even today many Christian refuse to have anything to do with the Talmud. We must remember that what was written by the Rabbis was done because they were human, and worried that Judaism may be destroyed by a Roman Empire under the control of the Christian Church. The Rabbis were under competition and later persecutions from Christians. When Christianity became the official, and only, religion of the Empire the Talmud was banned and burned. This was the same time the Integral Idea never became the significant philosophical concept it should have. Next week I will blog about two questions pertaining to the Nativity that I did further research on, and found some interesting facts. In the upcoming weeks I will explore the Nativity and provide a reasonable date that correspond with the Integral Idea. Until next week GO WITH GOD!
14 years ago I became interested in the date that Jesus was born. This led to several years of research, I quickly realized that there was no valid information that provided any real answers to this question. Since this website is getting some interest I will post from time to time some of the information I learned during this quest.