Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

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Giuseppe
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Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

Post by Giuseppe »

Marcion wanted a new and recent event, since his same Good God was a new (otherwise "unknown") deity, hence he would have placed Jesus under Pilate, well 100 years before his Evangelion. Against the Marcionite novelty intrinsic in a Pilate's Jesus, the Judaizers would have placed Jesus under Janneus, so making him not a new but an old thing, a character more from an Old Testament than from a New Testament, pace Marcion.


Aaron Adair makes a good point here:

But skipping past the non sequitur, Neal suggests three possibilities for why Jesus is placed in the time of Alexander Jannaeus (c. 127 – 76 BCE). One is that the scribe who wrote this down was mistaken. Second is that the Talmud is only talking about the Sanhedrin that was established by Alexander, so it’s not specific to a certain regal period. Third is that the Talmud moves Jesus to avoid persecution by the Christian authorities. Let’s consider the possibilities in order.

That there is a scribal error is unlikely because we find Jesus being described as under Alexander Jannaeus in multiple places in multiple books and in both Talmuds. That requires a coordinated error, which is no longer an error but a conspiracy. This will also skip past the fact that we have another source on this, which I’ll discuss below.

Second, that the text only means that it was the Sanhedrin established by Alexander is faulty because none of the story makes sense if this were true. In the Talmudic trial of Jesus, he is never handed over to the Roman authorities, as he was in the Gospel accounts; instead, he is tried and executed by the Jewish authorities, and most scholars say that this was impossible during Roman control of Judea–that the Romans had the monopoly on capital punishment at this time in Judea. In sources such as the Toledoth Jesu, a medieval counter-gospel, the timeframe is explicitly during and immediately after the reign of Jannaeus, and the trial of Jesus is during the time of his wife. In b. Talmud Sanhedrin 107b, we are told that Jesus was with Joshua ben Perachiah, who was the nasi in the 2nd century BCE. In fact, ben Perachiah and Jesus go to Egypt together to escape the wrath of King Jannaeus. Again, all of the contextual clues show that the story is placed in the days of Jannaeus. Neal’s way of interpreting the text is undone by looking at the details of the story.

Lastly, that the Talmud changed when Jesus lived to avoid persecution by the Roman Empire controlled by the Christians. This is an understandable fear for the Jews living under Roman dominion in the 4th/5th centuries when the Talmuds were put together. However, the fear of persecution from the Romans would only be notable in the Jerusalem Talmud; the Babylonian Talmud was, as the name suggests, composed in the vicinity of Babylon, under the control of the Persian Empire (specifically the Sassanid). Moreover, the change to the story is not a trivially small one, but the placing of Jesus a century earlier makes the tale completely different, because now it’s different people that Jesus interacts with (i.e., ben Perachiah) and under different political circumstances. This is not just a name-swap but a massive re-write.

But what really undermines all of these hypotheses is that there is also the mention of a group of Christians who believed Jesus was the last king of the line of David in the reign of Alexander Jannaeus. We see this explicitly in the writings of Epiphanius, Panarion 29.3, who describes the beliefs of the “Nazorians” who still followed Jewish laws and said Jesus is the Son of God. This is independent of the Talmud and even independent of mainstream Judaism, since these were Christians proclaiming Jesus as God’s son born in Bethlehem during Alexander’s reign. So, there is no way the scribes of the Talmud could have just happened to produce a chronological error identical to this Christian sect; nor would it make sense that they are all saying Jesus was actually killed by the Sanhedrin of Alexander and not the king himself, since Epiphanius is clear that Jesus was born specifically during Alexander’s reign; nor can it make sense that the date was moved to avoid Christian persecution because this was a belief of some Christians.

(my bold)

The connection Jesus/Janneus is born therefore in a Christian milieu. I see that even StephenGoranson concedes that:

I don't think Jesus lived in the time of Jannaeus, but some people thought so.
One possible, though uncertain, reason might have been a confusion between Jesus and the Qumran-text-view "Teacher of Righteousness," who may indeed have lived at that time.


The "Uncertaintist"'s only two objections fail to persuade me. The first objection is this:

We never do find out what the Nazoreans think about any of that, but Epiphanius does tell us (at 29.9) that the sect accepts the entire Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew (except possibly for the genealogy; Epiphanius says he doesn’t know about that). According to Matthew, Herod rules Judea when Jesus is born, not Alexander. The Nazoreans’ views as Epiphanius presents them would therefore fail to explain the apparent anomaly, even if Epiphanius were talking about the Nazoreans in subsection 29.3, which he isn’t.

This objection assumes that the Hebrew Matthew used by the Nazoreans was similar to our Matthew, but there is a strong reason to doubt that that was the case:
Justin appears to know and quote from pre-canonical gospels that are judaizing in character just as our Matthew is, but without sharing the same content of Matthew. It is therefore probable that the Gospel of the Nazoreans was one of the lost pre-canonical gospels known by Justin.

The second objection is that the sense would change if we change the Epiphanius's punctuation in our modern translation, but Aaron Adair is correct in declaring the obvious: a claim is there that Jesus was born under Janneus. Totally beyond of any possible punctuation.

It is an argument from the Extreme Improbability of a Coincidence, that a Christian claim and a Talmudic claim report the same chronology "only by chance". Which makes ultimately of Christian origin the same claim that Jesus was born under Janneus.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

Post by Giuseppe »

This says us also that Marcion was not "a Jew" insofar his Good God was "unknown" to Jews by his own admission. Otherwise he would have received a name, which is not the case.
andrewcriddle
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Re: Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

Post by andrewcriddle »

There is a discussion of Epiphanius and the “Nazorians” at viewtopic.php?f=3&t=872&p=18637

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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

Post by Giuseppe »

A clue to the connection Jesus/Janneus being a reaction against the "new" Jesus of Marcion (= the Jesus placed under Pilate), is precisely the presence, in the Gospel of the Nazoreans, of a birth story.

On this point, I am faithful to my hermeneutical principle, that where there is a birth (Galatians 4:4, pocket gospel of the Ascension of Isaiah, Luke, Matthew, and now the same Gospel of the Nazoreans) , there is an anti-marcionite hand.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

Post by Giuseppe »

Another clue to to the connection Jesus/Janneus being a reaction against the "new" Jesus of Marcion (= the Jesus placed under Pilate), is that, if StephenGoranson is correct in identifying Alexander Janneus with the "impious priest" enemy of the Teacher of Righteousness, then Jesus himself would be the Teacher of Righteousness and therefore, as the argument goes, Jesus would be a perfect example of the Justice (=Righteousness) of the creator god, the same god (YHWH) denigrated as "the Just one" by Marcion.

Remember that also James was called "the Just" by Hegesippus contra Marcion, per Markus Vinzent.
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Re: Was Jesus placed under Janneus against Marcion?

Post by StephenGoranson »

To be clear, I consider that the Qumran-text-view Teacher of Righteousness was Judah the Essene, a contemporary of Jannaeus, as explained in
"Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene"

https://people.duke.edu/~goranson/jannaeus.pdf

and elsewhere.
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