Monday, April 02, 2007
DID THE JEWS SEE JESUS AS A MAGICIAN ?
According to the Come and Hear website, they did:
Jesus Was a Magician
According to The Jewish Encyclopedia, Jesus was often accused by the Talmudists of performing magic.It is the tendency of all these sources to belittle the person of Jesus by ascribing to him illegitimate birth, magic, and a shameful death …
Magic may have been ascribed him over against the miracles recorded in the Gospels …
The sojourn of Jesus in Egypt is an essential part of the story of his youth. According to the Gospels he was in that country in his early infancy, but Celsus says that he was in service there and learned magic …
According to Celsus (in Origen, “Contra Celsum,” i. 28) and to the Talmud (Shab. 104b), Jesus learned magic in Egypt and performed his miracles by means of it; the latter work, in addition, states that he cut the magic formulas into his skin. It does not mention, however, the nature of his magic performances (Tosef., Shab. xi. 4; Yer. Shab. 18d); but as it states that the disciples of Jesus healed the sick “in the name of Jesus Pandera” (Yer. Shab. 14d; Ab. Zarah 27b; Eccl. R. i. 8) it may be assumed that its author held the miracles of Jesus also to have been miraculous cures. Different in nature is the witchcraft attributed to Jesus in the “Toledot.” When Jesus was expelled from the circle of scholars, he is said to have returned secretly from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he inserted a parchment containing the “declared name of God” (“Shem ha-Meforash”), which was guarded in the Temple, into his skin, carried it away, and then, taking it out of his skin, he performed his miracles by its means. This magic formula then had to be recovered from him, and Judah the Gardener (a personage of the “Toledot” corresponding to Judas Iscariot) offered to do it; he and Jesus then engaged in an aerial battle (borrowed from the legend of SIMON MAGUS), in which Judah remained victor and Jesus fled.
The accusation of magic is frequently brought against Jesus. Jerome mentions it, quoting the Jews: “Magum vocant et Judaei Dominum meum” (“Ep. 1v., ad Ascellam,” i. 196, ed. Vallarsi); Marcus, of the sect of the Valentinians, was, according to Jerome, a native of Egypt, and was accused of being, like Jesus, a magician (Hilgenfeld, “Ketzergesch.” p. 870, Leipsic, 1884). The accusation of magic is frequently brought against Jesus … As Balaam the magician and, according to the derivation of his name, "destroyer of the people", was from both of these points of view a good prototype of Jesus, the latter was also called "Balaam" …
Jesus performed all his miracles by means of magic …
— The Jewish Encyclopedia (26)
So Elizabeth Dilling is on firm ground believing that the passage stating that Balaam "performed magic by means of his membrum" refers to Jesus of Nazareth.
Healing Hurt Feelings
Too many have glossed over the problems between Jews and Christians, but America is fortunate to have a rabbi who is willing to broach the subject. That rabbi is Schmuley Boteach, a popularizer of Judaism and the author of more than a dozen books, including Judaism for Everyone.
In a section of that book, entitled "Jewish Contempt for Other Nations," Rabbi Boteach first mentions the abuse that Jews have suffered at the hands of Christians. He continues:Second, the Jews felt that, in Christianity, their core teachings had been perverted and abused. They read some of the New Testament's insidious attacks against them and wondered how a book claiming divine authorship can be so blatantly anti-Semitic. Although Christianity stemmed from Jewish origin, it took the concept of the Jewish God and associated it with a man; took the concept of sacrifice and associated it with a human sacrifice. Christianity took their cherished Torah and said that it had been superseded by a new testament. And finally, it took the concept of the chosen nation itself, claimed that the Jews had been abandoned by God, and called themselves the new Israel. Jews reacted in outrage. The Jews withdrew from mainstream Christian society. Christians' burning Jews at the stake as heretics would do little to make them draw closer.
— Rabbi Boteach (15)
Two pages later, Rabbi Boteach writes of the healing process:Although Christianity was the enemy of Jews and Judaism for nearly two millennia, times have changed. The Vatican, under the current pope, a true friend of the Jewish people, has granted diplomatic recognition to the State of Israel, and Christian fundamentalists in the United States are among the State of Israel's most trusted backers.
— Rabbi Boteach (16)
Notice that when Rabbi Boteach refers to "the New Testament's insidious attacks," he does not mention the name of the person who launched the insidious attacks. That person who launched the attack against the Pharisaic Jews (Rabbi Boteach's religious ancestors) was of course, Jesus of Nazareth.
The Jewish Encyclopedia entry for Magic provides this quote:
This ingrained belief in magic infected even the scholars; for although they did not practise witchcraft for gain or for unlawful ends, they occasionally counteracted black magic by white. They were even able to create a calf when they needed food (ib. pp. 26 et seq.). Healing by means of white magic is not condemned except when the means employed are pagan or idolatrous. Many scholars consumed men with a glance, or reduced them to a heap of bones, but since this magic was regarded as a punishment for sins which had been committed, the passages of the Talmud which mention it take no exception to it (Blau, l.c. pp. 49-61). Exorcism also flourished, although not as widely as in Judæo-Christian circles (Acts viii. 9, xiii. 6-9). Jesus was regarded in the Talmud and by the ancient world generally as a magician (Sanh. 106b; Soṭah 47b; see Jesus in Jewish Legend). The Greco-Roman world regarded the Jews as a race of magicians (Juvenal, vi. 542-547; Suidas, s.v. 'Eζεκίασ, et passim).(emphasis mine)
There is another passage in this same entry that would seem to locate the Kabbalah within the Hasidic Jewish Community at the time of the publication of the Encyclopedia:
In view of the authority which the Talmud possessed for posterity the magic in it could not but influence later generations. There is no doubt that the majority of the theurgic and magic elements in the post-Talmudic literature which Jellinek collected in his "Bet ha-Midrash," date from Talmudic, and in part even from pre-Talmudic, times (see Gnosticism). This may be assumed also for the magical portions of the geonic literature in general, especially as the Geonim lived and worked in Babylonia. This ancient magic, blended with Hellenistic and medieval European elements, was incorporated in the "practical Cabala." At the close of the Middle Ages the Cabala influenced the Jewish and the Christian world alike. The "Nishmat Ḥayyim" of Manasseh ben Israel, chief rabbi in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, is filled with superstition and magic, and many Christian scholars were deluded. The evil deeply and widely infected the people, and is still active, especially among the Ḥasidim. See Abracadabra; Abraxas; Asmodeus; Astrology; Asusa; Augury; Balaam; Bibliomancy; Blessing and Cursing; Cursing; Death; Folk-Medicine; Hermes, Books of; Liver; Necromancy; etc.
This, then, would be the sort of material taken up by Eliphas Levi and the Paris occultists, and subsequently by Aleister Crowley. It would be the sort of material being used today within occult organizations, presumably such as the O.T.O. It would apparently also be the sort of material taken up by Opus Angelorum that Cardinal Ratzinger fought so hard to get them to eradicate.