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The Person Of Christ by Philip Schaff


The Talmud (tlmvd, i.e. Doctrine, Book of Doctrines, Corpus Doctrinæ), that immense depository of Jewish theology and jurisprudence, of Rabbinical wisdom and folly, embracing twelve large folio volumes, for good reasons, no doubt, has very little to say about Christ and his religion, which is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and without which the Old Testament is a sealed book.

The first part, called the Mishna (i.e. Repetition, viz. of the law), which comprehends the oral traditions and Rabbinical expositions of the law from about 400 before to about 200 after Christ's birth, says not a word about Christianity, although it includes the sayings of many Rabbins of the first century, and was composed, according to Dr. Jost, about the year 230, in the city of Tiberias, on the Lake of Galilee, where Jesus lived and taught.

The second part of the Talmud, called the Gemara (i.e. Conclusion, viz. of Rabbinical wisdom), or the Talmud proper, is a vast collection of the Rabbinical expositions of the Mishna, which again became a subject of investigation and interpretation. There are two Gemaras, -- that of Jerusalem, compiled in Palestine about A.D.390; and that of Babylon, compiled about A.D.500, under the supervision of the Patriarch of Babylon. Both these Gemaras -- the Palestinian and the Babylonian -- allude to Jesus and the apostles, but very briefly, in a few passages, in a bitter and malignant spirit, yet admitting the miracles of Jesus, although they derive them from evil spirits, like the Pharisees in the Gospels. According to the Gemara, Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary (a hairdresser) and a man variously called Pandira, Stada, and Papus (a soldier); learned the magical arts in Egypt, practiced them in Palestine; and for this reason, as well as for seducing and instigating the Israelites, he was crucified on the day preceding the Passover. We have here evidently a malignant perversion and indirect admission of the facts of the supernatural conception, the flight to Egypt, the miracles, and the crucifixion of our Saviour.

At a later period, the Jewish hatred of Christianity produced an infamous book, entitled |Toldoth Jeschu,| i.e. the |Birth or History of Jesus,| where the Talmudic tradition, especially the wretched slander about the birth of our Saviour, and the most absurd fables, are related with malignant hatred. Even according to this miserable production, Christ performed miracles; not, however, by an art acquired in Egypt, as the Talmud and Celsus assert, but by pronouncing the holy name of Jehovah, which was a secret known only to the founder of Christianity. In a very different sense, Christ has indeed made known the name of the only true and living God.

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