Toledoth Jeshu

Toledoth Jeshu (תֹּלדוֹת ישׁוּ, i.e. History of Jesus). Under this title a Jewish apocryphal work, or rather libel, is extant, purporting to give the history of Jesus. It first became known to Christians in the 13th century; but who was the author of the Toledoth Jeshu is not known. In reality, we have two such books, each called Toledoth Jeshu, not recensions of an earlier text, but independent collections of the stories circulating among the Jews relative to the life of Christ. The name of Jesus, which in Hebrew is Joshua'or Jehoshua, is in both contracted into Jeshu by the dropping of an Ain, ישוֹ for ישוע Elias in Tishbi, s.v." Jeshu," says, "Because the Jews will not acknowledge him to be the Savior, they do not call him Jeshua, but reject the Ain and call him Jeshu." Rabbi Abraham Perizol, or Farrissol, in his book Maggen Abraham, c. 59, says, "His name was Jeshua, but as'rabbi Moses Mairnonides has written it, and as we find it throughout the Talmud, it is written Jeshu. They have carefully left out the Ain because he was not able to save himself." By omitting the Ain, the Cabalists gave a signification to the name. In its curtailed form it is composed of the letters Jod, Shin, Vav, which are taken to stand for שמו וזכרונו ימה, i.e. "his name and remembrance shall be extinguished." This is the reason given in the Toledoth Jeshu.

The Toledoth Jeshu was known to Luther, who condensed it in. his Schenz Iamphoras (see his Werke [Hemberg, 1566], 5, 509-535), as the following passage (p. 515) will show, "The proud evil spirit carries on all sorts of mockery in this book. First he mocks God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and his Son Jesus Christ, as you may see for yourself, if you believe as a Christian that Christ is the Son of God. Next he mocks us, all Christendom, in that we believe in such a Son of God. Thirdly, he mocks his own fellow Jews, telling them such disgraceful, foolish, senseless affairs, as of brazen dogs and cabbage-stalks and such like, enough to make all dogs bark themselves to death, if they could understand it, at such a pack of idiotic, blustering, raging, nonsensical fools. Is not that a masterpiece of mockery which can thus work all three at once? The fourth mockery is this, that whoever wrote it has made a fool of himself, as we, thank God, may see any day." Voltaire also knew the work; for in his Lettres sur les Juifs (Euvres, 1, 69, p. 36) he says, "Le Toledos Jeschu est le plus ancien ecrit Juif qui nous ait etd transmis contre notre religion. C'est ulie vie de Jesus Christ, toute contraire a nos Saints Evangiles elle parait tre du premier siecle, et meme ecrite avant les evangiles." He evidently seems to identify this work with the one mentioned by Justin Martyr in his colloquy with Tryphon, 17:108. Of the two widely differing recension of this book of unknown authorship, the first edition was published by Wagenseil, in his Tela Ignea Satanae, etc. (Altdorf, 1681); the second by Huldrich, at Leyden, in 1705, under the title Histo ia Jeschuce Nazareni, a'Judceis Blaspheme Corrupta. Neither can boast of an antiquity greater than, at the outside, the 12th century. It is difficult to say with certainty, which is the earlier of the two. Probably both came into use about the same time; the second certainly in Germany, for it speaks of Worms in the German empire. According to the first, Jesus was born in the year of the world 4671 =B.C. 910, in the reign of Alexander Jannseus (B.C. 106-79)! According to the second, he was born in the reign of Herod the Proselyte, i.e. B.C. 704. A comparison of both shows so many gross anachronisms as to prove that they were drawn up at a very late date, and by Jews singularly ignorant of the chronology of their history. As to the contents, its blasphemies are too gross and grotesque to need further notice. Being a late and detestable compilation, put together out of fragmentary. Talmudic legends, all respectable Jews themselves have regarded it as utterly contemptible.

Besides the editions of Wagenseil and Huldrich, see Clemens, Die geheimgehaltenen oder spenannten apokryo phischen Evangelien (Stuttg. 1850), pt 5; Aim, Die Urtheile heidnischer undjüdischer Schrif tsteller der vier ersten christlichen Jah rhunderte iiber Jesus und die ersten Christen (Leips.'1864), p. 137 sq.; Baring-Gould, The Lost and Hostile Gospels (Lond. 1874), p. 67 sq.; De'Rossi, Dizionario Storico (Germ. transl.), p. 316 sq. SEE JESUS CHRIST. (B. P.)

Toleration is the allowance given to that which is not approved. The Church, as the depository and dispenser of religious truth, cannot bring within the range of its theory the allowance of that which it holds to be an error. The Church of England holds (Art. vi) that it is not required of any man that anything should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation, which is not read in Holy Scripture or may not be proved thereby. . But if any man profess what is clearly contrary to that which the Church has laid down as an article of the faith, then, in the Church's view, he professes what is contrary to the Scripture, and there can be no warrant for allowing that which is contrary to Scripture. The Church, however, while refusing any allowance to error, may refrain from denunciation and persecution of those who profess and maintain erroneous doctrines. —Hook, Church Dict. s.v. SEE PERSECUTION.

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