Toledot Yeshu in Context
The Jewish "Life of Jesus" in Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History
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Publisher: JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck)
Number of Pages: 366
Width: 24.2 cm
Height: 16.5 cm
The Jewish "Life of Jesus" or Toledot Yeshu provides one of the most extraordinary accounts of the beginnings of Christianity. The narrative describes Jesus as child born of adultery, a charlatan, and a false prophet who performed would-be miracles through the use of magic. Throughout the centuries, the story aroused the ire of anti-Jewish polemicists, delighted anti-clerical authors, and was viewed by Jewish scholars as a subject of embarrassment. Toledot Yeshu presents us with a formidable counter-history of the origins of Christianity. In the eighteenth century, Voltaire went so far as to proclaim that Toledot Yeshu, however extravagant, was perhaps more truthful than the Christian gospels. The object of this volume is to consider this narrative as an object of history, to question its transmission, reception and function within the various historical settings in which it circulated, and seek to understand its meaning for both Jews and non-Jews from antiquity to the modern era.