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§ 30. Jewish Opposition. Josephus and the Talmud.


The hostility of the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees to the gospel is familiar from the New Testament. Josephus mentions Jesus once in his archaeology, but in terms so favorable as to agree ill with his Jewish position, and to subject the passage to the suspicion of interpolation or corruption.7272    Joseph. Antiqu. l. XVIII.c. 3, sect. 3. Comp. on this much disputed passage, vol. I., p. 92.1 His writings, however, contain much valuable testimony to the truth of the gospel history. His "Archaeology" throughout is a sort of fifth Gospel in illustration of the social and political environments of the life of Christ.7373    It is the special merit of Keim to have thoroughly utilized Josephus for the biography of Jesus.2 His "History of the Jewish War," in particular, is undesignedly a striking commentary on the Saviour’s predictions concerning the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, the great distress and affliction of the Jewish people at that time, the famine, pestilence, and earthquake, the rise of false prophets and impostors, and the flight of his disciples at the approach of these calamities.7474    These coincidences have been traced out in full by Lardner, Works, ed. Kippis, vol. VI. p. 406 ff.3

The attacks of the later Jews upon Christianity are essentially mere repetitions of those recorded in the Gospels—denial of the Messiahship of Jesus, and horrible vituperation of his confessors. We learn their character best from the dialogue of Justin with the Jew Trypho. The fictitious disputation on Christ by Jason and Papiscus, first mentioned by Celsus, was lost since the seventh century.7575    Ἱάσονος καὶ Παπίσκου ἄντιλογία περὶ Χριστοῦ. D. Origenes Contra Cels. IV. 51. Celsus says, that he read the book which defends the allegorical interpretation, with pity and hatred. Comp. Harnack, Altchristl. Literatur, vol. 1. (1882). p. 115 sqq.4 It seems to have been a rather poor apology of Christianity against Jewish objections by a Jewish Christian, perhaps by Aristo of Pella.

The Talmud is the Bible of Judaism separated from, and hostile to, Christianity, but it barely notices it except indirectly. It completed the isolation of the Jews from all other people.



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