Published in English.
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.
Survey of contentsDaniel Barbu/Yaacov Deutsch: Introduction: Reading Toledot Yeshu in Context – William Horbury: Titles and Origins of Toledot Yeshu – Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra: On Some Early Traditions in Toledot Yeshu and the Antiquity of the »Helena« Recension – Gavin McDowell: The Alternative Chronology: Dating the Events of the Wagenseil Version of Toledot Yeshu – Gideon Bohak: Jesus the Magician in the »Pilate« Recension of Toledot Yeshu – Sarit Kattan Gribetz: The Mothers in the Manuscripts: Gender, Motherhood, and Power in Toledot Yeshu – Alexandra Cuffel: Toledot Yeshu in the Context of Polemic and Sīra Literature in the Middle East from the Fatimid to the Mamluk Era – Jonatan M. Benarroch: »A Real Spark of Sama'el«: Kabbalistic Reading(s) of Toledot Yeshu – Daniel Barbu/Yann Dahhaoui: The Secret Booklet from Germany: Circulation and Transmission of Toledot Yeshu at the Borders of the Empire – Stephen Burnett: Martin Luther, Toledot Yeshu, and »the Rabbis« – Evi Michels: Yiddish Toledot Yeshu Manuscripts from the Netherlands – Claudia Rosenzweig: The »History of the Life of Jesus« in a Yiddish Manuscript from the Eighteenth Century (Ms. Jerusalem, NLI, Heb. 8° 5622) – Yonatan Moss: »I Am Not Writing an Apology«: Samuel Krauss's Das Leben Jesu in Context