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Post Info TOPIC: Jesus- Judas the Galilean- both are same


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Jesus- Judas the Galilean- both are same

Was Judas the Galilean the historical Jesus? 


1. Jesus was born in 8-4 BCE (Matthew) and in 6 CE at the Census of Cyrenius (Luke). Judas was mentioned by Josephus in 4 BCE, relating to the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing (Ant. 17.149-167) and in 6 CE, regarding the Census of Cyrenius (Ant. 18.1-10) The birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are both inconsistent with the reign of Pilate and the ministry of John the Baptist. For example, if Jesus were born in 4 BCE and died thirty-three years later, then he would have died around 30 CE, during the reign of Pilate but five years before John the Baptists death. (Ant. 18.116-119) If Jesus were born in 6 CE and died thirty-three years later, then he would have died in 39 CE, a few years after John the Baptist but two years after Pilate left Judea. Both accounts appear historically flawed. These two birth narratives were strategically placed in an era when Judas the Galilean’s ministry flourished. This deception moved the adult Jesus thirty years away from Judas the Galilean, thus hiding the Messiah’s true identity. This misdirection by the Gospel writers has worked brilliantly. Very few scholars have even considered Jesus outside of the 30 CE timeframe. This is even more disturbing considering Jesus’ brother, James, was purported to be ninety-six years old in 62 CE. Even if this slightly exaggerates his age by ten years, James’ birth date can be estimated at approximately 35-25 BCE. Jesus was the older brother and could not have been born any later than 25 BCE.


It should be asked: why would Matthew and Luke pick different dates for the Messiah’s birth? If one solid date existed, then both Gospel writers should have easily followed that lone date. However, if the writers were trying to present an alternate date, then it might have been possible for each to tie his birth date to a different event. Matthew tied his birth date to the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing while Luke used the Census of Cyrenius, the two major events in Judas the Galilean’s career.


2. This second coincidence relates to Matthew’s Star of Bethlehem story which was placed in 4 BCE (See number 1). In the Gospel of Matthew, the magi were drawn to Jerusalem by a star, near the end of Herod the Great’s reign, around 4 BCE. These Magi found the baby Jesus but did not return to Herod to report the findings. Herod was incensed and ordered the slaughter of all the baby boys in the vicinity of Bethlehem, two years old and younger.


In the Slavonic Josephus, Persian astrologers went to Herod the Great identifying the star in the sky and explaining its significance. Herod insisted they return to him after finding the infant. However, the astrologers were warned by the stars to avoid Herod on the return trip. In his rage, Herod wanted to kill all the male children throughout his kingdom. His advisors convinced him that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, hoping to confine the slaughter to only Bethlehem. This Star of Bethlehem passage was inserted in the War during the early years of Herod, between 27-22 BCE. (1)


This Slavonic Josephus passage originated from the same source which supplied the Gospel version. The Slavonic text has some interesting details which are missing from Matthew. Matthew wrote that the chief priests and teachers of the law informed Herod that the infant would be born in Bethlehem. He then sent the Magi to Bethlehem and ordered them to return when they had located the infant. (Matt. 2:3-8) This version does not give Herod much credit, for if he really knew that a king would be born in Bethlehem, he would have had every child slaughtered in Bethlehem before the Magi could even reach the place. On the other hand, the Slavonic version had Herod learning about the location after waiting for the Persian astrologers to return. This blunder on Herod’s part wasted precious time, allowing the infant’s parents to escape. Herod’s advisors also told Herod the meaning of the Star. This star was the promised Star Prophecy, which told of a leader coming from Judah. (Numbers 24:17) The same sentiment was included in Matthew 2:6, but this quote from Micah 5:2 promised that a ruler would come from Bethlehem. All in all, the two versions have much in common and vary very little, the difference being the time: 25 BCE versus 4 BCE.


If Jesus were born in 25 BCE, then he would have been 30 years old at the time of the census (6 CE). This was the exact time when John baptized in the Jordan and proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. (2) This date was also marked by the nationwide tax revolt led by Judas the Galilean, the historical Jesus. (Ant. 18.4)


3. The genealogy of Jesus can also be compared to information known about Judas the Galilean. In Matthew 1:15 and Luke 3:24, a Mattan and Matthat are listed as great grandfathers. Since the Gospels added a few generations to distance Jesus from Judas, these great grandfathers may have been Jesus’ father. Judas’s father may have been Matthias, a name closely resembling Mattan and Matthat.


On Mary’s side, a similarity exists concerning the town of Sepphoris. In Christian tradition, Mary’s family came from Sepphoris. Judas was also linked to Sepphoris by Josephus. It was written that Judas was the son of Sepphoris, or rather from Sepphoris, and he also raided the armory at Sepphoris. Certainly, Judas was well acquainted with this town.


 4. Herod the Great planned to execute Judas after the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing. Luckily for Judas, Herod ordered to have his prisoners put to death after his own death, in order to create great sorrow in Israel. After Herod’s death, his advisors reneged on the insane plan. (Ant. 17.149-167) According to the Gospels, Herod the Great tried to kill the baby Jesus. (Matt. 2) Herod’s goal of eliminating Jesus ended with his own death. In both stories, an elderly paranoid Herod tried to destroy elements he perceived as being a threat to his rule. Of course, the infant narrative was not actual history but rather a replay of Moses’ infancy.


5. Joseph returned to Israel after the death of Herod the Great but was afraid to settle in Judea because of Archelaus. Having been warned in a dream, Joseph moved his family to Nazareth, in Galilee. (Matt. 2:19-23) The New Testament often moved characters by using dreams, miracles or visions. For example, Philip was whisked away after baptizing the eunuch in Acts 8:39-40. Peter’s visit to Cornelius’ house in Caesarea was preceded by a vision in Acts chapter 10. And the Magi did not return to King Herod because they were warned in a dream. (Matt. 2:12) All three of these examples have alternative explanations. Philip and the eunuch as well as Peter and Cornelius were patterned after the account of King Izates given by Josephus. (Ant. 20.34-48) And as noted in number 2, the Slavonic Josephus explained the Persian astrologers’ decision to avoid Herod differently. Either the Star of Bethlehem convinced them not to return to Herod or they had talked to the locals about the King and decided to go home by another route. The point is this: when trying to reconstruct historical events, it may be wise to discount the passages which depend upon a literary devise such as a dream or vision.


After being released by Archelaus, Judas went to Sepphoris in Galilee, where he led an uprising against the son of Herod. (War 2.56) Sepphoris was in the tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, not under the control of Archelaus. Since Archelaus was waging war upon the followers of Judas and Matthias, the move to Galilee was prudent in that it allowed reorganization without fear of being attacked by Archelaus. The events in Josephus and the New Testament both occurred because Herod the Great had died and the country was in unrest.


1. Slavonic Josephus, After War 1.400.


2. Ibid., After War 2.110.



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Was Judas the Galilean the historical Jesus?

6. The Gospels do not mention the early life of Jesus, except when he taught at the Temple at the age of twelve. (Luke 2:41-52) Otherwise, no information was given from 6 CE (Census of Cyrenius) to 26 CE (supposed date of Pilate – see chapter 1). This lack of information mirrors Josephus’ War where nothing was written from 6 CE (Census) to 26 CE (Pilate). (War 2.167-169) Josephus barely expanded on this paucity of information inAntiquities, where he listed the Roman procurators during this twenty year stretch, but little else. (Ant. 18.26-35) It is possible that these missing years from Josephus could have been the result of pious editing. The actual crucifixion of Judas the Galilean may have been deleted. Note that Josephus detailed the deaths of Judas’ three sons, James, Simon, and Menahem and his grandson, Eleazar. With each of these occasions, Josephus referred back to Judas the Galilean. It is hard to believe that Josephus omitted the circumstances behind the death of Judas. So it is very possible that the writings of Josephus were edited to remove some interesting details of Judas’ life and his eventual crucifixion.

7. When he was only twelve, Jesus spent three days at the Temple. He was “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:41-52) Judas taught young men at the same Temple. Judas was “the most celebrated interpreters of the Jewish laws and … well beloved by the people, because of [the] education of their youth.” (Ant. 17.149 – 4 BCE) How many other men also taught at the Temple? Is it possible that Judas’ early career as teacher at the Temple was made legend by placing his wisdom and knowledge within the body of a twelve year old? Consider this: if Judas had been born around 25 BCE (see number 2), then he would have been just twenty years old at the time of the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing (4 BCE). His status as one of the finest teachers of the law, at such a young age, must have been legendary. This child prodigy legacy was woven into the Gospel fabric by Luke in his story of the twelve year old Jesus.

8. The story of John the Baptist may very well be the most important link between Judas the Galilean and Jesus. In the Gospels, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the world in 28-29 CE, per the dating of Luke. (Luke 3:1-3) In fact, this is the reason why scholars look nowhere else for Jesus. It is just a given that Jesus’ ministry began around 30 CE.

According to the Slavonic Josephus, this same John came baptizing in the Jordan in 6 CE, right before the mention of Judas the Galilean and during the reign of Archelaus (4 BCE- 7 CE). (1) In addition, the Psuedoclementine Recognitions acknowledged John right before describing the various Jewish sects. (2) Josephus described these same sects right after his introduction of Judas the Galilean. (Ant. 18.4-22 and War 2.118-166) So the 6 CE timeframe for John the Baptist is attested to by more than one source.

Could this John the Baptist have been baptizing and proclaiming different Messiahs in both 6 CE and 29 CE? The odds of that would be millions to one. The only logical conclusion is that Jesus and Judas the Galilean were the same person. This explains why the Slavonic Josephus’ version of events has been ignored over the years. If John actually came in 6 CE, then all of New Testament scholarship is, at best, misguided. That would not only make the scholars look foolish but would also prove Pauline Christianity a sham religion.

9. Both Judas and Jesus had a second-in-command, Sadduc and John the Baptist, respectively. This organizational model was fashioned after the Maccabees. Mattathias led the movement and his son, Judas Maccabee, was his lieutenant. After Mattathias died, Simon took his place and Judas Maccabee was elevated to the leadership role. In the later Fourth Philosophy, Matthias and Judas worked together at the Temple and were responsible for the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing. After Matthias suffered martyrdom, Judas filled this position with Sadduc. (Ant. 18.4)

In the Gospel accounts, Jesus picked Simon Peter as his second-in-command. In reality, Jesus was first paired with John the Baptist (Sadduc). When Jesus was crucified, he was replaced by his brother, James the Just. At this stage, John the Baptist and James shared control of the movement. In 35-36 CE, John was beheaded by Herod Antipas. James appointed Cephas (Peter) to be John’s successor. The Gospels successfully minimized the roles of John the Baptist and James. According to these accounts, John died before Jesus, but per Josephus, John died after Jesus. Also, James the Just was barely mentioned by Acts, his leadership role unannounced until Acts chapter 15, at the Council of Jerusalem. By bypassing John the Baptist and James the Just, the Gospels were able to skip a generation, placing Peter (Cephas) as the leading apostle after the death of Jesus.

The dual leadership may have safeguarded the movement. If one of the leaders was captured or killed, then the other could take control. The movement of Judas the Galilean (Jesus) was different from that of Judas Maccabee in that the later movement believed in the resurrection of its leader. Thus, even though John the Baptist and James led the movement after the death of Jesus, many throughout the movement still awaited the return of Jesus in power and glory. So, in essence, John and James were merely caretakers. This may account for the divisions in the 40 CE church in Corinth. Paul wrote that some disciples followed himself, others followed Cephas (James the Just), others followed Apollos (John the Baptist) (see Acts 18:24-25), and others followed Christ (Judas the Galilean or Jesus). (1 Cor. 1:10-12) This split may have been inevitable since Judas the Galilean’s movement was held together by a common hatred of Rome. Teachers within the movement could have possibly come from both the Pharisees and the Essenes. Differences, in approach to religion, were inevitable.

10. Jesus and Judas were both called the Galilean. Actually, Jesus was referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, a city located near Sepphoris in Galilee. It should not be missed that Sepphoris was central to Judas the Galilean’s ministry. Placing Nazareth close to Sepphoris may have been more than just coincidence. In War 1.648, Judas was said to be the son of Sepphoris. This more likely was his place of birth as opposed to his father. And in War 2.56, Judas retreated to Sepphoris after being harassed by Archelaus. There, Judas armed his disciples with weapons from the armory. Judas’ history with Sepphoris was no doubt changed to Nazareth to hide these embarrassing revelations. After all, both of the above references to Sepphoris were in the context of armed rebellion against Herod the Great and later, Archelaus.

The name Nazareth is probably a corruption of Nazarite, as no references to Nazareth appear in the Old Testament or in Josephus. (A Nazarite was consecrated to God by a vow and included such notables as John the Baptist and Samson). In fact, John Crossan stated that in addition to Josephus’ silence concerning Nazareth, “it is never mentioned by any of the Jewish rabbis whose pronouncements are in the Mishnah or whose discussions are in the Talmud.” (3) Jesus’ disciples were called Galileans (Mark 14:70) and it may have been a sleight-of-hand which changed Jesus the Galilean to Jesus of Nazareth. In John 7:41, the crowd asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?” And the leaders had the same reservations about Jesus. “Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” (John 7:52)

Judas the Galilean was mentioned in several passages by Josephus (War 2.118; War 2.433 and Ant. 20.102). Josephus did state that this Judas hailed from Gamala, across the River Jordan (Ant. 18.4), but he was known as the Galilean, as attributed to the above references. Galilee was a hotbed for revolutionaries. Both Jesus and Judas would have had a similar background, influenced by those who had struggled for years against Herod the Great.

1. Slavonic Josephus, After War 2.110.

2. Pseudoclementine Recognitions 1.53-54.

3. John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, Excavating Jesus, p. 18.



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11. The disciples of Jesus and Judas were zealous for the law. (Acts 21:20) (Ant. 17.149-154) It is true that Paul taught his Gentile followers to disregard the law. However, the Jewish Christians, led by James the Just, clearly denounced that teaching and removed Paul and his followers from fellowship. (See Galatians)

Some forty years after the death of Judas (19 CE), a splinter group of the Fourth Philosophy, known as the Zealots, appeared on the scene. Like their name suggests, these individuals were obsessed with the Law and were comparable to the fanatical followers of James the Just. (Acts 21:20)

12. Judas and Jesus were both called wise men by Josephus. (Ant. 17.152 and Ant. 18.63) As the Jesus passage was a late third or early fourth century interpolation, the use of the term wise man was taken from the description of Judas and Matthias. It must also be noted that Josephus did not freely use the term wise man. He did, however, use that term when describing himself. If Josephus called himself a wise man then this indeed was a great compliment.

13. Both teachers assigned a high value to the sharing of wealth or pure communism. (Matt. 6:19-27; Acts 2:42-45; James 5:1-6) (Ant. 18.7; War 2.427) (Essenes – War 2.122) In fact, this was the central message in “Love your Neighbor as Yourself.” How could one love his neighbor if he let that neighbor go hungry or unclothed? When Jesus confronted the rich young ruler, he did not say give ten percent to the poor, but rather, give everything to the poor and then come follow me. (Matt. 19:16-24) This was a radical message two thousand years ago. How many middle-class Americans would follow that same philosophy today?

Members of the Fourth Philosophy were known as bandits by Josephus, for they exploited the wealthy, a type of Robin Hood movement. During the war with Rome, the debt records were burned in order to free those enslaved to the wealthy by their debt. (War 2.426-427) This was truly class warfare! As for the Zealots, Josephus shared his contempt for their practices concerning wealth and private property: “The dregs, the scum of the whole country, they have squandered their own property and practiced their lunacy upon the towns and villages around, and finally have poured in a stealthy stream into the Holy City….” (War 4.241) Considering what Jesus said to the rich young ruler, Josephus would have had the same attitude towards Jesus’ lunacy!

At the beginning of the Church, disciples were urged to share everything in common. (Acts 2:42) This approach to living was in line with the Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus. Also, the feeding of the five thousand was simply the sharing of one’s food with another. It had nothing to do with hocus-pocus. In addition, the letter of James favored the poor over the rich. (James 5:1-6)

14. Both Judas and Jesus were considered fine teachers of the Law. (Matt. 5:17-20; Mark 12:28-34) (Ant. 17.149; War 1.648) Judas followed the basic teachings of the Pharisees as did Jesus. As for Judas’ abilities, Josephus wrote: “[Judas and Matthias were] the most celebrated interpreters of the Jewish laws, and well beloved by the people.” (Ant. 17.149) The earlier assessment from War 1.648 stated that “there were two men of learning in the city [Jerusalem], who were thought the most skillful in the laws of their country, and were on that account held in very great esteem all over the nation.”

From the Gospels, we know that Jesus used parables in relating his message, in line with Pharisaic practices. Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love thy neighbor. To love God involved obeying God and the Law handed down by God to Moses. To love thy neighbor included sharing one’s possessions, so that no one was left hungry or homeless. In addition, both Judas and Jesus followed Judas Maccabee in his interpretation of the Sabbath: the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Judas Maccabee permitted his disciples to defend themselves if attacked on the Sabbath. Likewise, Jesus preached that it was proper to do good on the Sabbath. In fact, Jesus was reprimanded by some Pharisees for breaking the Sabbath laws as he fled from Herod. Jesus quoted the Old Testament story of David eating consecrated bread in order to maintain strength in his flight from the authorities. Jesus had good reason to follow David and Judas Maccabee: he was a marked man. Both Jesus and Judas Maccabee would not have flouted the Sabbath law for any old reason.

From the above passages from Josephus, Judas the Galilean was known throughout the nation for his ability in interpreting the law. We get the same feeling for Jesus when reading the Gospels. The Pharisees constantly invited him to dinner in order to discuss issues. We are privy to only the negative aspects of those meetings. In reality, most teachers in Israel considered Jesus an important figure and were constantly amazed at his teachings.

15. Judas the Galilean’s movement centered in Jerusalem and in Galilee. Judas began his public career in Jerusalem, teaching young men at the Temple. He convinced his students to take part in the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing and was arrested by Herod the Great. (Ant. 17.149-167) Judas was later released by Archelaus and fled to Sepphoris in Galilee. Until his return to Jerusalem, Judas preached in Galilee where he was crowned Messiah by his followers, and later led a tax revolt against Rome. (Ant. 17.271-272 and 18.1-10)

Jesus was also in Jerusalem at the start of his career, according to John. Coincidentally, John placed his Temple Cleansing at the start of Jesus’ career, consistent with the story of Judas the Galilean. (John 2:12-17) Jesus then returned to Galilee, where he was proclaimed Messiah. From the Gospel accounts, Jesus spent most of his ministry in Galilee. Jesus finally returned to Jerusalem, where he was captured and crucified.

Even after Judas’ death, his movement revolved around Jerusalem and Galilee. In fact, Josephus noted that Eleazar was sent by his leaders in Galilee to teach King Izates true Judaism, which included circumcision. King Izates had previously been taught by Ananias that he could become a full Jew without circumcision. The Jewish Christian model also practiced circumcision. Note that Paul and Cephas also had a similar disagreement in Antioch, caused by men sent from James. James may have been centered in either Jerusalem or in Galilee. However, since this occurred around the time of Agrippa’s assassination, James probably located himself in a safer place, no doubt, Galilee.



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It is interesting that the Talpiot Tomb does indeed contain a Mathias- who many scholars believe to have been Judas/Jesus' father or grandfather. Further the tomb has a very humble Chevron above it indicating a family of immense value religiously to the common man. Both of these points are crucial and yet overlooked.

Kirsten DeMott
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