"High-minded earnestness and spotless moral purity were his undeniable attributes; they stand out in all the authentic accounts of his life that have reached us, and appear even in those garbled teachings which his followers placed in his mouth." (149)
This leaves open the question of how the TY could be so different in conclusion from Graetz and other writers in this field. The answer may lie in the respective audiences for which the authors were writing: the TY's medieval audience (c14th century) wished to hear a derogatory account of Jesus and Christianity, whereas Graetz was writing a scholarly history of the Jewish people for the erudite.
Both the TY and Graetz are certain that Jesus was not the son of God, and Graetz refers to him as a 'mortal'. One would have expected the TY to deny that Jesus had divine powers. Instead it says that he did;
"Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Yeshu came and learned the letters of the Name; he wrote them upon the parchment which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the flesh over the parchment."
Graetz takes a more cynical view of miracle making in general, informing us that it was accepted practice to capture the attention of people in this way. Whilst he agrees that Jesus must have had some knowledge beyond the ordinary ken of mankind at the time, he puts much of the awe with which Jesus' 'powers' were greeted to the general lack of knowledge about science at the time amongst the ordinary people.
Clearly as far as the TY is concerned learning the letters of the Name is insufficient to make one divine - Judas Iscariot and Paul were allowed to learn the letters in order to bring about the will of the Rabbi.
One wonders what our brothers of that age would make of us, with our understanding of how to turn water into wine, to fly, to rouse men from coma and to predict famine without recourse to dreams.
Was Jesus a Revolutionary
Jesus brought nothing new to the Jews. He simply argued that the teachers were neglecting their most needy students: the abrianim and am ha-arez.
Graetz explains that Jesus was originally an Essene by persuasion and 'a victim to a misunderstanding' (165) rather than a revolutionary, although executed as a state criminal by Pilate. Graetz sees Jesus as one of 3 great moralists of that century (the other 2 being Hillel of Babylonia and Philo the