40 Similarities Between Jesus and Judas the Galilean – 6-10

For additional information concerning Judas the Galilean, Sadduc and Theudas, go to my new website: http://www.judasthegalilean.weebly.com

Listen to Dan Unterbrink comment on his new book, Judas of Nazareth. http://www.alchemyradio.podomatic.com/entry/2014-04-25T04_39_57-07_00

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 in Antiquities, 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.

See my new website at: www.danielunterbrink.com
Daniel T. Unterbrink
Author of Judas of Nazareth, available from these booksellers:

About danielunterbrink

Dan Unterbrink has dual degrees from Ohio State. THE THREE MESSIAHS is his third book on Christian origins, underscoring his passion for the subject.
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4 Responses to 40 Similarities Between Jesus and Judas the Galilean – 6-10

  1. Julian Doyle says:

    Have quoted you – obviously mentioning your name in my book on Monty Python’s Life of Brian called ‘The Life of (Brian) Jesus’ I am doing a second draft and am going to expand some points including giving more evidence for your theory. I hope this is ok. Julian Doyle

  2. Pingback: Is the "crcifixion" just a metaphor? - Page 67 - Religious Education Forum

  3. Pilote Tempête says:

    This theory is close to th 1 proposed by Arthur Heulard in 1909 (Le Mensonge chrétien), who identified John the Baptist as J.C., Daniel Massé in 1926 (L’énigme de Jésus Christ ). who did the same but identified John the Baptist with John of Gamala, and Luigi Cascioli who did not identify John the Baptist with John of Gamala but identified John of Gamala, son of Judas the Galilean, as J.C., thus all saying that J.C. is a fiction. There is also the Jeshu Gamaliel (son of Gamaliel I) and Apollonius of Tyana theories. but Unterbrink’s is probably the most plausible of all.

  4. john says:


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