About Judas the Galilean
An essay donated by Daniel T. Unterbrink
I have written two books which tell a new tale concerning Jesus of Nazareth. The first
book, "Judas the Galilean", explores the similarities between Jesus and another
first-century rabbi, Judas the Galilean. Both men cleansed the Temple in
Jerusalem, were involved in a Barabbas-style prisoner release, were proclaimed
Messiah in Galilee, and both founded new philosophies. The Jewish historian,
Josephus, wrote extensively about the life of Judas the Galilean but did not
mention the cause or date of Judas' death. On the other hand, Josephus did not
describe a single action of Jesus but did tell of Jesus' crucifixion at the hands of
Pilate. Many scholars doubt the reliability of the "Jesus" passage in
Josephus. I believe this "Jesus" passage was a substitution for the death of
Judas the Galilean. Judas the Galilean founded the fourth philosophy (later
known as the Zealots), and was always on the mind of Josephus. Josephus
recorded the crucifixions of two of Judas' sons (45-47 CE), the stoning of
another son, Menahen, who marched on Jerusalem ala Jesus in 66 CE, and the
suicide of a grandson, Eleazar, at Masada in 73 CE. It is incomprehensible that
Josephus would have forgotten to tell of Judas the Galilean's death. It is my
contention that Jesus was simply a title for Judas the Galilean, and that the
early church tried to distance Jesus from his true past.
The second book, "New Testament Lies", covers much of the same material as
"Judas the Galilean", with one exception: "New Testament Lies" incorporates the
Slavonic Josephus. Scholars have ignored the Slavonic Josephus for two
reasons. First, a comprehensive comparison of the Slavonic version of the "War"
with the Greek version was not published until 2003. Second, many items within
the Slavonic "War" are not consistent with Traditional Christianity. The
Slavonic Josephus includes "the star of Bethlehem" infant narrative but dates
the story at 25 BCE, a full generation before the date as calculated in Matthew.
There are three passages about John the Baptist which go against the
conventional Gospel accounts. First, John came baptizing at the river Jordan in
6 CE, immediately before the tax revolt against Rome, led by Judas the Galilean.
(Note that Jesus was crucified for his refusal to pay taxes to Rome.) This John
also preached the same philosophy as practiced by Judas. In short, according to
the Slavonic Josephus, John the Baptist was a disciple of Judas the Galilean.
The two other passages concerning John place John's death at 36 CE, several
years after the Gospel death of Jesus. This is confirmed by Josephus'
"Antiquities". Obviously, the Gospel timeline of John the Baptist was shifted
in order to hide John's connection with Judas the Galilean. The Slavonic
Josephus also disproves the stories of Judas Iscariot and Barabbas. According
to this source, the High Priests paid Pilate 30 talents to arrest Jesus, and it
was Jesus who was released to the crowd, not Barabbas (Judas the Galilean was
released to the Jewish crowd in 4 BCE by the son of Herod the Great, Archelaus.)
This is a very complicated subject, in that all of Christianity is turned
upside down. With this earlier timeline for Jesus, it is now possible to
compare the early church to the writings of Josephus. The result is
unsettling. The hero of Traditional Christianity, Paul, becomes the traitor as
depicted by Josephus and other early writings. The introduction of Judas
Iscariot by the Gospel writers was just an attempt to shift blame from Paul to a
Jewish Apostle. This whole cover-up is detailed in both books. What is at
stake? The future of Christianity.
The following material should be noted:
||The birth narrative of Matthew concerning the star of Bethlehem and Herod is
corroborated by the Slavonic Josephus. However, the Slavonic Josephus places
the event in the early years of Herod, around 25 BCE. This earlier date would be
consistent with the birth of Judas the Galilean and would be in line with the
birth date of James, the brother of Jesus.
||In 4 BCE, Judas and his co-teacher, Matthias, cleansed the Temple, tearing
down Herod's symbol of fealty to Rome, the Golden Eagle. This was at the
beginning of Judas' career. In the book of John, Jesus cleansed the Temple at
the start of his ministry. In the other three Gospels, Jesus cleansed the
Temple after entering Jerusalem as Messiah, at the end of his career. Although
Josephus does not tell of Judas' death, he does relate the story of Judas' son, Menahem, who entered Jerusalem as Messiah and cleansed the Temple as a Messianic
act. This no doubt was copied from the acts of his father, Judas.
||Judas was captured by Herod after the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing. There
he languished in prison until Herod died. To win support from the Jewish crowd,
Herod's son, Archelaus, agreed to lower taxes and to release prisoners. The
release of Judas was the inspiration for the Barabbas story. Barabbas and Judas
were both revolutionaries who had created an uprising in Jerusalem. The
Barabbas release could not have happened in the time of Pilate, as the Romans
did not release revolutionaries; they crucified them. In addition, the Slavonic
Josephus states that Jesus was released, not Barabbas.
||Judas was crowned Messiah in Galilee (4-2 BCE), just as the Gospels portray
the ministry of Jesus. This ministry of Jesus was telescoped into 1 to 3 years by
the Gospel writers. The ministry of Judas lasted from 4 BCE to 19 CE or 22
years. This same telescoping of careers also applies to John the Baptist. The
Gospels give John a ministry of 1-3 years while the Slavonic Josephus dates John
from 6-36 CE, or 30 years.
||According to the Slavonic Josephus, in 6 CE, a wild preacher came baptizing
in the River Jordan. In description, this was none other than John the
Baptist. This earlier version of John preached the philosophy of Judas (a
nationalism based upon the rule of God), and also promised the coming of a great
leader. Immediately after this, Josephus wrote about the tax revolt of Judas
the Galilean. This tax revolt was the launching pad for Judas' nationwide
campaign against Rome. The Gospel of Luke places John's ministry at 29 CE,
before the public ministry of Jesus. (It should be noted that refusal to pay
taxes to Rome was the main charge against Jesus.)
||Judas the Galilean founded a new philosophy, termed the Fourth Philosophy by
Josephus. (The other three philosophies were the Sadducees, the Pharisees and
the Essenes.) Jesus was credited with the founding of Christianity. However,
the Christianity of today was a product of Paul's teachings and not the Jewish
||Although it cannot be proved with certainty, Judas the Galilean was probably
crucified by the Roman authorities. His political career would have earned him
this punishment. Judas' two sons, James and Simon, were crucified by the Romans
a generation later. When Jesus was crucified, he was placed between two
robbers, a term used by Josephus to describe members of Judas the Galilean's
Fourth Philosophy. In reality, Jesus was simply crucified along with two or
more of his captured followers.
||The history of the early church can be compared to the movement of Judas
from 19-67 CE. One example will suffice. According to Josephus, a Simon was
preaching exclusion of all non-Jews from the Temple. He was escorted to
Caesarea by Roman guards to answer to Agrippa in 43 CE. The writer of Acts took
this historical event and placed it into Chapter 10. Simon Peter was escorted
to Caesarea to meet Cornelius, a Roman Centurion. There, Simon Peter decided
that Cornelius, a Gentile, should be included into the Christian fold. The
author of Acts turned an exclusionary teaching into an act of inclusion.
This list can be expanded, but the above should show that the relationship
between Judas the Galilean and his movement was incredibly similar to Jesus and
the early church. This relationship has never been adequately explored before.
It would be very interesting to hear Christian church leaders and leading
scholars answer the above "coincidences." If nothing else, this could spur
more research into these many similarities.
Books on this topic:
||Daniel Unterbrink, "Judas the Galilean: The flesh and blood Jesus," I Universe, (2004). See: http://www.iuniverse.com/
||Daniel Unterbrink, "New Testament lies: The greatest challenge to traditional Christianity," I Universe, (2004). See: http://www.iuniverse.com/
Copyright © 2006 by Daniel T. Unterbrink
Latest update: 2011-APR-04
Author: Daniel T. Unterbrink