Esor Ben-Sorek
Esor Ben-Sorek

The Father of Jesus

The question about the birth of Jesus began, mainly in Egypt and Palestine, some years after his death.

The most prominent source was the writings of Origen, a native of Alexandria born in 185 Common Era and died in 254 of that era. He was considered one of Christianity’s greatest theologians and was a father of the early Christian church. But he never achieved sainthood.

He moved to Caesarea in Palestine, a place renowned for its Jewish scholars, and there he began the writing of six thousand treatises, mainly on theology and biblical history. He read scripts both in Hebrew and Greek and was regarded as one of the greatest Christian scholars of his time.

In the second century of the Common Era, a Greek philosopher named Celsus wrote that Jesus was the son of a Roman soldier named Pantera (sometimes written as Panthera or Pandera).

Origen picked up the story and told it in more specific detail. Young Mary was about fourteen years old, living in the town of Nazareth. She had been promised in marriage to a Jewish carpenter named Joseph.

It happened that one day she met a Roman soldier on guard duty in Nazareth. Origen concludes that either she willingly slept with him or that he had raped her and impregnated her.

He later wrote that “the mother of Jesus had been turned out by the carpenter Joseph who was betrothed to her as she had been convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Pantera”

Under Jewish law, Mary could have been put to death for adultery but according to Origen the angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph and told him to marry young Mary and to name the child Yeshu (Jesus in Greek).

The story appears briefly in the Jerusalem Talmud (not the Babylonian Talmud) as “Toldot Yeshu”.

Christian scholars then wrote the details in the story of the nativity birth in Bethlehem. Origen’s views have no longer been accepted by the church and the story of Mary and Pantera has disappeared.

Why the story should have been told at first is beyond me. To think it is permissible. To write it is a shameful way of defaming a sacred birth of the messiah of Christianity.

Fortunately very few Christians have read about the birth of Jesus fathered by a Roman soldier.

Praises to Joseph who heeded the plea of the angel Gabriel and who married Mary, the mother of Jesus.

From humble beginnings, a new light was meant to shine across the world. And Christianity, the daughter of Judaism, was born.

Whatever happened to Pantera is not known. It is likely that he returned with his military unit to Rome and no doubt fathered many more children. And lived happily ever after !

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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