Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
Why did the Jews crucify Jesus?
Jesus is often identified by Jews with Yeshu.
There was a person named 'Yeshu' who was in Judah and executed around 100 BCE.
This was before the Roman Rule and in the reign of Alexander Yannai (103-76 BCE).
Yeshu was executed for idolatry and for leading others to sin.
The execution was public.
It was deliberately well advertised in order to nullify the negative influence this person was believed to have had.
He was exectuted by stoning which was the punishment for idolatry.
"Stoning" means he was thrown off a medium sized building. If, after the fall, he was still alive then very large rocks were dropped with force on his chest aiming for the heart.
Before the execution he was to have been given an exceptionally potent drought of unadulterated strong wine. This was intended to bemuse his senses and alleviate any pain and anguish he may have had.
The execution probably took place late in the afternoon.
Towards evening the body would have been strung up on a wooden gibbet and then almost immediately taken down after sunset.
Deuteronomy 21 (NASB):
22 If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,
23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.
Hanging the corpse up for a few minutes on the gibbet is probably why some sources say that Yeshu was "hung": He was publicly executed and then the body was hung.
Yeshu is also referred to as "Yeshu ha-Notsri." This has been understood to connote "Yeshu the Christian."
The word "Notsri" was indeed later applied to, and adopted by, Christians.
Initially however it seems to have meant a member of a religious group with mixed Pagan-Hebrew beliefs.
The original 'Notsrim' were followers of "Netser" who may have been an aspect of Baal who died and was resurrected.
A paean in mixed Hebrew-Aramaic dedicated to "Netser" dating from before 750 BCE has been found at Dir Alla in Jordan.
This is the Biblical area of Succoth and was then in the territory of the Israelite Tribe of Gad.
Both Jewish and Christian sources now assume that the figure known as Jesus really was named Yeshu or Yeshua which names are derived from the Hebrew "Yehoshua" i.e. Joshua. In Greek the name is given as "Iesous." This is what Jews others known as Yehoshua (or Yeshua or Yeshu) apparently called themselves when using the Greek equivalent.
Nevertheless, other options exist.
Clement of Alexandria and Cyril of Jerusalem both stated that the Greek name Iesous was allegedly Jesus' original name itself and that the name was not a transliteration of a Hebrew form.
Maybe another person named Jesus the Nazaraean was also executed later?
Or was it all a concoction?