Yhoshua and Kabala

(Vere, Stein Atle. ©2011. “Yhoshua and Kabala”. brakha.blogspot.com.)

One of the interests in brakha.blogspot.com is Yhoshua יהושע (Historical Jesus).

It is my personal opinion, Yhoshua is a “Tora-observant” “Orthodox Jew”, even by today standards of Halakha. I also feel he is one of the many Tsadikim צדיקים (literally “Altruists”), unusually holy individuals who show up here and there among the community of Yhudim (Jews).

Yhoshua is a Yhudi, ethnically, but spiritually too.

Natsrut נצרות (Christianity) sometimes misunderstands the teachings of Yhoshua, for the simple reason it sometimes misunderstands Yahadut יהדות (Judaism).

My positive view is difficult. On the one hand, Yahadut includes Rabanim (Rabbis) with serious criticisms against Yhoshua, including the possibility of idolatry. On the other hand, Natsrut includes church leaders who seem to denounce the authority of the Tora. All of this division requires explanation.

The topic fascinates me, involving God, Yhudim, ancient texts, archeology, reconstructing ancient realities, and so on. Plus, he is a hero of mine.

I plan to let Yhoshua “speak for himself” while providing the appropriate context of Kabala (Jewish spirituality). Whether Yhoshua truly believes in the Tora as the Rabanim understand it, may or may not become clear. I suspect he does, perhaps it may.

Meanwhile, Yhoshua can speak for himself. Of course, archeologists have no writings by his hand. But the writings by his students do survive.

Thus, when his students say, “Yhoshua says”:
• Usually it means the general idea of his teachings as far as his students can paraphrase him.
• Sometimes it means verbatim what he says because he formulates it for memorization.
• Sometimes it means ideas he never says, but takes for granted as true because this is the worldview that he shares.
• Sometimes it means ideas he never says, but his students invent it, when reusing some teaching for a new situation.

In sum, there is a “House of Yhoshua” sotospeak, a school of thought.

There is a good sense of the social impact that his teachings make. Of course, this same sense makes it reasonable to criticize the teacher because of the behavior of his students.

The “House of Yhoshua” is analogous to the “House of Hilel”. However unlike Hilel whose school disputes certain legal opinions of Halakha, Yhoshua accepts whatever Halakha prevails. What Yhoshua disputes is what satisfies the proper spiritual “intention” while doing Halakha. Thus, Yhoshua is specifically part of the ancient tradition of Kabala that discusses this and other similar concerns.

Kabala is the appropriate Tora context to understand and evaluate the teachings of Yhoshua. It is also necessary to view him as one of many spiritual teachers belonging to this tradition, whether he happens to advocate a majority opinion or a minority opinion.