“The Censor” – Mystery of the Renaissance


Invention of the Gutenberg press around 1500 AD opened up the Dark Ages with a burst of information to the masses not unlike the explosion of information on the Internet. Triggering the Renaissance, the Gutenberg press was a game changer in another way – it led to censorship.[1]

Imagine – religious information became available to anyone who could read.[2] Elite institutions that previously held exclusive control over religious messaging viewed this as a threat. In an effort to regain control, they resorted to censorship tactics.

“The Censor” … who was he? Expanding a bit further, two more questions:  why and how.

Liberally used by religious scholars, the term “the Censor” actually refers to the many perpetrators who performed the censorship, some known and mostly unknown.[3] For example, home-to-home searches imposed indiscriminate burning of scrolls and books, pages being torn out, and blacking out text.[4]

Censorship was focused squarely on information about Jesus of Nazareth. Encyclopaedia Judaica explains censorship of the Talmud began in the late 1500s such as with Sanhedrin 43a, 106a and 107b.[5]

Blame is largely attributed to the Roman Inquisition for censorship of references deemed to be contradictory to the official teaching of Christianity. However, strong evidence also points to Jewish censorship exposed in newer publications of the Babylonian Talmud and other Jewish writings.

Irrespective of those who pulled the strings of “the Censor,” the once-expunged content is viewed by some as being insightful to a deeper understanding of both Jewish and Christian teachings. At the forefront of censorship restoration was the publishing of the Soncino Babylonian Talmud.[6]

Soncino Editor Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein explained an attempt was made to reproduce a “clear and lucid” literal English translation of the Talmud. Missing content was restored either directly to the body of the text or, albeit more obscurely, within the footnotes. Sometimes the text context was clarified in brackets.[7]

One previously censored folio in the Soncino Talmud translation is Sanhedrin 43a containing direct references to Yeshu, a Hebrew name for Jesus.[8] Some of the original text was restored only in the Soncino footnotes:[9]

“…On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [34] was hanged …’”

“But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of Passover![35]

Footnote #34 following “Yeshu” references the original Munich manuscript, the oldest complete Talmud copy in existence. According to the footnote, the words “the Nasarean” appeared in the censored text referring to the home town of Yeshu.[10] The original Munich Talmud manuscript thus said:

“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu, the Nasarean, was hanged.” [11]

Footnote #35 for the phrase “eve of the Passover” references a less than complete Florentine Talmud manuscript, 200 years older than the original Munich Manuscript, and includes the words “and the eve of Sabbath.”[12] In the scenario where Jesus was crucified on a Friday, that day would be both on the “eve of Passover” and “eve of Sabbath” making the Talmud in total agreement with the Gospels.[13]

Some Sanhedrin 43a Gemara text was not footnoted; rather, the text was clarified in brackets in the Soncino edition:

“With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].”

Bracketed words “[or royalty, i.e., influential]” – Hebrew royalty which only comes through the lineage of King David. Corroborating the requirement set forth in several Messiah prophecies, the Soncino Talmud confirms the Gospels’ assertion that Jesus was born in the lineage of David.

Rodkinson’s Talmud translation leaves out the entire Gemara section; Sefaria, based on the Davidson translation, says Jesus was associated with the Gentile government (Roman) who wanted him acquitted.[14]

Mishneh Torah formulates the 13 principals of the Jewish faith written by the revered medieval sage Rabbi Maimonides.[15] Heavy censorship was focused on the last two chapters called Hilchos Melachim – the Laws Concerning Kings.[16] An example excerpt from the Sichos in English translation is found restored, but only in a footnote:

“If a king will arise from the House of David, who, like David his ancestor, delves deeply into the study of the Torah and engages in the mitzvos as prescribed by the Written Law and the Oral Law; if he will compel all of Israel to walk in [the way of the Torah] and repair the breaches [in its observance]; and if he will fight the wars of G-d; – we may, with assurance, consider him Mashiach.

“If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not [the redeemer] promised by the Torah. [Rather,] he should be considered as all the other proper and legitimate kings of the Davidic dynasty who died.  G-d only caused him to arise in order to test the multitude. As it is written [Daniel 11:35], “Some of the wise men will stumble, to purge, to refine, and to clarify, until the appointed time, for it is yet to come.

“Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court was also spoken of in Daniel’s prophecies [Daniel 11:14], “The renegades among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble.”[17]Maimonides

Uncensored texts reveal Judaism’s agreement with the Gospels where Jesus of Nazareth was a royal descendant of King David; was condemned by the court; and was executed leading into Passover and the Sabbath. Does the uncensored information shed light on the accuracy of the Gospels?


Updated December 28, 2023.

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[1] Chase, Jeffrey S. “The Gutenberg Printing Press.” Duke University|Department of Computer Science.  n.d.  <http://www.cs.duke.edu/~chase/cps49s/press-summary.html>  Instone-Brewer, David. Instituto John Henry Newman. “Jesus of Nazareth’s Trial in the Uncensored Talmud.” n.d. <https://institutojohnhenrynewmanufv.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/jesus-of-nazareth-s-trial-in-the-uncensored-talmud.pdf> Instone-Brewer, David.
[2] Whipps, Heather. “How Gutenberg Changed the World.”  2008. <https://www.livescience.com/2569-gutenberg-changed-world.html>   “The impact of the printing press.” Skwirk.com. n.d.  <http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-56_u-422_t-1108_c-4280/the-impact-of-the-printing-press/qld/the-impact-of-the-printing-press/renaissance-and-reformation/the-reformation>
[3] Valentine, Carol A. “Do Not Censor the Talmud, Please.” 2003.  Come and Hear. 2010. <http://come-and-hear.com/editor/censorship_1.html>  “Euphemism” and “Censorship of Hebrew Books.”  Jewish Encyclopedia.  2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5906-euphemism> and <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/4170-censorship-of-hebrew-books>  Censor. PrivateInternetAccess. image. 2017. <https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/chinese-censorship-red-1200×1045.png
[4] “Censorship of Hebrew Books.”  Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011.  Maimonides. “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Ed. Yechezkal Shimon Gutfreund, “Publisher’s Forward.”  Valentine. “Do Not Censor the Talmud, Please – Returning to Ezra the Scribe.” “Church Censorhip.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2008. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/censorship>
[5] “Jesus.” Encyclopaedia Judaica.  Pages 249-250.  Segal, Eliezer. A Page from the Babylonian Talmud.  “Mishnah” – “Redaction.” n.d.  <http://people.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/TalmudPage.html#Page>; “The Gemara (Talmud)” – “Redaction.”  <http://people.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/TalmudMap/Gemara.html#Redaction>   Soncino Babylonian Talmud.  Ed. Isidore Epstein based on the Wilna Romm Edition. 1935 – 1948.  <http://come-and-hear.com/tcontents.html>   The Babylonian Talmud. Rodkinson transalation.  Internet Sacred Text Archives. 2010.  <http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm>  “The Gemara (Talmud).” Valentine. “Do Not Censor the Talmud, Please.”  “Euphemism” and “Censorship of Hebrew Books.”  Jewish Encyclopedia.  2011.
[6] Valentine. “Do Not Censor the Talmud, Please.” “Jesus.” Encyclopaedia Judaica.  Pages 249-250. Soncino Babylonian Talmud.  Ed. Epstein.
[7] “Talmud.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. “Hebrew Manuscripts.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2008. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hebrew-manuscripts>  Soncino Babylonian Talmud.  Ed. Epstein. “Method and Scope.” 
[8] Yassif, Eli. “The Jewish Jesus Story.” Tablet. 2017. <http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/220567/the-jewish-jesus-story>   KjaerHansen, Kai. “An Introduction to the Names Yehoshua/Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus and Yeshu.” 1992. Jews For Jesus. 2017. <https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/an-introduction-to-the-names-yehoshua-joshua-yeshua-jesus-and-yeshu>
[9] Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 43a. “Who will emerge from Bethlehem.”  Teshuvas HaMinim. 2011. Archived URL.  Archive.org. 2 Sept. 2012.  <http://web.archive.org/web/20120902023316/http://www.teshuvashaminim.com/michah51.html>
[10] Net.bible.org. Greek text – Matthew 2:23; 26:71; Mark 1:24; 14:67; 10:47; Luke 4:34; John 18:5.  Strong.  “Nazarenos <3478>  The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.  “Nazarean” and “Nazarene.”  Merriam-Webster. 2017 <http://www.merriam-webster.com>   “-an” suffix. Dictionary.com. 2017.  <http://www.dictionary.comSoncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin, Folio 43a, footnote #34.   Shachter, J. and Freedman, H.  “Sanhedrin.”  Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein. “Introduction.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Abbreviation” ref. “MS.M”.&nbsp
[11] Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sotah 47a, footnote #11, 27 & 28.
[12] “Babylonian Talmud.”  Word Digital Library | Library of Congress. 2017. <https://www.wdl.org/en/item/8910>  Pasternak, Nurit. “The Material Context of 15th-Century Hebrew Florentine Manuscripts.” 2013. Academia.edu. 2017. <https://www.academia.edu/4320985/The_Material_Context_of_15th-Century_Hebrew_Florentine_ManuscriptsSoncino Babylonian Talmud.  Sanhedrin 43a.  “Talmud.”  Jewish Encyclopedia.  2011.
[13] Genesis 1:5. NET, NRSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV. “eve.” MiriamWebster.com. n.d. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eve; “evening (n.).” Online Etymology Dictionary. n.d. https://www.etymonline.com/word/Evening; Gregg, Daniel. TorahTimes.org. n.d. “What is the Genesis definition of “Day.”?” <https://www.torahtimes.org/The%20Genesis%20defintion%20of%20Day.htm> Eisen, Yosef. Chabad.org. n.d. “The Babylonian Talmud.” <https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2652565/jewish/The-Babylonian-Talmud.htm> Sassoon, Hacham Isaac S. The Torah. n.d. “Does a Day Begin in the Evening?” <https://www.thetorah.com/article/does-a-day-begin-in-the-evening> “Day, night, morning, evening and ‘between the evenings.’” Menorah-Bible. n.d. <https://bible-menorah.jimdofree.com/english/resurrection-on-sabbath/day/>
[14] The Babylonian Talmud. Trans. Michael L. Rodkinson. 1918. Internet Sacred Text Archives. 2010.  <https://sacred-texts.com/jud/t08/t0809.htm>  Sanhedrin 43a. Sefaria.org. p 22 <https://www.sefaria.org/Sanhedrin.43a.22?lang=bi>
[15] Rich, Tracey R.  “Jewish Beliefs.”  JewFAQ.org. n.d. <http://www.jewfaq.org/beliefs.htm>  Maimonides.  Mishneh Torah.  Trans. Eliyahu Touger.  “Moses Ben Maimon.” Jewish Encyclopedia.  2011.  Furst, Rachel. “The Mishneh Torah – Maimonides’ halakhic magnum opus.”  MyJewishLearning.com. 2010.  <http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-mishneh-torah/>   Seeskin, Kenneth. “Maimonides.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006, revised 2017.  <https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/maimonides/>
[16] Schneerson, Menachem M.  From Exile to Redemption. Volume 2.  Chapter 4, “Studies in Rambam, Hilchos Melachim, Chapter 5, Chapter 11”, footnotes #551, #558, #559, #602, and Chapter 12.”  <http://www.sichos-in-english.org/books/from-exile-to-redemption-2/02.htm>  “Melachim uMilchamot – Chapter 11.” <http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1188356/jewish/Melachim-uMilchamot-Chapter-11.htm>  Maimonides. “The Law Concerning Moshiach.”  Footnote #5.  Kesser.org. n.d. <http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html#SIE>  “Mishneh Torah.” MishnahTorah.com. n.d. <http://web.archive.org/web/20161105145530/http://www.mishnehtorah.com:80>  Shulman, Moshe. “The Rambam on Isaiah 53.”  “Mishneh Torah.” MishnahTorah.com.  Maimonides.  “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Kesser.org. “Publisher’s Forward.” Ed. Gutfreund,
[17] Maimonides.  “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Sichos In English translation.

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