The Wandering Jew
Recently, on another website, a thread was started on Longinus, supposedly the Centurion that stuck the lance (probably a pilum) in the side of Jesus to insure he was dead. The individual starting the thread was under the impression that Longinus was cursed to wander the earth until Christ returned. This got me to researching the story, as I knew that the individual had confused this story with that of the “Wandering Jew”. Longinus was the name given in Christ Cult legend for the Centurion, but the NT actually does not specify a rank, saying only that “When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.” We receive the name of this soldier, that early Cultists equated to the Centurion mentioned in Mark 15:39, from the Gospel of Nicodemus which tells us, “Then Longinus, a certain soldier, taking a spear, pierced his side, and presently there came forth blood and water” (Nicodemus 7:8). By legend, Longinus was nearly blind (I doubt that the Roman Army would have kept an officer with such a disability) and upon piercing Jesus side had some of the blood and water splash into his eyes, curing his affliction. Afterward Longinus converted to the Cult, left the army and was eventually was martyred (his blood sprayed into the eyes of the blind King having him executed, curing the King’s blindness). The spear became know as the “Spear of Destiny” and supposedly anyone holding it can conquer the world for good or evil. The spear head (or what is claimed to be it) now rests in the Treasure Room of Hofburg Palace, Vienna, and the shaft is supposedly is contained in one of the four pillars over the altar in the Basilica of St Peter’s in Rome.
The legend of the ”Wandering Jew” is not the “cute” little harmless legend as is that of Longinus. It, instead, is an underhanded attempt by the Christ Cult to explain why Jesus did not return in the matter and time that he stated in Matthew 16:28, “There be some of them that stand here, which shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the son of man coming in his kingdom.”
The only biblical authority for the Wandering Jew, other than Jesus was manhandled while in Jewish and Roman custody prior to the crucifixion, is the above verse and that of John 21:22, “If I will that he (supposedly the beloved disciple) tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”
The Wandering Jew tale is an old one, dating back to at least the late Bronze Age or earlier. By Greek tradition, the poet Aristeas kept appearing among the people of the nations of the world for over 400 years. The Cultist version of this story (as the Wandering Jew) appears as early as 1228, when an Armenian bishop visited England to pay homage at the holy shrines there was entertained by the monks of St Albans. The monks had evidentially heard of the legend and asked the bishop if it were true. He replied that it was and that the man’s name was Kartaphilos, but he was know as Joseph, the name he took upon conversion to the Cult. By legend, he had been the gatekeeper at Pontius Pilate’s judgment hall and had struck Jesus as he was leaving the hall, saying, “Get a move on it.” Jesus in turn told him, “ I go quickly, but you will wait until I return!” The bishop stated that Joseph Kartaphilos was a personal friend and dined with him often. The story went on that Kartaphilos was not forever young, aging normally into a very old age, then falling into a coma as if about to die. While in the coma, he suffers an ecstatic fit, recovering the age he was when he struck Jesus. Because he remembered the entire circumstances of the crucifixion, he was considered a very holy man. Two of the St Alban monks, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, say in “Flores Historiarum” that other Armenian visitors confirmed the story in 1252. This story was also repeated by Philippe Mouskes in 1243. The problem here is that Kartaphilos is not Jewish, the name implies Greek or Roman, but this is probably the ancestral story to that of the Wandering Jew.
In 1602, there was a pamphlet printed in Leyden alleging that the bishop of Schleswig had met the Wandering Jew in Hamburg in 1542. His name was Ahasuerus and followed the St Alban story almost word for word. Ahasuerus was a cobbler in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion and when Jesus paused by his shop to rest on the way to Golgotha, told him to clear off. Jesus replied, “I go quickly but you will wait until I return!”, just as with the St Alban story. As with the UFO reports today, once the story was given credence (in this case by a deceased bishop), sightings appeared all over Europe. He was known as Isaac Lakedion, in Germany as John Buttdaeus, in Spain as John Espera en Dios. Our Wandering Jew even made an appearance in Salt Lake City in 1868. This story has made it’s way into modern fiction such as Miller’s “A Canticle for Liebowitz” and Shelley’s “Queen Mab”. There are other variations of this story, such as Herne the Hunter, a Jew who would not let Jesus drink from a horse trough, but instead pointed out a hoof print from which we could drink. Legend also has it that Gypsies are condemned to wander the world because as Egyptians (the meaning of the word Gypsy, based on the misconception that Egypt was the home of the Gypsies), they refused to help the holy family in their flight into Egypt.
Now that we have explored the various variants of the legend, let’s investigate the reasons (Cultists seldom initiate legends for grins and jollies) that this Wandering Jew legend would be created. It seems plain that the legend was intended as an explanation of the failure of Jesus to reappear within a generation as he promised (Matt 16:28 being one example). After the crucifixion, for the first 40 years his followers believed he would return as the leader of the armies of heaven. His arrival would conclude the r0 years of war between good and evil. With the victorious end of the war, God would
As to the origin of the legend, it seems plain that it was intended to be an explanation of the failure of Jesus to reappear within a generation as he promised, Matthew 16:28 being one instance. For the first 40 years after the end of Jesus's career, his followers believed that he would return as, or with, prince Michael, the archangel in charge of the armies of heaven. His return or parousia would conclude the 40 years of cosmic conflict between the forces of light and the forces of darkness that they expected. With the conclusion of the battle and the victory of the saints and angels, the kingdom of God would begin, God
would rebuild the temple and all those saintly people who had died since the beginning of time would be resurrected to live as angels on earth. By conventional dates, the 40 years would have expired sometime between 58 – 73 CE, the bishops might have been able to stall any doubts for awhile because precise dates had not been kept. Eventually though the faithful would realize nothing had happened, they could have accepted the Jewish War (66-70 CE) was a reflection of the cosmic battle started by Jesus, but for the Jews and early Cultists, the “bad guys” (the Romans)won! With no return of Jesus! The bishops were in a quandary, they had to find a way around a promise that was so clear in the Cult’s oral tradition. They first moved the Kingdom of God from the Earth to a place called Heaven, equivalent to the Greek Elysian Fields. A place accessible only after death and only to those that lived a life of faith in what was taught them by the Cult. Yet, they still had the problem that the promise of the Parousia in the lifetime of those present was very explicit! The answer, to prevent Jesus’ words from becoming a lie, was to make someone live until Jesus actually did return, thus explaining his words.
The earliest followers were given the excuse that Jesus had meant that his return would not be in 40 years, but rather in the lifetime of the disciples. As long as one remained alive, no one need be concerned. Then John did that thing that all the living must eventually do, he died! This meant that the excuse given in John 21:22 was no longer viable, but John 21:23 tells us that he had indeed died by the time the passage was written and the author had to say that Jesus had not really promised it but simply said, “What is it to you if I do promise it?”
None of the original Cultists were still living and the new generation had been taught the less explicit message devised by the bishops. These second generation Cultists were not as apocalyptic as the originals and readily accepted the concepts of the after life and Heaven. Unfortunately, the promises are still in the gospels, giving free rein to the doubters, skeptics or simple honest and naïve believers to question. The legend of the Wandering Jew cursed by Jesus provides a perpetual (albeit unsubstantiated) excuse, as long as some human from that generation remained alive (through a supernatural curse of God), Jesus would not have been untruthful in Matt 16:28 and other such verses. Christ Cultists, despite their devotion to their mythology, never seem to read it very clearly, transferred the curse to a betrayer. Finally, it never seemed to amaze any Christian that the Jesus cursing people in this way is out of character, just like the Jesus who curses innocent fig trees. The reason is that Jesus is a sticky plaster and sealing wax god, stuck together out of a myriad excuses. He could hardly be expected to be consistent and he wasn't, but the bishops had an excuse for that too—it was all part of the mysteries of God! I hope this will clear up the question of Longinus and of the Wandering Jew - Heimdall