Contrary to what is often asserted, by scholars as well as general readers, the early traditions that Jesus had a biological father named “Pantera” has nothing to do with an assertion that Mary was raped by a Roman soldier. Further, the name Pantera was never said to be a pun on Parthenos–the Greek word for “virgin”–until it was suggested by a German scholar in the 19th century! No ancient writers who comment on the name “Yeshua bar Pantera” associates it with such a pun–they know the name as a real name from the family of Joseph and Mary.
In fact, first century rabbis living in Sepphoris, just north of Nazareth, use the name in a descriptive way–not as slander at all–referring to Jesus of Nazareth. It was a REAL name, not a pun used in slander. In this short interview I survey the entire topic with fresh research and information:
I offer an overview of the Pantera traditions–what we know and don’t know, including what I have discovered most recently in four separate trips to Germany, about the tombstone of a 1st century Roman soldier from Sidon found Bingerbrücke, Germany, on the Rhine river, in 1859.
I explore this topic quite thoroughly in my book, The Jesus Dynasty, as well as in these blog posts linked below. The book is on sale now in paperback for the holidays and has a new epilogue bringing things up to date since it was first published in 2006.