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The Gemara in Bava Metzia 62a talks about two people in the desert and who gets the water first. I heard that the character Ben Petura is the Nazarene; can anyone confirm or deny this with a source?

"Two people were traveling, and [only] one of them had a canteen of water. [There was only enough water so that] if both of them drank they would both die, but if one of them drank [only] he would make it back to an inhabited area [and live]. Ben Petura publicly taught: 'Better both should drink and die than that one see his friend's death,' until Rabbi Akiva came and taught: 'Your brother should live with you' (Vayikra 25:36) - your life takes precedence over the life of your friend's.'" (Bava Metzia 62a)

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Definitely not. For one thing, he seems to be identical with Yehudah ben Petiri, quoted in Tosefta Sotah 5:8; while oso ha'ish's personal name was Ye[ho]shua. For another, it is inconceivable that the Gemara would cite a halachah in the name of oso ha'ish without disavowing it; we find R' Eliezer being punished (by being arrested and nearly executed) for listening to and enjoying a halachic analysis by one of his disciples (Avodah Zarah 17a).

Perhaps you're thinking of "Ben Pandira" (in uncensored editions of the Gemara, Shabbos 104b and Sanhedrin 67a), whom some identify with Yoshke.

  • Note that the full phrase ימח שמו וזכרו has the abbreviation ישו which is also the transliteration of the name used for that person. – sabbahillel Sep 8 '17 at 11:21

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