With black magic you can do amazing things, including bewitching people's senses, for example, to see things, hear things and feel certain sensations, whether emotionally or physically. Often when a prophet was sent to his people, they accused him of magic; for example, Pharaoh and his chiefs accused Moses of being a magician, and the Egyptians followed them. And they treated the signs of God with arrogance and called Moses a liar. Well, Jesus raised the dead, healed those born blind and a leper. He even made birds out of clay and gave them life. And people witnessed these signs and miracles. Do Jews consider these miracles as black magic?

(To anyone who answers this question: Could you please not use in your argument that Christians consider Jesus to be God/divine and that is the reason for not accepting him? I do not consider Jesus to be God/divine.)

  • 8
    Is there a (non-Christian) source that these seeming miracles happened? Perhaps they were made up later, and there's nothing to explain. Nov 25, 2018 at 7:41
  • 3
    THere's something about Judaism everyone should know - it does not deal with Jesus at all. It's off-topic, as it has no practical implications whatsoever. Who he was (if anything) and what he did is not discussed or witnessed beyond the fact that he was sentenced for witchcraft and passed to Romans for execution.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 25, 2018 at 12:15
  • The notion of "magic" here is a bit confusing. There is an idea within Judaism (in its mystical branch) that one can effect "miracles" by the use of the name of God. There is a medieval story which explains that the miracles performed by Jesus were performed by secreting the divine name and exploiting it.
    – rosends
    Nov 25, 2018 at 13:34
  • Never mind the alleged actions recorded in the "gospels", but the birds made of clay story is from a much later infancy "gospel", regarded as spurious by most literary critics.
    – Gary
    Nov 26, 2018 at 0:22
  • He likely never existed to begin with
    – Dude
    Mar 19, 2020 at 3:25

6 Answers 6


The miracles Jesus preformed cannot be preformed by magic, it simply is not possible. You cannot raise the dead, heal those born blind or the leaper by magic. Jesus even made out of clay birds and gave them life. And people witnessed these signs and miracles.

You started this off with a huge swath of assumptions which can easily be disproven by the Torah.

Firstly, You can do all of these things with black magic, at least the Torah tells us it is possible and forbidden. The Torah specifically warns against a spectrum of dark arts, idolatries, and witchcrafts which all fall into this category.

Let no one be found among you who consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer,one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead. (Deut 18:11)

The Oral Torah explains that this also involves the raising of the dead (necromancy). Rashi specifically touched upon this.

Rashi: "or a charmer" One who collects snakes, scorpions or other creatures to one place. "a pithom sorcerer" - one who raises the [spirit of the] dead, and it speaks from his [the sorcerer’s] armpit. "a yido’a sorcerer" - one who inserts a bone of the animal called yido’a into his mouth, and the bone speaks by means of sorcery. "or a necromancer" As, for example, one who raises [the dead spirit] upon his membrum, or one who consults a skull. (Source)

You cited the story of Jesus molding a dove from clay and animating it to life. This is a known concept in the mystical traditions and it relates to the sages having discovered divine processes for animating life into clay. The Golem of Prague being one of the more famous stories of such a creature.

Jesus did nothing that distinguished himself from various other figures beyond presenting himself as a false fulfillment of the Mashiach prophecy and declaring himself God in flesh. Miracles are miracles, and they all belong to Hashem regardless of whose hand is used. Dark magic is dark magic regardless of what you use it for and to whose benefit.

Beyond that point, we know for a fact that the writings of the New Testament were written hundreds of years after Jesus walked the earth.

The earliest manuscript that exists is dated 150-250 years after Jesus. Since this book was rehashed and edited so many times, King James organized a council to formulate a "finalized" and uniform version of the book in 1611. (Seriously, 1611)

The Council of Nicea (325 CE) (which canonized the NT) edited out various other writings and contradictory narratives and books in order to create a uniform text. So many different folks had so many different interpretations and themes of what exactly Jesus was and what he did that they had to have the Church literally hand-pick what stayed and what went.

  • Jesus was claimed to have communed with an army of dragons in a deleted Bible story. (The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, Chapter 18)

  • Jesus straight up murdered a child. (Infancy Gospel of Thomas 4:1)

  • Jesus convinced a snake which had bitten a child to suck out its poison. (First Gospel of Infancy 18:13-16)

So can you see my issue with the claim of "Look at the amazing things that Jesus did! Look at everyone who witnessed this! It has to mean something!"

But then you ignore the fact that if the original New Testament had not been edited in the first place, you would have a Jesus who was a dragon-taming, snake- conversing, child-killing whatever. We know nothing about Jesus beyond his name and beyond what the Rabbis spoke about him. The New Testament is a mishmash of conflicting stories and eyewitness accounts and themes which not could not give a clear picture of what Jesus was thematically, and which also blatantly misquoted the Torah to meet its own needs.

“For they did not continue in My covenant and I did not care[9] for them…” [Hebrews 8:9]

“My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them…” [Jeremiah 31:32]


  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation about what counts as reliable witnesses, text alterations, and related topics has been moved to chat. Nov 25, 2018 at 22:46
  • I understand the desire to paint another religion in a disparaging light, but the dragon thing is just a translation issue. The writer of that gospel references psalms 148:7 and apparently translates Taninim as dragons.
    – user6591
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:38
  • 1
    The statement, "You can do all of these things with black magic" is incorrect. Ibn Ezra says that the Torah outlaws magic not because it is real but because it is false. G-d does not desire that we waste our desires over stupidity. Rather, we are obligated to use our intelligence. Simply stated, magic does not exist.
    – Turk Hill
    Oct 22, 2019 at 16:08
  • @TurkHill Ibn Ezra is wrong, magic is definitely real and there are many examples of magic discussed in the Talmud and other Jewish texts. The reasons for why one shouldn't do magic is because its harmful and brings evil, not because its fake.
    – setszu
    Jun 24, 2023 at 22:54
  • @setszu The Ibn Ezra (Leviticus, 19:31) says, "Those with empty brains say 'were it not that fortune tellers and magicians were true, the Torah would not prohibit them.' But I (Ibn Ezra) say just the opposite of their words, because the Torah doesn't prohibit that which is true, but it prohibits that which is false. And the proof is the prohibition on idols and statues....."
    – Turk Hill
    Jun 25, 2023 at 1:28

This question you have asked is not specific to Jesus. Why not ask the same question about other "miracle-workers" throughout time? Although flipping the question doesn't necessarily answer it, it does help us get somewhere. I ask you this: what do Christians think of the "miracles" of Mohammad? The answer is that since Christians reject the validity of the Qur'an, they also reject the validity of the miracles recorded within.

Since Judaism does not accept the New Testament as valid, the miracles within the New Testament are rejected as well. We don't have to say they were "black magic" because we believe they never happened.

  • @CliffordDurousseau Though Toldoth Yeshu is indeed a Jewish source, I would hardly call it authoritative or say that it depicts the majority of Jewish thought on Jesus.
    – ezra
    Mar 15, 2019 at 22:44
  • @CliffordDurousseau A bunch of Jews reading it on Xmas doesn't make it any more authoritative. Give me a Rabbinic source that advocates it.
    – ezra
    Mar 17, 2019 at 2:32
  • When you say, We believe they (the miracles of Jesus) never happened, are you saying (1) that you speak for all Jews (the Jewish scholar, Joseph Klausner, for example, says, 'This power Jesus had' [Jesus of Nazareth, p.270] and Geza Vermes, The Changing Faces of Jesus) and (2) that the miracles recorded in the first four books of the Christian NT are lies? Mar 19, 2019 at 15:03
  • @CliffordDurousseau You still have yet to quote an authoritative Jewish source. To answer your first question, I am speaking through the voice of at least one majority view within traditional Judaism. To answer your second question: yes, that is exactly what I'm trying to say.
    – ezra
    Mar 20, 2019 at 6:09
  • @ezraWhat source(s) say that the miracles of Jesus never happened? Apr 3, 2019 at 6:53

Avri’s answer is correct and much more detailed than mine. However, there is one opinion that does indeed say that Jesus could have been guilty of witchcraft.

Tosfos to Sanhedrin 37b DH miyom shecharav ask why the Gemara says that “even after the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed” the judgement of the four death penalties is still carried out by G-d through other means; the Sanhedrin voluntarily gave up the ability to administer the death penalty forty years earlier, so why does the Gemara say only once the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed? About halfway into the piece, they write:

וי״ל מ״מ כשהיו רואים צורך שעה היו חוזרים ללשכת הגזית כי ההיא עובדא

And there is to say that, nevertheless, when they would see that there was a need, they would return to the Lishkas HaGazis [to administer the death penalty], like in “that incident.”

Tosfos seem to be referring to a censored story on 43a; you can find this story in Oz v’Hadar, New Vilna, and Sefaria.

What’s the reason I bring up this Tosfos? Because from the fact that they insist that this story took place during those forty years - from 30 CE to 70 CE, give or take - indicates that the ישו mentioned therein may be Jesus according to them, who was killed in 34 CE.

The relevant quote from 43a is as follows:

בערב הפסח תלאוהו לישו והכרוז יוצא לפניו מ' יום ישו יוצא ליסקל על שכישף והסית והדיח את ישראל כל מי שיודע לו זכות יבא וילמד עליו ולא מצאו לו זכות ותלאוהו בערב הפסח

On Erev Pesach, they hanged Yeshu. The announcer went before him 40 days [and announced]: “Yeshu is going to be stoned on that he committed witchcraft, that he enticed [to sin], and that he enticed [to idolatry]. Whoever knows a merit for him, come and say it for him.” They did not find a merit, and he was hanged on Erev Pesach.

I should emphasize: most opinions disagree with this reading of the story, saying emphatically that Yeshu as used here is not Jesus, on the grounds that it was after the Sanhedrin stopped administering the death penalty. With Tosfos opening the door, it’s certainly possible that the answer to your question is yes.

  • 1
    +1 for the second part of your answer which is a straightforward answer - but in my opinion the date 34 CE is totally irrelevant because the Talmud considers Jesus to be a student of Yehoshua ben Perachya. Who are these "most opinions" who say this doesn't refer to the Jesus? As far as I know, Jewish historiography (e.g. Seder Hadorot ג'תרע"א) assume that Jesus lived long before 34 CE. If you interpreted the ההוא עובדא of Tosafot correctly (and I can't suggest an alternative), that complicates things - either the Yeshu of 43a isn't Jesus, or Tosafot does somehow share your date of 34 CE
    – b a
    Nov 25, 2018 at 15:14
  • @ba 1 CE of the Gregorian calendar refers to the years since Jesus’ birth. 34 CE is the year in which he was crucified. The reason the date is important is because if it’s before 30 CE you don’t need Tosfos to validate this reading of the Gemara, and if it’s after 70 CE, Tosfos don’t help; by noting that it’s in 34 CE I make clear that it’s within the 40 years Tosfos refer to. I’d be curious to see the passage in Seder HaDoros, though, if you have a link to it. (Wikipedia gives a date of c. 30 CE.)
    – DonielF
    Nov 25, 2018 at 15:32
  • Jesus is usually considered to have been born some time before 1 CE so that his life can overlap with Herod. This is still a century later than the Jewish sources give. If Tosafot have a date of 30-70 CE for the crucifixion, and they are also referring to this case when they say ההוא עובדא, then you are correct. The question is how Tosafot, who didn't have access to Wikipedia, would have had such a date against all of the other sources.
    – b a
    Nov 25, 2018 at 15:46
  • The link to Seder Hadorot is here (I couldn't put it in either of my other comments because of the character limit), but Seder Hadorot is one example of many Jewish history books which give this date
    – b a
    Nov 25, 2018 at 15:46
  • @CliffordDurousseau Tosfos is a plural noun and therefore gets a plural verb.
    – DonielF
    Mar 15, 2019 at 17:54

I. Christian Literature

*Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, A Jew 69.7:

‘The spring of living water which gushed forth from God in the land destitute of the knowledge of God, namely the land of the Gentiles, was this Christ, who also appeared in your nation, and healed those who were maimed, and deaf, and lame in body from their birth, causing them to leap, to hear, and to see, by His word. And having raised the dead, and causing them to live, by His deeds He compelled the men who lived at that time to recognise Him. But though they saw such works, they asserted it was magical art. For they dared to call him a magician (μάγος) and a deceiver(πλάνος) of the people.’

*Origen, Against Celsus 1.28:

‘After she [Mary] had been driven out by her husband and while she was wandering about in a disgraceful way she secretly gave birth to Jesus… because he was poor he [Jesus] hired himself out as a workman in Egypt, and there tried his hand at certain magical powers on which the Egyptians pride themselves; he returned full of conceit because of these powers, and on account of them gave himself the title of God.’[12]

II. Islamic Literature

*The Qur'an

The Qur'an provides an account of Jesus’ healings and raisings from the dead and adds:

‘those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but obvious magic’ (5.110).

III. Jewish Literature

*Toldot Yeshu:

After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene ruled over all Israel. In the Temple was to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraved the letters of God's Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the Sages took measures so that no one should gain this knowledge. Lions of brass were bound to two iron pillars at the gate of the place of burnt offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name, when he left the lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret would be forgotten.

Yeshu came and learned the letters of the Name; he wrote them upon the parchment which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the flesh over the parchment. As he left, the lions roared and he forgot the secret. But when he came to his house he reopened the cut in his flesh with a knife an lifted out the writing. Then he remembered and obtained the use of the letters.[6]

He gathered about himself three hundred and ten young men of Israel and accused those who spoke ill of his birth of being people who desired greatness and power for themselves. Yeshu proclaimed, "I am the Messiah; and concerning me Isaiah prophesied and said, 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.'" He quoted other messianic texts, insisting, "David my ancestor prophesied concerning me: 'The Lord said to me, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.'"

The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu was the Messiah he should give them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man, who had never walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the Ineffable Name, and the leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshipped him as the Messiah, Son of the Highest.

When word of these happenings came to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin decided to bring about the capture of Yeshu. They sent messengers, Annanui and Ahaziah, who, pretending to be his disciples, said that they brought him an invitation from the leaders of Jerusalem to visit them. Yeshu consented on condition the members of the Sanhedrin receive him as a lord. He started out toward Jerusalem and, arriving at Knob, acquired an ass on which he rode into Jerusalem, as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah.

The Sages bound him and led him before Queen Helene, with the accusation:"This man is a sorcerer and entices everyone." Yeshu replied, "The prophets long ago prophesied my coming: 'And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,' and I am he; but as for them, Scripture says 'Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.'"

Queen Helene asked the Sages: "What he says, is it in your Torah?" They replied: "It is in our Torah, but it is not applicable to him, for it is in Scripture: 'And that prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.' He has not fulfilled the signs and conditions of the Messiah."

Yeshu spoke up: "Madam, I am the Messiah and I revive the dead." A dead body was brought in; he pronounced the letters of the Ineffable Name and the corpse came to life. The Queen was greatly moved and said: "This is a true sign." She reprimanded the Sages and sent them humiliated from her presence. Yeshu's dissident followers increased and there was controversy in Israel.

Yeshu went to Upper Galilee. the Sages came before the Queen, complaining that Yeshu practiced sorcery and was leading everyone astray.


There is a story about a person, who may or may not be THE Jesus*, who used to hang around the Temple. Somehow he got into the Holy of Holies while the Kohen Gadol was doing the Yom Kippur service. He may have been using a pulley operated maintenance box. He heard the Kohen say a powerful name of God. The trick is, only when the Kohen is in the inspired state inside the room does he know the word. Jesus carved it into his arm and took the word outside and did miracles with it. Thus J did use magic.

*Just like the third guy (Onkelos) in the story with Titus and Bilam may or may not be Jesus but probably is. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onkelos)

  • I'm never heard either of the stories you refer to. Can you elaborate on them? The first one doesn't sound Jewish, and I don't know what you're referring to with the second one. Nov 26, 2018 at 17:31
  • The second story is well known and is from Gittin. Looking for reference to the first one. Nov 26, 2018 at 18:44
  • Gittin says that the Onkelos story is about Jesus? If you can find a specific reference I'd like to see it for myself. Nov 26, 2018 at 18:55
  • It is deliberately unsaid but everyone knows who it is, including Christian censors. Nov 26, 2018 at 18:59
  • What is the source of this tale of j-sus sneaking into the Holy of Holies? How could that be possible?
    – Ephraim77
    Nov 27, 2018 at 18:24


This shiur by Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron says that there is not a single evidence that Jesus ever existed. And, for the miracles, not a single witness was ever cited in the so-called "New Testament."

  • @ Rh Haokip The twenty seven books of the Christian New Testament testify that Jesus existed. These pieces of literature were all written in the first century. In addition, there is the testimony of Josephus in his great work, Antiquities of the Jews. -- The Christian New Testament cites the twelve apostles (emissaries) as witnesses of the miracles of Jesus. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:25
  • the new testament itself is heresy. it is the same as i go and make a new book and write, that another person starts a new cult and then call it "Very new testament" and quote it everywhere. Is that valid at all?!
    – Rh Haokip
    Apr 3, 2019 at 11:09
  • Rh Hatop You do not address the two points I adduced above: That there are 27 books + Josephus the Jewish historian who attest that Jesus lived, and that there were the twelve witnesses to the mitracles. Apr 3, 2019 at 12:43

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