According to Celsus (in Origen, "Contra Celsum," i. 28) and to the Talmud (Shab. 104b), Jesus learned magic in Egypt and performed his miracles by means of it; the latter work, in addition, states that he cut the magic formulas into his skin. It does not mention, however, the nature of his magic performances (Tosef., Shab. xi. 4; Yer. Shab. 13d); but as it states that the disciples of Jesus healed the sick "in the name of Jesus Pandera" (Yer. Shab. 14d; 'Ab. Zarah 27b; Eccl. R. i. 8) it may be assumed that its author held the miracles of Jesus also to have been miraculous cures. Different in nature is the witchcraft attributed to Jesus in the "Toledot." When Jesus was expelled from the circle of scholars, he is said to have returned secretly from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he inserted a parchment containing the "declared name of God" ("Shem ha-Meforash" Shem ha-Meyuḥad), which was guarded in the Temple, into his skin, carried it away, and then, taking it out of his skin, he performed his miracles by its means. This magic formula then had to be recovered from him, and Judah the Gardener (a personage of the "Toledot" corresponding to Judas Iscariot) offered to do it; he and Jesus then engaged in an aerial battle (borrowed from the legend of
A parallel to the story is found in the statement of the "Toledot" that when Judas found he could not touch Jesus in any way in the aerial battle, he defiled him.
The Jewish legends referring to Jesus can not be regarded as originally purely Jewish, because the Christian Antichrist legends also make use of them. The Antichrist is born of a wandering virgin, the latter being, according to one version, a Danitic, hence Jewish, woman, while the father belongs to the Latin race (corresponding to the Roman soldier Panthera). Similar details are found in the Armilus legend (Bousset, "Der Antichrist," p. 99, Göttingen, 1895; Krauss, "Das Leben Jesu," p. 216).