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Cedars of Lebanon:
Debate at Barcelona: Has the Messiah Come?

- Abstract

Our lord the king had commanded me to debate with Fra Paulo in his majesty’s palace, in the presence of himself and his council, in Barcelona. To this command I replied that I would accede if I were granted freedom of speech, whereby I craved both the permission of the king and of Fra Raymond of Pennaforte and his associates who were present. Fra Raymond of Pennaforte replied that this I could have so long as I did not speak disrespectfully. . . .

Then Fra Paulo began by saying that he would prove from our Talmud that the Messiah of whom the prophets had witnessed had already come. I replied to that, that before we argued on that, I would like him to show and tell me how this could possibly be true. . . . Did he wish to say that the scholars who appear in the Talmud believed concerning Jesus that he was the Messiah, and that they believed that he was completely man and truly God in accordance with the Christian conceptions of him? Was it not indeed a known fact that Jesus existed in the days of the Second Temple, being born and put to death before the destruction of that Temple? But the scholars of the Talmud were later than this destruction. . . . Now, if these scholars had believed in the Messiahship of Jesus and that he was genuine and his religious belief true; and if they wrote those things which Fra Paulo affirms he is going to prove that they wrote; then how was it that they continued to hold by the Jewish faith and their original religious usage? For they were Jews and continued to abide in the religion of the Jews all their days. They died as Jews, they and their children, and their disciples who heard all the words they uttered. Why did they not apostatize and turn to the religion of Jesus as has done Fra Paulo who understands from their sayings that the Christian faith is the true faith? . . .

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