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Jason-Jesus and the two faces of ‘Alexander Yannai’

It’s making me so happy, how more and more of us here on the blog are starting to piece together things.

As I probably should state more often, I don’t know everything, anything but.

I am a journalist, and my strength is in tracking down new sources of information, and sharing them more widely. I get a lot of help from Upstairs when it comes to making connections, but I am not pretending to have all the answers here, not at all. So, I’m very grateful for all the tremendous input I’m getting from readers, to try to ascertain the truth, and continue the birur.

In this post, we’re going to continue trying to track down what happened to those descendants of Shimon HaTzaddik, ‘Chonyo-Onias-Yochanan’ and ‘Jason-Jesus-Shimi’.

And I’m also going to share more information about the strange connections between Jews in biblical Judea…. and Wales.

Ready? Let’s begin.

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Commentator Yosef mentioned there is a strange, fancy tomb of someone named ‘Jason’, slap-bang in the middle of Rehavia.

I took a look on Google maps, HERE, and this is what I learned from the comments there:

Amazing feeling to find a small pyramid in Jerusalem!!!

And this, written by an official tour guide called Richard Johnson:

Tucked away in the neighborhood of Rehavia, Jason’s tomb is unique find.

A tomb of a Hasmonean king of Judea. This tomb displays hellenized influence, with an inscription written above the door in perfect Greek verse. The pyramid at the top is called a nefesh, due to the belief that this is where the soul would wait until the end of days.

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Do you remember any Hasmonean ‘kings’ called Jason?

Nope, me neither.

Here’s some more specific details of ‘Kever Yason’, from the madainproject.com website:

The tomb is considered to date from the time of Alexander Jannaeus (reigned circa 103-76 BCE)…. Coins found at the site date to the first third of the first century CE. The tomb was finally blocked in 30/31 CE.

The architecture of the tomb not only holds uncanny parallels with the contemporary Alexandrian tombs, it also shares clear prototype-architectural-elements for the structure in older tombs from Deir el-Medina at Thebes, on the western bank of the Nile in Egypt.

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We have yet more links between this person and Egypt, where the renegade ‘Bnei Tzadok / Beit Chonyo’, descendants of Shimon HaTzaddik ended up.

But the standard dating of this tomb sets it in the time period of ‘Jesus Number 2’ (around 31 CE), not Jesus Number 1 around 171 CE).

So let’s see if we can figure out a few more things, before moving on to the Wales side to this crazy tale.

Here’s a few more descriptions from inside ‘Kever Yason’:

Another inscription states that Jason sailed to the coast of Egypt….On the walls of the tomb were charcoal drawings of ships, one Greek and several Aramaic inscriptions – some of which are still (barely) visible.

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Yet again, I am coming across this weird ‘time warp’ for these people, and this period of time, when I try to track down who this ‘Jason’ actually was.

Coins at the site, from Alexander Janneus and his son, John Horcanus date the tomb to the Hasmonean period, 37-167 BC.

If you to to this story from 2019, in Hebrew, you get a few more details:

Above the northern wall of the vestibule is painted a ram with antlers, and on the eastern wall is an engraving in the shape of the seven-branched menorah…. On the western wall of the inner courtyard is the Palm of Tamar.

This article floats the idea that this ‘Jason’ was perhaps the head of Alexander Yannai’s navy, or some sort of pirate:

Some claim Jason was the most feared pirate in the Mediterranean. Legend has it that Jason had a very large treasure and in order for it to never be found he decided to bury it in the most distant place from the sea – in Jerusalem.

What I can tell you, is that these murals are being left to rot into oblivion. Always a sign, there’s something there they authorities don’t want people to know about.

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So, is this the tomb of ‘Joshua-Jason-Jesus’, the hellenising High Priest and son of ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’?

It’s at least possible.

Again, let’s sum up as we go along what we know about ‘Jason-Jesus’ and his brother, Chonyo-Yochanan-Onias III’  because I know this is a lot to take in.

(Take a look at the Hebrew Wiki page for more details)

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  • Beit Chonyo’ and ‘Beit Zadok’ were used interchangeably, to refer to this family of priests.
  • ‘Onias III’ is one and the same as ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol‘, who apparently hid the pure flask of oil we hear about in the Chanuka story.
  • He has a brother, ‘Joshua-Jason-Jesus’ who is a helleniser, and takes over from him as High Priest, and starts ‘hellenising’ the Holy City of Jerusalem in a big way for the three years he ‘Kohen HaGadol’. Jason is later pushed out of the High Priesthood (in 171 BCE) by someone named ‘Menelaus’, who is even more hellenising, immoral and greedy. (See below). This fits with the earliest dating of ‘Kever Yason’ in Rehavia.
  • Yochanan Kohen Gadol (Onias III / Chonyo) had three sons, one of whom had a lot of secular authority in Jerusalem and got into a power-struggle with another official called ‘Shimon’.
  • This ‘Shimon’ tells the Syrian-Greek King Seleucus to go and grab all the money in the Temple treasuries. Yochanan / Onias III apparently prevents this from happening, setting the scene for what happens next.
  • This Shimon then informs on the ‘sons of Chonyo’ to the Greeks, that they are engaging in ‘anti Seleucid’ activities. This led to Yochanan Kohen Gadol (Onias III) being ‘demoted’ and shipped out to Daphne, where he was later killed by someone called Andronicus, apparently prompted by that same Menelaus the High Priest, above.
  • Meanwhile, Yochanan / Chonyo / Onias III’s son, Onias IV – the one who argued with ‘Shimon’, above – is next in line to become the ‘Kohen Gadol’, but apparently gets pushed out of Jerusalem, to Egypt.

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Here’s how Wiki sets out the list of High Priests from this time:

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But there’s a lot of funny business going on here, possibly involving the ‘Essenes’.

Snippet:

It is unknown who held the position of High Priest of Jerusalem between Alcimus’ death and the accession of Jonathan Apphus.

Josephus, in Jewish Antiquities XX.10, relates that the office was vacant for seven years, but this is highly unlikely, if not impossible…

In another passage (XII.10 §6, XII.11 §2) Josephus suggests that Judas Maccabeus, the brother of Jonathan, held the office for three years, succeeding Alcimus. However, Judas actually predeceased Alcimus by one year… The Jewish Encyclopedia tries to harmonise the contradictions found in Josephus by supposing that Judas held the office “immediately after the consecration of the Temple (165-162), that is, before the election of Alcimus”

  • It has been argued that the founder of the Qumran community, the Teacher of Righteousness (?159-153 BC). was High Priest (but not necessarily the sole occupant) during the inter-sacerdotium and was driven off by Jonathan.

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I have at least one ‘Kahana’ family tree that shows that Jesus II, his brother ‘James the Just’, first Jewish-xtian ‘Bishop of Jerusalem’, Josephus and Caiphus, the Kohen HaGadol at the time of Yoshki’s apparent crucifiction (note the spelling…) all descend from this same guy, Alcimus.

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One more thing here, and then let’s move on to ‘Jesus and Wales’.

In Brachot 29a, it says this:

“[W]e learned in a Mishnah: Do not believe in yourself (i.e. trust that you are safe from the evil inclination), until the day you die, for Yochanan the Kohen Gadol served as Kohen Gadol for 80 years, and in the end became a Sadduccee.

And Abaye said: He is Yannai, he is Yochanan, i.e. Yannai and Yochanan were one and the same person.

Rava, however, said: Yannai is separate and Yochanan is separate, i.e. they were two different people.

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The Artscroll notes are very interesting. Let’s quote them, then I’ll try to ‘sum up’ why this is so astounding – and what it might mean, for our Hashmonaim family tree:

(Note 7):

“Yannai and Yochanan are names of Hashmonean kings cited in various places in the Talmud.

About Yannai, it is related in Kiddushin 66a that he massacred the Sages for questioning his fitness to serve as Kohen Gadol. 

Abaye asserts that Yannai and Yochanan were in face one and the same person.

(Note 8):

[The story of Yannai killing the Sages occurred early in his reign.] 

He later repented only to return to his evil ways in his later years (Rashi; see Menachem Meishiv Nefesh).

(Note 9):

He was righteous until close to the end of his life, when he became a renegade.

(Note 10):

Since Yannai and Yochanan were one and the same person, and Yannai is known to have been bad from the start, we must say that his eighty years as the righteous Yochanan Kohen Gadol reflected a repentance from his former ways.

When he became a Sadduccee towards the end of his life, he was merely reverting to his original character.”

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You see?

This problem of ‘good people’ and ‘tzaddikim’ being one and the same as ‘bad people’ and ‘immoral, murderous heretics’ has been going on for a very long time….

Let’s try to stand this up, in real time.

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Here’s a list of the High Priests from this time, from HERE:

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‘Simon Thassi’ is Shimon the Hashmonean, one of the five sons of Matityahu ben Yochanan Kohen Gadol, of the Chanuka story.

He’s the last son left standing, and starts stabilising the country.

Snippet from Wikipedia, HERE:

He became the first prince of the Hebrew Hasmonean Dynasty. He reigned from 142 to 135 BCE.

The Hasmonean Dynasty was founded by a resolution, adopted in 141 BCE, at a large assembly “of the priests and the people and of the elders of the land, to the effect that Simon should be their leader and high priest forever, until there should arise a faithful prophet”.

In February 135 BCE,] Simon and his two sons Mattathias and Judah were assassinated at a banquet at Dok by his son-in-law Ptolemy, the Seleucid governor at Jericho. Simon’s third son John Hyrcanus succeeded him to the high priesthood and rule over Israel but proved unable to capture Ptolemy, first because he held John’s mother hostage and then because of his army disbanded due to the custom at the time of resting every seventh year.

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So, ‘John Hyrcanus’ mother IS held hostage, and also tortured and killed by her captors, albeit apparently after he was already born…

Now, let’s go over to Geni, to see if we can work out a bit more.

Screenshot from HERE:

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1: Is ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’.

2. Is his son, ‘Matityahu ben Yochanan Kohen Gadol’, of the Chanuka story.

3. Is his son, ‘Simon Thassi Maccabeus’ (Hasmonean), who finally gained independence for Judea from the Seleucids, and become High Priest and ‘ethnarch’.

4. Is his son, ‘John Hyrcanus I’.

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This snippet comes from the Torah Musings  HERE:

1. The Rambam (Introduction to Commentary to the Mishnah) and Roke’ah (Hilkhos Hanukah) are of the view that [the famous Yochanan Kohen Gadol’ was the son of Matisyahu, of Hanukah fame, evidently named after his own grandfather.

2. Sefer Yuhasin (1:16) and Seder Ha-Doros (2:Yohanan Kohen Gadol) state that Yohanan the High Priest was Matisyahu’s father and is the one mentioned in the “Al Ha-Nissim.”

3. Later scholars, including Doros Ha-Rishonim (part 2 p. 442) and Toledos Tanna’im Ve-Amora’im (vol. 2 p. 688), are of the view that Yohanan the High Priest was the grandson of Matisyahu and the son of Shimon.

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That last source seems to make more sense, especially in light of the discussion in the Gemara from Brachot 29a.

And then, that tells us this:

John Hyrcanus I = ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’ (who reigned for 80 years before becoming a Sadducee) = King Alexander Yannai.

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Let’s see if we can stand this up a little more.

According to this from the Jewish Virtual Library:

Although the king is named “Alexander Yannai” by Josephus and “Yannai the king” by rabbinic literature, his full name was “Alexander Jonathan” (or “Yehonathan“) as attested to by his coins.

Maybe this is also a good time to point out that ‘Yannai’ is the Hebrew version of the name ‘Janus’ – referring to the two-faced pagan god.

Coincidence?

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So, John Hyrcanus I / Yochanan Kohen Gadol is born in 164 BCE (3596).

He is said to rule between  134 BCE until his death in 104 BCE.

Meanwhile, ‘Alexander Yannai’ is said to rule between 103 to 76 BCE.

I can’t seem to find anything with an official birthdate for him, which of course makes sense, if he’s the same person as John Hyrcanus I / Yochanan Kohen Gadol.

So, we’re told in the Gemara that Yochanan Kohen Gadol ruled for 80 years.

Let’s do the maths: If he was born in 164 BCE (3596) and died in 76 BCE (3684) – that makes him 88 years old.

It’s definitely within the range being discussed by the Gemara – and more to the point, there is no other ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’ who even comes close to this length of time.

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So now, here’s more interesting stuff.

We have no idea who the wives of ‘John Hyrcanus I’ are.

Snippet from the Jewish Women’s Archive HERE:

No woman of the Hasmonean family is mentioned in the two books devoted to the Hasmonean rebellion—Maccabees I and II, the authors of which showed no interest in the families of the Hasmonean brothers. Yet Hasmonean women seem to have played a decisive role in the history of the dynasty, particularly as regards the succession process.

Most of the information was coming from Josephus, and Josephus descends from Alcimus the High Priest, and is very close family with ‘Jesus the Nazarene’.

Perhaps we’ll get to him another time.

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For now, you should know that the only named wife for all of these Hasmonean rulers is ‘ShlomTziyon-Salome’, the sister of the head of the Sanhedrin, Shimon ben Shetach, who we are told marries ‘Alexander Yannai’ when he is 13 – and she is 30!

This footnote sums up the problem:

Josephus’ statement (Jewish Antiquities xv. 6, § 3), that Hyrcanus II, Jannaeus’ eldest son, was eighty years old when he was put to death by Herod, in 31 BCE, is probably erroneous, for that would set the year of his birth as 111 BCE, and Jannaeus himself was born in 125 BCE, so that he could have been but fourteen when Hyrcanus was born to him. It is difficult to understand how a thirteen-year-old boy married a widow of thirty.

But we know he didn’t.

Queen Shlomtzion-Salome-Alexandra was probably at least his second wife.

And if John Hyrcanus I / Alexander Yannai was born in 164 BCE, and ShlomTzion-Salome was born in 142 BCE, that makes HIM 22 years older than HER.

And that makes way more sense.

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ShlomTzion eventually outlives him, and become a righteous Regent Queen in her own right, before the nation plunges into civil war upon her death, as her two sons fight it out to be King.

Here’s a couple more things to note, and then we will have to leave it here today, and return to ‘Jesus in Wales’ in a different post.

In the course of figuring this bit out, I’ve actually tripped over even more information that fills out the picture of who Jesus really was, and what really went down here, with all these two-faced ‘Tzaddik-heretic’ Hashmonaims.

Snippet 1:

According to some versions of the Toledoth Yeshu, a medieval alternative-Christian life of Jesus, Salome is connected with Jesus of Nazareth, placing the death of Jesus 150 years earlier.

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Apart from Josephus, ShlomTzion is also mentioned in the Gemara, as the sister of Shimon ben Shetach.

These snippets come from the ‘Whitewashing Yoshki‘ post:

[The original] Yeshu lived in the time of Shimon ben Shetach, who had Yoshke killed for being a false moshiach and utilizing the Shem haMeforesh….

Shimon ben Shetach and Yehuda Ibn Tabbai were preceded by the ‘zug’ of Yehoshua ben Perachya and Nitai HaArbeli.

Yehoshua ben Perachya is known as the ‘rebbe’ of Jesus, who was one of his students who went astray.

Go back and read that post, if you didn’t already, because it has a lot of pertinent information.

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Queen ShlomTzion  is also mentioned, very unfavorably, by the Essene community, in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Snippet from the JWA site:

Queen Shelamziyyon is mentioned by name twice in the Dead Sea scrolls, in an astrological fragment (4Q322–4Q324).

Reference to her reign is probably also found in Pesher Nahum. These allow a glimpse into the Dead Sea Sect’s attitudes to the queen. Pesher Nahum first describes the reign of her husband, during which the Pharisees were crucified, referring to a well-known event in the days of King Alexander Yannai (88 BCE) described in the writings of Josephus (Ant. 13:380).

It then goes on to describe the rule of the Pharisees, obviously during the queen’s reign.

Jerusalem under the rule of the new queen is described as “the bloody city” and the queen herself is described in the words of the prophet Nahum: “Because of the countless harlotries of the harlot, the winsome mistress of sorcery, who ensnared nations with her harlotries and peoples with her sorcery.” (Nahum 3:4).

For the sectarians of Qumran, the queen’s change of policy in Jerusalem did not seem to make much difference. They hated the Sadducee rule of Alexander Yannai, and they detested his heiress’s Pharisee rule no less.

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I am more and more coming to the conclusion that ‘Yoshki’ and his brother James the Just, as well as being Kohanim, were closely aligned to the Essene community in Qumran, after all.

And that they were the sworn enemies of the Hashmonaim rulers, in both of their guises as righteous ‘Pharisees’ and wicked ‘Sadducees’.

This snippet comes from HERE:

Another group of texts, mainly Pesher Habakkuk, recalls the way the “Wicked Priest” persecuted the “Teacher of Righteousness,” the head of the Dead Sea sect, and his group.

The phrase “Wicked Priest” seems to aim at the High Priest living in Jerusalem, contemporary of the Teacher of Righteousness. Thus some scholars identify this figure with Alexander Yannai, while other scholars seek to identify him with one of his predecessors or successors.

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I will start to piece that bit of the story together soon, BH.

But we’ll stop here for now.

Another epic post!

But at least now we’ve figured out the true identity of that ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’, we’ve figured out that he is one-and-the-same as ‘Alexander Yannai’ and ‘John Hyrcanus I’ – and that is the exact same period of time that this ‘Kever Yason’ was built in the Jerusalem necropolis that was located in Rehavia, with all its ‘Egyptian’ hellenistic stuff going on.

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In the next post, we’ll try to get to ‘Jesus in Wales’.

And then, you’ll hopefully start to see why so much of what was going on with the Hashmonaim rulers has been deliberately distorted and covered up.

It’s properly mind-blowing.

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6 replies
  1. Shmaryah
    Shmaryah says:

    בס”ד

    “……………The tomb was finally blocked in 30/31 CE……….” Oooohhhhh! Interesting! 30/31 CE is the most widely agreed upon date for the death of yoshke by the majority of xtian’s. There is also several accounts in the xtian writings that state that after the death of yoshke at the hands of the Romans, the elders requested that a guard be posted at the tomb to prevent his followers from removing the body. According to the writings, the Roman? guards rollled a large boulder into the entrance to the tomb to prevent access to his followers.

    Very interesting! As you stated Rivka, “epic” 🙂

    —–stingray—–

    Reply
  2. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    When reading about Chonio, Choni HaMe’agel came to my mind, and just now I decided to look him up: look at his Wikipedia entry: interesting!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honi_HaMe%27agel

    First of all the years seem to match this story too. And BTW Shimon ben Shetah is also mentioned regarding him.

    And then look at his grandsons’ tomb in the Galil: the shape is almost the same as Jason’s, even though the colors don’t match.

    What do you make of this???

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      So strange, Daisy, because he also came to my mind a couple of weeks’ ago, when I read that Gemara.

      I did a bit more researching at that point, and there was a footnote that the 70 years he was ‘asleep’ could also refer to being ‘asleep’ to the 70 facets of the Torah – i.e., he might have gone off the derech some how, but then returned after 70 years….

      He is ‘put to death’ by John Hyrcanus II’s followers, in one of the accounts in the Gemara. That is the son of ‘John Hyrcanus I = Yochanan Kohen Gadol who became a Sadducee after 80 years = Alexander Yannai.

      It for sure requires some deeper thought.

      Reply
      • Daisy
        Daisy says:

        I have to say you are doing fantastic research, Rivka; even learning Gemorah? Wow; I never really got to this in a serious manner – reading excerpts here and there, yes; but profound study? Kol Hakavod! ( My son always tells me that Gemara is not made for women: is that true :))?)

        Reply
        • Rivka Levy
          Rivka Levy says:

          The Rav says that women should learn the aggadot, the stories….

          So, when he mentions a particularly interesting story in the Gemara, I go and look it up. And that’s how all this stuff started to come together.

          Reply
  3. Yehoshua
    Yehoshua says:

    What do you make off chapter 37 in Shaar Hagilgulim which is a chapter about Kever of tzaddikim and their locations -and it includes this text – An Impure Place To the north of Tzfas, it should be rebuilt and reestablished speedily in our days, as one walks from Tzfas to the north side to the village of “Ein Zeitun,” by way of a carob tree, is where Yeshu the Christian is buried. There are two paths there, and the one to the right goes towards Ein Zeitun that was mentioned, and the second to the left goes towards Hakarel that was mentioned before. Here is a link with the text and I checked it on my Kindle version of the actual book http://www.myascent.org/about-2/about-tzfat/holy-sites/discoveries-of-the-holy-ari/

    Reply

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