Many years ago, I heard a legend about a man who might be the real father of Jesus: a Roman legionnaire called Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera. This legend inspired The Virgin of Galilee, and the more I researched its feasibility, the more possible it seemed.
A second-century book written by the ancient Greek philosopher Celsus supports the theory, as do ancient Jewish writings, including the Talmud, and old sayings referring to "Yeshu ben Pantera," or "Jesus, son of Pantera."
“In a cloud of dust, a band of drunken Roman legionaries in full battle gear rushed into the Sepphoris market square. They swung their swords in the air and shouted, "Revolt! Is that what you want, Jewish bastards? Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!" They knocked over tables and carts and slashed at anyone who got in their way. Panicked, people fled in all directions, desperate for safety. The air filled with cries of anguish. Women bellowed as if the earth were on fire. Mules and goats bolted, shrieking in fear before their throats were slit. Mariam slid under the grape cart, pulled down a coarse burlap blanket to cover her and drew a scarf over her face. If she stayed absolutely still, perhaps n one would notice her.”
This section shows an attack on a Galilean marketplace, where Jesus’s mother is assaulted. During the Roman Empire, the Romans were known for being ruthless, even barbaric. As the rulers of the world, they would terrorize their underlings in the occupied territories. Although drunkenness was not condoned, the young soldiers were far from home, and boosted by their feelings of superiority, they would sometimes raze cities to the ground, rape the women, and even kill people.
The Jews were specifically targeted and hated, because of their absolute refusal to adopt the Roman religion.
The historian Tacitus, for example, played a great role in stirring up Anti-Semitism among his countrymen. He claimed the Jews were cliquish and perverse, that they practice sacrilegious rituals, etc. We are often told that Anti-Semitism took root after Jesus’s crucifixion, but the hatred and fear-mongering started much earlier, and unfortunately exists even today.
Again and again throughout history, Jews have been targeted. Even today, antisemitism is rallying all over the world. Why do you think that is?