The Babylonian Talmud mentions more than one hundred different Rabbis, specifically writing out his full name and lineage so as to clearly differentiate each and every single Rabbi quoted in the Talmud, which happens to run several thousand full pages in length. Strangely, the same Talmud also mentions an unnamed, but apparently learned individual referred to only as ‘a certain Galilean‘. This would not seem so odd if the text frequently mentioned others as a certain Babylonian, a certain Roman, a certain Egyptian, a certain Judean, etc. Yet, the Talmud does not do this at all, but always tends to name each and every character meticulously. The closest comparison to ‘a certain Galilean’ would be R. Jose the Galilean, who is quite possibly the only other individual designated as being from Galilee throughout the entire Talmud. Therefore, the most appropriate question concerning this unsolved mystery would be something like this:
QUESTION: What is the actual identity of ‘a certain Galilean’.
Before attempting to answer this question, here are the relevant passages from the Babylonian Talmud:
The Galileans who were not exact in their language’. For instance? A certain Galilean once went about inquiring, ‘who has amar?’ ‘Foolish Galilean’, they said to him, ‘do you mean an “ass” for riding, “wine” to drink, “wool” for clothing or a “lamb” for killing?’ A woman once wished to say to her friend, ‘Come, I would give you some fat to eat’ but that what she actually said to her was, ‘My cast-away, may a lioness devour you’. A certain woman once appeared before a judge and addressed him as follows: ‘My master slave, I had a child and they stole you from me, and it is of such a size that if they had hanged you upon it, your feet would not have reached to the ground’.
– ‘Erubin 53b
Alternatively, what is andifa? The lock on the forehead. Even as a certain Galilean chanced to visit Babylon and was requested to lecture on the chariot passage; Said he to them, ‘I will lecture to you as R. Nehemiah lectured to his companions.’ Thereupon a wasp came out of the wall and stung him on the andifa [forehead] and he died. Said they. ‘This [befell] him through his own [fault].’
– Shabbath 80b
What is mashkokith? – Here they explained it: ‘The bell’. R. Jacob, however, said: ‘The goat that leads the herd.’ So too a certain Galilean in one of his discourses before R. Hisda [said] that when the shepherd becomes angry with his flock he appoints for a leader one which is blind.
– Baba Kamma 52a
A certain Galilean lectured before R. Hisda: Blessed be the Merciful One who gave a three-fold Torah to a three-fold people through a third[-born] on the third day14 in the third month. With whom does this agree? With the Rabbis.
– Shabbath 88a
As a certain Galilean lectured before R. Hisda: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I put a rebi’ith of blood in you; therefore I commanded you concerning blood.
– Shabbath 31b
A certain Galilean expounded before R. Hisda: If one should make an analogy in respect of Elijah, what does this matter resemble? A man who locked his gate and lost the key. R. Jose taught in Sepphoris: Father Elijah.
– Sanhedrin 113a
Clearly, the phrase ‘a certain Galilean’ most probably refers to a single individual, possibly a Rabbi, who was in some manner connected to R. Hisda, a rather prominent and frequently cited Rabbi in the Babylonian Talmud. Just who was this mysterious figure. Here is the most likely answer that has yet to be proven, but makes the most sense considering the Talmud’s deliberate attempt to conceal the identity of ‘a certain Galilean’.
A: Rabbi Joshua ben Joseph of Nazareth, the Messiah (Jesus Christ)