AN ACADEMIC SCHOLAR GIVES HIS IMPRESSIONS OF THE JMMANUEL-TO-JESUS NAME-CHANGE HYPOTHESIS
Now and then I try to interest some reputable New Testament (NT) scholar in some particular revelation or aspect of the Talmud Jmmanuel (TJ). There are at least 6 or 8 of these revelations that they are either totally unfamiliar with or that would instantly turn them against the TJ unless they could be familiarized using argumentation acceptable within NT scholarship. One of these revelations is that the man’s name had been Immanuel before the change to “Jesus” was initiated by the “apostle” Paul. (The fact that, according to the TJ, his name should be written as “Jmmanuel” need not be addressed at first.)
Only after enough NT scholars have learned the facts about the Immanuel-to-Jesus name change will some reporters and journalists on religion dare to present it to the public. I learned some 20 years ago not to try to bring the TJ itself to scholars’ attention, that being futile, though my web site remains available for any who come across it.
Recently I posted an abbreviated account of the name-change hypothesis on an NT scholar’s blog whose topic that day concerned the shortage of 1st-century evidence that Jesus had ever existed. We of course can immediately understand how this came about, since he was known as ”Immanuel” until the name-change efforts initiated by Saint Paul finally won out. But how could a typical NT scholar be made aware of this if they can’t be made aware of the reality of Billy Meier’s experiences and the discovery of the TJ?
In my first comment on the blog I informed the scholar of the four Gnostic writings that independently indicate the man’s name had been changed, that his real name was not to be uttered, and/or in cryptic terms that this name was Immanuel or Emmanuel. I also pointed out why this led to the name “Immanuel” not being mentioned in any 1st- and 2nd-century orthodox literature unless it was because Isaiah’s prophecy was being quoted (i.e., “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”). And I mentioned that the name-change hypothesis explains why, in quoting the prophecy, those early Christian writers improperly placed the last clause in the passive voice (i.e. “and his name shall be called Immanuel,” as if “Immanu-El” or “with-us God” were just an appellation or characterization). In the blog I refrained from spelling out this explanation, which is that these Christians believed the prophecy had come true because, a few generations after Immanuel’s ministry some still knew his actual name indeed had been Immanuel; yet the prophecy was a failed prophecy unless he had been given the name “Jesus” at birth. So by using the passive voice, they could make it seem that he was not called Immanuel until later, say after the crucifixion. I included the URL of my web page on this topic for details.
Well, in his response, the scholar dismissed the direct evidence from the Gnostic writings because they were Gnostic, hence non-orthodox, and from the 2nd- and 3rd centuries rather than the 1st century. He also misinterpreted the name-change hypothesis by wrongly claiming it says Paul “invented” both the name “Jesus” and the person behind the name. He ignored the rest.
In my response to his, I informed him again that the hypothesis is that Paul initiated the name change from Immanuel to Jesus, and did not invent the name “Jesus” or the man behind the name. He had nothing to say about the contradicting belief that Isaiah’s Immanuel prophecy had come true in a child named “Jesus” rather than “Immanuel.” He had nothing to say about how the name change (which must have required many decades to become fully established) well explains the shortage of 1st-century writings about “Jesus.”
In his response to this he called the hypothesis bizarre and ludicrous, saying “It’s a classic case of devising a view and then custom-cutting the data to fit it.”
In my response to that, I again pointed out the lack of mention of “Immanuel” outside of a few quotes of the Isaiah prophecy, at a time when early Christians should have been celebrating Immanuel prolifically since they believed Isaiah’s Immanuel prophecy had been fulfilled.
But I was still waiting for any valid objection to the hypothesis. In his third response to mine, he finally made scholarly sense, though with invalid assumptions, as I would like to point out below, where I’ve numbered his four main points and respond to each one here:
 –There is no indication that Matthew or any other writer ever claimed that Jesus’ real name (or other name) was “Immanuel”. That’s a supposition on your part, and suppostions can’t serve as proof of anything else but themselves require evidence.
The hypothesis doesn’t claim that any follower of Paul’s theology called the man Immanuel. Instead they avoided that name and called him “Jesus.” However, certain later Gnostic writers did indicate that his name had been Immanuel; again this was ignored.
 –There is no evidence that Matthew or Justin or anyone else thought “immanuael” a forbidden name that had been put under wraps by Paul. That’s simply another wild claim on your part that has no evidence, and all that is required by way of refutation is to point this out.
As scholars often like to point out, “absence of evidence need not be the same as evidence of absence.” In a cover-up, evidence is destroyed or suppressed. We are just fortunate that in the 19th century various apocryphal and Gnostic writings were discovered and restored. There was very strong incentive for early Christian authorities, and independently Jewish authorities, to wipe out all writings mentioning Immanuel as the Savior or son of Mary.
 –Why did Matthew et al. regard Isa 7:14 as fulfilled in Jesus’ birth? Well, because they came to see Jesus as the Messiah and that on a grand scale, and found him prefigured then (in the logic of ancient Jewish regard for the OT) in many texts. The Hebrew “immanu el” (and in the Heb MT it’s not a name but a two-word appellative) obviously seemed to them a fitting expression of their faith that Jesus was the unique agent and expression of God’s purposes.
I did briefly point out that in the Great Isaiah (Dead Sea) scroll “Immanuel” is written (al three times) as a one-word name and NOT the two-word appellative “Immanu El”). It is in the centuries-later Jewish (Masoretic) text of the Scriptures that it is written as a two-word appellative. And even if it had been an appellative, no evidence has survived from the 1st and 2nd centuries to fulfill the prophecy that he would be called Immanuel. Also, “Jesus” was seen as the Messiah by Paul himself, well before any Gospel came out, and in affirming his belief he avoided any mention of Immanuel.
 –There is no evidence (again, only your assertion) that Paul suppressed “Immanuel” as a name for Jesus and invented the latter. This is so wildly improbable that it would generate a hearty laugh at any mooting of the claim among scholars, Jim. It’s not up to me to refute such a groundless claim; it’s up to you to establish the claim with evidence, not assertions.
On the contrary, that evidence is quite strong. In his epistles, Paul referred to Isaiah many times, and once to “the root of Jesse” as being Isaiah’s Messiah (Romans 15:12). How then could he not have referred to Isaiah’s famous Immanuel prophecy unless he was intent upon never mentioning the name “Immanuel”? There are several good reasons, from Paul’s perspective, why the name of the man whose followers he, as Saul, had hated should be replaced and not uttered. The Immanuelites must have been his chief opponents. And once again, the name-change hypothesis does not claim that Paul “invented” the name Jesus, but that after his conversion he insisted upon calling Immanuel by the name “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus.” The evidence this scholar demanded on his blog has been presented to him, but his mind cannot seem to grasp it. No other readers of his blog commented upon the name-change hypothesis.
I cannot be certain that he was not one of the reviewers of my 10,000-word paper (the paper the above URL links to) that was under peer-review for nine months by a well known NT journal. But if so, he could not have done much more than skim its abstract.