The first section treats Jesus's life; later sections deal with the exploits of his apostles.

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Although the individual anecdotes that make up the Toledot Yeshu may all come from sources dating before the sixth century, there is no evidence that their gathering into a single narrative is that early.

The source material for the Toledot can be said to derive from four sources: (1) Jewish rabbinic literature; (2) canonical Christian scriptures; (3) noncanonical Christian writings; (4) pagan anti-Christian writings of the Roman period.

Anti-Semites have not failed to employ it as an illustration of the blasphemous character of the Synagogue." The date of composition cannot be ascertained with certainty and there are conflicting views as to what markers denote dates.

For instance, the Toledot refers to Christian festivals and observances that only originated after the 4th century.

Using God’s name he healed a lame man, they worshipped him as the Messiah.

The Sanhedrin decided to arrest him, and sent messengers to invite him to Jerusalem. Bound before Queen Helen, the sages accused him of sorcery. Using God’s name he made birds of clay and caused them to fly.

But they also show a paradoxical respect for Jesus.

As Joseph Dan notes in the Encyclopedia Judaica, "The narrative in all versions treats Jesus as an exceptional person who from his youth demonstrated unusual wit and wisdom, but disrespect toward his elders and the sages of his age." This scurrilous fable of the life of Jesus is a medieval work, probably written down in the tenth century. Though its contents enjoyed a certain currency in the oral traditions of the Jewish masses, it was almost totally ignored by official or scholarly Judaism.

Vinegar was given to him to drink and a crown of thorns was put on his head.