The Jewish Pagan Matrix for Jesus as The Christ

Christian apologists strongly deny Greco-Roman pagan religious influence on the Jewish development of Jesus Christ, so any Christian apologist should have no trouble explaining the following paragraph from The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 3 The Early Roman Period

“If the contribution of epigraphy is disappointing in the sphere of synagogal management, in other areas it has much to offer. For a start, it adds to our knowledge of the impact of Graeco-Roman culture upon Palestine Judaism. Among the Beth Shearim inscriptions, for instance, there is one extended metrical epitaph that makes clear use of both Homeric language and concepts – e.g. Moira krataie (Powerful Fate). And in the naves of several Galilean synagogues, most notably that at Hammath Tiberias, we find complex mosaic pavements, the iconography of which is purely pagan in origin. In the center of each pavement is depicted a male radiate figure looking suspiciously like the Greek sun-god, Apollo, around whom circle the Signs of the Zodiac and the Four Seasons, personified, in the normal Graeco-Roman fashion, as a young women. For each figure, except the Apollo-lookalike, a neat label in Hebrew is supplied, the assumption being, presumably, that not everyone in the congregation would be able to identify these alien figures. While these compositions must surely have been regarded as entirely compatible with Judaism, their presence in these synagogues is astonishing. That figural representation was tolerated by Diasporan Jews is shown by, inter alia, the reference to zographia in one of the donor inscriptions in the Sardis synagogue and the Roman epitah, mentioned above, of the zographos, Eudoxios. Nothing, however, in the literary sources of Palestinian Judaism prepares us for the appearance in the homeland’s ‘holy places’ of these rich arrays of captioned pagan figures.” (1)

1. Margaret Williams, “The Contribution of Jewish Inscriptions to the Study of Judaism” Pages 75 - 93 in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 3 The Early Roman Period. Editied by William Horbury, W.D. Davies and John Sturdy Cambridge University Press, 1999. Part II: Inscriptions from Judea / Palestine Relating to Judaism, p. 87 – 88.