Some writers have called Jesus a rabbi. And Lenny Bruce said “rabbi means lawyer.” But to judge from the Gospel of John 8:12-20, Jesus was not simply a lawyer; he was a shyster.
Here is the relevant quotation, in which Jesus debated with the Pharisees:
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
“The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
“Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
“And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.
“It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true .
“I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
Then they said unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me nor my Father; if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
“These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.”
When Jesus said, “It is also written in you law, that the testimony of two men is true,” he was
referring to the Mosaic law that can be found in Deuteronomy 17:6: “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.”
Much of what Jesus said in his debate with the Pharisees was simply unproven assertion. Insofar as he had an actual argument, it basically boiled down to this: Mosaic law requires two witnesses to prove something true. He and the Father that sent him were two witnesses that he was the light of the world. Q.E.D. Jesus was the light of the world.
Jesus’ citation of the Mosaic law–“your law,” as he put it to the Pharisees–may have been an effective debating gambit. The Pharisees were probably in no position to challenge that law. But it should be obvious that the law in question is not the expression of any objective truth, but is only an abitrary rule of thumb, at best.The idea that to have two witnesses, instead of just one, making the same claim, is always going to lead to the truth is absurd and ridiculous. It is entirely possible for two or more witnesses to agree, but to be mistaken, or maybe even lying.
Furthermore, Jesus claimed the Father that sent him as his second witness, but the Father that supposedly sent him never testified to the Pharisees on his behalf. From the Pharisees’ point of view, Jesus had only one witness, himself.
All in all, Jesus’ argument, insofar as he had any argument, was completely specious. That he relied on such a specious argument shows that Jesus was a shyster and not a god, unless, perhaps, a god can also be a shyster.