It is no wonder that such a variant hypothesis has had very little following even among critics. The late dates of the sources and the lack of recognition by both Jesus’ loved ones and his enemies alike, even at extremely close range, together with his glorified but scarred post-crucifixion appearances, combine to make this assertion quite unpalatable to scholars.
3.Lack of historical credibility
The third major objection to the thesis that Jesus was an international traveler after his crucifixion is that these theories lack historical credibility. Each of the theses is plagued with a lack of solid historical evidence. For instance, the Japanese legend not only rests on very questionable hearsay testimony but it was not even introduced into Japan until AD 500.^72 Certainly a gap of some 450 years should make us question the historical origin of this legend.
Concerning Joyce’s thesis that Jesus died at the age of eighty while fighting the Romans at Masada, the historical basis is perhaps even more questionable. Joyce never knew the professor’s true name, and even admits that he must rely on “hearsay” testimony. If that is not enough, the scroll has since vanished and no one knows the claimed whereabouts of either this document or the “professor” upon whose word the testimony rests! Interestingly, Joyce even wrote to Yigael Yadin, the well-known archaeologist who headed the Masada expedition. Yadin’s response to Joyce’s story was that “anyone with a little knowledge of scrolls and conditions in which they were discovered at Masada would have immediately detected the
72 Peterson, “Legend,” p. 6A.
nonsense in the story.”^73 There can be little question that the story of the lost scroll cannot be used in any attempt to formulate the historical facts of the last years of Jesus’ life.