In a message dated 6/3/99 4:59:49 PM US Mountain Standard Time,
> On 3 Jun 99, at 16:06, Mark Goodacre wrote:
> > What we then need to ask is: might Jesus' healing activity have
> > proceeded from a "messianic consciousness"? Surely the answer here
> > is yes, it might well have done.
> Surely the answer is also, it might well not have. Why should healing
> activity imply messianic consciousness.
> > After all, a Jew in the first century who went around healing and
> > evangelising the poor might remind his fellow Jews of cherished
> > that connected anointing with healing and evangelism, Scriptures like
> > Isaiah 61. Indeed they might have thought: how could one heal without
> > being anointed by God to do so?
> Hanina ben Dosa apparently performed such healings in the first
> century, and no one apparently felt he'd been anointed by God to do
> so, certainly not in the literal sense of anointed which I assume
> we're using here.
> > I think that one of the problems here is the old one of the loaded terms
> > "Messiah" and "Christ". When we start talking instead about "anointing",
> > we can ask whether or not Jesus might have thought himself to be
> > "anointed" by God. And my bet is yes -- it is highly likely that Jesus
> > thought of himself as one anointed by God for a special purpose -- his
> > actions seem to demonstrate this. If, however, one wants to call this
> > "messianic consciousness", so be it.
> My problem with this is that it seems to try to make "anointed" a
> synonym for "selected" or "chosen". While it may have those
> connotations in modern English, it remains to be shown that it did in
> first century Aramaic or Hebrew in Judea.
> Lewis Reich
First, I would like to thank Antonio for starting this this thread. His
initial message might be instructive about the theme, "How to start a good
Second, with Mark I would like to thank Mahlon for his long and thoughtful
response to Antonio. This is good stuff.
Third, I want to thank Steve for his important contribution to the thread.
I think those who focussed on different meanings of the word "Messiah" are on
the right track here. I thought it was practically a truism that
1. the disciples thought they knew for sure what a Messiah was;
2. they decided (for whatever reasons) that Jesus was the Messiah;
3. Jesus steadfastly refused to fulfill their messianic expectations; and yet
4. Jesus did not plainly renounce (so far as is known) the role of Messiah,
even though he had many occasions to do so (famously at the "trial" scenes)
Furthermore, there is the ambiguous relationship between messiahship and
being "anointed," as already pointed out in this thread. Surely, the messiah
was supposed to be anointed, but not everyone who was anointed was the
messiah (some were kings, but in Hab. 3:13 it is the whole people who are
anointed.) Furthermore, one could be anointed by oil, or one could be
anointed by the Holy Spirit (or spirit of God). And, as has been pointed out,
one could be anointed by the spirit of God (e.g., the prophets) without being
So the constellation messiah+anointed+spirit was ambiguous and had numerous
possible applications. Various members of the Jewish public, and the gospel
writers, were sometimes guilty of the fallacy of affirming the consequent
(e.g. The Messiah must be anointed, therefore someone who is anointed must be
But the whole point of this thread was to what extent was *Jesus* aware of
this, and to what extent did he accept it as a self-designation?
I am toying with the idea that *Jesus himself* was ambivalent about this.
That is (contrary to those who always assume I'm some sort of
fundamentalist), I wonder if he thought maybe he was, but wasn't quite
convinced-- all the way to Gethsemane and the Cross.
Here's the mode of historical reasoning: If a particular role is
controversially attributed to a historical figure, and if the external
evidence (e.g., what people thought, documentary evidence, etc.) is
ambiguous, then perhaps also the internal evidence (i.e., what the figure
himself/herself thought) was probably also ambiguous.
Sorry, but I've left out all the footnotes (don't have time to look them all
up) except the Hab., and am relying mostly on memory, so if I am wrong about
any of the above, please correct me.
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