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THE SON OF MAN

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  • Dennis Goffin
    Reading Telford s book The Theology of the Gospel of Mark I find myself agreeing with everything he says in his analysis on pages 50 to 54 except for his
    Message 1 of 45 , May 26, 2012
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      Reading Telford's book "The Theology of the Gospel of Mark" I find myself agreeing with everything he says in his analysis on pages 50 to 54 except for his views on the origin of the Son of Man title which he believes developed among the original Aramaic speaking traditional Jewish Christians. My view on the Son of Man title is that this developed among the Hellenists and not among the traditional Jewish Christians as he believes. In this I agree with Lietzmann who is quoted on page 139 of Cullmann's book "The Christology of the New Testament" as saying that Son of Man was not a messianic title in Judaism since barnasha means nothing more than (generic) 'man' or 'mankind', the sense in which Jesus would have used it. He also concluded that Judaism at the time of Jesus could not have called the Messiah by this name and that it would have made no sense for Jesus to give himself a designation which was meaningless because it was too general. Lietzmann believed that in Daniel 7:13, where the expression occurs, in the second century BCE in an apocalyptic context, it had no messianic character; the term simply distinguished between a human being and the beasts which appeared in the vision. He believed that the early church invented this self designation of Jesus by giving the term a messianic significance and making it a title. It is my view that since it could not be the Aramaic speaking traditional Jewish Christians who made it a title, it had to be the Hellenists for whom the word for word translation of barnasha as huios tou anthropou seemed a very strange locution as it was totally unidiomatic in Greek and no doubt in its context seemed highly mysterious and portentous, full of hidden Christological meaning. My guess is that an Aramaic sayings source which included Jesus using barnasha idiomatically in that language, as would appear to be the case in Luke 6:5 and 9:58, was subsequently translated into Greek including this strange Greek expression which then got connected with Daniel 7:13 in the LXX. It is for this linguistic reason that I think that the Son of Man designation could early have arisen within the Greek speaking community steeped in Hellenism who used the LXX. To make sense of the crucifixion and the 'resurrection' the first Christians had to look for God's purpose in the Jewish religious books and they mined the Psalms and Isaiah principally to this end. The key Christological title kurios they found in Psalm 110 and it all flowed from there. They had however to try to make sense of the crucifixion and that is when they lit on Isaiah 53, leading them to combine the Suffering Servant with the Danielic Son of Man which they thought Jesus had used as a self reference. Cullmann points out on page 155 that the only place outside the Gospels where the expression is found is at Acts 7:5, where it is used by Stephen a Hellenist and in the same footnote he goes on to say "We greatly underestimate the role of these Hellenists". That is my view too. I would welcome comments.Dennis



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    • Dennis Goffin
      David, Luke does. Compare Lk 21:32 written after the fall of Jerusalem, with Mk 9:1 & 13:30 which speaks of a generation over 30 years earlier. For an analysis
      Message 45 of 45 , Jun 11, 2012
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        David,
        Luke does. Compare Lk 21:32 written after the fall of Jerusalem, with Mk 9:1 & 13:30 which speaks of a generation over 30 years earlier. For an analysis in depth of this question, I recommend Casey's book " The Solution to the Son of Man Problem" (2009)
        Dennis
        ---------------------

        Dennis Goffin

        Chorleywood UK


        To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        From: ron-price@...
        Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2012 18:11:08 +0100
        Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] The coming kingdom


























        Apologies for the late reply. I've been on holiday in the English Lake

        District.



        David Cavanagh wrote:



        > If, as you suggest below, the original statement was thought to refer to

        > a return of Jesus, and the evangelists increasingly saw this as a

        > problem because it was not happening, and attempted to adapt the

        > materials, why do they not drop the reference to the present generation

        > of "some who are standing here"



        David,



        Each synoptic evangelist had a problem when dealing with an embarrassing

        text. Such a text could be repeated in full, abbreviated, altered, and/or

        put in a context which essentially changed its meaning. Thus the dropping of

        a reference would depend on how the particular evangelist felt at the time

        about the degree of embarrassment the reference caused.



        > ..... But Mark is the earliest gospel, and I very much doubt that Jesus

        > "failure to return" would actually be a problem as early as AD65-70.



        Mark, the earliest gospel, was probably written in 71 CE, shortly after the

        fall of Jerusalem. This was fully 40 years after the crucifixion, and plenty

        of time to be worried about the absence of a 'return' which had been

        expected to be imminent. Certainly Paul had expected it to be within his

        lifetime when he wrote to the Thessalonians: " ... we who are alive, who are

        left until the coming of the Lord ..." (1 Thess 4:15). But by the time he

        wrote the Philippian 'Joyful Letter', he seems to have changed his mind.

        (Php 1:21-26).



        Ron Price,



        Derbyshire, UK



        http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_home.html



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