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RE: [Synoptic-L] The phrase bar-(e)nash(a)

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  • Dennis Goffin
    As the person who started this hare running, I have to own up and admit that although I persuaded my wife to buy me Casey s book for my 86th birthday this
    Message 1 of 45 , May 30, 2012
      As the person who started this hare running, I have to own up and admit that although I persuaded my wife to buy me Casey's book for my 86th birthday this month, I have not yet had the opportunity to start from the beginning and study it in detail. I have however dipped into it and I was amazed to read on page 249 that "the Gospel writers needed Christological titles". Having read Dodd's marvellous little book "According to the Scriptures" I could not believe that any NT scholar could think that men writing decades after the crucifixion and 'resurrection' could possibly think that Christological titles actually waited to be invented! I look forward however to studying Casey's book in detail although I am severely handicapped by a total lack of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Reading Telford's book on the theology of the gospel of Mark, it would appear that the consensus view is that the title originated among Aramaic speakers, 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 a similar expression occurs, 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 hos huios 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, 9:58 and all the other places where Casey demonstrates that the expression would originally have been used generically and not as a title, was subsequently translated into Greek including this strange Greek expression which then got connected by Hellenist Christians with Daniel 7:13 in the LXX. It is for this linguistic reason, as a Modern Languages graduate, 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 kyrios 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----------

      Dennis Goffin

      Chorleywood UK

      To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      From: D.Mealand@...
      Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 23:51:52 +0100
      Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] The phrase bar-(e)nash(a)

      I find it slightly curious that there have been

      a dozen or so items on the list just recently

      on this topic, but no direct reference to Casey's 2007

      discussion of the evidence. Perhaps someone could

      be encouraged to clarify their stance in relation

      either to Casey's book, or to responses such as those

      of K.P.Sullivan (CBQ 2011) or Morna Hooker (JTS 2009)

      (or something else of comparable vintage).

      David M.


      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh


      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in

      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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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
        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 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


        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"


        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


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