[XTalk] Re: Messiah in spite of himself
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, LeeEdgarTyler@a... wrote:
>Hence my stipulation that he knew well those who did proselytizeI would like to pause here for a moment if I may. Mark clearly
>Rome. But it is not only the Davidic origin (which the gospels
>ensure Jesus had)
thought that Jesus was of the House of David, but he mentions it
only once, and puts it on the lips of one blind man (Mark 10:47-
48). Outside of that it gets no further mention from him. In John
there seems to be some ambivilence about claiming Jesus comes from
the House of David at all (cf. John 7:42), and the author of Hebrews
(another arguably early Christian text, contemporaneous, at least,
with the Gospels themselves) does not call Jesus the Davidic
Messiah, nor does he equate Jesus with such lineage. He tells us
only that Jesus was from Judah, a point that most historians do not
seem willing to grant in any case.
What we see is that Matthew and Luke, for whatever reasons, thought
that connecting Jesus to David was a big deal. The rest of the
other authors pretty much ignore the issue, or treat it in an almost
off hand way. Is your argument not reading back into the beliefs of
Jesus' earliest followers based upon what we learn only from two
sources, in fact, from two sources that are very likely to be
related to one another by way of direct dependence, namely Matt and
Luke, and later still (probably) by the author of Revelation as well?
Jesus was thought to be the Messiah by his earliest follwers. This
is an historical fact. But that he was thought to be a Davidic
Messiah, or that the connection to the Davidic messianic
expectations seems to be either weak, or incidental, to most of the
authors the NT is likewise pretty clear.
So, why make the connection at all? We all seem to agree that Jesus
did not meet the expected criteria of just about anyone for a
Davidic Messiah. Why not accept that Jesus was thought to be one of
God's anointed during his ministry, but that this identification was
not necessarily with a Davidic type of figure? That comes later,
and is a developing feature in Jesus' Christology. A virtual non-
issue for Jesus' followers during his life, minor point to Paul,
Mark and John. HUGE point to Matthew and Luke, and this view
eventually comes to dominate Christian thought. During his life
here on earth, it looks like Jesus was thought to be some kind of
Messiah, maybe even a new type based on his (or his disciples') own
particular theological thought. When he dies, and is then thought
to have been raised from the dead, the earliest Christians start
looking for a more fixed "type" of Messiah, and among those types
they come to use the Davidic model.
>but the nature of the Messiah himself that's at question. IOkay, and this is the puzzle. Paul doesn't need the connection. In
>wouldn't dispute that Paul concurred with the notion that Jesus was
>of the house of David.
fact, even Mark does not, and barely gives it a nod. So why use it
at all? Maybe it serves as some kind of convenient lauch point for
Paul, but if so, he seems unconcerned about using it.
Perhaps the problem here is that everyone is wondering if Jesus
thought he was a Davidid or not, when the real question is whether
or not he thought he was *anointed* by God in some fashion. If the
latter, then he thought he was the (or at least "a") Messiah, and a
part of his message was to give the idea of the Messiah a new
twist. The Davidic Messiah image, then only comes about after his
death, perhaps connected to reflections on Psalm 16 as we see in
Peter's speech in Acts 2:25-30. Such a reflection would most likely
come about if Jesus had made some kind of extremely powerful and
profound impression upon his followers. They thought he was God's
anointed prior to his death, but after his resurrection, then they
*knew* that he was much more than they, or anyone else had ever
>I do suggest that those Jews who expected the Messiah did notAnd easily set on the back burner, it would seem. Paul and the
>expect Paul's cosmic Christ. We are looking at a complete revision
>of the concept of Messiah here, not just the particular detail of
>Davidic origin, which was easily retained.
other apostles are already busy describing their new version of a
Messiah, and many of them do not seem all that worried about
connecting it to the old expected versions.
Now, all of that said, I believe that the best argument in favour of
Jesus being seen as a Davidic "King of the Jews" before he was
killed is that this does seem to be the principle (only?) reason
that the Romans killed him in the first place. Perhaps by the end
of his ministry the belief about him was starting to take on the
character of a Davidic expectation, and this made the authorities
especially nervous. This would account for both his execution, and
for the early, but almost incidental, references to Jesus as Son of
David, as well as for the later developments of Matthew and Luke.
In contrast, a refusal to accept that he was viewed as some kind of
Messiah at all prior to his death fails to account for any of these
developments, except to call it some kind of weird historical
anomaly. Since the study of history seeks to offer the best
possible explanation to cover the most known facts, this seems less
plausible and probable, leaving us accepting that Jesus was probably
already viewed by some as a messiah figure prior to his death.
Calgary, AB, Canada
- Dear Listers,
I had indicated two weeks ago that I would submit my own response to
responses of others re the thread "Messiah in spite of himself" in an
article which Jeffrey Gibson has offered to upload to the Xtalk articles
page. With the demand of other matters, it has taken far longer than I had
envisioned to complete the article. And with the holidays at hand, it
looks like I cannot get this article out until after the first of the year.
I plan in the article not only to deal with matters related to the "Messiah"
thread but also to incorporate in it issues related to the "4Q521" thread
and the "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" thread, which I had introduced.
Happy holidays to you all.