Re: [textualcriticism] Son of God or Son of Man?
- One would not expect a scribal error in the confusion between UIOUTONANOU and UIOUTONQU in John 9:35, but rather a theologically motivated change under the influence of KURIE in the following verses. This is what Bruce Terry has to say in favor of UIOUTONANOU:"It does not seem likely that copyists would change "Son of God" to "Son of man." The reading "Son of man" is found in early manuscripts of both the Alexandrian and Western types of ancient text."However, Wieland Willker points out in his commentary two other places in John where these very two variant readings exist: John 5:25 and John 6:27. NA27 indicates UIOUTONQU in the former and UIOUTONANOU in the latter. Furthermore, the reading "Son of God" is found in both the Byzantine and Western texts: in fact, itd is the ONLY ms of the Western text that reads "Son of Man." And both the syrian and coptic evidence is split, with syrian leaning toward "God" and coptic toward "Man." As far as Alexandrian testimony for "God" is concerned, we have L, the least Byzantine of the late uncials, with Theta thrown in as testimony from the Caesarian text-type.I would say something about the Latin evidence at this point, being virtually unanimous for "Son of God." Given the unanimity of the Old Latin evidence, it's highly unlikely that Jerome would have risked the offense of "taking God out of the Bible" even if the majority Gk text of his day had "Son of Man." So we can't read too much into the Vulgate evidence, although the unanimity of the Old Latin evidence behind it is significant.Getting back to theological motivation, we can as easily see it in the other two examples cited.John 5:25-6 reads, "...the dead shall hear the voice of the ___, and the ones hearing shall live. For as the Father has live in himself, so also to the Son he gave life . . .John 6:27 reads, "...which the ___ shall give you; for him has the Father sealed . . ."We can see that "the Father" in the immediate context of these verses should motivate scribes to change "of Man" to "of God," but in the first case NA27 actually preferred "Son of God," and that against of the combined Alexandrian and Byzantine testimony of K, S, Pi, Om, 28, 2178, al80, SyrHmg, Syrpal, and boms. And yet there is no mention of "the Father" within twenty verses of 9:35, thus demolishing Bruce Terry's argument (that is, Metzger's, as Wieland pointed out).That being said, it is quite possible that an early scribe changed the reading from one variant to the other. But which way did the change go? "Son of God" is certainly Johannine language, appearing in 1:34,49; 3:18; 5:25; 9:35; 10:26; 11:27; 19:7; and 20:31, as well as numerous times in other Johannine literature. "Son of Man" is only slightly more prevalent in John, but in the Synoptics, "Son of Man" heavily predominates. So on that point of internal evidence, "Son of God" has a good claim of originality.As far as theological considerations go, we already know that these work both ways. If "Son of God" were original, a scribe may have changed it because it seemed to audacious of a claim for Jesus to have made. However, Jesus did make a reference to that very claim in the next chapter--John 10:36--so a scribe may have been motivated from that context to change "Son of Man" in order to provide a source for Jesus' later quote.As Wieland states, this is a difficult variant. But given the proven propensity of scribes to change from one reading to another with no overriding motivation discernible, I see no reason to overturn a reading with overwhelming Byzantine and Western support, and versional evidence, even from the Alexandrian side of the matter, that at its very worst leaves the door open to either reading.Daniel BuckWestern texts, in my experience, preserve the more primitive, Aramaisms and I think bar nasha (OUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU) was original. Later scribes believed this was an Aramaism that merely meant "an ordinary feller" and changed it to OUIS TOU QEOU. If I may elaborate at some length (I believe background is important):The evolution from the historical Yeshua bar Yahosef (Yes, there was one) to
the "Christ of Faith" was a century in the making. In the corpus of Jesus'
sayings preserved in the Gospels, there is not one claim to be the Pharisaic
Messiah. The hope and expectation for this prophesied "Knight on a white
stallion" was intense among the beleaguered am ha-aretz who saw this mythic
savior in numerous "fire and brimstone" preachers who roamed the
countryside. Jesus refers to himself repeatedly (over 30 times by my count)
as the Bar Nasha...the "Son of Man." There were two uses for this term in
the 1st century. One was an Aramaic idiom, "a son of man" that refers to a
person or a human. The context of Jesus' sayings, however, refer to the
Danielic-Enochian "Son of Man."
Forgive me for the length of this and also, as the "follow the Aramaic" guy,
for use of "Yeshua" instead of "Jesus." I tend to separate the historical
Jesus by his Aramaic name from the higher Christology
There is a ton of literature on Yeshua's use of his self-description as the
bar nasha (Son of Man) and disagreements on what that meant. If the Dead
Sea Scroll corpus is a good barometer, the late 2nd temple period saw an
emergence of Daniel-Enochian fervor. In both Daniel and the Enochian
literature, the "son of man" plays a central role.
Yeshua himself, NOT ONCE, refers to himself with certainty as the Messiah
but instead refers to himself as the bar nasha/ben adam of Daniel and
Enoch..."coming on the clouds, etc." It was Paul of Tarsus...hostile to the
Nazarenes, who conferred the name of XRISTOS on Yeshua in his reconstruction
of Yeshua as the Pauline "Christ Crucified."
The cradle from which both Jewish and Christian "mysticism" arose was
Enochian apocalypticism, the same cradle from which post-destruction Ma'asei
Merkavah (which would eventually develop into Kabbala) and the Hekhalot
literature arose which deals with "mystical" ascents into heaven.
If you are pursuing the ancient Jewish sources from which the "Christ--cult"
arose, I would tell you to read the considerable Enochian literary corpus
now available thanks to the Qumran texts. The Books of Enoch and their
related texts, Jubilees, Giants, Weeks, Parables, Watchers, Testimonies of
the 12 Patriarchs, Dreams, etc. Enochian apocalypticism is a reflection of
a Mesopotamian alternative to Mosaic" Judaism with its focus on Enmeduranki,
the 7th antediluvian king of Sippar in the Sumerian Chronicles and a
counterpart (or model) for Enoch.
There was a considerable influence by Zoroastrianism on Judaism as a result
to the Babylonian Captivity after which they brought the Enochian traditions
to Jerusalem upon the return. The Jerusalem priests at that time hated the
Enochian Jews (and it has always been my position that Jesus was an Enochian
Jew) who supported the Maccabees thereby gaining favor with the Hasmoneans.
These Enochian Jews became, IMO, the Essenes who developed serious issues
with the Hasmonean priest-kings. This is why the Dead Sea Scrolls are
The Jewish Nazarenes ("branchers") were heirs, IMO, to the Enochian traditionsbut Gentile Christianity imported a constellation of influences from
Graeco-Roman sources. That Enochian Judaism was alternative to Mosaic
nomian Judaeism can explain why Paul appears anti-nomian and why Enoch was
not included in the Rabbinical canon.
Quoted in the Book of Jude:
"And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute
judgment upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh
of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And
of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
Other references to the SON OF MAN in Enoch:
"And there I saw One who had a head of days, And His head was white like
wool, And with Him was another being whose countenance had the appearance of
a man, And his face was full of graciousness, like one of the holy angels. 2
And I asked the angel who went with me and showed me all the hidden things,
concerning that 3 Son of Man, who he was, and whence he was, (and) why he
went with the Ancient of Days? And he answered and said unto me: This
is the Son of Man who hath righteousness, With whom dwelleth righteousness,
And who revealeth all the treasures of that which is hidden, Because the
Lord of Hosts hath chosen him, And whose lot hath the pre-eminence before
the Lord of Hosts in uprightness for ever." (Part 8 Chapter 46:1-3)
1 And in that place I saw the fountain of righteousness Which was
inexhaustible: And around it were many fountains of wisdom: And all the
thirsty drank of them, And were filled with wisdom, And their dwellings were
with the righteous and holy and elect. 2 And at that hour that Son of Man
was named In the presence of the Lord of Hosts, And his name before the
Ancient of Days. 3 Yea, before the sun and the signs were created, Before
the stars of the heaven were made, His name
was named before the Lord of Hosts. 4 He shall be a staff to the righteous
whereon to stay themselves and not fall, And he shall be the light of the
Gentiles, And the hope of those who are troubled of heart. 5 All who dwell
on earth shall fall down and worship before him, And will praise and bless
and celebrate with song the Lord of Hosts. 6 And for this reason hath he
been chosen and hidden before Him, Before the creation of the world and for
evermore. 7 And the wisdom of the Lord of Hosts hath revealed him to the
holy and righteous; For he hath preserved the lot of the righteous, Because
they have hated and despised this world of unrighteousness, And have hated
all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of Hosts: For in his name
they are saved, And according to his good pleasure hath it been in regard to
their life. (Part 8 Chapter 48:1-7)
The Book of Daniel, like Enoch, was written originally in Aramaic. It
contains the most famous reference to the SON OF MAN.
Daniel 7:13-14 (WEB)
13 חזה הוית בחזוי ליליא וארו עם־ענני שׁמיא כבר אנשׁ אתה הוה ועד־עתיק יומיא
מטה וקדמוהי הקרבוהי׃ 14 ולה יהיב שׁלטן ויקר ומלכו וכל עממיא אמיא ולשׁניא לה
יפלחון שׁלטנה שׁלטן עלם די־לא יעדה ומלכותה פ
13 I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of
the sky one like a son of man (כבר אנש [kibar 'anash]), and he came even to
the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 There was
given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations,
and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be
Yeshua spoke of himself, just as above in Daniel, at Matthew 24:30 And
then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all
the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in
the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
.....and at Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said:
nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting
on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
As you can see, Yeshua refers to himself as the SON OF MAN (Aramaic bar
nasha) of Daniel and Enoch and not, IMO, as simply the bar nash/a idiom for
"just a guy."
Now let's see how many times Yeshua calls himself the bar nasha (son of
man)...he never referred to himself with certainty or non-cryptically as
Matthew 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds
of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his]
Matthew 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to
forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy
bed, and go unto thine house.
Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into
another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities
of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold
a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But
wisdom is justified of her children.
Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Matthew 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall
be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not
be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come.
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart
of the earth.
Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed
is the Son of man;
Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked
his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with
his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which
shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his
Matthew 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them,
saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from
Matthew 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew
him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also
the Son of man suffer of them.
Matthew 17:22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son
of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye
which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in
the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the
twelve tribes of Israel.
Matthew 20:18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be
betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn
him to death,
Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even
unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son
of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (this is
right out of Enoch 7)
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of
the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so
shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think
not the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour
wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy
angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Matthew 26:2 Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover,
and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto
that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man
if he had not been born.
Matthew 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep
on now, and take [your] rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of
Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto
you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of
power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Yeshua is reported by Matthew alone to have claimed to have been the SON OF
MAN (bar nasha) of Daniel and Enoch THIRTY TIMES....so why don't we believe
him? Why do we believe Paul of Tarsus instead?
An Enochian Jew, in the late second temple period, is one who believed in
the Enochian apocalyptic such as the Essenes.
Jesus/Yeshua was indeed, IMO, an apocalyptic herald of the imminent malkutha
d'alaha (Kingdom of God) in the Enochian tradition and, as such, outside of
"normative" Mosaic Judaism. I think there are other indicators that this
"Son of Man" from the ancient of days could be "Lord of the Sabbath" as well
as the Mosaic laws (seen in the formula "It is written" or "You have
heard"...ABC "but *I* tell you"...XYZ).
So yes, he was apocalyptic but, in his mind, just not a "sage" but THE bar
nasha that was expected by Yohanan/John (Matthew 11:3), the apocalyptic
redeemer of Daniel 7:13-14.
Some scholars believe that Jesus himself uniquely conflated the image of the
Bar Nasha with that of the Messiah but I do not think so. The concept of
his being the Messiah was, IMO, layered on top of his image/reputation by
some of his own followers who came from the Pharisaic influenced am ha-aretz
and that reputation as an annointed "king" may have contributed to his
execution by the Romans.
The next step was his image as the bar d'alaha," the "Son of God." This was
not an unusual title for a righteous person and the earliest followers
claimed Yeshua became a Son of God on the occasion of his mikveh/baptism by
Yohanan ha-Matbil. Over the century following his death Paul claimed he
became THE Son of God on the occasion of his death, Paul's XRISTON
ESTAURWMENON, "Christ Crucified." In the last two decades of the first
century, it was the author of Matthew, followed by Luke, who moved the
sonship to his birth and necessitated the virginal birth and trinitarian
formulae, perhaps misinterpreted from Yeshua's own "born again" formula for
entrance to the malkutha d'alaha.The Book of John consists of several layers and the most primitive layer was,IMO, a very early Aramaic narrative that contained the sayings of Jesus andhis references as the Bar Nasha. A Greek translation of this "proto-John"was used as the framework around which the larger Greek gospel wasfleshed and that Gospel suffered the highest amount of redaction, interpolation,chapter shuffling, glosses and editing than any New Testament work. Wherethe variant OUIOS TOU ANQRWPOU (and its various nomina sacra) exists,particularly in Western texts, it represents, IMO, the original reading.Jack Kilmon