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At Last. Jesus and the Son of Man.

Two weeks ago I started addressing a question I got asked on the blog.  At first I was just going to reply to the question as a comment; as my response started getting a bit long I decided I better devote an entire post to it.  When I started working on a post on in, I decided it needed to be a thread.  As I pointed out, that was two weeks ago.  And I still haven’t answered the question.

I’ll answer it here rather briefly, based on the information I’ve given.  The answer should make sense on its own terms, but if you want to see the reasoning behind it, read the posts over the past couple of weeks that have been about “the Son of Man.”

 

 

QUESTION:

In Mark 8:27-28 Jesus asks his disciples “Who do people say that I am?” and they reply that different people think he is “John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets”  Jesus then follows up with the key question: “But who do you say that I am?” and Peter replies:  “You are the Christ.”

When Luke tells the story Luke keeps the verbal back and forth almost the same, although when Peter replies he is a bit more specific:  “The Christ of God.” (Was there another kind of Christ?!)

Matthew’s version is a bit different, though.  Jesus asks, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  The disciples reply in much the same way (although in addition to John the Baptist and Elijah, they also say that some people think he is Jeremiah).  And Jesus replies again. “But who do you say that *I* am?”  And Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”  (And Matthew adds more at that point)

So, was Matthew having Jesus ask two different questions: who is the Son of Man, and who am I? Or is Matthew trying to have Jesus refer to himself in this passage as the Son of Man? In fact, is Matthew equating Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God as all the same person in this passage? Or is he differentiating between Jesus and the Son of Man? He obviously tweaked the passage for some purpose.

 

 

RESPONSE:

In my previous posts I’ve laid out the views I have about Jesus and the Son of Man, and some of the reasons I have them.  It turns out to be a terrifically complicated matter.  There are entire books devoted just to this one issue (“What was Jesus view of the Son of Man”), written by scholars with different understandings.  The view I reached toward the end of my PhD work (it’s one of the standard views that has been around since the end of the 19th century) was very (very!) different from the one I had before. But it’s the view I still have, though I understand it much more fully now.  To wit:

  • Jesus did use the term Son of Man as a central part of his message.
  • In doing so he was referring to a cosmic judge of the earth who would come at the end of history to bring a cataclysmic end to the world as we know it, to destroy all the evil forces in the world that are opposed to God and that are making life miserable for his people.
  • After this Day of Judgment the Son of Man would bring in a new kingdom on earth, a utopian kingdom of God.
  • The ultimate root for this view of the coming Son of Man lies in a passage in the Hebrew Bible, Daniel 7:13-14, one of the earliest apocalyptic passages we have out of ancient Judaism.
  • Different Jewish teachers in Jesus’ time understood the passage differently, and various ones of them had a differently nuanced understandings of who this “one like a son of man” was.
  • Jesus’ view was distinctive but not entirely unique. Others too thought of the Son of Man as the cosmic judge of the earth.
  • To show this was Jesus’ view requires an in-depth study of the way he uses the phrase in the NT Gospels, since he uses it in a variety of ways – and one has to determine which of these sayings about the Son of Man actually go back to Jesus himself (just as we have to determine at every point which of Jesus’ sayings are his, and which have been put on his lips by later storytellers after his death, passing along the traditions about him).
  • There are several remaining fundamental points:
    • When Jesus talked of this Son of Man, he was not referring to himself. Jesus was a man on earth speaking as a prophet about a cosmic judge who was soon to come from heaven above.
    • After his death, Jesus’ followers believed that he had been raised from the dead and exalted to heaven.
    • They also thought that Jesus was the messiah who had been sent from God in fulfilment of prophecy.
    • But the prophecies about the messiah in the Jewish tradition were entirely about his exerting the power of God to destroy his enemies and rule as king over the nation of Israel.
    • Jesus obviously never did that. On the contrary, he was a virtual unknown in his day, a rural preacher who offended the ruling authorities, was arrested, tried, condemned, publicly tortured and humiliated, and then executed for crimes against the state.
    • His followers could plausibly maintain that he was the messiah only by insisting that he was coming a second time in glory, to fulfill the prophecies of the messiah who would destroy his enemies.
    • Jesus was coming again from heaven to judge the earth in power.
    • Jesus, then, in the views of his followers after his death, was himself the coming Son of Man.
    • And so they came to believe that when he had spoken of the Son of Man, he was speaking about himself.
    • They adjusted his sayings about the Son of Man accordingly, and put sayings on his lips in which he described himself as the Son of Man.
  • And that is why you have the conversation recorded above, in the passage of Matthew, expressed the way it is. In the older version, Mark, Jesus asks his disciples “Who do people say that I am” and when the reply he follows up with “And who do you say that I am.”
  • Matthew, who used Marks’ version as his source, altered the conversation slightly so there can be no question about Jesus’ identity: he first asks “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” This is a clear self-reference here (i.e., in *Matthew’s* version: he has changed Mark’s wording).  When the disciples reply, he responds, “And who do you say that I am”
  • Matthew has phrased the conversation in such a way that it is obvious to the reader that Jesus himself is the Son of Man. In that way, in every other place where Jesus refers to the Son of Man, everyone will understand that he’s talking about himself.
  • Mark would have agreed that Jesus is the Son of Man, as did all the other Gospels. Mark simply did not make the matter as explicit as Matthew chose to do.
  • It was not, though, the view of Jesus himself. It was actually quite contrary to his view.

Each of these bullet points would require substantial discussion, evidence, and argument to back them up.   I have at least laid out the outlines in the earlier posts.

Everything about the historical Jesus is complicated for historians to resolve.  Very few things are as intricate and complicated as this.

 

 

 


My Faux Pop Quiz this Semester
How Jesus’ Apocalyptic Teachings Were Changed (even in the NT)

72

Comments

  1. Avatar
    forthfading  August 23, 2020

    Dr. Ehrman,

    I assume there are scholars that disagree with your conclusions. Is it frustrating among historians when other scholars disagree with their synthesis or rationale, or is there a general professionalism and/or grace that is extended among fellow historians?

    Thanks, Jay

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Many of us are frustrated but try to be gracious and even good humored about it. These are not life and death issues for me.

  2. Avatar
    dankoh  August 23, 2020

    Not to wade too deep into the weeds here (!), but what is the relationship, if any, between Jesus’s “son of man” and Ezekiel’s?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      It’s an important question, and often asked. My view is that there is almost no relationship. Ezekiel uses it to distinguish between teh prophet (mere mortal) and God. Jesus doesn’t use it that way. So it’s a different idea and not the source.

  3. Avatar
    fishician  August 23, 2020

    Thank you for the detailed explanation. It helps me understand how the early Christians came to believe that Jesus himself was the Son of Man, eventually coming back to finish the job, so to speak. Paul doesn’t use the phrase “Son of Man” but his theology is compatible with what the Gospel writers believed about Jesus being the Son of Man, is it not?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Yup, I completely agree. My hunch is that even though he strongly thought Jesus was the cosmic judge coming from heaven, he didn’t use “son of man” as the term for it, since his gentile audiences would misunderstand what he meant by the phrase (in much the same way many modern scholars do!)

      • Avatar
        JWfarq  August 28, 2020

        Most if not all modern Bibles screw this up. Instead of “Son of Man” Paul used “Jesus Christ” for Jesus on earth who was the Christ. Instead of “Son of God” Paul used the term “Christ Jesus” or just “Christ” for Christ who was Jesus on earth.

        • Bart
          Bart  August 30, 2020

          They aren’t mistranslating his words here; he himself doesn’t use Son of Man.

        • Avatar
          JWfarq  September 1, 2020

          I agree with you that Paul himself doesn’t use the word Son of Man, but I believe Paul did have a term for the Son of Man, which was “Jesus Christ,” a word.that predated Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus

          Since it was the Son of God (Christ Jesus) who captured and blinded Saul on the road to Damascus,. Paul identified himself as a bond-servant to Christ Jesus, or a prisoner to Christ Jesus, or an Apostle of Christ Jesus in the first introductory verse of his Epistles. Paul is the only one in the Bible who used the word Christ Jesus.

          To see how Christ Jesus is used reference must be made to the original Greek language Tischendorf 8th Edition 1894..
          See Greek: http://www.revelationofgenesis.org/pdf/PaulsChristJesus2.pdf

          In Paul’s Epistles there were 16 references to Jesus with “through,” and 88 references to Jesus with “in”. If it was through Jesus he used Jesus Christ. If it was in Jesus he used Christ Jesus, or just Christ..Simply put Paul taught it is through faith in Jesus Christ (the Son of Man) that brings God’s grace, Light and eternal life in Christ Jesus (Son of God).

  4. Avatar
    Shah  August 23, 2020

    In this regard, nothing has been put on the lips of Jesus. The Son in the Old Testament is a simple code to indicate to the next rebirth/reincarnation of a person. The 4 Gospels correctly use The Son of Man both for Jesus at present and for his rebirth/reincarnation in future, which has happened in Muhammad.

  5. Avatar
    MSMacho  August 23, 2020

    Prof. Ehrman, this is unrelated to the current topic but seemed the easiest way to ask. Several friends and I are reading the Epistle of the Apostles and are confused as to why Knowledge, Understanding, Obedience, Patience, and Compassion are considered ‘foolish virgins’. (Paragraph 43). These seem like virtuous traits and yet Jesus says ‘…they shall remain outside the kingdom and the fold of the shepherd and his sheep…’. We understand this to be a 2nd century proto-orthodox writing using a Gnostic genre to refute Gnostic beliefs but cannot understand the significance of these names.

    Can you explain the context, the symbolism, or any theories behind this? Similarly, why the names for the 5 wise virgins? I recently purchased your Lost Scriptures book but the chapter of this writing didn’t include anything on this. Thank you.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      I really wish I could! Many years ago when I first got interested in this text (often called the Epistula Apostolorum; that means “the Epistle of the Apostles,” of course, but for some weird reason for *some* texts scholars prefer the Latin form….), I coudn’t understand this paragraph. I underlined it in red adn put a question mark in the margin. Since then, I never *have* figured it out. It doesn’t really make sense to me either. If you and your friends can come up with a suggestion, I’d love to hear it!

      • Avatar
        Leovigild  August 24, 2020

        “that means “the Epistle of the Apostles,” of course, but for some weird reason for *some* texts scholars prefer the Latin form….”

        _You_ try saying “Epistle of the Apostles” three times fast.

  6. tompicard
    tompicard  August 23, 2020

    Bart, I know your argument that Jesus was referring to someone other than himself when he used the phrase ‘son of man’, and I know you think he believed the kingdom of God was ‘coming in power’, that he believed ‘evil forces opposed to God would be destroyed’, and the kingdom would be utopian’ in some sense, and this ‘son of man’ is being sent in some sense from heaven, so this change of the world would likewise be in some sense ‘cataclysmic’.

    Do you believe all the above pieces put together require or even imply a non-human cosmic figure’s appearance. Have I missed something?

    I also know that or believe that most evangelicals require the returning Lord, or Son of Man to be supernatural being. based somewhat on their belief things such as floating up to the sky, elimination of physical deaths, and usually the elimination of births too and other non natural occurrences But I do not see these as proven components of historical Jesus’ teachings, Do you?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Yes, I think a judge of the earth who comes from heaven is necessarily someone other than a normal human being.

      • Avatar
        meohanlon  August 25, 2020

        Prof Ehrman, but could that just be metaphorical talk, as the beasts are surely not literal descriptions of what was to happen? Why not a divinely inspired human (well, like the messiah)? I realize the “like a son of man” is a bit different from “son of man” – but if he’s a cosmic judge, why compare him to a son of man? Actually, I recently read another argument that states that it could refer to the Jewish people, or perhaps just the righteous among them, not unlike how Revelation continues to use this cosmic metaphorical language to refer to real world events, past, current or future. One reason for this argument is that the Danielic Son of Man is subsequently referred to in plural terms in the original Aramaic version. Another parallel to this would be Isaiah’s suffering servant, also identified by rabbis as the righteous Jews (perhaps it was in this way that Jesus understood both concepts, if they were central to his teachings?). What are your thoughts on this?

        • Bart
          Bart  August 26, 2020

          A text needs to help you interpret it when it is metaphorical. This text is indeed metaphorical, as you point out. The beasts are metaphors for horrible ruling powers; the one like a son of man is metaphorical for a fantastic ruling power. And the angel tells us who the power is: it is the nation of Israel.

      • tompicard
        tompicard  August 25, 2020

        why can’t it be normal human?

        why do add the word ‘necessarily’ since all other judges I can think of at the moment from bible are exactly humans

        • Bart
          Bart  August 26, 2020

          Normal humans do not live with God in heaven but are here on earth. Do you know of other kinds? 🙂

          • tompicard
            tompicard  August 26, 2020

            The standard christian view is that we normal humans live with God in heaven after our body dies.
            so saying the son of man WILL live with God in heaven does not preclude that he is normal.

            Daniel says he is ‘coming with clouds of heaven’ but also that beasts are coming from the ‘seas’ Do you understand the ‘seas’ to be metaphorical but the ‘clouds of heaven’ literal?
            that does not sound like a consistent thesis/view.
            But even ‘coming from heaven’ – isn’t the simplest explanation that Daniel meant that he is sent from God? why shove in supernatural qualities ?

            rather than me speculate. Can you specify which specific verse you are speaking of where Jesus expresses his view that the ‘son of man’ is living with God in heaven. And if possible why a literal understanding of this verse is preferable to a symbolic.

  7. Avatar
    seahawk41  August 23, 2020

    I’m reading a book about the treasures of Alexander the Great. The author mentions the 5 ancient sources, then notes that we need to pay attention to what the authors say about the same event (are they nearly the same?) and that we also need to be careful to take account of what the author is trying to accomplish; e.g., lauding Alexander, painting his story as rags to riches, etc. Sound familiar?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Yup, I keep telling people that the criteria for studying Jesus are the same as those used for any other ancient person. Very few people seem to believe me!!

  8. tompicard
    tompicard  August 23, 2020

    Do you believe the question Jesus asked his disciples and their responses are historical or close at least in Mark?

    If so then then how do you reconcile Peter’s response that he is Christ/Messiah with
    > But the prophecies about the messiah in the Jewish tradition were
    > entirely about his exerting the power of God to destroy his enemies
    > and rule as king over the nation of Israel.
    > Jesus obviously never did that. On the contrary,
    > he was a virtual unknown. . .

    If the question/answer were historical then I think we would have to assume Jesus taught a different concept of the messiah than others, right? but to jump to the conclusion he taught messiah instilled in position by son of man is unusual

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      No, I don’t think Jesus really asked that; the question presupposed that he is something other than a mere mortal, and I don’t think there’s any way Jesus himself thought that. UNLESS, he was wondering if others considered him to be a prophet or even the messiah. But yes, Jesus’ view of hte messiah was similar to other views, but also with key differences. He saw it as an apocalyptic category.

  9. Avatar
    DirkCampbell  August 23, 2020

    Hi Bart

    Wonderful post. You say that Jesus talking about the Son of Man ‘was referring to a cosmic judge of the earth who would come at the end of history to bring a cataclysmic end to the world as we know it, to destroy all the evil forces in the world that are opposed to God’. If that’s right, where did he think evil came from? In the OT, e.g. 1 Samuel 18:10, evil comes from God. There’s no independent force of evil. So what is the Son of Man going to destroy? The enemies of God, sure. Those must be the enemies of Israel. But where did they get their evil designs if not from God? In the OT there’s no entity opposed to God. Other gods maybe, but that’s not what Jesus is talking about. Did he believe in a force opposed to God?

    Thanks
    Dirk

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      It’s a good question, but unfortunately we don’t know how he worked out the origin of evil. Some apocalyptic Jews at the time blamed the fallen angels (that’s the most common view in our sources) or, possibly, because of the sin of Adam. In every case it is some source other than God himself.

  10. Avatar
    b.dub3  August 23, 2020

    Dr Ehrman, do you believe Jesus’s question of who do people/you say that I am was actually asked by the historical Jesus? It seems like an odd question if he thought of the Son of Man as someone other than the Messiah. By asking the question wouldn’t that indicate he himself believed he was chosen by God to be the Messiah (assuming the historical Jesus asked it)?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Not the way Mark set it out. But I could imagine Jesus wondering if others considered him to be a prophet or the future messiah (I think he thouthg of himself as both — but not as a supernatural being)

  11. Avatar
    tom.hennell  August 23, 2020

    Thank you Bart; a most stimulating discussion.

    But I am not clear on one point. Are you proposing that all the non-apocalyptic self-references by Jesus are due to the Gospel writers? Or are you proposing that Jesus adopted a double-barrelled ‘son of man’ usage; applying the description both to himself, and also a future cosmic judge?

    The former would be neater; but fails to explain why in the earlier traditions (Mark and Q), the non-apocalyptic self-references are much more common (7 to 3 in Mark).

    A further problem, is the Dead Sea Scrolls; where we find the titles ‘Messiah’. ‘Son of God’ and ‘Lord’; but nowhere ‘son of man’, and certainly not as a title for a cosmic judge. Otherwise, we do find ‘son of man’ in the Ethiopic ‘Parables of Enoch’, but the figure so described is also identified as ‘the Messiah’; and subsequently revealed to be Enoch himself. No other surviving text proposes a non-human judge called ‘the son of man’.

    But otherwise, why would Jesus propose two ‘sons of men’; when he thought himself to be Messiah whose expected functions might commonly include ‘judging the nations’, as Enoch apparently does?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      I think Jesus thought of the Son of Man as someone other htan himself and did not use it as a self-reference. The reason the self-referential uses are more common is because the Christian story tellers who passed along his statements wanted their readers to be assured that Jesus was talking about himself. It is the cosmic ones, therefoer, that are not hte ones they would havbe made up, and so aer far less frequent because they could be seen as cutting against their purposes.
      I would say it’s not a problem that Son of Man is not used that way in the DSS. There were lots of Jews and lots of Jewish groups that were saying lots of different things, and especially saying similar things with different images and emphases. Jesus was one of them; the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls were numerous other ones (they too don’t have uniform views among themselves).

      • Avatar
        tom.hennell  August 24, 2020

        The absence of ‘the son of man’ from Dead Sea Scrolls is certainly an argument from silence – and consequently cannot be conclusive; but an expressive silence none the less.

        There were indeed many variant groups within 1CE Judaism; but if any one of these were to have recorded ‘son of man’ as naming a cosmic judge; it would have been In Qumran. Eight manuscripts of Daniel have been identified there – more than for any book of the Hebrew bible outside the Psalms and Pentateuch – plus numerous Para-Danielic compositions. The widely-expressed Qumran expectation for an eschatological cosmic judge is identified with the figure of Michael – entirely derived from Daniel traditions.

        But ‘son of man’ is so unspecific a term in Hebrew or Aramaic. Aside from Daniel 7:13, there are at least three other different sets of sons of men in the Book of Daniel alone; Daniel 10:16, Daniel 8:17, Daniel 5:21 and Daniel 2:38.

        We often see the Hebrew Bible though Greek New Testament spectacles; and so assume that any Jew hearing the term ‘the son of man’ would think Daniel 7:13. When actually, they would simply think ‘human’.

  12. Avatar
    brenmcg  August 23, 2020

    I think Matthew’s version should always be translated as “whom do men say the son of man is”, the use of the same word men/man is intentional by Matthew.

    Luke, having removed “son of man”, can then change “men” to “crowds” in his version, “whom do the crowds say I am”, because that works better to distinguish between the in-group and out-group.

    Mark is content to just change “son of man” in his version.

    This way we have Luke and Mark changing Matthew for the same reason, rather than Matthew and Luke changing Mark for different reasons.

  13. Avatar
    Stephen  August 23, 2020

    What about the idea that Mark, presumably a gentile convert, would have assumed that Jesus was the Son of Man, but that Matthew, with more of a traditional Jewish focus, modified the passage to reflect the older view and actually has Jesus ask two different questions? Isn’t that precisely how the historical Jesus would have asked the questions? Who is the Son of Man? (What is his role in the kingdom?) Who am I? (What is my role in the kingdom?)

    Thanks

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Mark seems to understand who the Son of Man is in the Jewish tradition, given the other things he says about him.

  14. Avatar
    katharinamacke  August 23, 2020

    For Daniel verse 7:13, my bible has a footnote stating that “son of man” is a general expression in Hebrew and Aramaic that means “an individual person”. This sounds fairly prosaic. I wonder if the expression “son of man” was used by the author in contrast to the beasts that are described earlier in the chapter. So that the author is basically saying ‘first I saw several beasts, and then I saw a person’. And only later, with translations into other languages, did “son of man” acquire this overtone of some mysterious being. What kind of connotation does the Greek translation of “son of man” used in the gospels convey? Is it simply another way of saying “a person”, or does it imply more?
    Another question I have: Can you recommend a good author who has written about the book of Daniel? I am a layperson, and I would love to read something that explains the book of Daniel in its historical context in an accessible manner, similar to your books.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 24, 2020

      Yup, it’s prosaic and a common view. But you’re exactly right (as opposed to the note!) In Daniel the “one like a son of man” who comes from “heaven” (the realm of God) is set in clear contrasts to the “beasts” who arise from the “sea” (the realm of chaos); each of them represents a kingdom — that is, a large group of people under a government. So too the one like a son of man. For Daniel, I’m not sure what would be best for the non-scholar, but one of the best scholars on teh book is John Collins, and he has a collection of essays (done by a range of scholars) that looks like it would be the kind of thing you want: Daniel (The Forms of the Old Testament Literature Book 20). Maybe try that!

  15. Avatar
    Poohbear  August 24, 2020

    Bart Quote – … about the messiah in the Jewish tradition were entirely about his exerting the power of God to destroy his enemies and rule as king.

    No they are not and you are quite willful about that.
    If you read the Tanakh instead of these books about the Tanakh you would encounter the Messianic Redeemer coming as the lamb of God to pay the price of man’s sin. And those who suffer with him will reign with him.

    Bart Quote – Jesus obviously never did that. On the contrary, he was a virtual unknown in his day, a rural preacher who offended the ruling authorities.

    No, Jesus was quite famous in his day. It says the fame of him spread throughout the whole region. Certainly there were many who DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW HIM. That’s different.

    Bart Quote – His followers could plausibly maintain that he was the messiah only by insisting that he was coming a second time in glory, to fulfill the prophecies of the messiah who would destroy his enemies.

    Answer me – who is Zechariah speaking of when he gives two prophecies concerning the Messianic conquering King as being the same lowly man the Jews had once pierced?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 26, 2020

      I think if you give the reference to Zechariah other readers could look it up and see what you’re referring to, and then my answer would make better sense.

  16. kt@rg.no
    kt@rg.no  August 24, 2020

    For me, the book of Daniel written centuries after the Babylonian affair, is a book of human (spiritual) pattern and a promise of restoration, a story highly related to the Genesis.

    In the creation myth in Genesis, humans were created to be God’s representative, or ruling on His behalf like royals , but had a nature which could fall, or have a potential of being a “beast”. So this «fall» from Cain ,,,,and spiralled all the way,,,down to «Babylon» is for me a pretty ok imaginary of the human «beastly fall». The book of Daniel relates to this craetion myth in Genisis, actually all of his dream from ch.2 to the last «Son of Man» dream in ch 7. where he sees the empty throne which humanity left behind, and sees a figure, Son of Man» ((or human?)) ascend back to this throne once again and rule beside God,,a sort of renewed partnership.
    In the esoteric judaism and among gnostic christians you have this myth of «Adam Kadmon» or this “Anthropos Adam”. This is basically «us» (human spirit) in the original state.

    If those ideas had not been made a hieracy, do you think the Son of man could have been linked to this “Adam Kadmon”/”Anthropos Adam”?

    Are there in you opinion any chance that Jesus could have had such perception and seen himself in such light?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 26, 2020

      No, I don’t think those ideas would have been familiar to a Jew living in Israel in the 20s.

      • kt@rg.no
        kt@rg.no  August 27, 2020

        As far as I have understood, these ideas were around before and around when Jesus lived. The reason for this view are:

        * HINDUISTIC ideology(existing in an area where most og the worlds people lived). A lot of stunning similarities in the orthodox hinduistic ideas as with the esoteric judaistic/christian ideas. AND, it is ancient, and well established before and around when the Hebrew bible was written. AND, they had an ancient traderoute from India to the Middle east. They hold the view of the “Cosmic man” who represents the oneness of human existence.

        * PHILO of Alexandria who was born just before Jesus and held ideas of the he “heavenly man”, as the perfect image of the Logos

        * GREEK PHILOSOPHERS, like Platon and Pythagoras who was born long before Jesus, and likely influenced the scholared environment in the Hellenistic area at that time who held ideas of the evolving soul.

        * BABYLONIAN/PERSIAN ideas, manifested/compiled by Manichaeism. (born later than Jesus, but inspired by older Babylonian/Persian ideas??)

        * PAUL – even Paul, and his view of Jesus/Adam “The first man Adam was made a living soul” and more (Corinthian)

        * JUDAISTIC esoterics which claims their ideas originated before Jesus.

        * MIDRASH – the old Midrash (Gen. R. viii. 1) , refering to Psalme 139.5 (created before and after,,physicality) and Midr. Teh. to cxxxix. 5) about the spirit of Adam in relation to the Creation myth.

        These and other factors disturb me from not believing that the spiritual Adam (the primary human) was within a concept among scholars

  17. Avatar
    RICHWEN90  August 24, 2020

    A very simple and most likely far too simple interpretation of “son of man” would be a human being. Offspring of human beings, and a human being, just like the parents. As opposed to the “son” of something other than human or greater than human, or divine. I wonder whether the phrase in some contexts means just that.

  18. Avatar
    Scott  August 24, 2020

    In your previous work you have pointed to Matthew 19:28 as something Jesus is likely to have said given that Judas was among the twelve disciples at the time he spoke – no later Christian writer would include Judas among the judges of the tribes of Israel!

    28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, WHEN THE SON OF MAN SITS ON HIS GLORIOUS THRONE, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Given this verse’s strong argument in favor of its authenticity, how should we interpret this? If the 12 disciples are to be made judges because of their service to Jesus, wouldn’t that imply that it is indeed Jesus who is the one sitting on the throne and hence is the Son of Man?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 26, 2020

      He does sit on the throne, in my opinion, as the messiah, the human king appointed by the Son of Man to rule the kingdom.

    • tompicard
      tompicard  August 27, 2020

      Nice observation Scott
      if this is historical and Jesus’ disciples are JUDGING the 12 tribes and Jesus is in a higher throne
      then Jesus himself is the jUDGE presiding over decisions of the 12 lower court justices

      Judge Jesus then negates any necessity required for a unique separate and different ‘cosmic’ judge/ ‘son of man’ type guy

  19. Avatar
    tellswo16  August 25, 2020

    Raymond Brown wrote the following in his An Introduction to New Testament Christology (pg. 90), “The acceptance or usage of those titles [“the Messiah” and “Son of God”] during Jesus’ lifetime is difficult to discern even from the surface evidence of the Gospels, in part because of their infrequency; but the title “Son of Man” appears some 80 times in the Gospels and in all but two partially debatable instances (Mark 2:10; John 12:34) clearly as self-designations by Jesus. … Outside of the Gospels the phrase only occurs 4 times.”

    He then raises two issues that I would love your response on:
    1) Why has the title “Son of Man” left almost no traces in nonGospel NT literature?
    2) Why was this title so massively retrojected, being placed on Jesus’ lips a scale far outdistancing the retrojection of ‘the Messiah’, ‘the Son of God’, and the ‘Lord’?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 26, 2020

      1) Because it faded from usage as soon as most Christians did not have an apocalyptic Jewish background (i.e., early on) 2. Because it was a characteristic thing he said and Christians were passionate in thinking Jesus himself was the future judge of the earth.

  20. JulieGraff
    JulieGraff  August 26, 2020

    Seriously, this is how you end this post: “At Last. Jesus and the Son of Man”.

    Translated by greek to son of anthropos (as I understand from your answer) / humans!

    Please be serious!

    Without ever bringing up in full light the hebrew meaning of the word Adam אדם…

    Bne Ben Adam… אדם

    • JulieGraff
      JulieGraff  August 26, 2020

      P.S: I try not to do this… brigning an other’s tearcher’s teaching in the house of a teacher…

      But to me, ending this post without going deeper in the actual meaning of the word Adam, is like making circles aroung nothing!

      You undersand french… I will post this link to one of a Rav’s teaching in Jerusalem that will make any past scholars role in their grave for not diging deeper about the “Son of Man”!

      Fortunatly, you are not in your grave yet so please listen to this as it may stop spreading nothingness!

      Most likely Jesus was a Nazir… so would have understood the original hebrew texts in it’s most profound meanings… if he ever spoke of a Son of Man, well this is what he would have been talking about:

      Ben Adam … (not son of anthropos, that is so far away from the original meaning!)

      https://ravdynovisz.tv/aiovg_videos/creation_du_monde_1_adam_-_l_homme_qui_ressemble_a_d_berechit_cuvee_2008_29_oct_2008_no_1_p/

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