Who Invented the Idea of a Suffering Messiah?

For this week’s readers’ mailbag I give a very interesting and important question.

 

QUESTION:

Where did the idea of a Jewish messiah dying for the sins of mankind originate from? OT? Did Jews prior to Jesus’ existence believe this notion of the messiah dying for other’s sins?

 

RESPONSE:

I deal with this issue in a couple of my books.  Here is one of my fuller discussion from Did Jesus Exist?, where I talk about the issue in connection with the question of why Paul ...

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Early Christology: How I Changed My Mind

It seems like every time I write a book, based on the research I do I change my mind about one thing or another that I’ve thought for a long time.  Some people (including some fellow scholars) think that’s a weakness or a problem.   I think of it as one of my charming personality traits.  🙂

OK, seriously, I think more scholars ought to be willing to change their minds — instead of being intransigent and thinking they are always right.  ...

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Did They Crucify the Wrong Guy? Jesus’ Identity Switch.

Yesterday I posted about the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter, which clearly differentiated between the man Jesus and the spiritual being, the Christ, who inhabited him temporarily – leaving him at his suffering and death since the divine cannot suffer and die.  That understanding of Jesus Christ is not, strictly speaking, “docetic.”  The term docetic comes from the Greek word DOKEO which means “to seem” or “to appear.”  It refers to Christologies in which Jesus was not a real flesh-and-blood human ...

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Did Jesus’ Death Matter? The Intriguing View of the Coptic Apocalypse of Peter

From remembering the birth of Jesus (Christmas!), we turn for a moment to remembering his death.  I recently received this question, in response to my statement that some Christians did not think the death of Jesus mattered for salvation, and others maintained that he never actually died.

 

QUESTION:

Can you give some reference to where I can explore this idea of the Crucifixion being unimportant or not happening at all?

RESPONSE:

I will take two posts to answer this question, since they involve two ...

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Are Jews and Christians Monotheists? Mailbag October 15, 2017

I will be dealing with an unusually important question in this week’s mailbag:  is it right to consider Judaism and Christianity monotheistic?

 

QUESTION:

Aren’t Judaism and Christianity really henotheistic rather than monotheistic? For example, even in the 10 Commandments it merely says YHWH is the only god to be worshiped, not that He is the only god. And in Christianity there is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Satan, angels and demons, and in some sects, Mary the queen of heaven. ...

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Did Luke Have a Doctrine of the Atonement? Mailbag September 24, 2017

For this week’s readers’ mailbag I have chosen a question about my claim that the author of Luke-Acts, unlike other writers of the New Testament, does not have a doctrine of the atonement – that Jesus’ death brought about a restored relationship with God (for Luke, it was the *resurrection* that mattered, not the crucifixion).   The questioner sets up the question with an important observation.   I suspect my answer will not be what he expected.

 

 

QUESTION:

 

I have spent a lot of ...

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Does the Book of Acts Underplay the Significance of Jesus’ Death?

One of the things that I have found most interesting about doing the blog over these, lo, past five and a half years is that when I decide to write a post on something, I often realize that I need to provide some background that involves something else that, on the surface, may seem unrelated, but that is crucial for understanding the point I want to make.  Which leads me to a different topic and then to another, and so ...

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Is There Evidence that Luke Originally Did Not Have the Story of Jesus Birth?

This is the second of three posts on the question of whether Bible translations should place the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel in brackets, or assign them to a footnote.  For background: read the post from yesterday!  Again this is a Blast from the Past, a post I made back in December 2012. .

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In my previous post, ostensibly on the genealogy of Luke, I pointed out that there are good reasons for thinking that the Gospel originally ...

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Charges and Anti-Supernatural Biases! Readers Mailbag August 6, 2017

I will be dealing with two interesting questions in this weeks’ Readers Mailbag, one involving a criticism of my work by the well-known New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, who apparently challenges me (publicly) for taking a position that, in fact, I have never taken, and the other about whether it is pure anti-supernatural bias to think that prophets like Daniel did not predict the future.

 

QUESTION:

I saw a Youtube clip with Dr N T Wright giving a short talk on ...

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Did the Earliest Christians Believe Jesus *Became* God?

This will be my final post on the debate I had in New Orleans with Michael Bird on “How Did Jesus Become God” a couple of weeks ago.  As I indicated in my previous post, it appears where we disagree in particular is with how the resurrection affected the disciples’ understanding of Jesus.  My view is that when they came to think Jesus was raised from the dead, the disciples thought that this entailed his being exalted up to heaven.  ...

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