Jesus’ Claim to Be the Messiah

 

I’m afraid I have been sidetracked from my thread within a thread within a thread, but now want to get back to it.  This particular sub-sub-thread is about whether Jesus considered himself to be the Jewish messiah.  My view is that Yes he did.  But he meant something very specific by that, and it is not what most people (Christians and non-Christians) today mean by it.

Recall what I have tried to show thus far.  There were various expectations of what ...

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Readers’ Mailbag November 27, 2015

 

I hope everyone had a fulfilling (and fillingful) Thanksgiving!

Now it is time to answer some questions I have received over the past couple of weeks, in short rapid-fire order.   If you have a question you would like me to address, please ask it in a comment to this post.  I am keeping a list and deal with the questions, weekly, more or less in the order in which I receive them.   And I’m running low on questions!  So ask away!

 

 

QUESTION:  ...

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The Teaching of Jesus

I have been providing necessary background to the question of whether Jesus could have considered himself the messiah, and have done so by trying to situate him in the world of first century Jewish apocalyptic thinking.  We now need to move to a summary of Jesus’ teaching given that apocalyptic framework.

We could obviously have a year-long thread on the topic of what it was Jesus taught during his itinerant preaching ministry.  Many people have written very long books on the ...

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Readers’ Mailbag November 20, 2015

It is time for my weekly Readers’ Mailbag.  I will be dealing with two questions this time.  If you have questions, about anything at all related to the historical Jesus, the New Testament, the history of early Christianity, or anything else that I may have a remote chance of knowing something about, please ask!  You can either respond with a comment/question to this post, or send me an email, or comment on any other post!

 

QUESTION:   An off-topic request: what are ...

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The Beginning and End as Keys to the Middle

In my last post I showed why it is so widely acknowledged that Jesus began his ministry by associating with John the Baptist, an apocalyptic preacher of coming doom.   The reason that matters for our purposes in this thread is that it shows that Jesus chose, of his own free will, to join an apocalyptic movement at the very beginning of his public ministry.  That certainly demonstrates that Jesus started out his public life as a fervent advocate of a ...

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The Baptism of Jesus as an Apocalyptic Event

Over the years scholars have adduced lots of reasons for thinking that Jesus – like many others in his day – was a Jewish apocalypticist, one who thought that the world was controlled by forces of evil but that God was very soon going to intervene to overthrow everything and everyone opposed to him in order to set up a good kingdom here on earth.  As I pointed out in my previous post, this is the view found in Jesus’ ...

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Albert Schweitzer and the Apocalyptic Jesus

In the current thread I’m trying to establish that Jesus believed he was the messiah.  I have pointed out that his followers would not have considered him the messiah because they believed he had been raised from the dead (since the messiah was not supposed to die and rise again) unless they had already considered him the messiah prior to his death.  But that, of course, does not mean that Jesus *himself* thought he was the messiah.  And so we ...

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The Apocalyptic Context for Jesus’ View of the Messiah

In this thread I am trying to argue that Jesus understood himself to be the messiah.  So far I have made one of my two main arguments, with the understanding that *both* arguments have to be considered in order to have a compelling case.  So the first prong doesn’t prove much on its own.  But in combination with the second argument, it makes a strong case.  The first argument is that Jesus’ followers would not have understood him as the ...

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How Do We Know What Jesus Said About Himself?

Yesterday I started my two-prong argument for why Jesus probably considered himself the messiah.  The first prong is that Jesus must have been called the messiah during his lifetime, or it makes no sense that he would be called messiah after his death – since even if there were Jews who believed that Jesus was raised from the dead after he was crucified (as indeed there were!  Otherwise we wouldn’t have Christianity), the resurrection of a dead person would never ...

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Jesus, the Messiah, and the Resurrection

I have been talking about the early Christian understandings of Jesus as the messiah – not just the messiah, but the “crucified messiah,” a concept that would have seemed not just unusual or bizarre to most Jewish ears in the first century, but absolutely mind-boggling and self-contradictory.  I’ve been arguing that it was precisely the contradictory nature of the claim that led almost all Jews to reject the Christian claims about Jesus.

Several readers have asked me whether I think Jesus ...

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