A chunk from my chapter 2, a finding that surprised me very much once I made it (surprising I didn’t discover it earlier — like 30 years ago….)


The son of a human is human, just as the son of a dog is a dog and the son of a cat is a cat.  And so what is the son of God?   As it turns out, to the surprise of many casual readers of the Bible, there are passages where the king of Israel, widely called the son of God (e.g. 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:7), is actually referred to as divine, as god.

The Yale Hebrew Bible scholar John Collins points out that this notion ultimately appears to derive from Egyptian ways of thinking about their king, the Pharaoh, as a divine being.   Even in Egypt, where the king was God, it did not mean that the king was on a par with the great gods, any more than the Roman emperor was thought to be on a par with Jupiter or Mars.  But he was a god.   In Egyptian and Roman circles, there were levels of divinity.  And so too, as we have seen, in Jewish circles.  And so it is that we find highly exalted terms used of the king of Israel, terms that may surprise readers who – based on the kind of thinking that developed in the fourth Christian century — think that there is an unbridgeable chasm between God and humans.  Nonetheless, here it is, in the Bible itself, the king is called both Lord and God.

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