Another bit from my ch. 2 of How Jesus Became God.  It’s just a draft.  I’m interested in feedback if you think there are problems or ambiguities in what I say.  It’s a very brief treatment, I know….


There are other figures – apart from God himself – who are sometimes described as divine in ancient Jewish sources, both in the Bible and in later writings from near the time of Jesus and his followers.   The first is modeled  on a figure found in an enigmatic passage of Scripture, Daniel 7, a figure that came to be known as “the Son of Man.”

The Son of Man

For my purposes here I do not need to provide a thorough summary or analysis of the vision that led to the Son of Man speculations in later times.   The ostensible setting of the book of Daniel is in the sixth century BCE – although scholars are convinced that the book was not actually written then, but centuries later in the second century BCE.   In this book Daniel is portrayed as a Judean captive who has been taken into exile into Babylon, the world empire that destroyed his homeland in 586 BCE.   In chapter 7 Daniel describes a wild vision in which he sees four beasts arising out of the sea, one after the other.  Each is awe-inspiring and truly terrible, and they wreak havoc on the earth.  And then as he looks he sees “one like a son of man” coming on the “clouds of heaven.”  Here is a figure that is not beastly, but is in human form; and rather than coming from the turbulent sea of chaos he arrives from the realm of God.   The beasts who had caused such destruction on earth are judged and removed from power, and the kingdom of the earth is delivered over to the one like a son of man.

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