It is possible that some Jewish texts refer to a suffering Messiah (Zech 13.7; Dan. 9.26; Tgs. Isa. 53; T.Benj. 3.8; 4Q541 frags. 9, 24; 4Q285 5.4; 4 Ezra 7.29-30; 2 Bar. 30.1; Justin, Dial. Tryph. 39, 89-90; Tg. Zech. 12.10; Hippolytus, Haer. Omn. Haer. 9.25; b.Suk. 52) and several scholars have inferred from this a form of intertestamental messianic expectation that provides the background to the messianism of Jesus and of the early church (Horbury, Jewish Messianism, p. 33; Hengel, ‘Messiah of Israel’, p. 37; Bockmuehl, This Jesus, 50; idem, ‘A “Slain Messiah” in 4QSerekh Milhamah [4Q285]?’ TynBul 43 , pp. 155-69; R.A. Rosenberg, ‘The Slain Messiah in the Old Testament,’ ZAW 99 , pp. 259-61). But if there was a well-known tradition about a suffering or dying Messiah, how could the hopes of the disciples be shattered after Good Friday (cf. Lk. 24.21)? If such a tradition was extant then, on the contrary, their hope that Jesus was the Messiah would have been confirmed not dashed. Likewise, the scandal of a crucified Messiah would dissipate if it was thought possible that the Messiah would suffer rather than conquer. Geza Vermes (Authentic Gospel of Jesus, p. 387) writes: ‘It should be recalled that neither the death nor the resurrection of the Messiah formed part of the beliefs and expectations of the Jews in the first century AD’. Belief in a suffering Messiah (Messiah son of Ephraim or Messiah son of Joseph) may have arisen in response to the failed messianic aspirations of Bar Kochba in the post-135 CE period; see also Vermes, Jesus the Jew, pp. 139-40; Wright, People of God, p. 320; idem, Jesus and the Victory of God, p. 488; Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, pp. 540-41; Stuhlmacher, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 27; Schürer, History of the Jewish People, vol. 2, pp. 547-49; Evans, ‘Messianism’, p. 703; Collins, Sceptre and the Star, pp. 123-26.
Friday, July 11, 2008
New Messiah Stone
Over at CNN there is a good video clip on the New Biblical controversy around what can be called the "Messiah Stone" that appears to predict the death and resurrection of the Messiah. The question of whether or not a dying and rising Messiah was extant in pre-Christian Judaism was been a moot question in scholarship. In a footnote to a forthcoming book on the historical Jesus as a messianic claimant I note that: