Larry Hurtado has a thoughtful, even-handed review of Ehrman’s book here. This subject area is one of Hurtado’s areas of expertise, his criticisms, though irenic in tone, are telling. My only addition would be toward the end. Ehrman seems completely unaware of OT antecedents to godhead thinking, something that’s my own specialty. But you only need to explore Hurtado’s exposure of points of weakness in Ehrman’s argumentation to see that Ehrman’s case comes nowhere close to being compelling.
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It’s a good review.
I felt Bart’s weakest point was him saying Jesus isn’t claiming Himself to be The Danielic Son of Man.
Caiaphas would disagree. To me it’s obvious Jesus was making that claim.
Larry has done great work on early Christian worship research and his views likely are valid.
Having said that, I think he is missing (probably 99% of the church is based on my amateur experiences)the OT info concerning “The Jewish Trinity” you teach as well as Jesus’ claims to be “coming in the clouds”.
NT Wright has additional views, he sees Jesus as doing what 2cd temple Jews expected of Yahweh.
i.e. Forgives sins, sends out prophets, pronounces judgment w/o referencing Yahweh, claiming He Himself came to “seek and save that which was lost”, all of which are Yahweh’s role.
Add all of this data up with the resurrection and a 2cd temple Jew who did accept Jesus as Messiah probably figured this out really quick, IMO.
Thanks for the link, for me the two powers and the Godhead motifs of the Old testament are your best work, and the most important imo. Some may find it not as attractive as the Gen 6 stuff, but it should be. This is huge and always a point of attack for those opposed to the gospel. Not to mention it bring to life exactly who it was on that cross. Love this type of blog.
The reaction to the “Myth” revision will be interesting to say the least. I’m expecting a lot of irritation.
From the writings of the late David Flusser, who taught at the Hebrew University, stated that at the time of Jesus, the son of man, was understood to a divine term and a reference to the Messiah.
Also, Daniel Boyarin, in his book, The Jewish Christ, mentions that the 2nd God figure was called, The Son of Man.
So I’m not sure about the view mentioned by Hurtado about the son of man term not being a term with a particular and specific meaning, even though not all Jews may have held to that view.
I appreciate your comments.
agreed; Boyarin has been especially attentive to these things. There’s no doubt in my mind that some/many Jews thought that way.
Larry has already answered this:
Basically, in his view and in a small nutshell, Dan 7 (“one like a son of man” / i.e., a “human-like being”) and 1 Enoch 71 (or so) (“son of man” / “Elect/Chosen One”) are not fixed titles.
Second, in the Gospels, the definite “O UIOS TOU ANTHROPOU” is not a title, either, but a simple way of referring to himself as “this man/guy”. Therefore, the “O UIOS TOU ANTHROPOU” in the Gospels is not a sufficient basis for concluding that Jesus always used this phrase to refer to himself as a title, but a simple referential way of pointing to himself as a human. But, Larry does acknowledge that in Mark 14:60-64 (?), Jesus used that phrase in reference to Dan 7, and so he did make the claim that we all suppose. But, the context is what does it, not the supposed “title” “the Son of Man” itself, and that is the imprecision he seeks to correct. By itself, the “O UIOS TOU ANTHROPOU” is (1) not a title, (2) not a sufficient basis for concluding that it goes back to Dan 7 and 1 Enoch 71 every single time “O UIOS TOU ANTHROPOU” is used.
That’s Larry’s contention and I like his precision. I believe he is correct, but he seems, at times, to leave aside what we all see as going back to Dan 7, but like he says, the context in which these phrases occur is what acutually brings us there, not the phrases by themselves.
agreed; I would never say “son of man” is always (or even mostly) used in reference to Daniel 7.
Interesting, I can see the logic in saying this is not always a reference to Dan 7 specifically….but it seems to me the use of the term without direct reference to Dan 7 is still meaningful as a unique identifier that hints at a pre-human history and in this sense the use of the term is blatent when used in reference to Dan 7 and subtle in its other uses. Unless there was a penchant in those days for repeatedly stating the obvious. For me with the term it’s always a hint to the monogenessness of Jesus.
agreed; it may not be unique in the sense that it has precedent (e.g., Ezekiel), but 500 years later in the first century with such frequency? I can’t help but wonder (!) why others don’t think it odd to have a guy running around Judea calling himself “the human one”. Is it just me?! 🙂
That is my thought as well regarding Jesus’ use of the term “the son of man” over and over. It seems that it must have some meaning beyond simply calling himself human.
I was recently discussing Philippians 2 with a person who argues that Jesus has no divine origins. He kept saying that all Paul is saying in Phillipians 2 is that Jesus was a human, and Paul is only emphasizing it. Supposedly Paul is arguing against the divinity of Jesus there. My main point was that Paul sure picked a confusing way of doing it, almost as if he is going through some serious linguistic gymnastics to make that point, when it could have been made effectively simply by saying “Jesus was only a man.” To me, Paul’s discourse in Philippians 2 is trying to express a somewhat difficult subject matter to express, i.e. Godhead theology.
Similarly, Jesus’ frequent use of the term “the son of man,” especially since it seems so often to be used with the direct article, is intentional as a means of getting people to look at something beyond the simple meaning of the phrase.
Is it a reference to Daniel 7? I tend to believe it is, in general, and then clarified before the Sanhedrin as to what He had always meant by it. I think every time He used the identifier it tweaked the Jewish leaders, but it was never clear enough to make an arrest by it, but then Jesus blatantly declared what it meant at His trial and it was then sufficient grounds for them to condemn Him.
I read “How Jesus Became God” and the refutation, “How God Became Jesus.” Both books explained progressive Christology, how almost all Christologies – high and low – were around very early on, and how these Christologies were chronologically *eliminated,* from low to high, as the nascent church built its orthodoxy.
Note from MSH: I cut the links. You don’t get to advertise on my blog.