Thursday, June 07, 2007

Logos Lecture: Messiah and King

Over on the Logos Bible Software Blog, there is a nice note headed Mark Goodacre is Coming to Town concerning my Logos Lecture next Monday in Bellingham, WA. The title is "Did Jews in Jesus' day expect the Messiah?" Since I am busy preparing the lecture at the moment (with the Test Match on in the background, of course, with England faltering a little on 166 for 5, having been on a commanding 112 for 1 at lunch), here is a taster of the argument of the paper:
Did Jews in Jesus’ day expect the Messiah? Yes, many of them did, but the term “Messiah” is not as important in the literature as the term “King”, and the question which we really should be answering in the affirmative is: Did some Jews in Jesus’ day expect a new Davidic King? Old Testament texts commonly reinterpreted as pointing to a future Messiah are actually speaking about the restoration of the Davidic monarchy. Other Jewish texts, both those that predate the New Testament and those contemporary with the New Testament, are also speaking about the restoration of the Davidic monarchy. They are prophesying the arrival of a new King in David’s line. Where the term “Messiah” occurs, it is used as an eschatological synonym for “King”. The term “Messiah” only took on decisive importance in emergent Christianity, where it was used to express the notion that the story of salvation was not yet complete. God’s Anointed was born of David’s line, had died for people’s sins, was raised from the dead and exalted to heaven. In the future, at the end, Jesus would return as King.

7 comments:

Danny said...

Have you made this paper available? Or will you do so?

Jim Deardorff said...

It would be interesting, Mark, if you were to include mention in your talk on why the writer of Matthew would consider Jesus to be the fulfillment of the Isaiah 7 prophecy for Immanuel if his name was instead Jesus.

Jim Deardorff

Mark Goodacre said...

Danny: I am planning to make it available next week.

Jim: I am not planning to mention that in the talk, though it is interesting that Matthew uses the Isaiah 7 passage in his Birth Narrative; I think it is a good example of scripturalization -- he is looking to find scriptures that explicate what is happening.

jack poirier said...

Things, of course, are messier than your teaser makes them appear. Will you be mentioning that the term "messiah" was also applied to a priestly figure?

Mark Goodacre said...

Hi Jack. Yes, though the thrust of my paper is in a sense to say that we are asking the wrong question. What people regularly read as "messianic" expectation is often, rather, expectation of the restoration of the Davidic monarchy. Where anointing / messianic language occurs with priestly language, this is, I think, about the restoration of a true (as they see it) Priest. That's why it's particularly prevalent at Qumran, because they thought that the priests at the Temple were corrupt and they wanted a new, anointed priest.

Geoff Hudson said...

Perhaps even messier is the distinct possibility that the priests of the DSS were seeking a Messiah coincident with original 'emergent Christianity', implying that the so-called 'Christians' (pre 70 CE) were not messianic at all but were 'peaceful' prophets who were not too concerned about Roman control.

Bob MacDonald said...

Mark - I regret that Hebrew class is winning over the 4 hour trip to Bellingham for an evening in the U.S. - maybe I will make it to SBL in the fall. I look forward to reading the paper though I will not witness the oral performance!