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- The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity
- T&T Clark International
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Contents: The question, the state of the question and the approach -- Jewish writers in dialogue -- Kingship in the Ancient Near East -- Kingship in the Hebrew scriptures : the Psalms -- Kingship in the Hebrew scriptures : the Prophets -- The Anointed in the Second Temple period : the high priest -- The Anointed in the Second Temple period : the Son of Man -- The Messiah in the New Testament -- Implications for dialogue.
Summary: For 2000 years Judaism and Christianity have been at odds with one another. The problem at the heart of the division is the concept of messiah. Shirley Lucass looks directly at the concept of messiah from an historical perspective and examines its roots in ancient Jewish literature, and its development within the Christian tradition, aiming not only to trace the biblical and extra-biblical developments of the concept, but to outline a platform for religious dialogue. Lucass begins with a survey of methodological approaches, and then moves on to consider the origins of the messiah concept in ancient near eastern kingship, the ‘anointed’ in the Second Temple period and the messiah as outlined in the New Testament and in post 70 CE Messianism. Lucass contends that the New Testament concept of messiah is not inconsistent with, nor incompatible with the Jewish antecedent traditions, and it is this conclusion which enables her to present a valuable chapter on the implications of this study for inter-religious dialogue. In her preface she notes that "although such well-known names as Novak and Neusner have consistently been engaged in dialogue, producing various works on the subject, neither of them deals directly with christology. As a result, to my mind, they leave untouched and therefore unanswered the central stumbling block of all Jewish-Christian dialogue: Was Jesus the Messiah? Whilst the ultimate answer to that must be a question of faith, what I have attempted to demonstrate here is simply that he could have been. That is he could have been the expected Messiah of Judaism, one that fits fully into the Jewish expectations of that period, and not the product of Paul's Hellenistic Judaism mixed with elements of the mystery religions, nor a product of the Church's later theologizing. Neither is it my belief that this understanding of the Messiah was 'subsequently transformed as Christianity spread in the Gentile world' (Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins, King and Messiah as Son of God, Grand Rapids: Erdsmans, 2008); rather, I would argue that all that the New Testament writers say about Jesus can be rooted in antecedent Jewish tradition which pre-dates the arrival of Jesus." (p. xi).
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