Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Jewish Gospels

I'm not quite done reading Daniel Boyarin's The Jewish Gospels; The Story of the Jewish Christ. After reading Ehrman's book, it is a breath of fresh air:

Much New Testament scholarship has been led astray [e.g., Bart Ehrman's view] by an assumption that the term 'Son of Man' referred only to the coming of Jesus on the clouds at the parousia, Jesus' expected reappearance on earth.  This has led to much confusion in the literature, because on this view it seems difficult to imagine how the living, breathing Jesus, not yet the exalted-into-heaven or returning-to-earth Christ, could refer to himself as the Son of Man, as he surely seems to do in several places in Mark and the other Gospels.  This problem can be solved, however, if we think of the Son of Man not as representing a particular stage in the narrative of the Christ but as referring to the protagonist of the entire story, Jesus the Christ, Messiah, Son of Man. (p.36-37)

 "The great innovation of the Gospels is only this," writes Boyarin: declare that the Son of Man is here already, that he walks among us.  As opposed to Enoch, who will be in those last days the Messiah Son of Man, Jesus already is.  As opposed to the Son of Man flying on the clouds, who is a vision for the future, Jesus has come, declare the Gospels and the believers.  The last days are right now, proclaims the Gospel.  All of the ideas about Christ are old; the new is Jesus.  There is nothing in the doctrine of the Christ that is new save the declaration of this man as the Son of Man.  This is, of course, an enormous declaration, a huge innovation in itself and one that has had fateful historical consequences. (p.101)

But now I must go back to reading the rest of the book. 

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