Chapter

Introduction

Israel Knohl

in The Messiah before Jesus

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780520215924
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928749 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520215924.003.0001
Introduction

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This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of how New Testament scholarship, for over a hundred years, denied the historical reality of Jesus' claim to messiahship. Scholars of this viewpoint maintain that Jesus did not regard himself as a Messiah at all and that he was proclaimed Messiah by his disciples only after his death. Jesus, they claim, could not have foreseen his rejection, death, and resurrection, as “the idea of a suffering, dying, and rising Messiah or son of Man was unknown to Judaism.” It follows that in the opinion of these scholars, all accounts of Jesus foretelling his rejection, death, and resurrection lack any historical basis whatsoever. These things, they assert, were only ascribed to him after his death. The chapter then sets out the purpose of the book, which is to counter these claims. It aims to show that Jesus really did regard himself as the Messiah and truly expected the Messiah to be rejected, killed, and resurrected after three days, for this is precisely what was believed to have happened to a messianic leader who had lived one generation before Jesus, based on certain hymns that were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Keywords: Jesus; messiahship; Messiah; death; resurrection; New Testament scholarship; Dead Sea Scrolls

Chapter.  1019 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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