Associate Professor James McGrath is apparently bored again, or maybe he is still smarting over his public inability to actually respond to anything I said with a reasoned and supported argument.
He has written a post linking three times to my blog posts and unfortunately demonstrates his understanding of “mythicism” is still egg-bound in his old misconceptions about the very nature of “mythicism”. But that is not surprising.
It is also interesting to see how he is subtly re-writing some of the more embarrassing details of his earlier exchanges. He now implies that certain accusations were made despite his having read so many books by mythicists. Of course, at the time he fully admitted that he was relying on blog posts for his understanding.
Oh yes, those three links to my blog he puts in his sentence: that sentence, surprise surprise, is what they call an of “untruth”. But I gotta admit it does serve the purpose of making his insults and strawmen look like a most formidable arsenel of intellect.
So much for professional ethics and intellectual integrity among some scholars of the Christian religion.
But I am bored with James and going over the same old. Is there any scholar anywhere who is prepared to discuss, explore, dialogue in a reasoned and civil manner any of the arguments I have presented in relation to this topic. I’m surprised, since I’ve argued nothing different from what secular and Old Testament scholars have all argued and asserted is a defensible starting point for historical enquiry. I don’t expect them to respond to this blog, but I would love to be told that the issues are addressed publicly somewhere.
The idea of a holy anointed one, a messiah that is, who liberated those captive to sin through his death, who represented the pious before God, who was subject even to the wrath of God for the sin of the people, such an idea was arguably a pre-packaged concept among some Jews long before Jesus was ever thought of.
Evolution of an idea or historical reinterpretation of a crucified criminal?
Indeed, the very concept of Jesus Christ as found in Paul’s epistles could quite conceivably have evolved out of the contemplation of passages describing the roles and functions of the priests in their role as “anointed ones” (“messiahs”) in the Jewish scriptures and Sirach.
Levenson has demonstrated the similarity of the Second Temple Jewish view of the atoning death and resurrection of Isaac with the subsequent Christian a figure who atones for the sins of his people by his shed blood.
Thomas L. Thompson looks at several other passages in Jewish Scriptures that foreshadow the explicit Christian concepts of Messiah. He rejects the common (yet unargued) belief that “messiah” was a term that was applied to contemporary historical kings of Israel, noting that in every occurrence of the word in connection with an Israelite king, whether in “story or song”, it is always applied to Israel’s past. And as for “the developing transference of an historical [Messiah] — the king — to a unique and future-oriented, super-terrestrial savior, [S. Talmon] attributes to a ‘second temple period’, which culminates in an idealized figure after 70 AD.”
So what of the concept of messianism around the time Paul and other NT authors are thought to have been writing? What does an exploration of the meaning of “messiah” or “anointed one” in texts known to these authors suggest?