Corrected and updated -- Neil Godfrey, 1:15 pm 30th July 2011
It is interesting to see how mainstream scholars are edging towards mythicist ideas.
‘The old idea that exalted epithets such as “Son of God” or “Son of the Most High” applied to Jesus reflect Greco-Roman thinking, rather than Jewish thinking, has been seriously challenged by the Aramaic fragment, 4Q246, in which an eschatological figure is described with these very terms. Moreover, the idea of a Messiah figure, whose appearance brings healing, resurrection of the dead, and good news for the poor—concepts that define the identity and ministry of Jesus—is now attested in 4Q521. Indeed, the idea of a figure who acts in the very place of Yahweh himself, in fulfillment of Isaiah 61 and an expected eschatological jubilee, is attested in 11QMelchizedek.’
Curiously James McGrath claims all Messiah figures were expected to be conquering kings.** (Note by Neil: McGrath has clarified that he is only referring to “Davidic Messiahs” and he does not dispute that there were other messianic notions among the Jews.)
And Mike Wilson is adamant that no Jew could have thought of a figure acting in the very place of Yahweh himself (unless that figure was a crucified criminal, if I understand Mike correctly. )
It is interesting that mainstream scholars claim that mythical eschatological figures, people who never actually existed, are described in the same terms applied to Jesus.
The texts are available online, but for easy reference I copy the relevant ones here, with links to the site sourced:
“[X] shall be great upon the earth. [O King all (people) shall] make [peace], and all shall serve [Him. He shall be called the Son of] the [G]reat [God], and by His Name shall He be hailed (as) the Son of God, and they shall call Him Son of the Most High like a shooting star.”