2021-08-10

Pre-Christian Jewish Ideas of a Suffering and Dying Messiah

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by Neil Godfrey

In preparing my next post on Nanine Charbonnel’s Jésus-Christ, sublime figure de papier I remarked that I had posted a few times along the lines of a theme her work explores: the idea of a suffering and dying messiah among Jewish circles prior to the Christian era. I began to list those posts but found way too many to mention there so I’m posting the list separately here.

Posts addressing the question of the Jewishness of a suffering and dying messiah:

  1. How Isaiah’s Suffering Servant and Isaac’s Sacrifice Together Prepared for Jesus Christ 2020-08-14
  2. Horbury Argued Similarly: Jewish Messianic Ideas Explain Christianity 2019-03-02
  3. A Suffering Messiah Before Christianity? — the other side of the question 2019-01-20
  4. Questioning the Claim of a Pre-Christian Suffering Messiah 2019-01-20
  5. Why a Saviour Had to Suffer and Die? Martyrdom Beliefs in Pre-Christian Times 2019-01-04
  6. Summing Up a Case for Pre-Christian Exegesis of Dying and Suffering Messiahs by J. Jeremias (8) 2018-12-19
  7. The 10th Testimony for a Dying Messiah Before Christianity (7) 2018-12-18
  8. Rabbinic Traditions that the Messiah was to Suffer? (6) 2018-12-17
  9. Jewish Pre-Christian Prophecies of Suffering Servant Messiah (5) 2018-12-16
  10. Jewish Understandings of a Suffering Messiah before the Christian Era (4) 2018-12-15
  11. Evidence of a Suffering Messiah Concept before Christianity (1) 2018-12-14
  12. A Pre-Christian Jewish Suffering Messiah (2) 2018-12-13
  13. Evidence of a Suffering Messiah Concept before Christianity (1) 2018-12-11
  14. How Early Did Some Jews Believe in a Slain Messiah son of Joseph? 2017-04-19
  15. Suffering and Dying Messiahs: Typically Jewish Beliefs 2017-04-16
  16. How Did Daniel Understand Isaiah’s Suffering Servant? 2015-11-12
  17. Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Before Christianity 2015-11-10
  18. Suffering Messiah Is a Very Jewish Idea 2015-08-26
  19. From Israel’s Suffering (Isaiah’s Servant) to Atoning Human/Messianic Sacrifice (Daniel) 2014-11-24
  20. The Influence of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Before Christianity 2014-11-23
  21. Jewish Expectations of a Slain Messiah — the Early Evidence 2014-11-08
  22. Messiah to be Killed in Pre-Christian Jewish Expectation — the Late Evidence 2014-11-04
  23. The Dying Messiah Before Christianity 2014-09-14
  24. The Evolution of the Son of Man, the Human & Divine Messiah 2014-07-08
  25. So some Jews did expect a suffering Messiah? 2013-01-22
  26. How Could a Crucified Jesus Be Identified With God? 2013-01-12
  27. Does the notion of a crucified messiah need a historical easter experience? 2011-04-05
  28. Jewish scriptures as inspiration for a Slain Messiah 2010-07-26
  29. Jesus displaces Isaac: midrashic creation of the biblical Jesus . . . (Offering of Isaac . . . #6) 2008-06-06

Let’s add for good measure our recent post on William Wrede’s view of Paul and some earlier Vridar posts that may serve as good companions of that one:

  1. Only One Explanation: Paul Believed in a Divine Christ “Before Jesus” 2021-08-07
  2. How Paul Found Christ Crucified – “on a Tree” – In the Scriptures 2020-06-12
  3. Jesus supplants Isaac — the contribution of Paul 2008-06-26
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Neil Godfrey

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4 thoughts on “Pre-Christian Jewish Ideas of a Suffering and Dying Messiah”

  1. Wow, you wrote a lot on this. You should compile into a book. I’d buy it!

    This is one of my favorite angles taking on the Christian’s myth of a resurrected god. I focused on this in my memoir, Leaving Worship. It’s a great way to get the religious’ brain gears turning.

  2. This is brilliant stuff, important in an understanding of early Christianity. Thank you Neil. I am currently looking at Lena Einhorn’s work, on the time-shift theory of the Messiah being put back 20 years in the first century, and I think that Nanine Charbonnel’s work will complement it, though they may not be interested in each other. The other major aspect of investigation, Pauline Christianity, will hopefully gel with Charbonel’s and Einhorn’s work.
    .
    I have not given up on the Roman provenance theory either. Could it be that there was an auspicing body, with no resemblance to the traditional church, that put it all together ? When I find a way to integrate all the stories I will feel really good !
    .
    Anyway, now I will need to save all the 29 + 3 links you have kindly supplied and try to assimilate.

  3. Still going on today in parts of rural Turkey for example:

    Another hypothesis of Aksoy about the cultural origins of the Anatolian conception of Khidr points to another common element relating to a religious tradition in Near East, the traditional celebration of Hıdırellez.[64] Like Alevis, people make flour of roasted wheat on the day before the festival for Khidr. They keep it somewhere in the kitchen to see later for Khidr’s traces. Next day in the morning if they see some signs on the flour, it means that Khidr came there to bring abundance and blessing for them. Later they bake some kind of cake which is called Qāvut, Kavut, Köme or Göme.[8][73] According to Aksoy, this tradition originated from the mythico-rituals of Ancient Near Eastern dying gods like Osiris, Adonis (also Dionysos, Melqart and Mithra), and the process which shows the transformation of the grain to flour symbolizes cremation (death) of the god.[74] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khidr#In_Anatolian_folk_religion

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