In my previous post I failed to explain the significance of the Son of Man's coming with the clouds of heaven as it was envisioned in Daniel and in the New Testament. Let's clear that up. Daniel 7 When Daniel first introduces the one like a son of man, the figure is approaching God on … Continue reading What is the coming of the Son of Man?
According to popular Christian tradition, the titles Son of God and Son of Man refer respectively to Christ's divine and human natures. Jesus is the Son of God because he is God and he is the Son of Man because he is man. But as is the case with the designation 'Immanuel,' I argue that … Continue reading Why did Jesus call himself the Son of Man?
Christmas and Theology Theological constructs, while often helpful, sometimes prevent us from hearing what Biblical texts have to say. This is certainly the case with scripture's dual nativity stories. Two theological concerns in particular blur our reading of these stories. Since the two birth narratives are divergent and sometimes contradictory, in our desire to defend the … Continue reading Immanuel: theology or history?
Songs about David Luke adorns his nativity story with two psalms of thanksgiving, Mary's Magnificat and Zechariah's Benedictus. In wording and theme both have much in common with Hannah's song concerning the birth of the prophet Samuel and the establishment of the Davidic dynasty. In exultation Hannah announces that through David and his sons "the Lord will … Continue reading Christmas according to Mary and Zechariah
The Dragon and his Beasts In accordance with the overall historical thrust of this blog, I'd like to demonstrate in this post how the spiritual demonic realities addressed by the Biblical authors are ultimately subordinate to and representative of historical-political concerns—not the other way around. Put simply, Satan and his demons personify pagan political power. … Continue reading The Devil and his Demons: the function of the demonic in Revelation
All of Them? John P. Meier's excellent A Marginal Jew series attempts to peer behind the curtain of the Gospel portraits to glimpse the Jesus of history. In broad brushstrokes, Meier's restrained and measured work produces an Elijah-like eschatological prophet of the age to come. Scholars like Paula Fredriksen and Dale Allison reach similar conclusions. In his … Continue reading Which Parables go back to Jesus?
We've discussed before how Jesus' apocalyptic expectations in large part determined his teachings on violence. In light of the wrath coming upon Jerusalem (Mark 13/Luke 24, Matthew 21:1-14) and upon Greco-Roman Paganism (Matthew 25:31-36, Revelation 18, Acts 17:31, 1 Cor 2:6), Jesus considered retribution and self-defense to be acts of disbelief. God was about to … Continue reading Jesus and Violence: The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat