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Christ among the messiahs : Christ language in Paul and messiah language in ancient Judaism

Author: Matthew V Novenson
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, ©2012.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Recent scholarship on ancient Judaism, finding only scattered references to messiahs in Hellenistic- and Roman-period texts, has generally concluded that the word "messiah"' did not mean anything determinate in antiquity. Meanwhile, interpreters of Paul, faced with his several hundred uses of the Greek word for "messiah, '" have concluded that "christos" in Paul does not bear its conventional sense. Against this  Read more...
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Named Person: Jesus Christ; Jesus Christus.; Paulus, Apostel Heiliger.
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Matthew V Novenson
ISBN: 9780199844579 0199844577
OCLC Number: 753351112
Description: xiii, 239 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: The modern problem of Christ and the messiahs --
Messiah language in ancient Judaism --
Names, titles, and other possibilities --
Christ phrases in Paul --
Christ passages in Paul.
Responsibility: Matthew V. Novenson.
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Abstract:

Recent scholarship on ancient Judaism, finding only scattered references to messiahs in Hellenistic- and Roman-period texts, has generally concluded that the word "messiah"' did not mean anything determinate in antiquity. Meanwhile, interpreters of Paul, faced with his several hundred uses of the Greek word for "messiah, '" have concluded that "christos" in Paul does not bear its conventional sense. Against this curious consensus, Matthew V. Novenson argues in Christ among the Messiahs that all contemporary uses of such language, Paul's included, must be taken as evidence for its range of meaning. In other words, early Jewish messiah language is the kind of thing of which Paul's Christ language is an example. Looking at the modern problem of Christ and Paul, Novenson shows how the scholarly discussion of "christos" in Paul has often been a cipher for other, more urgent interpretive disputes. He then traces the rise and fall of "the messianic idea"' in Jewish studies and gives an alternative account of early Jewish messiah language: the convention worked because there existed both an accessible pool of linguistic resources and a community of competent language users. Whereas it is commonly objected that the normal rules for understanding "christos" do not apply in the case of Paul since he uses the word as a name rather than a title, Novenson shows that "christos" in Paul is neither a name nor a title but rather a Greek honorific, like Epiphanes or Augustus. Focusing on several set phrases that have been taken as evidence that Paul either did or did not use "christos" in its conventional sense, Novenson concludes that the question cannot be settled at the level of formal grammar. Examining nine passages in which Paul comments on how he means the word "christos", Novenson shows that they do all that we normally expect any text to do to count as a messiah text. Contrary to much recent research, he argues that Christ language in Paul is itself primary evidence for messiah language in ancient Judaism. -- Publisher description.

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Novenson's dissertation is one of the most significant contributions to the scholarly discussion of ancient Jewish and Pauline messianism in recent years. Its value lies in the sophisicated treatment Read more...

 
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