While Jews in the land of Israel in ancient times shared much in common - scripture, reverence for the Temple and its cult, some traits as one 'Orthodox' Judaism. Diverse 'Judaisms' flourished, each with its particular way of life, world view, and definition of the social entity, or 'Israel'. Because there was no single, unitary Judaism, there also was no one 'Messiah-idea' or 'Messianic doctrine'. Various readings of the Messiah-theme reached definition in the various, unrelated religious systems or Judaisms produced by those Jews - hence 'Judaisms' and 'their Messiahs'. In this book, distinguished specialists in various Judaisms of late antiquity, including Christian scholars, take up the differing roles of the Messiah-idea in the various traditions examined. Dealing with the best-documented Judaic systems - the Essene community at Qumran, Christian Judaisms represented by Mark and by Matthew, the nascent rabbinic Judaism portrayed in the Mishnah, the Judaic system implicit in the writings of Philo - the authors work out how a given system treats the Messiah theme. Some systems - Philo's and the Mishnah's - find the theme important.
Others place it at the center of their systems and treat the Messiah as the purpose and goal of their respective Judaisms, their expectations varying from a political-military figure to an eschatological diety. In its approach to evidence, not harmonizing but analyzing and differentiating, this book marks a revolutionary shift in the study of ancient Judaism and Christianity.
Preface; 1. Introduction: Messiah in Judaism: rethinking the question William Scott Green; 2. Wisdom makes a difference: alternatives to 'Messianic' configurations Burton L. Mack; 3. Salvation without and with a Messiah: developing beliefs in writings ascribed to enoch George W. E. Nickelsburg; 4. How the authors of 1 and 2 Maccabees treated to 'Messianic' promises Jonathan A. Goldstein; 5. Messianism in the Maccabean period John J. Collins; 6. Waiting for the Messiah: the spiritual universe of the Qumran convenanters Shemaryahu Talmon; 7. Philo and Messiah Richard D. Hecht; 8. Messiah and Gospel George Macrae, S. J.; 9. Christology in Mark's Gospel Howard Clark Kee; 10. The question of the Messiah in 4 Ezra Michael E. Stone; 11. From Jewish Messianology to Christian christology: some caveats and perspectives J. H. Charlesworth; 12. Mishnah and Messiah Jacob Neusner; General index; Index to biblical and hermeneutical texts.
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