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What does the phrase 'the Son of Man' mean in Mark's Gospel?Vermes, Geza. Jesus the Jew, pg. 160 - 188, William Collins Sons & Co, London, 1973.-The title 'Son of Man' occurs over 60 times in synoptic gospels and still figures in Fourth Gospel, but outside of the gospels it occurs once in Acts 7:56 and twice in Revelation 1:13 o It appears nowhere in Paul/other epistles, 'i.e. in the explicitly theological compositions of the New Testament' Title is only said by Jesus Lack of impact on Jesus's contemporaries
'Son of man' title 'in its Synoptic presentation as an unambiguous and unprovocative phrase always used by Jesus alone.' In Jewish Writings-
Term likely of Aramaic origin Scholars agree 'son of man' was used as a noun ('a man') and as substitute for the indefinite pronoun ('one') Pg. 163, 'dissent concerning the circumlocutional use of the expression, i.e. the application of the idiom to the speaker himself and its attachment to an eschatological or Messianic figure deriving in some way from Daniel 7:13'
Son of man- a circumlocution
Some think it meant 'I', theory based on what is thought to be 'an Aramaic synonym of the son of man, namely 'that man'' Refer to oneself as hahu gabra ('that man') then o A) refraining from 'immodest emphasis on himself' o B) when referring to the unpleasant/frightening, e.g. sickness or death o C) unpalatable situation
Can we argue that bar nash ('son of man') is used in a similar manner to hahu gabra ('that man') Most examples shown so far consist of 'sayings that imply something detrimental or embarrassing to the speaker.' Simeon ben Yohai seems to provide evidence for a circumlocutional use of son of man.Can be established 'that when he prayed for the unique gift of a second mouth for secular use so that he could devote the first entirely to the recitation of Scripture, Simeon ben Yohai spontaneously expressed himself in a humble third person.'
Pg. 168, Demonstrates that in 'Galilean Aramaic the son of man occurs as a circumlocutional reference to the self.' 'like the parallel idiom, 'that man', it is employed in a context where humiliation or death are mentioned, but there are also instances in which the avoidance of the first person is motivated by reserve or modesty.'
In the language Jesus used (Galilean Aramaic) son of man would have been at least occasionally used as a circumlocution. 'by contrast, no trace survives of its titular use, from which it must be inferred that there is no case to be made for an eschatological or Messianic office-holder generally known as 'the son of man'' The son of man and Daniel 7:13-
'one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven... Sovereignty, glory and kingship were given him,' (Daniel 7:13) Many have looked at the 'mystical value of the term, 'like'' 'like' points not just to similarity but also to 'mysterious dissimilarity'
Pg. 170 'the hero of the Daniel narrative is a human being elevated above the wicked beasts and granted everlasting dominion over all things, a symbolical representation, according to the interpretative conclusion, of the eschatological triumph of the historical Israel.' To the 'author of Daniel 7, 'one like a son of man' is not an individual', nor is it titular or circumlocutional. Reasonable to conclude that 'mainstream Jewish interpretative tradition recognized Daniel 7:9 -14 from the early second century AD at least... as a Messianic text depicting the coming of the new, glorious and exalted David.'
This Messianic interpretation is based on 'the mention of the additional throne, and probably on the conferment of an everlasting crown on the human figure.' (not on phrase 'one like a son of man') 'the derivation from Daniel 7:13 of such Messianic names as Anani or bar nephele proves that son of man was never understood as a title.' Enoch-Ethiopic book of Enoch, language problems- 3 different Ethiopic phrases are translated as son of man. 2 different beliefs surrounding this o 1) pg. 173 'careless Ethiopian translator, who rendered one and the same Greek formula in three different ways' o 2) 'they correspond to three different Aramaic expressions underlying the Greek' But many doubt Enoch can contribute to son of man problem due to its dependence on Daniel 7
A survey 'of son of man passages in Enoch further confirms the Messianic connotations of Daniel 7 in postbiblical Jewish religious thought' + glorious features it was distinguished by, no humiliation/suffering 'son of man' always explained by some determining clause, not sufficient by itself, e.g. 'the son of man born unto righteousness'
-Pg. 175 'without such qualification it is neither clear, nor distinctive enough to act as an autonomous title.' However, observation of the son of man in Enoch cannot shed light on the use of the term in the synoptic gospels o 'Enoch's son of man never talks, this work exhibits no structural similarity to the Gospel usage of the term.'
'son of man in Jewish Aramaic appears frequently as a synonym for 'man', and as a substitute for the indefinite pronoun; more seldom, as a circumlocution by which the speaker refers to himself.'
Presumes that there exists a Jewish 'son of man' concept and that there is a corresponding 'title' - neither can be presumed, what's more we might suggest a different method as a more suitable means of classifying son of man sayings.'based not on purely subjective exegetical criteria, but on others that are objective and formal.'
Mark, Matthew and Luke contain 66 son of man passages37 bear no link to the Old Testament 6 explicitly cite Daniel 7:13 21 indirectly allude to it 10 of the 13 Marcan instances alluding to Daniel have no noticeable apocalyptic relevance
Avoidance of titular use can be explained by fact that bar nasha 'was found unsuitable for titular usage- too commonplace
In Mark 'the son of man passages are mainly non-Danielic'
Must make sense of the phrase son of man in an Aramaic sense
Son of man sayings unconnected with Daniel 7:13
The Son of Man in the Synoptic GospelsRudolph Bultmann 'classifies Gospel references to the son of man under 3 headings'a) 'with his earthly activity' b) 'with his death and resurrection' c) 'with his future return' 'of these categories, only the last relies on very old traditions. The others he believes to be inauthentic'Mark 2:10 -healing of paralytic, pg. 180 'Jesus asserts that to heal the consequences of sin and to forgive sin itself is one and the same.' 'he could therefore prefaces his command 'stand up, take your bed, and walk' with the equivalent statement: o 'to convince you that the son of man has the right on earth to forgive sins, I say to you...'' Son of man here points either to the speaker or man in general
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