Saturday 25 January 2020

In what sense was Jesus The Messiah?

At his blog From The Narrow Desert, William James Tychonievich has completed a detailed study of the primary Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament; analysing them by comparison with what Jesus actually did.

Wm's purpose is to understand how these prophecies should be understood, and also how Jesus's claim to be The Messiah of nation of Israel should be understood.

William has posted the last, evaluative, part of the series today; in which he draws conclusions - or rather, makes four possible suggestions as to possible conclusions.

But serious readers will find it necessary to read all the preceding posts, surveying the actual prophecies: these begin with his discussions of the Samaritan Messiah


dearieme said...

"by comparison with what Jesus actually did"

There's the rub - we don't know what he did. We know reports of what he did, reports presumably written by men who knew the OT's predictions. Did they invent stories to be compatible with the predictions? In the case of the Nativity I'd say "yes".

But why stop there? Lord knows what else they might have invented, exaggerated, or embellished.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - You have painted yourself into a corner of nihilism. You need to state your assumptions, including what *ultimately* counts as evidence and why; start with that, work from that. In other words, state your metaphysics - open that for critical evaluation. Critique of other positions is not allowed unless it comes from an explicit position; then the competing assumptions can be compared in terms of coherence.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Dearieme, the author of the Gospel has of Matthew is undeniably guilty of this sort of invention, as when he has Jesus ride two donkeys simultaneously because he misunderstood the Old Testament as prophesying that the Messiah would do so. The Fourth Gospel does not do this. For example, it openly admits the Messiah was supposed to be born in Bethlehem but that Jesus was not.

Chent said...

@Wm There is no such thing. Matthew never says that Jesus sat SIMULTANEOUSLY on both donkeys. It says that He sat on them. It could have sit first on a donkey, then on the other. It was a long journey. In addition, Matthew knew donkeys bether than modern urbanites like us

Chent said...

See more information about the two donkeys at

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Chent, while it is technically possible to read Matthew that way, it still seems like special pleading to me.

My understanding is that Matthew, believing that the Old Testament prophets had foreseen Jesus' life in detail, thought he could use the OT as a source for information about the life of Jesus, and that this is where the two donkeys, the flight into Egypt, and some other distinctively Matthean incidents come from.

Bruce Charlton said...

@chent and wm. As usual, the crux is assumptions. The interpretation of Mat depends on whether one assumes that Mat is necessarily true because divinely inspired; or whether one assumes that it was written some time after Jesus died, by someone with no direct knowledge and a strong agenda.

If one assumes divine inspiration then why? It it because of tradition, on the word of some person church or organization, or from personal revelation.

And how detailed is the authority of Mat? Verse by verse or in terms of overall meaning?

There are many such decisions/ assumptions behind evaluating this specific question.

Keri Ford said...

The Gospels do not conform to a contemporary sense of history, they are written to convey meaning and Truth. The contemporary assumptions of the truth of history is there can be a dispassionate conveying of our perceptions separate from our ideas, this is mistaken. The Gospels should be read for their meaning but they were clearly written to convey the meaning of events that had happened. They are not full of elaborate descriptions of the people and places and they are not the worse for it.