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The One Who Is to Come [Paperback]

By Joseph A. Fitzmyer (Author)
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Item description for The One Who Is to Come by Joseph A. Fitzmyer...

A careful exploration of the controversial biblical term "messiah"

Publishers Description
"Messiah" is one of the most popular and most contested terms in the biblical interpretation. To understand this concept is to understand one of the earliest terms applied to Jesus.

While many often read the concept back into early Old Testament texts, Joseph Fitzmyer carefully and comprehensively tells the story of its development from Daniel 9 to the New Testament. "The One Who Is to Come" begins with the term itself, then discusses passages that reveal the developing understanding of the Davidic dynasty and those that are often seen as Old Testament precursors. It also takes on the place of the term in the Septuagint and extrabiblical Jewish writings, as well as the New Testament, Targums, and Mishnah.

Fitzmyer's masterful work takes issue with the excessive claims for the concept of messiah in the Old Testament, pointing instead to the proper (and no less full) tradition of "messiah" that emerged in the intertestamental period. "The One Who Is to Come" presents a novel yet biblical thesis that will appeal to scholars, students and all who wish investigate the origins of the concept of "messiah."

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   205
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.92" Width: 6.07" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
ISBN  0802840132  
ISBN13  9780802840134  

Availability  0 units.

More About Joseph A. Fitzmyer

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Joseph A. Fitzmyer, a Jesuit priest, is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America and resident in the Jesuit community at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has edited and published numerous books on the New Testament, ancient Aramaic, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Society for New Testament Study.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer currently resides in Washington, in the state of District Of Columbia. Joseph A. Fitzmyer was born in 1952 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Emeritus, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Biblical Resource
  2. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testament
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Hermeneutics
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Sacred Writings > Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) > Commentaries
10Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Sacred Writings > Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) > Criticism & Interpretation
11Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Sacred Writings > Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) > Study

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Reviews - What do customers think about The One Who Is to Come?

Raised by God to offer hope to humanity of sharing a glorious afterlife  May 26, 2010

"How different that Jewish Messiah is from the Christian Messiah, who has already come. ... he bears in human history the name Jesus Christ, both among his followers and among those who are not." J. Fitzmyer

Fr Fitzmyer articulated a series of essays tracing the roots of messianic hope in the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish extrabiblical writings. He assembled his research in a compelling historical progression in his well searched book chapters. His inclusion of the Septuagint's interpretation of relevant OT passages is crucial, since this Alexandrine Greek translation used a Hebrew Bible a thousand year older than the Masoretic.

The peek of his study is his exposition of the second temple messianic writing from 1 Enoch, including an extensive examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Various Qumran texts, an area of his expertise, reveal the developing pre-Christian Jewish messianism. Fitzmyer notes the Talmud does contain a belief in a messiah who precedes creates and is in some sense a "preexistent being." He underlines that expectation of a Messiah was in Judea at the times of Jesus of Nazareth.

For Fitzmyer, the Messiah perceived by Christians is the one who fulfills the role of God's Suffering Servant in (Deutro) Isaiah 53, raised by God to offer hope to humanity of sharing a glorious afterlife in the Fathers beatific presence.
Outstanding; a scholar investigates the rise of messianism  Aug 31, 2009
What did the Second Temple Jews believe about the Messiah before Jesus? Fitamyer, a fine, meticulous scholar, investigates, and finds some surprising answers.

One abiding theme is that of David's dynasty continuing. For example, Psalm 101 talks about a Davidic king and so does Psalm 110, which talks about "the enthronement of the Davidic king who is to rule in Jerusalem" (p 44). Moreover, the six royal psalms talk about a kingship that will last forever.

Fitzmyer finds that Daniel 9:24-26 was pivotal for the rise of messianism. Daniel's prophecy of seventy weeks of years led to a simmering sense of expectation among Jews.

Because of Daniel's prophecies, "belief in the coming David develops into that of a national Messiah, whom God will raise up as a descendant of David" (p 57). Other scholars have also found much the same thing. "R A Martin...(found) the earliest evidence of an individual messianic interpretation of Gen 3:15 to be dated in the 3rd or 2nd century BC" (p 70).

Extrabiblical Jewish writings support this. In Similitudes there are passages which talk about the "Danielic Son of Man and the Isaian Servant Songs" (p 86).

Many scholars have been excited by the Qumran texts which show a developing messianism. Some of the texts speak of a coming one Messiah; others mention two Messiahs. "An important instance of a text that mentions one Messiah is found in 4pGen...'the coming of the righteous Messiah, the Scion of David. For to him and to his offspring has been given the covenant of kingship over His people for everlasting generations'" (p 95).

By the late 2nd century BC, the Qumran texts reveal an expectation of an awaited figure. The texts also talk about the "High Priest" who would overthrow the Kittim. Other traits the Messiah would be known by would include freeing prisoners, giving sight to the blind, and reviving the dead.

Other extrabiblical texts that talk about the Messiah include Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. Indeed, at this time "the awaited 'Messiah' was already part of contemporary Palestinian Jewish ideas and culture" (p 129).

This research explains why Paul, only twenty years after the death of Jesus, spoke of "Christ Jesus" as if the two words were always coupled.

An important and fascinating book.
Messianism: History of a Jewish Hope  Nov 22, 2008

"In the horizon of hope in the 'coming God' we confront Jesus, his mission and history with the ancient messianic question: "Are you the one who is to come?" Thereupon we will discover that the messianic claim of Jesus lies in the prolepsis of his proclamation of the kingdom." Jürgen Moltmann

The Messianic Hope:
According to the linguists, the Hebrew participle mashîah; from which we get the word messiah (to anoint), and therefore simply means 'anointed one'. Since the rite of anointing in Israel was 'merely at symbolic act', designating an individual as having been separated by God to act under the guidance of His Spirit, the term 'anointed' generally applied to those holding the office of priest, prophet and, in particular, king. Interestingly Kae remarks that during the biblical period of Israelite history the individual involved in inaugurating each new phase held all three messianic offices.Thus, owing to the weight of historical experience, he argues for an Israelite expectation that saw the inauguration of a new era by a messianic figure in whom all three offices were combined."

The Rabbinic Messiah:
Rabbinic literature generally believes in a personal Messiah to come. Rabbi Hillel (3rd century), however, declared: "There shall be no Messiah for Israel, because they have already enjoyed him in the days of Hezekiah." Rashi (1040-1105) interpreted this strange remark to mean that Hillel denies belief in a personal Messiah but believes in the coming of the messianic age. All the medieval Jewish thinkers however, affirm their faith in a personal Messiah. Rabbi Akiba recognized Bar Kochba, the rebel leader of disastrous insurrection of 132-135 A.D., as the Messiah even though he was obviously a human being and one who could perform no miracles.

Fitzmyer Magisterial Study:
The most significant part of this scholarly study, for a lay reader, lies within his concise and informative conclusion. "because messianism was a notion that surfaced when it did in world history, its record has been important not only for Judaism, but for Christianity too, which grew out of it and developed its own form of messianism. Being a specific phenomenon that appeared at a given time and place, it was not merely a passing or ephemeral fad, but rather a phenomenon that shaped human history in different ways." His conclusion culminates in a masterful observation, "How different that Jewish Messiah from the Christian Messiah who has already come. He has not only been identified with Jesus of Nazareth, who was crusified as a criminal and rebel, but he bears in human history by the name Jesus Christ (=Jesus the Messiah), both among those who are his followers and among those who are not..."

History of an Idea:
J. Staley of Seattle U. describes the book as a 'valuable updating and expansion' of Mowinckel and Klausner studies, comparing it to recent works like DSS scholar J. Charlesworth editorial collection, The Messiah: Developments in earliest Judaism and Christianity. But one outstanding question he raises is, "what communities Fitzmyer thinks are reflected in his textual study.

Salvation Is from the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History
Salvation Is from the Jews: Saving Grace in Judaism and Messianic Hope in Christianity (Michael Glazier Books)
Christian Scholarship At its Best  Oct 5, 2007
I was looking for a book that dealt with the problem of Messianic prophecies in the New Testament, and to my surprise it was written by a Catholic scholar! While the author says he imitates "the early 'church usage' in seeing Jesus of Nazareth as 'the Son of Man,' 'the Servant of the Lord,' and even as 'the suffering Messiah,' because New Testament writers have predicated all these titles of him," he nonetheless claims "one cannot foist a later Christian meaning on a passage that was supposed to have a distinctive religious sense in guiding the Jewish people of old." (pp. viii-ix). So when examining every potentially prophetic Messianic passage in the Old Testament, except perhaps for a couple of passages in the book of Daniel (a book which was "finally redacted c.a. 165 BC") Fitzmyer rightly argues that the Christian writers interpreted these passages anachronistically due to hindsight understandings of who they concluded Jesus to be.

For instance, after discussing several of the key "Messianic Psalms," Fitzmyer concludes, "The attempt to interpret these Psalms anachronistically in a `messianic' sense is misguided." According to Fitzmeyer, "Psalm 2 is not `messianic' in any sense." Fitzmyer claims Psalm 110 "could hardly refer to any eschatological ideal in the distant future." There are other gems in this book. Fitzmyer argues that "there is no passage in the book of Isaiah that mentions a `Messiah" in the narrow sense, and all attempts to speak of Isaiah's `messianic prophecies' are still-born." He claims that the Servant Song of Isaiah 53 "has no messianic connotation" per se. His conclusion is this: "The idea of a suffering found nowhere in the Old Testament or in any Jewish literature prior to or contemporaneous with the New Testament. It is a Christian conception that goes beyond the Jewish messianic tradition."

Fitzmyer argues that the Jewish conception of the Messiah was different than what early Christians thought. According to Jewish conceptions, the Messiah was that "of a human kingly figure who was (and is) to bring deliverance, at once political, economic, and spiritual, to the Jewish people, and through them peace, prosperity, and righteousness to all humanity." (p. 182). Fitzmyer believes Jesus was the Messiah, even though he argues against the early Christian claim that there were specific details prophesied of this Messiah in the Old Testament which Jesus fulfilled in his birth, life, death and resurrection.

His scholarship is superior to all others on this topic. I could only wish he drew the proper conclusion that the New Testament writers got it wrong about Jesus. It's so sad that he refuses to come to the conclusion that his scholarship leads him to. This is what I call believing against the evidence, and it's too bad he feels the need to do this because of his faith. Furthermore, if the New Testament writers falsely interpreted Old Testament Messianic prophecy when it came to the specific details of his life, death, and resurrection, why would Fitzmyer believe them when they go on to claim Jesus is the Jewish Messiah? If they are wrong about the prophetic details then he should also question their larger claim that Jesus was the Messiah.

Skeptics will like this book very much, because we WILL draw the proper conclusions from his research, and for that I thank him and highly recommend his book.

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