Scholarship has largely rejected the relevance of the Johannine Son of Man sayings as a source for solving the Son of Man debate. The suspicion of Jesus' words in John is the obvious reason for this rejection. Jn 9.35 presents an interesting test case for rethinking the authenticity of the Son of Man sayings in John. An examination of this saying reveals that it is discontinuous with early Christianity, Second Temple Judaism, and confessions of faith in John's Gospel. The combination of these factors suggests the possibility that the saying may have come from the lips of the historical Jesus.
The Fourth Gospel has more often than not been considered antagonistic to Judaism than as a Jewish text. When some Jewishness has been granted, scholars often see the evangelist as reshaping or redefining Jewish ideas. This present introduction sets the stage for the essays in this volume. In these essays, the contributors attempt to portray Johannine Christology as part of Jewish messianic expectations within early Judaism. The contributors discuss John’s Messiah in relation to royal, prophetic, and divine messiah expectations of Second Temple Judaism. The essays in this volume have been categorized under the headings of “John’s Jesus as a Jewish Messiah: Paths Taken and Not Taken,” “John’s Word and Jewish Messianic Interpretation,” “John’s Royal Messiah,” “John’s Prophetic Messiah,” and “John’s Messiah and Divinity,” along with an epilogue.
This essay begins by noting the challenges to reading the Gospel of John in the context of early Jewish messianism, such as questions about John’s authenticity, the relationship of the Gospel with the Johannine community, and the Gospel’s high Christology. The focus of the essay, however, is on the scarcity of references to John in the scholarship of early Jewish messianism. I focus on five scholars who address the Fourth Gospel in the context of first-century messianic expectations and draw attention to how rarely the Gospel is read as a Jewish text. The messiah passages of John are listed, along with possible questions and issues related to them. The essay concludes by suggesting possible ways for reading John as a Jewish messiah text.
The epilogue includes a brief summary of the essays in the volume and then argues that John’s Messiah can be understood to be at home among the variety of Jewish messiahs of the Second Temple period. The messiah texts of the Fourth Gospel are discussed, and it is argued that they reflect messianic expectations within early Judaism. The Jewishness of John’s Jewish Messiah does not negate the distinctiveness of Johannine Christology; however, that distinctiveness depends more upon the naming of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and not that John’s Messiah is not Jewish. There is space on early Judaism’s spectrum of messianic expectation for the Jesus of the Gospel of John.