My understanding is that the passages Edersheim listed were done so not because of his interpretation but because of the Jewish interpretation, apparently quite clear. So, then it comes down to the timing -- when were they seen as such ? Was it only after the temple was destroyed? Etc.. I think too one should be careful to not too easily separate out 'explicit references to a messiah' from references to a 'Messianic age' as being something different. It may well be that the culture saw them as entertwined. Can't get into this any further. To me the very fact that Paul was going after 'Messianists' early on who basically had the 'same faith' as he ended up converting to suggests that there were high expectations and that's why the Jesus movement was able to expand in the first place. If only a small minority of Jews were expecting/hoping for a Messiah, it seems hard to believe that the movement would have had much chance to grow.neilgodfrey wrote:Green's point is that most scholars who addressed "messianism" were assuming many passages were messianic as a result of their preconceptions about what they believed a messianic passage would look like. He is questioning this circular process for identifying messianic passages. If we take only explicit references to a messiah in the Old Testament works we find very few such passages.TedM wrote:From what I understand we have Jewish records which are rife with hundreds, if not thousands of references to Messiac passages. It seems to me that common sense would dictate that Messiac expectations were rampant among those who paid any attention to those Jewish records.
I don't have time to go into this, but it would seem this is relevant:
http://www.doxa.ws/Messiah/Messiah1.htmlA great deal of the evidence in this section comes form a priceless work of great scholarship The Life And Times of Jesus The Messiah An old 19th century work by Alfred Edersheim; an English Jew who converted to Christianity and became a Cambridge scholar. Edersheim compillied a list of 458 passages which rabbinical authority sites as Messianich. He uses theTargumim, the two Talmuds, The most ancient Midrashim but not the Zohar. Also the uses a work called Yalkut, a collection of 50 of the oldest writtings in rabbinical tradition. Most, but not all of what Edersheim quotes comes from the second century or latter. But he argues that is still an indication of the some ideas floating around in the popular quarters in Christ's time, especially ideas which show up in the NT since we can discount chrisitian influence upon Talmudic Judaism. But the evidence from Qumran and Psuedapigrapha is clearly prior to, or contemporanious with, the time of Jesus.
Sometimes good arguments can be made for thinking that certain types of passages in the Mishnah represent ideas that should be dated to the Second Temple era, but this is not a blanket rule. Many passages in the Mishnah can best be explained as reactions to the conditions of later centuries. For a time in the fourth century (iirc) there were real hopes for a rebuilt Temple for a time, but after these were dashed we apparently see a turning among Jews to looking forward to a future messiah to come and restore them and it. (Others with the historical details closer at hand may be able to fill this out.)
It is easy to imagine they would want to authenticate such hopes by saying they originated with their "fathers" and the "holy books" and therefore find prophecies to justify their new hopes in the wake of recent failures.
I must move on..