Do the texts reveal evidence of an early schism within the wider world of Christian thought --- a difference of opinion over a foundational question ---
--- was Jesus Christ of the seed of David?
And if such a schism did exist, what was the earliest and most original doctrinal position on this question?
About the “son-of-David question” in gMark, Ben wrote ---
Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:11 pm
For somebody who already thinks that Jesus is the son of David, or at least that early Christians ... thought of him as such, would the puzzling question posed in the Psalm episode be enough to change that person's mind?
... on your own view, the Messiah being the son of David is treated by Mark as a widespread assumption.
... there were nonconformists (like Barnabas) in the early church ...
The widespread expectation of a Davidic-messiah in the Gospel of Mark is confined to the Jews in his story.
But who was the intended audience of Mark’s tale? I don’t think it was Jews, but rather the author’s own people --- Gentile, Hellenist (Greco-Roman), Pauline Christians.
Whatever the intended purpose of Mark’s tale, of overriding importance would be an accurate reflection of the doctrines and beliefs of the author and his close associates. In regards to the “son-of-David question”, the author of gMark said no, not Davidic
In the earliest extant Christian texts, Paul was silent on the question. But in my understanding of Paul, I think Paul would have clearly rejected the concept. Paul’s Jesus was a different kind of redeemer.
It’s interesting that the only 2 mentions of a Davidic/Jesse lineage in Paul are found in the 1st and 15th chapters of Romans --- chapters for which evidence from MSS and early attestations lend significant support for manipulation of the text. And the fact that the only other “support” for a Davidic lineage to be found in a NT letter attributed
to Paul is in 2 Timothy --- a fact that only further feeds my skepticism and suspicions about the 2 occurrences in Romans.
So, in terms of the Davidic lineage in the earliest texts, Paul is a no (silent) and Mark is a no.
But I wonder if the concept of Jesus as the seed of David was beginning to gain some traction among some Christians of the time? Was a schism developing over this very foundational issue?
I think the texts leave behind clues to the evolution of such a schism ---
Paul --- not Davidic (silent)
Hebrews --- silent
gMark --- not Davidic
Epistle of Barnabus 12:10-11 --- not Davidic
The Didache --- seems to lean to Davidic
gMatthew and gLuke --- Davidic (“correcting” Mark)
gJohn 7:40-43 --- highlights the difference of opinion ---
I don’t think the intention of the author of gJohn was to highlight a difference of opinion among the Jews here. But rather, I think the author was using his story --- and his only mention of David --- to acknowledge a schism within his own intended audience of Christians
Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." Others were saying, "This is the Christ." But others were saying, "Surely the Christ does not come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that Christ comes out of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. (John 7:40-43)
Revelation 22:16 --- Davidic
Acts 13:22-23 --- Davidic, from the mouth of Paul no less
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho
, XLIII (and elsewhere) --- Davidic
2 Timothy 2:8 --- Davidic
Tertullian, in fine form, On the Flesh of Christ
, ch, 21 --- Davidic ---
Now, since He is the blossom of the stem which sprouts from the root of Jesse; since, moreover, the root of Jesse is the family of David, and the stem of the root is Mary descended from David, and the blossom of the stem is Mary's son, who is called Jesus Christ, will not He also be the fruit? (On the Flesh of Christ, ch, 21)
I think the difference of opinion on this issue was in terms of physical
lineage from the seed of David, along with the associated doctrinal baggage. I think arguments that the relationship was only spiritual
, even if early in the schism, belong in the realm of apologetics and compromise.
It seems from our extant texts that the earliest Christians did not consider Jesus Christ as the seed of David. Then there are hints of a schism on the issue, gaining traction as time goes by. And then, as reflected in relatively later texts, the Davidic camp took control of the argument.
Seems possible to me.