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More on “The Son of Man”

March 14, 2011

Reading again the essays in Who is This Son of Man?, now in published form and a year or so since helping to edit them, I’m proud to be associated with the volume, and I commend Paul Owen for conceiving it and recruiting the contributors.  Time (and scholarly reviews) will tell what others make of them, but I think that they comprise a noteworthy contribution, and that several of them should now be required reading.  I’m especially impressed with the essays that engage the core linguistic data and issues. 

In particular, I draw attention to the essays that address the questions about the Aramaic background to the Greek expression “the son of man”, by Albert Lukaszewski (on the limitations in our knowledge of first-century Aramaic grammar), Paul Owen (effectively underscoring the problems in Casey’s proposals, and rather strongly answering Casey’s criticisms of the case laid out by Owen and Shepherd in their 2001 JSNT article), David Shepherd (also buttressing the case against Casey with attention to important Aramaic evidence), and Peter Williams (showing that there are in fact a few various means by which in Aramaic one could connote particularity, meaning that the Greek articular form “the son of man” is likely not a mis-translation).

Likewise, Darrell Hannah’s essay on the Ethiopic expressions used to refer to the messianic figure in the Similitudes/Parables of 1 Enoch seems to me a very fine piece of work that most handily captures the relevant evidence and issues.  Given that expertise in Ethiopic is not very common in NT scholarship, Hannah’s study is especially important for clarifying the sometimes murky discussion of the evidence from 1 Enoch.

As for my own contribution, I’ll let others judge.  I focus on the Greek expression used in the NT applying some very basic linguistics principles to the data.

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2 Comments
  1. I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of this. I think that a multi-author volume is a great contribution to the question of understanding ‘the Son of Man’. Is there much interaction between the chapters? I hope so.

    It is also good to see some thoughtful approaches to the Aramaic. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve heard it said that the determined state is how Aramaic does definite articles, as if anything in translation can have one-to-one correspondence.

    • There is not a lot of interaction among the contributors, as their pieces were written without the benefit of a conference or such to promote it. But Owen and I had the advantage of editing the pieces and so to some degree our discussions take account of the others.

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