God's Kingdom and God's Son: The Background in Mark's Christology from Concepts of Kingship in the Psalms

By Robert D. Rowe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
MESSIANIC FIGURES IN EARLY JUDAISM

The first words of Mark's gospel (1:1) show that the author acknowledges that the appellation, 'Christ', is correcdy applied to Jesus.1 6

, 'the anointed one', is used generally in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew which in most passages (as for example Psalm 2:2) refers to an 'anointed' king.2

In our chapter on the Psalms, we saw that the kingship of Yahweh was closely related to Davidic (or messianic) kingship. In our last chap-

1 Cf. E. Best, The Temptation and the Passion (1965), pp. 165f. In the light of the
Pauline usage, some scholars take

as a personal name; e.g., V. Taylor,
The Gospel According to Mark (1952; 2nd. ed., 1966), p. 152; R. Pesch, Das Markusevangeli-
um (1976-77), I, p. 76; J. Gnilka, Das Evangelium nach Markus (1978-79), I, p. 43. Contra,
e.g., C.E.B. Cranfield, The Gospel According to Saint Mark (1959), pp. 37-38, and W.L.
Lane, Commentary on the Gospel of Mark (1974), p. 44, note 22, take as a titular
designation. The latter view is based on the fact that is used in a titular sense
in Mark 8:29; 12:35; 13:21; 14:61 and 15:32. (The only other use of in Mark
occurs at 9:41, where it appears to function as a proper name. However there are
some doubts as to whether the word was present in the original text; see note 131 (ch.
4).) As R.A. Guelich, Mark 1-8:26(1989) comments (at pp. 9-10), if in Mark 1:1, -
is taken to be part of a proper name, it has not lost its messianic significance.

2 For a full list of occurrences in the Psalms, see p. 50. The plural of

occurs at
Ps. 105:15 (= 1 Chron. 16:22), referring to the patriarchs, who are described in the
same verse as 'prophets' (cf. 1 Kings 19:16; Is. 61:1, for prophetic anointing), is
used four times of the high priest in Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:22 (MT, v. 15), though in each
case the term is used attributively, rather than as a noun or title. Similarly, the LXX
has at Lev. 4:5, 16; 6:22 (15), and at Lev.
4:3. The point or points of reference of the word in Dan. 9:25, 26, are uncertain
(but see R.D. Rowe, 'Is Daniel's “son of man” messianic?', in Christ the Lord, ed. H.H.
Rowdon (1982), pp. 71-96, at p. 93). The LXX does not have the relevant words in
Dan. 9:25 (though Theodotion has for MT, ), while
in Dan. 9:26, both LXX and Theodotion have for . The absolute use of
is only found in Dan. 9:25, 26, the most common expressions being (e.g.,
1 Sam. 24:6, etc.), together with the many instances of with a suffix referring to
Yahweh (e.g., 1 Sam. 2:10, etc.); see F. Hesse, TDNT IX, pp 496-509, esp. p. 502.
This is reflected in the use of in the LXX, where, in the view of A.S. van
der Woude, TDNT IX, p. 510, the absolute use (i.e., without a pos-
sessive suffix) is not very securely attested. Cf. C.F.D. Moule, The Origin of Christology
(1977), pp. 31-32, who notes that when the LXX uses not for ointment (as in
secular Greek), but for an anointed person or thing, this is a new usage; cf. W. Grund-
mann, TDNT IX, p. 495.

-165-

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