The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins

By Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
The Background of “Son of God”
as a Title for Jesus

The designation of Jesus in the New Testament as “Son of God” is widespread, and no other title of his can claim as much significance for later theological development than it. If the title “Son of Man” outstrips it in enigma, it certainly does not in implication. Whether the title is used in the anarthrous form,

, or the arthrous form, , or is uttered by a heavenly voice as , “my Son,” or used as a description of Jesus by some New Testament writer as or , “his Son,” its meaning is clear. It expresses the distinctive relationship of Jesus to the God of Israel, Yahweh, who is his heavenly Father.

My further remarks on the background of this title will be made under four headings: the problem; Old Testament data bearing on the title “Son of God”; the new Palestinian Jewish material; and implications of the new material for various New Testament passages.


The Problem

The title “Son of God” occurs in the Synoptic Gospels: Mark 1:1,11; 3:11; 5:7; 15:39; Matt 2:15; 3:17; 4:3, 6; 8:29; 14:33; 16:16; 17:5; 26:63; 27:40, 43, 54; Luke 1:32, 35; 3:22; 4:3, 9, 41; 8:28; 9:35; 22:70. It is also found in the Johannine Gospel: 1:18,34,49; 3:18; 5:25; (9:35);1 10:36; 11:4,27; 19:7; 20:31.

1. Consult the Greek apparatus criticus on this passage.

-63-

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