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One Like A Son Of Man

24 May

Over the past month I’ve been doing some armchair research on the books that make up the Tanakh (“Old” Testament) for my website so I haven’t been blogging that much. So I thought I would just combine the two; I’ll be posting short blurbs or “articles” about the different books of the TNK that will eventually end up on my website in a similar manner to my New Testament compilation page.

I’ve already posted about when and where the book of Daniel (lit. “my judge [is] god”) was written for my blog, and the majority of the posts I wrote about that book will be my snippet about Daniel on my website. I did some further analysis on that book and came to some elusive obvious conclusions about the phrase “one like a son of man”. In Aramaic, Daniel writes כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ (KBR ANSH) which is “[one] like [a] son [of] man” at 7:13. The LXX version of Dan 7:13 has ΩΣ ΥΙΟΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ (as/like man’s son) which in my estimation (which might be more wrong than right 😉 )is a lot more grammatically similar to the Aramaic.

The Christians around the time period of the writing of Mark considered the Daniellic phrase “one like a son of man” to be messainic. They render it as ΥΙΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥ (son of man). This is grammatically different from Daniel 7:13 LXX, but the meaning is the same. Much like the difference between “man’s son” and “son of man”. In Daniel, the phrase “one like of a son of man” in chpt 7 refers to a restored Israel. This serves to form an ironic contrast– the four kingdoms that came about after the Exile are “like wild beasts,” (like a lion v4, like a bear v5, like a leopard v6, like an indescribable beast v7) whereas the restored Israel is like a son of a man – the Hebrew phrase meaning a plain human being. Ezekiel uses that phrase to describe himself, and Judith 8:15 uses the phrase as well to mean a plain ol’ human being. It’s ironic that Christians read the majority of the Tanakh allegorically to arrive at their invented savior, but read this obviously allegorical part of Daniel literally so that it could describe Jesus. So they read it not as like a son of man (ως υιος ανθρωπου), but the son of man (ο υιος του ανθρωπου).

The anointed one who gets cut off (9:25) seems to refer to Cyrus the Great, who was considered the anointed one in Isaiah 45:1 and in history was assassinated, while the second anointed one is Alexander the Great (9:26). The definite article in Daniel 9:26 reads: “And after the threescore and two weeks. . . .” By treating the sixty-two weeks as a distinct period, this verse, in the original Hebrew, shows that the sixty-two weeks mentioned in verse 25 are correctly separated from the seven weeks. Hence, two anointed ones are spoken of in this chapter, one of whom comes after seven weeks (Cyrus), and the other after a further period of sixty-two weeks (Alexander).

Darius the Mede is a fictional character produced by the author, loosely based on Darius I of Persia, but here depicted as ruling over a distinctly Median (rather than Persian) empire. The author’s invented chronology is clear enough when you get to the visions of the four beasts. These represent Babylon/Lion, Media/Bear, Persia/Leopard, and Greece/Elephant. Greece is the final kingdom, after which God will intervene, restore Israel (again, who is not a beast but “a son of man”; a human) to power, and resurrect the dead. It could be said that Daniel’s son of man prediction (minus the resurrection of the dead) came true, as subsequent to the turmoil that produced the book of Daniel the Hasmonean kingdom ruled by Jewish priest-kings was established (c. 150 BCE – 49 BCE).

The Hasmonean kingdom was one like a son of man.

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2 Comments

Posted by on May 24, 2010 in daniel, son of man

 

2 responses to “One Like A Son Of Man

  1. beowulf2k8

    June 2, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Slightly off topic, but I am curious as to whether anyone else has ever noticed what I've noticed in Daniel. Do you think the story of the king making the burning fiery furnace 7 times hotter is an allegorical rejection of the theology of Leviticus 26 (i.e. that Yahweh will punish the Jews 7 times more for their sins than other nations)?

     
  2. J. Quinton

    June 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    That's an interesting point of view. But I don't see why Dan would have made Babylonian kings aware of Leviticus. It's certainly feasable.

    Dan probably was just utilizing a common Jewish trope of “seven times” to illustrate just how friggin' hot the furnace was.

     
 
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