On 2/15/23, Hunter hosted this program as part of the Robert Seltzer Lunch Lecture Series.
Presented by Rachel Slutsky, Monsignor John Oesterreicher Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations in Antiquity, Seton Hall University
What do we mean when we talk about the messiah? This was a question circulating throughout ancient Judaism during the Second Temple Period (6th century BCE- 1st century CE). The figure of the messiah as articulated in various ancient Jewish and early Jewish-Christian texts was polylithic, varied and differentiated in significant ways. Among differing notions of the messiah emerges one of great significance, but which has long been misunderstood: the potential divinity of the messiah. Was the messiah a human-God? And, if some Jews thought the messiah would be divine, how helpful might early Christian texts be for helping to consider the landscape of these Jewish beliefs? In this talk, I demonstrate that ancient Jews did not have a consensus view of the messiah. I argue that present theological differences pertaining to the messiah in Judaism and early Christianity were not as stark as one might think, and that the question of the messiah's divinity and possible Godliness was in no way exclusive to the early Jesus movement.
Watch the program below.