The Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of John
Reynolds, Benjamin E.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008 pp. xv + 314. €64.00
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 249
Description: The title 'Son of Man' in the Gospel of John is an apocalyptic reference that highlights, among a number of things, that Jesus is a heavenly figure. Benjamin E. Reynolds analyzes the background of 'Son of Man' from the 'one like a son of man' in Daniel 7 and the interpretations of this figure in Jewish apocalyptic and early Christian literature. Although there is no established 'Son of Man concept', the Danielic son of man is interpreted with common characteristics that suggest there was at least some general understanding of this figure in the Second Temple period.
The author shows that these common characteristics are noticeable throughout the Son of Man sayings in John's Gospel. The context and the interpretation of these sayings point to an understanding of the Johannine Son of Man similar to those in the interpretations of the Danielic figure. However, even though these similarities exist, the Johannine figure is distinct from the previous interpretations, just as they are distinct from one another. One obvious difference is the present reality of the Son of Man's role in judgment and salvation.
The Johannine Son of Man is an apocalyptic figure, and thus 'Son of Man' does not function to draw attention to Jesus' humanity in the Gospel of John. Nor is the title synonymous with 'Son of God'. 'Son of Man’ may overlap in meaning with other titles, particularly 'Son of God' and 'Messiah', but 'Son of Man' points to aspects of Jesus' identity that are not indicated by any other title. Along with the other titles, it helps to present a richer Christological portrait of the Johannine Jesus.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Johannine Literature, John, Literature
Review by William O. Walker Jr.
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Citation: William O. Walker Jr., review of Benjamin E. Reynolds, The Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of John, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2010).
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