The Son of Man: A Philological and Exegetical Study

Coan, Jonathan (2023) The Son of Man: A Philological and Exegetical Study. MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This dissertation concerns the meaning of the phrase ‘Son of Man’, which occurs multiple times throughout all four Gospels.

It is here necessary to set out some presuppositions which will guide my discussion. First, I believe the historical Jesus did in fact use the phrase Son of Man, and therefore disagree with the scholars who regard it as a creation of the early church. With the majority of scholars, I think this likely because (1) apart from a couple of instances in Revelation and Acts, the phrase appears exclusively on the lips of Jesus (although note John 12:34); (2) it appears in multiple independent sources, namely Mark (e.g. 2:10), Q (e.g. Luke 12:8), M (e.g. Matthew 25:31), L (e.g. Luke 22:48), John (e.g. John 1:51); and (3) it reflects Semitic idiom which makes it unlikely the creation of a Greek speaking evangelist. My second presupposition is that Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic and here I follow for example Casey and Fitzmyer. Whilst these scholars are, in my view, too closed to the possibility that Jesus could have spoken Hebrew and Greek in addition to Aramaic, I think they are substantially correct.

In attempting to answer our question, then, we must use the Greek expression for Son of Man to determine the underlying Aramaic expression. This will allow us to examine all the relevant Aramaic usages and determine its meaning at the time of Jesus. This will form the first part of the essay. The second part will then apply that discussion in an exegesis of a single synoptic passage. As a side-note, although I otherwise use gender-inclusive language, for the sake of convenience and as a matter of scholarly convention I retain the phrase ‘Son of Man’ rather than attempt to introduce the cumbersome ‘Son of Humanity.’

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MRes)
Supervisors: Bell, Richard
Keywords: Gospels, Jesus, Son of Man
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal theology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 73148
Depositing User: Coan, Jonathan
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2023 04:40

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