So the oxen turned back with the ark into the land of the Philistines
|November 7, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter seventeen||
So the oxen turned back with the ark into the land of the Philistines. It was a case of returning to the starting-point and deciding on historical grounds in what sense Jesus had used the expression. But the possibilities were reduced by the way in which Lietzmann had posed the problem, since the interpretations according to which Jesus had used it in a veiled ethical Messianic sense, to indicate the ethical and spiritual transformation of all the eschatological conceptions, were now manifestly incapable of offering any convincing argument against the radical denial of the use of the expression. Baldensperger rightly remarked in a review of the whole discussion that the question which was ultimately at stake in the combat over the title Son of Man was the question whether Jesus was the Messiah or no, and that Dalman, by his proof of its linguistic possibility, had saved the Messiahship of Jesus.
But what kind of Messiahship? Is it any other kind than the future Messiahship of the apocalyptic Son of Man which Johannes Weiss had asserted? Did Jesus mean anything different by the Son of Man from that which was meant by the apocalyptic writers? To put it otherwise: behind the Son-of-Man problem there lies the general question whether Jesus can have described Himself as a present Messiah; for the fundamental difficulty is that He, a man upon earth, should give Himself out to be the Son of Man, and at the same time apparently give to that title a quite different sense from that which it previously possessed.
The champion of the linguistic possibility of this self-designation made the last serious attempt to render the transformation of the conception historically conceivable. He argues that Jesus cannot have used it as a mere meaningless expression, a periphrasis for the simple I. On the other hand, the term cannot have been understood by the disciples as an exalted title, or at least only in the sense that the title indicative of exaltation is paradoxically connected with the title indicative of humility. “We shall be justified in saying, that, for the Synoptic Evangelists, ‘Man’s Son’ was no title of honour for the Messiah, but—as it must necessarily appear to a Hellenist—a veiling of His Messiahship under a name which emphasises the humanity of its bearer.” For them it was not the references to the sufferings of “Man’s Son” that were paradoxical, but the references to His exaltation: that “Man’s Son” should be put to death is not wonderful; what is wonderful is His “coming again upon the clouds of heaven.”
If Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, the only conclusion which could be drawn by those that heard Him was, “that for some reason or other He desired to describe Himself as a Man par excellence.” There is no reason to think of the Heavenly Son of Man of the Similitudes of Enoch and Fourth Ezra; that conception could hardly be present to the minds of His auditors. “How was one who was now walking upon earth, to come from heaven? He would have needed first to be translated thither. One who had died or been rapt away from earth might be brought back to earth again in this way, or a being who had never before been upon earth, might be conceived as descending thither.”
But if, on the one hand, the title Son of Man was not to be understood apart from the reference to the passage in Daniel, while on the other Jesus so designated Himself as a man actually present upon earth, “what was really implied was that He was the man in whom Daniel’s vision of ‘one like unto a Son of Man’ was being fulfilled.” He could not certainly expect from His hearers a complete understanding of the selfdesignation. “We are doubtless justified in saying that in using it, He intentionally offered them an enigma which challenged further reflection upon His Person.”
According to Peter’s confession the name was intelligible to the disciples as coming from Dan. vii. 13, and obviously indicating Him who was destined to the sovereignity of the world. Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man, “not as meaning the lowly one, but as a scion of the human race with its human weakness, whom nevertheless God will make Lord of the world; and it is very probable that Jesus found the Son of Man of Dan. vii. in Ps. viii. 5 ff. also.” Sayings regarding humiliation and suffering could be attached to the title just as well as references to exaltation. For since the “Child of Man” has placed Himself upon the throne of God, He is in reality no longer a mere man, but ruler over heaven and earth, “the Lord.”
 For the last phase of the discussion we may name:
Wellhausen, Skizzen und Vorarbeiten (Sketches and Studies), 1899, pp. 187-215, where he throws further light on Dalman’s philological objections; and goes on to deny Jesus’ use of the expression.
W. Baldensperger, “Die neueste Forschung über den Menschensohn,” Theol. Rundschau, 1900, 3, pp. 201-210, 243-255.
P. Fiebig, Der Menschensohn. Tübingen, 1901.
P. W. Schmiedel, “Die neueste Auffassung des Namens Menschensohn,” Prot. Monatsh. 5, pp. 333-351, 1901. (The Latest View of the Designation Son of Man.)
P. W. Schmidt, Die Geschichte Jesu, ii. (Erläuterungen-Explanations). Tübingen, 1904, p. 157 ff.
 Dalman’s reputation as an authority upon Jewish Aramaic is so deservedly high that it is necessary to point out that his solution did not, as Dr. Schweitzer seems to say, entirely dispose of the linguistic difficulties raised by Lietzmann as to the meaning and use of barna?sh and barna?sha? in Aramaic. The English reader will find the linguistic facts well put in sections 4 and 32 of N. Schmidt’s article “Son of Man” in Encyclopedia Biblica (cols. 4708, 4723), or he may consult Prof. Bevan’s review of Dalman’s Worte Jesu in the Critical Review for 1899, p. 148 ff. The main point is that ? ??????? and ? ???? ??? ???????? are equally legitimate translations of barna?sha?. Thus the contrast in the Greek between ? ??????? and and ? ???? ??? ???????? in Mark ii. 27 and 28, or again in Mark viii. 36 and 38, disappears on retranslation into the dialect spoken by Jesus. Whether this linguistic fact makes the sayings in which and ? ???? ??? ???????? occurs unhistorical is a further question upon which scholars can take, and have taken, opposite opinions.—F. C. B.
 See Worte Jesu, 1898, p. 191 ff. (= E. T. p. 234 ff.)
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