Knohl's chief claim is "Jesus was the heir and successor of the Messiah of Qumran." The latter is described in two hymns in fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Knohl argues that he was a certain Menachem, a friend and supporter of Herod who was removed from his position of leadership in the Jewish community when he made his messianic aspirations public after Herod's death. Knohl includes the hymns in an appendix, along with discussion of the influence of the Messiah of Qumran on Jesus' messianic consciousness and the influence of the Roman vision of redemption in Virgil's Fourth Eclogue on the Messiah of Qumran. Readers who share Knohl's questioning attitude about "the Jewish context of Jesus' messianic career" will find the brief, accessible book fascinating and informative, as will readers more generally interested in the visions of redemption that emerged out of the rich religious context of Rome in the centuries before Jesus. Steven SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"Readers who share Knohl's questioning attitude about 'the Jewish context of Jesus' messianic career' will find [this] brief, accessible book fascinating and informative." - Booklist "A small but mind-bending book...a stunning imaginative leap. The impulse to reject Knohl's thesis is very strong...yet Knohl's consummate scholarship and intimate familiarity with other scholarly work gradually prevails. Is this book important to anyone but scholars? Yes, courageous, responsible scholarly work such as Knohl's deserves attention-and admiration." - Christian Science Monitor "This is a very significant, original, and daring book. It illuminates an important era in the history of the Jewish people as well as the background of Christianity, making full use of the new Qumran material." - Professor Emanuel Tov, Editor-in-Chief, Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project "This is a work of very high quality....Knohl convincingly points out the historical event of a Messiah who predated the more famous one, Jesus Christ....This is one of the most fascinating findings regarding the history of Jewish Messianism and the understanding of the emergence of Christianity...I am confident that it will mark a new phase in research of ancient Judaism." - Moshe Idel, author of Messianic Mystics "Fascinating....Knohl's book is an original piece of research that defies some of the most solid beliefs of our time." - Avraham Burg, Chairman of the Keneset (Israeli Parliament).