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The One Who Is to Come Paperback – April 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Fitzmyer is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America. He is the author of over 40 books including The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins and Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans, both published by Eerdmans.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802840132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802840134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
What did the Second Temple Jews believe about the Messiah before Jesus? Fitamyer, a fine, meticulous scholar, investigates, and finds some surprising answers.

One abiding theme is that of David's dynasty continuing. For example, Psalm 101 talks about a Davidic king and so does Psalm 110, which talks about "the enthronement of the Davidic king who is to rule in Jerusalem" (p 44). Moreover, the six royal psalms talk about a kingship that will last forever.

Fitzmyer finds that Daniel 9:24-26 was pivotal for the rise of messianism. Daniel's prophecy of seventy weeks of years led to a simmering sense of expectation among Jews.

Because of Daniel's prophecies, "belief in the coming David develops into that of a national Messiah, whom God will raise up as a descendant of David" (p 57). Other scholars have also found much the same thing. "R A Martin...(found) the earliest evidence of an individual messianic interpretation of Gen 3:15 to be dated in the 3rd or 2nd century BC" (p 70).

Extrabiblical Jewish writings support this. In Similitudes there are passages which talk about the "Danielic Son of Man and the Isaian Servant Songs" (p 86).

Many scholars have been excited by the Qumran texts which show a developing messianism. Some of the texts speak of a coming one Messiah; others mention two Messiahs. "An important instance of a text that mentions one Messiah is found in 4pGen...'the coming of the righteous Messiah, the Scion of David. For to him and to his offspring has been given the covenant of kingship over His people for everlasting generations'" (p 95).

By the late 2nd century BC, the Qumran texts reveal an expectation of an awaited figure. The texts also talk about the "High Priest" who would overthrow the Kittim.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on May 26, 2010
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"How different that Jewish Messiah is from the Christian Messiah, who has already come. ... he bears in human history the name Jesus Christ, both among his followers and among those who are not." J. Fitzmyer

The last stage of the Messianic belief begins after the close of the Hebrew Bible books, when prophecy ceased in Israel, for almost four centuries. The messianic hope concept started gradual change, deteriorating towards acquiring mundane power, among the masses of the Jewish people, who suffered oppression by the pagan Roman empire. Exciting new insights have been provided recently, by the writings of numbers of scholars and some remarkable archaeological finds. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls caught the popular imagination and engaged the attention of worldwide scholarship. Understanding this watershed period of history set the stage to appreciate the events and understand differences between the OT and NT, wrt Messianic hope, and prophecies.

Fr Fitzmyer articulated a series of essays tracing the roots of messianic hope in the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish extrabiblical writings. He assembled his research in a compelling historical progression in his well searched book chapters. His inclusion of the Septuagint's interpretation of relevant OT passages is crucial, since this Alexandrine Greek translation used a Hebrew Bible a thousand year older than the Masoretic.

The peek of his study is his exposition of the second temple messianic writing from 1 Enoch, including an extensive examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Various Qumran texts, an area of his expertise, reveal the developing pre-Christian Jewish messianism. Fitzmyer notes the Talmud does contain a belief in a messiah who precedes creates and is in some sense a "preexistent being.
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I think that this is about the most important subject in Christianity, and this particular treatment changed how I understood earlier books that I have previously read on the subject.
Such things are not always supportive of superficial feelings of satisfaction and makes you have to work out what is really important to believe and what to say to other people who may have questions about Christianity.
Jesus and the church are phenomenal things in their own right and stand alone without a lot of weird hype about "fulfilled prophecy".
Jesus made his own prophecy and he interpreted every prophecy that came before him.
You judge things by their results and the promises that Jesus made are fulfilled and we see it and especially in how the world outside of Christianity has become so depraved in comparison.
Naysayers will always be around and their arguments are insubstantial and really wishful thinking on the part of those not wanting Hell to be real.
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