In AK - Jeffs thread "Did Jesus Ever Claim To Be The Messiah", Narkissos said the following that I think, and have learned, is rather profound:
A better approach to this discussion might start with questioning the presupposition that there was one concept of "Messiahship" common to all or even most 1st-century AD Jews.
The idea is, we assume that the faith and religion we have now, is as it was way back then... Clearly, it isn't.
I haven't devoted a great deal of my time to this subject, but I have read enough to realize that there is a lot more to the history of our churches and religions then we think. JW history is pretty easy, as they started in the late 19th century. They couldn't burn their books fast enough as it turns out....
The history of such matters in general Christianity, such as how the Bible Canon was established, who got to say what was included in the final Canon, and what was apocryphal, realizing the large varieties of Christian trains of thought from the 2nd century on, reveals a great deal about what is now accepted as "truth".
My point is not for this to become personal at all. No attack on Christians or Christianity is implied or meant by me. However, I am just curious no matter where you stand on the atheist/theist meter, do you realize that the ways and means we got to the bible, and subsequent religions based on it, were a direct result of one prevelant theological theory defeating another equally viable theological theory in the 3-5th centuries AD?
I have read "Misquoting Jesus" as a start, but there are other articles online which discuss this futher. I am curious if anyone is aware of this, and how that may or may not affect you?