Old Greek Daniel's Son of Man

by peacefulpete 56 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • peacefulpete

    Again this is large topic, some of which has been discussed elsewhere on this site. The basic question I want to discuss is the identification of the 'someone like a son of man" in Daniel 7. As we all know Christians understood the figure to be the Messiah (Christ), so the question posed is did the author intend it to be a singular personage or a collective symbol of the holy of Israel as Jews typically read it? Or how about the unexpected idea that the "someone like a son of man" was the very same character as the "ancient of days" in another role?

    The catalyst for this discussion is the alternate reading of Dan 7:13 found in the OG (Old Greek) LXX Papyrus 967. (andCodex Chisianus MS 88) Quoting an article by Bogdan G. Bucur: (3) The Son of Man and the Ancient of Days Observations on the Early Christian Reception of Daniel 7 | Bogdan G Bucur - Academia.edu

    There is a notable dierence between two extant Greek versions of Dan7:13. While Theodotion, faithful to the Aramaic text, speaks of “one likea son of man” being presented to the Ancient of Days (ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπουἐρχόμενος ἦν καὶ ἕως τοῦ παλαιοῦ τῶν ἡμερῶν ἔφθασεν), the so-calledOld Greek (hereafter OG) depicts “one like a son of man” traveling, ingodlike fashion, “upon” the clouds of heaven (Ps 103/104:1; Isa 19:1),and approaching “like the Ancient of Days” (ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἤρχετοκαὶ ὡς παλαιὸς ἡμερῶν παρῆν).
  • peacefulpete

    There are a number of suggestions explaining this difference. One is the reading is the result of an effort to remove the concept of the Two Powers in Heaven that was seen as a threat by some. IOW instead of two powers, now there is only one. A second proposal suggests the opposite, that the MT (Masoretic) reading had been altered.

    Johan Lust proposed the thesis that the current MT is, in fact, an “early Targum” of the original Hebrew text of Daniel, and that the OG translates, accurately, that original Hebrew text, now lost, in which the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man were, indeed, “one and the same symbol.”
    In this case, the distinction between the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man would have been
    introduced by the current MT – the Aramaic that supplanted the original Hebrew – in order to give voice to the apocalyptic-messianist agenda of that “early Targum.”
  • vienne

    Interesting. But J. Lust's conclusion seem to have little to no textual support. It is more wishful thinking than fact based.

  • peacefulpete

    It is noted that the identification of the SofM as 'holy ones of Israel' is the result of the seeming substitution of the 'holy ones' with the SofM in the angelic interpretation offered in verse 27:

    27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

    This reads rather awkward and has long been suggested to be the result of some type of gloss. Has the SofM been effectively erased from this passage to support the reading that the SofM is to be identified with the SofM?

    To repeat, many have noted that only the Son of man is referred to in the vision section while only the 'holy ones' are said to receive the power in the interpretation in the MT and Theodotian forms. This is what leads many to conclude that the author intended to strictly identify the SofM as holy ones of Israel collectively. This however is not the case in the OG. In OG the holy ones are referred to in vs 8 of the vision. They are on the scene when the SofM appears. This makes the identification of SofM with holy ones improbable. This does suggest someone has removed the vs.8 reference to the holy ones in the Aramaic vorlage behind the MT and Theodotian to provide for the interpretation of the SofM as Israel and not that the SofM is the leader of the holy ones of Israel and as such all the nations. Perhaps as a result of changing Messianic views then current.

  • peacefulpete
  • peacefulpete

    Vienna, It's a proposal that has some explanatory power. As he says unfortunately we have no ancient Hebrew versions with which to compare. Ultimately it doesn't matter as much as it seems. Once a variant text existed, readers understood the text differently. IOW, however the OG variant came to be (closer to original, scribal error, or theological alteration) subsequent readers would have seen the text differently...

    You may have noticed this comment in the article:

    We know that the language of Rev 1:13-14, where the exaltedJesus is called “son of man” but is depicted in terms that correspond tothe Ancient of Days of Dan 7:9 (“white hair”), was shaped by Dan 7:13OG, while other allusions to Daniel 7 – most notably in the Gospelspresuppose the clear distinction between the two characters found inthe Aramaic text and Theodotion.
  • slimboyfat
    What do you mean by the “identification” of the Son of Man? Do you mean who the original author thought he was? Or the Greek translator(s)? Or the early Christians? Or who we should identify as the Son of Man?

    For me the interesting thing is what the early Christians thought about the Son of Man. From what I can tell they identified Jesus as the Son of Man of Daniel 7 and they perceived him to be a supreme angelic being distinct from and subordinate to God. This might be different (probably is) from what the original author had in mind, and what later Jews thought, as well as later Christians.

    To me the distinction between Jesus and God is maintained in Rev 1 and throughout Revelation. It may be that Jews came to identify the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days as one and the same person in response to the so-called two powers heresy, just as later trinitarians in their own way conflated the two to suit their own dogma.

    But as far as the original author was concerned, they seem to be separate beings, and the Son of Man is naturally subordinate to the Ancient of Days, and the same probably goes for how the early Christians identified the Son of Man.

  • Reasonfirst

    I decided NOT to enter this discussion, beyond this post,* but if it interests you, you may find Ch.1 of Daniel Boyarin's** book, The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ, informative.

    * I hope no arguments are presented that may change my mind - such discussions get tedious and pointless as they discuss an imagined world, far removed from reality.

    ** IF your reading list is still that of an unreconstructed JW, Boyarin is described as follows: (Quote) "Daniel Boyarin is an Israeli-American historian of religion. .... citizenship. He is the Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley."

    Likely he knew more about the topic, than the late and un-revered Freddy F

  • peacefulpete

    SBF...You covered the topic pretty well. Identification shifted with time, politics, and translation. The crux of the matter is the pre-Christian developments that contributed to hypostatic Christology. The Son of Man appears in OG not merely as a messianic agent but as an aspect of God, much like Light, Logos, or Wisdom. Separate and described acting autonomously but yet in reality God.

  • peacefulpete

    Reasonfirst....That book is referenced in one of the articles I linked. No reason to be shy around me, please share any insights or suggestions, pointless or not.

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