Son of Man

Mark Armstrong mark_janette at
Mon Aug 21 05:39:25 EDT 2000

As far as I can tell, the Son of Man debate has been centred around three 
main areas: pre-Christian Jewish background of the saying; exegesis of the 
sayings within their canonical context; and lastly, the influence of the 
early church in shaping the gospel accounts i.e. is SOM a self-designation 
of Jesus?

Each of these areas attracts an enormous amount of literature, but I make 
the following scattered comments after reading the SOM thread thus far.

On 17 August Jeffrey Gibson wrote:

I believe **all** of the known data regarding the expression hO hUIOS TOU 
ANQRWPOU was summarized and set out by C.F.D. Moule in a recent NTS 
article. Unfortunately, I can't lay my hands on the reference. Is there 
anyone here who is an NTS subscriber?
Today I conducted a journal search and the most recent article I could see 
was C.F.D. Moule, "The Son of Man: Some of the Facts", NTS 41:277-279 
(April, 1995). This is a very brief article that re-iterates Moule's 
position and it is well worth a look.

In relation to 1 Enoch, the following reference, Marti?nez, F.G. and 
Tigchelaar, J.C., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Study Edition (Leiden: Brill; Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) yields the following results: From manuscripts 
4Q201, 4Q202, 4Q204, 4Q205, 4Q206, 4Q207 and 4Q212, we see that 1 Enoch 
36:5-74:1[78:9?] is yet to be published. That is, based on current 
information, the Similitudes (chs 37-71) of 1 Enoch are yet to be found, 
yet every other chapter in 1 Enoch has been found.

The inference is that the Similitudes (although not yet discovered and 
possibly never will be) carry the dating of most of the extant 1 Enoch MSS 
around them, that is, 1st or 2nd century A.D. This reverses R.H. Charles 
original proposal that 1 Enoch is pre-Christian. I agree with Richard 
Longnecker in JETS 12:3 (1969) that in the absence of any further 
information, it is precarious to construct a Son of Man Christology with 1 
Enoch as a significant source.

Another article well worth a read is Olson, D.C., 'Enoch and the Son of Man 
in the Epilogue of the Parables', in Journal for the Study of the 
Pseudepigrapha 18:27-38 (Oct, 1998).

There are also theological reasons why 1 Enoch is a little suspect. Here 
the Son of Man is exalted above all his sufferings, whereas the cumulative 
effect of Daniel 7, Isaiah 40-55 and the gospels themselves, is that the 
Son of Man is glorified through his suffering.

I must agree with Morna Hooker in The Son of Man in Mark: A Study of the 
Background of the Term 'Son of Man' and its use in St. Mark's Gospel 
(London: S.P.C.K., 1967) and Joyce Baldwin in Daniel (TOTC; Leicester: 
Inter-Varsity Press, 1978), who are argue that the Old Testament provides 
the authoritative milieu from which Jesus draws the concept. Indeed, I 
would suggest that the influence of other Jewish sources is informative, 
but they need to be recognised as secondary sources, and it most cases they 
are fragmentary or incomplete.

In regards the current state of the Son of Man debate, as far as I can see 
most evangelical scholars accept either Daniel 7 and/or the Suffering 
Servant in Isaiah as the primary pre-Christian sources, but as I.H. 
Marshall and Eduard Schweizer conclude, the title as used by Jesus is 
"revealing as well as hiding".

I am presently working through SOM as part of my Master's degree, but I am 
hesitant to say any more lest I be a little long winded. I have almost 
completed a study paper on antecedent SOM issues. If anyone is interested 
they can contact me off list. My bibliography may also be of interest to 

I'm not sure whether these comments are in accord with the intentions of 
BGREEK, so I have kept them succinct.

Mark Armstrong
Sydney, Australia (near the Olympics)

More information about the B-Greek mailing list