[b-hebrew] PS Re: Daniel 11:22

Yonah Mishael yonahmishael at gmail.com
Wed Aug 30 09:28:30 EDT 2006

Harold et al.,

The fact that this is found in the Gospels is enough to indicate that,
if nothing else, it came through Christian filters. There is nothing
to suggest that the speakers in the story actually used these words at
all. First, they may have been speaking another language (Aramaic,
Latin, etc.), and we do not have any reason to accept without any
indication in the affirmative that they were speaking Greek with one
another. What was the language of the Magi? Although Koine Greek was a
lingua franca in the streets, what was the language of court at the
time? Being that they approached the king of the Jews (Herod), would
it not be appropriate to make their address in the language of the
Roman court (Latin) or the Jewish people themselves (Hebrew or
Aramaic)? Personally, I do not have an answer, but I will not grant
automatically that the words recorded by this gospel writer were
exactly the words of either the Magi or of Herod.

A better discussion would spring from the uses of χριστος found in
Josephus, Philo, or any number of Jewish writers during the time. I
think that the use of χριστος in the LXX is enough of a witness of its
use for משיח among Hellenistic Jews. However, there was also the
transliteration μεσσιας, which is found in the Greek text as well. I
think it is settled by exposure to the texts (LXX in comparison with
the HB) that χριστος is used when משיח appears in the Tanakh, and I
think it's rather consistently translated this way.

However, the Christian term "Christ" does not at all bear the same
connotations as the Jewish word "Mashiach." In English vernacular, the
terms are not interchangeable, as much as some religious leaders would
like them to be. "Christ" is a specifically Christian term, and it
refers to this person whom they claim rose from the dead and was the
son of God. "Messiah" is a Jewish word, which -- although used by some
Christians to refer to Jesus at instances -- carries with it the
notion of national redemption for the people of Israel, Davidic
kingship, and several other concepts that are lost in the term

To sum up: although the Greek term χριστος was used to translated משיח
in the LXX and was used in Hellenistic Jewish writings for the
concept, in English the two terms differentiated, and they no longer
refer to the same thing, IMHO.


On 8/30/06, Harold Holmyard <hholmyard at ont.com> wrote:
> HH: The New Testament is a record from the first century showing the
> Jews referred to the Messiah as Cristos, "anointed one." It was not just
> Christians who used this term. Many Jews spoke Greek, and that was the
> Greek term. It did have the content of the Hebrew word. Here is one example:
> Matt. 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have
> seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
> Matt. 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled,
> and all Jerusalem with him.
> Matt. 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of
> the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
> Matt. 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is
> written by the prophet,
> Matt. 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least
> among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that
> shall rule my people Israel.
> HH: So Christos was a term to designate the king of the Jews promised by
> prophecy. None of the people in the passage above were Christians. The
> New Testament was written in Greek by Jews about Jews, so you are
> reading an English translation. The NT was written in the first century,
> and if it did not correspond to the way Israelites actually thought, it
> would have been useless. Nobody would have paid attention to it.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard

Yonah Mishael ben Avraham
Joplin, MO
yonahmishael at gmail.com

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