By Martinus C. De Boer
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Extra resources for From Jesus to John: Essays on Jesus and New Testament Christology in Honour of Marinus De Jonge
Perhaps we can dare to go even further and to say that Jesus, like every human person, became who he 'really is' in that process of interaction with others. I do not mean by this formulation to deny the critical function of history and biography. Is it not the job of historians, not only biblical historians, to pry behind the public visage of notable people, to discover ways in which their 1. S. Kierkegaard, 'The Sickness unto Death*, in Fear and Trembling and The Sickness unto Death (trans. W.
Mt. 28 and Lk. 16 par. Mt. 12 rightly preserve, as do other passages, the recollection that Jesus saw his own actions as the beginning of the kingdom of God. If, as one may assume, Jesus did not see himself as just another prophet, then it was not because he regarded himself as "the anointed of the Lord' or as 'the Son of Man', but simply because he thought God's kingdom was so close at hand that there was no more time left for further prophets. The time was 'full'; Jesus regarded himself as God's definitive prophet only because the time was 'up'.
In that common, older, Jewish tradition there must have been reference, building on Dan. 13-14, to the 'Son of Man' as a heavenly adjutant of God who would appear in the future dawning of the eschaton to punish the godless and to save the righteous. One must therefore, I believe, assume that there was a pre-Christian, Jewish tradition, expressed in Aramaic, in which the Son of Man was spoken of as an individual, eschatological, heavenly intervener who will come forward at the last judgment, pronounce justice and rule thereafter.