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The Alan Crown Lecture

September 1, 2016 4:30 am
September 1, 2016 5:45 pm
Mandelbaum House
(02) 9692 5240
385 Abercrombie Street, Darlington, Sydney, NSW, Australia, 2008

The Messiahs of Israel: The Origin of the Messianic Idea in Ancient Judaism

The concept of a Messiah originated in ancient Judaism, is central in Christianity, and became a compelling idea in western thought. On the one hand, the word “Messiah,” which means “anointed” in Hebrew, appears frequently in the Hebrew Bible. Kings, priests, and some of the prophets were all anointed. On the other hand, the term is never used in an eschatological sense in the Hebrew Bible to describe a redeemer figure who will come at the end of time. This changed in the last centuries BCE, during the Second Temple period. By the turn of the Common Era, “Messiah” had become associated with the end of days, and messianic expectations were common in Judaism. This talk examines the origins and considerable diversity of messianic expectations in ancient Judaism.

Professor Matthias Henze is the Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at Rice Univeristy, Houston, where he is also the Founding Director, Program in Jewish Studies. He is visiting Sydney as Mandelbaum Scholar in Residence.

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