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Review: A Messiah Before Jesus Christ / ההיה משיח בקומראן?

Reviewed Work: בעקבות המשיח by ישראל קנוהל
Review by: מגן ברושי , חנן אשל , Magen Broshi , Hanan Eshel
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ
כרך ע‎, חוברת א‎ (תשרי-כסלו תשס"א), pp. 133-138
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23601249
Page Count: 6
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A Messiah Before Jesus Christ / ההיה משיח בקומראן?
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Abstract

This book is one of the most innovative ever published in the fields of Dead Sea Scrolls studies, the Second Temple period and the history of early Christianity; it abounds with a dozen new ideas and theories. The central claim of the book is that among the Essenes there existed a figure who was regarded as a Messiah, and that that figure later served as a model for Jesus. Knohl bases his arguments mainly on two fragmentary pieces of scrolls: the Self Glorification Hymn (1QHa, 4QHa, 4Q471b, 4Q491) and the 'Son of God' text (4Q246). The reviewers are of the opinion that positing such an eschatological experience, an event that must have been extraordinarilly important at the time, can not rely on few utterances, in themselves obscure. Some of the author's sub-theories connected the alleged Messaiah (whose name was assumed to be Menahem) to King Herod, the Emperor Augustus and the sage Hillel the Elder. Radiocarbon test (Carbon 14), however, carried out at the University of Arizona, Tuscon, dated two relevant scrolls (4QHa and 4Q491) to 167-51 BCE (with 95% probability), thus placing them before the time of these personalities.

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