MembersNormative Messianism in Judaism by Talmudic Discourse

Part 5 of our exploration of the development of the modern Jewish concept of Messiah, and where Christianity fits in.

By Solomon Kirsch | | Topics: Jewish Messianism
Jewish men study Torah in small groups at the Har Etzion Yeshiva in the Jewish settlement of Alon Shvut, in Gush Etzion, on December 9, 2020. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ??????? Photo: Gershon Elinson/Flash90

We will read the following Talmudic passages as the work of the redactors who have done their craft of editing, arranging, and thus presenting what is now a somewhat coherent text and intentionally structured and refined assortment of material on the messianic idea in Judaism.

The Babylonian Talmud builds off a passage from the Mishna describing catastrophic circumstances in the days of messiah in Sanhedrin 11 which serves as a presentation of the Messianic Idea in Judaism. This is followed by an array of discussions in an attempt to tackle the idea of messiah, the scriptures and prophecies regarding the messiah, his identity and nature. Moreover, because this is the first time in Judaism that the idea of messiah or messianism is put in writing, and in a canonical text, I believe this is Judaism normalizing “messianism.”

Judaism does not write extensively on messianism itself until about the 5th century. Beforehand oral traditions were passed down, but these were not codified or authorized. The New Testament was the first great messianic...

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