‘Son of Man’– A Dialogue with Richard Bauckham– Part One

‘Son of Man’– A Dialogue with Richard Bauckham– Part One January 4, 2024

Q. Richard I know that this Son of Man project has been on your mind and your to do list for a long time. Why did you feel it important to write at length on this controversial subject, and why now?


A. I call it my pandemic project, because I started it around the time that the first lockdown began here in the UK. Moreover, just as no one imagined the pandemic would go on and on for so long, so I did not imagine my little essay (as I first thought of it) on the messianic figure in the Parables of Enoch would grow to become two volumes on the phrase “son of man” in Jewish literature and the Gospels. I should not have been surprised because something similar happened with Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. I simply kept finding there was more to say that had not been said by others. I think I am well qualified for this project by my expertise in Second Temple Judaism as well as Gospels. The two volumes will be the fullest studies of these two aspects of the subject. Of course, the significance of the phrase “son of man” in the Gospels has been debated for two hundred years, but there is still (as scholars like to say) “no consensus.” So how, after so many studies, can the debate be advanced? I hope I have advanced it by investigating all aspects in more detail than others have. Most studies of “son of man” in the Gospels have given an important place to Second Temple Jewish literature, but I have found a more careful study of both the texts usually cited and others that have been neglected has enabled me to reach important new conclusions about the interpretation of Daniel 7 in early Jewish literature. I hope, in fact, that volume 1 will prove an important contribution to the study of Jewish eschatological expectations in this period, regardless of its relevance to study of the Gospels.

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