Searching for the Messiah: Unlocking the “Psalms of Solomon” and Humanity’s Quest for a Savior

Barrie Wilson. Pegasus, $29.95 (288) ISBN 978-1-64313-450-5
Wilson (How Jesus Became Christian), professor emeritus of religious studies at York University, Toronto, explores the meaning of messiahship in this entertaining and challenging study. Wilson starts with an apparently simple question: what makes for a messiah? He then explains how this is not such a simple question by digging deep into the Old and New Testaments to demonstrate that—though most associate Jesus Christ with “the messiah”—this is incorrect. Wilson argues that much of the narrative work done in the New Testament to shape Christ into a messiah figure (such as his miracles and position as a rebel against Judaism) was done long after the original narratives of his life were written in a post-facto attempt to make Christ fit the messiah pattern. He works through a careful, close reading of Hebrew scripture to explore how the idea of a messiah—an anointed leader with fairly specific characteristics—came about through the anointing of Hebrew kings and priests. In one of the meatiest sections, he examines how messiahship became a global rather than a local concept before ending with a discussion of modern messiah figures: superheroes. Historians and lay readers alike will appreciate Wilson’s ingenuity and deep scholarship. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2020
Release date: 08/04/2020
Genre: Religion
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