Saturday, February 16, 2008

The 'Son of Man' in Ezekiel with Reference to Jesus

I have been reading Klyne Snodgrass' wonderful new book, Stories With Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (BTW- If you have not bought it yet, you need to!) I have always found Klyne to be thought provoking and as usual he doesn't disappoint.

Regarding the last statement one comment in his book needs special mention. In a section where he is regarding OT examples of parables as the main background to those parables of Jesus (38-42), Snodgrass mentions that more parabolic forms exist in Ezekiel than anywhere else in the OT (40). After listing numerous examples, Snodgrass comments:

New Testament scholarship--probably rightly--draws no connection between Ezekiel's being addressed as Son of Man and Jesus' use of Son of Man (which is derived from Daniel 7:13), but one has to wonder about Ezekiel 20:49 [21:5]: "They say of me, 'Is he not a speaker of parables?'" (42)

A couple of items come to mind when I read this statement. First, I like Klyne have always shared the opinion that Jesus' favorite self-referent the "Son of Man" does indeed originate from Daniel 7:13. However, I also am intrigued about the possibilities of the last statement. I guess one would have to start by finding where Jesus explicitly or implicity uses "Son of Man" self-references in connection with the telling of parables, and closely connected to this, where Ezekiel uses "Son of Man" in connection with statements about the parables.

In a quick, cursory overview, I decided to see where the terms "Son of Man" and "parable" occur in both Ezekiel and the Synoptics. Regarding the former, YHWH commands Ezekiel (a.k.a. "Son of Man") to speak a parable in (12:22ff; 17:2; 24:2ff ) and Jesus refers to the "Son of Man" in connection with "parable" at (Mt 13:37; Lk 18:8; 19:10ff; 21:27ff). I probably missed quite a bit here, but more could definitely be done with enacted parables (such as Jesus' cleansing of the temple (Mt 21:12 and pars.) and the several enacted parabolic acts in Ezekiel.

So I pose the question: "Is this a fruitful line of investigation?"


Byron said...


I am glad to see Snodgrass’ new book on parables is out. I am frustrated that you beat me to it. :) Jeremias has dominated for too long and Blomberg is helpful, but to narrow in his approach. It is time for a fresh approach to parables. Will you be reviewing it on line for us?

Matthew D. Montonini said...

John, good to hear from you. I have something else planned instead of a review, but I will make sure to mention the highlights of this book in hope that it will engender discussion.

BTW- This is the only parable book you will need the next time you teach your parable's class. The book is comprehensive in scope, the extra-biblical examples are prolific, and his methodology is outstanding.

Byron said...

Ha! David Baker just walked into my office and dropped a copy on my desk to review!!!!


Living the Biblios said...

I too have wondered for some time now what relationship "Son of Man" in Ezekiel has to do with Jesus, the "Son of Man."

Any clue why NT scholarship sees little relationship between the two?

SATheologies said...

Hi Matthew,

I share the same thought with you over Jesus' self-designation.

It seems that the reference to Ezekiel is plenty more compare to Daniel 7.

Unknown said...

I think it's a good investagation. I've heard that based on Ezekial some rabbnical literature around Christ's time was at least inferring that the Messiah would be more than human. Also, isn't ezekial where it talks about one "like a son of man."?