Developing Messianism from the Old Testament, to Qumran, to Jesus
Submission to the Friends of Fondren Library Research Awards, 2018. This paper was originally prepared for Course RELI 383, Fall 2017: The Dead Sea Scrolls, given by Professor Matthias Henze, Department of Religion.
Studying messianism, one encounters a bottomless array of written work all of which are meant to clarify, elaborate, or identify the origins of Christian and Jewish beliefs in a Messiah. The abundance of work done in this field are evidence of the complex nature of the topic, and make it irrefutably clear that emphasis on a different set of primary materials, the use of slightly different versions of the same text, or even any single detail of a difference result in distinctions among scholarly findings. In this paper I seek to identify the definition of “Messiah” through the eyes of Old Testament, Qumran, and New Testament authors, and to trace how and why that definition transformed over time. Through this, I seek to answer the question of whether the Old Testament truly predicts the coming of Jesus, but more specifically, how we have come to believe that it does.