Once in a while, I look at a so-called consensus in scholarship and roll my eyes. Such is the case with the pervasive and surprisingly resilient perspective that when St. Paul used the word Christos, he did not mean “messiah,” but rather used it as a name. I have always found this a hard pill to swallow, and it is high-time that somebody brewed a strong enough coffee to help folks wake up from this nonsense.
So, many thanks to Matthew Novenson who percolated a powerful cuppa joe in his revised dissertation called Christ Among the Messiahs (Oxford). If you want to read a summary of his work, filled with admiration, check out my recently published RBL review. Normally, when I review a book, I try to find at least 2 areas for improvement. (Usually, that is not too hard!) This is one of the first times that I was really at a loss given the creativity, thoroughness, and sheer sensibility of his monograph. Kudos to Novenson – dole yourself some extra haggis, Matthew, and celebrate a job well done!