Son of man

Son of man is an expression in the sayings of Jesus in Christian writings, including the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and theBook of Revelation. The meaning of the expression is controversial. Interpretation of the use of “the Son of man” in the New Testament has remained challenging and after 150 years of debate no consensus on the issue has emerged among scholars.[1][2]

The expression “the Son of man” occurs 81 times in the Greek text of the four Canonical gospels, and is used only in the sayings of Jesus.[3] The singular Hebrew expression “son of man” (בן–אדם i.e. ben-‘adam) also appears in the Hebrew Bible over a hundred times.[4]

The use of the definite article in “the Son of man” in the Koine Greek of the Christian gospels is novel, and before its use there, no records of its use in any of the surviving Greek documents of antiquity exist.[3] Geza Vermes has stated that the use of “the Son of man” in the Christian gospels is unrelated to Hebrew Bible usages.[5]

For centuries, the Christological perspective on Son of man has been seen as a possible counterpart to that of Son of God and just as Son of God affirms the divinity of Jesus, in a number of cases Son of man affirms his humanity.[6] However, while the profession of Jesus as the Son of God has been an essential element of Christian creeds since the Apostolic age, such professions do not apply to Son of man and the proclamation of Jesus as the Son of man has never been an article of faith in Christianity.

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