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Can the Messiahship of Jesus Be Read off Paul's Grammar? Nils Dahl's Criteria 50 Years Later*

  • Matthew V. Novenson (a1)

It is half a century since Nils A. Dahl wrote his important essay ‘Die Messianität Jesu bei Paulus’, in which he determines that χριστός in Paul is effectively a proper name, not a title, on the basis of four negative philological observations: it is never a general term; it is never a predicate of the verb ‘to be’; it never takes a genitive modifier; and it characteristically lacks the definite article. The purpose of this article is to reconsider what each of these observations entails about the messiahship of Jesus. My thesis is that, while all four observations are significant for understanding Paul's thought, they do not constitute proper criteria for assessing the role of the messiahship of Jesus therein.

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New Testament Studies
  • ISSN: 0028-6885
  • EISSN: 1469-8145
  • URL: /core/journals/new-testament-studies
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