An exegetical and diachronic survey of messianic texts from the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition up through the first millennium CE.
Jewish messianism can be traced back to the emerging Kingdom of Judah in the tenth century BCE, when it was represented by the Davidic tradition and the promise of a future heir to David’s throne. From that point, it remained an important facet of Israelite faith, as evidenced by its frequent recurrence in the Hebrew Bible and other early Jewish texts. In preexilic texts, the expectation is for an earthly king—a son of David with certain ethical qualities—whereas from the exile onward there is a transition to a pluriform messianism, often with utopic traits.
Warrior, King, Servant, Savior is an exegetical and diachronic study of messianism in these texts that maintains close dialogue with relevant historical research and archaeological insights. Internationally respected biblical scholar Torleif Elgvin recounts the development and impact of messianism, from ancient Israel through the Hasmonean era and the rabbinic period, with rich chapters exploring messianic expectations in the Northern Kingdom, postexilic Judah, and Qumran, among other contexts. For this multifaceted topic—of marked interest to Jews, Christians, and secular historians of religion alike—Elgvin’s handbook is the essential and definitive guide.
Preface 1. Son of David 2. Royal Ideology in the Northern Kingdom 3. From Isaiah to Josiah 4. The End of the Kingdom 5. The Return to Judah and Messianic Hopes 6. The Upheavals of the Second Century BCE 7. The Messiahs of the Scrolls 8. Jewish Messianism after the Turn of the Era Bibliography Indexes
Torleif Elgvin is professor emeritus of biblical and Jewish studies at NLA University College, Oslo. With a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Elgvin has been involved in the official publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls since 1992. His other books include Gleanings from the Caves, a publication of scroll fragments and artifacts from the Judean Desert in the Oslo-based Schøyen Collection, and a ground-breaking book on the Song of Songs, The Literary Growth of the Song of Songs during the Hasmonean and Early-Herodian Periods.
“In his scholarly analysis that reads sometimes like a novel, Torleif Elgvin presents his account of the multifaceted figure of the messiah in the Bible and many early Jewish texts. He does so with the hand of a master who is expertly knowledgeable in all the texts, languages, and analytical skills.” — Emanuel Tov The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“Torleif Elgvin offers an impressively wide-ranging study on a variety of messianic patterns of belief and thought from the variegated evidence in the Hebrew Bible to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and the rabbinic period. This comprehensive and yet accessible volume fills an important gap in the literature.” — Charlotte Hempel University of Birmingham
“One of the great strengths of Torleif Elgvin’s new book is how well contextualized it is. Instead of jumping into the messianic expectation that arose in the Maccabean and New Testament periods, he begins with the ancient antecedents of tenth-century David and the kingdom of Israel. Elgvin’s approach makes for a very satisfying engagement with the relevant texts and the tumultuous history behind them.” — Craig A. Evans Houston Baptist University
“Torleif Elgvin offers in this book a fresh overview of Davidic and messianic ideology. His work builds on the historical resonances of developing literary traditions, sets key observations alongside archaeological evidence, recognizes the many nuanced voices of Second Temple times and beyond, and articulates the theologies embedded in messianic thought.” — George J. Brooke University of Manchester
“Elgvin has written a learned, detailed survey of Jewish messianism, beginning with sources in the Hebrew Bible and continuing through later literature such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. He gives the reader a valuable bonus by adding a chapter on Jewish literature from the first to the seventh century CE, coverage rarely found in books like this.” — James C. VanderKam University of Notre Dame
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