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The Grammar of Messianism – An Ancient Jewish Political Idiom and Its Users - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Grammar of Messianism: An Ancient Jewish Political Idiom and Its Users

Matthew V. Novenson


Messianism is one of the great themes in intellectual history. But, precisely because it has done so much important ideological work for the people who have written about it, the historical roots of the discourse itself have been obscured from view. What did it mean to talk about “messiahs” in the ancient world, before the idea of messianism became a philosophical juggernaut? In fact, for the ancient Jews and Christians who used the term, a messiah was not an article of faith, but a manner of speaking. It was a scriptural figure of speech, one among numerous others, useful for thinking kinds o ... More

Keywords: ancient Judaism, anointed, Christ, early Christianity, messiah, messianic idea, messianism, politics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780190255022
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190255022.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew V. Novenson, author
Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh