Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Leo Percer


Messiah, Judge, Second Temple, Early Jewish, Son of Man, Gospel of John


Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Jesus proclaimed that the Father gave him the authority to judge because he is the “Son of Man” (John 5:22, 27). This proclamation is spoken to an immediate Jewish audience that would have had preconceived theological beliefs concerning eschatological judgment and messianic expectation. However, these are not the preconceived beliefs of the modern reader. The modern reader of the Gospel of John will better understand John’s presentation of Jesus’ words concerning his role as messianic judge through an Early Jewish interpretive lens. The first century Jew in John’s audience would have been infused with two to three centuries of preconceived Jewish thought concerning messianic expectation and the Messiah’s role as eschatological judge. Chapter two will consider the multifaceted Jewish beliefs concerning their own messianic expectation and eschatological judgment in Early Jewish documents and whether or not there was a conflation of the two. It will explore Jewish beliefs on the themes of judgment, messianic expectation, role of judge, criteria of judgment, and time of judgment. Chapter three will provide the reader with information regarding the Jewish tradition of the “Son of Man” originating in the book of Daniel and then in the later Jewish texts of the Parables of Enoch and Fourth Ezra. These two chapters will indicate that Jesus’ immediate audience and the first Jewish readers of the Gospel of John would likely have had preconceived beliefs that the expected Messiah would have an active role in eschatological judgment. Chapter four will then consider Jesus’ teachings concerning himself as the expected Messiah and his role as judge. John presents Jesus’ teachings about himself with familiar Jewish themes but in a radically different way than what John’s first Jewish audience would have expected. This study will have hermeneutical implications that will aid the modern reader into a more illumined and robust interpretation to theological themes presented in the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of John.