John P. Meier, «The Present State of the Third Quest for the Historical Jesus: Loss and Gain», Vol. 80 (1999) 459-487
Despite the questionable method and positions of the Jesus Seminar, the third quest for the historical Jesus has resulted in seven notable gains as compared with the old quests. (1) The third quest has an ecumenical and international character. (2) It clarifies the question of reliable sources. (3) It presents a more accurate picture of first-century Judaism. (4) It employs new insights from archaeology, philology, and sociology. (5) It clarifies the application of criteria of historicity. (6) It gives proper attention to the miracle tradition. (7) It takes the Jewishness of Jesus with utter seriousness.
cases, they shed important light on the various Streitgespräche in the gospels that involve legal problems, the hotly contested questions of divorce and Sabbath observance being prime examples31.
Qumran has also been of great importance for a better understanding of Palestinian Aramaic. To take but one example: the occurrence of ma4re4) ("Lord") in the absolute, unmodified state in the Targum of Job (11QtgJob 24,6-7) as a title for God gives the lie to the old claim of Bultmann that such a usage was unthinkable as a title for Yahweh in Palestinian Judaism32. It also raises the intriguing possibility that the one and the same Aramaic word was used as a title of respect for, and even faith in, Jesus during his public ministry, that it was then used as a transcendent title for the risen Jesus in the cultic cry Maranatha from the very first days of Jewish-Christian belief and worship, and that it stands behind and helps explain the widespread use of kyrios for Jesus in the New Testament writings. Quite probably, Palestinian Jews for Jesus called him ma4re4) during his public ministry just as the same Jews, now Jews for the risen Lord Jesus, invoked him as ma4re4) after Easter.
Beyond such individual philological points is the larger question of ideas about the Messiah or Messiahs (here the plural is quite appropriate) circulating among Palestinian Jews around the time of Jesus. The documents found at Qumran have reinforced what was already evident from the OT pseudepigrapha in general: there was no one normative view of a Messiah at the turn of the era. Rather, various views about the Messiah or Messiahs competed or meshed in the minds of those Jews interested in the question. Not every Jew