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.
was. Indeed, scholars today debate to what extent expectation of some sort of messiah or eschatological savior figure was a widespread or a relatively isolated phenomenon in Palestinian Judaism in the first centuries B.C. and A.D. Especially intriguing is the typology hammered out by John J. Collins in his The Scepter and the Star33. Among the various messianic types scattered in the intertestamental literature, he discerns the figures of a royal Davidic Messiah, a dyarchy of a priestly Messiah and a royal Messiah, the combination of the roles of teacher, priest, and prophet in one figure, and an angelic or heavenly savior figure who bears designations like "Son of Man" or "Son of God". This multiplicity of at times overlapping or meshing messianic types is enlightening for those who see in Jesus implicit or explicit claims more than one messianic pattern. It seems to me that most of the material that we can trace back to the public ministry of Jesus reflects the pattern of a miracle-working eschatological prophet wearing the mantle of Elijah. Yet in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple there seems implied a certain royal Davidic claim. It may be that Jesus reflects the syncretistic tendencies of his time in meshing more than one messianic role in his own claim and conduct. The material from Qumran certainly could lend support to this view.
Likewise helpful has been the application of the insights of sociology and cross-cultural anthropology to the third quest34. All too often in the past, the historical Jesus reconstructed by scholars