The fuller version of this article was just published in the Journal of Biblical Literature as “The Messiah Is ‘the Holy One’:ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ as a Messianic Title in Mark 1:24” JBL 136, no. 2 (2017): 417–433.
The Messiah is the Holy One of God
It has become almost obligatory to begin a discussion of ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ (“the Holy One of God”) by conceding that it “was not a messianic title in Judaism.”1 The title never occurs outside the New Testament and, outside of Mark 1:24, it only occurs in two other places (Luke 4:34; John 6:69).2 In light of such paltry attestation, some scholars reach the conclusion of Edwin Broadhead, that ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ is a “largely inconsequential description.”3 Such pessimism is perhaps further warranted by the fact that, despite the efforts of a number of scholars, no compelling explanation for the derivation of this title has been offered.4 Rather, it would appear that the best one can offer is a range of possible connotations that ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ might evoke. [Read more…]