In many ways this was the most obvious category for audience and onlookers to 'fit' Jesus into.387 At the same time. it was the least overtly messianic and escha-tological of the categories so far reviewed. To bring out the point we may as well follow the same procedure as before.
a. Jewish Expectation
Can we even speak of an expectation of an eschatological teacher? There certainly seems to have been an explicit expectation in these terms cherished at
386. J. H. Charlesworth notes that 1QH 16(= 8).4-ll reflects the self-understanding of the Teacher of Righteousness ('The Righteous Teacher and the Historical Jesus'. in W. P. Weaver and J. H. Charlesworth. Earthing Christologies: From Jesus'Parables to Jesus thePar-able [Valley Forge: Trinity. 1995] 46-61 [here 48-50]; cf. also Wise. First Messiah).
387. 'The earliest sources portray Jesus as a teacher of wisdom. a sage' (Funk. Honest 143). On the relation between Jesus' healings and his mission Keck comments: 'he was not a healer who found he had something to say but a teacher who found it necessary to heal' (Who Is Jesus? 83).
Qumran — 'the interpreter of the law'388 — perhaps stimulated by hope of a Moses-like prophet. The further fact that the founder (?) of the Qumran community was known as 'the teacher of righteousness (morh hsdq)'3S9is also significant. We do not know whether the name was accorded to him because he fulfilled some expectation or simply because he proved to be such an influential teacher and interpreter of Scripture. But the fact that a figure making such eschatological claims was known simply by that title is a clear indication that the title itself (teacher) was not lacking in weight in Jewish circles.390
Here too it is relevant to recall that Solomon was remembered as especially wise (1 Kgs. 3.12). The thought was channeled into the idea of Solomon as exorcist (§ 15.7a), but the alternative deduction of the son of David as a teacher of wisdom (Proverbs, Koheleth) lay close to hand.391
We should also note that some of the eschatological expectation seems to have envisaged an immediacy of teaching by God: 'all your sons shall be taught by the Lord' (Isa. 54.13); 'no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother, "Know the Lord", for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest, says the Lord' (Jer. Where God was expected to teach directly to the individual heart, there would seem to be little scope for a teacher as intermediary. Given the diversity of eschatological expectation, the point can hardly be pressed, but the evidence available hardly suggests that 'teacher' was a prime messianic or eschatological title at the time of Jesus.
Was this article helpful?