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Jesus Christ in World History

His Presence and Representation in Cyclical and Linear Settings- With the Assistance of Robert T. Coote


Jan A.B. Jongeneel

Jesus of Nazareth influenced – and continues to influence – the human community more than anybody else. This study describes and analyzes the perceptions and receptions of Jesus as the Messiah/Christ in six continents from the beginning of the Common Era until today. He appears to be present both within and beyond the traditional borders of Christianity. Individuals and peoples represent him and/or misrepresent him in their cyclical and/or linear settings.


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11 Messianic Expectations and Beliefs in the Wake of Jesus Christ 315


315 Chapter 11 Messianic Expectations and Beliefs in the Wake of Jesus Christ he New Testament views Jesus as the Messiah/Christ. At the same time it frankly acknowledges other messiahs, referring to them as false Christs (Mark 13:22; Matt. 24:24). Throughout the Common Era numerous messianic figures and movements have emerged alongside and over against Jesus as Mes- siah/Christ. Orthodox Jews, rejecting the Christian confession of Jesus as the Messiah, continue to expect the coming of their Messiah. Various other non- Christian communities pursue their own messianic expectations and beliefs. Messianic movements typically feature a messiah figure, although there are also messianic movements without a messiah. A Dutch missionary and cultural anthropologist has observed, “Messianic movements arise from expectations of salvation and involve the return of a Messiah-like figure. These movements hark back to a mythological prehistoric time [and] contain apocalyptic elements. . . . A critical attitude towards the culture in which they appear is inherent in these movements. When no specific re-appearance of a Messiah is involved they might be called millennial movements.”1 While a representative sampling of messianic figures and movements has been noted in previous chapters, this chapter offers a more comprehensive survey, with special attention to develop- ments over the last two centuries.2 The chapter takes into account that various modern scholarspaying little or no attention to the distinction between cyclical and linear concepts of time and historymoved away from regarding the Messiah as a unique figure in world history; they accepted messianic qualities outside...

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