Messiah


Messiah
Messiahship, n.Messianic /mes'ee an"ik/, adj.Messianically, adv.
/mi suy"euh/, n.
1. the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people.
2. Jesus Christ, regarded by Christians as fulfilling this promise and expectation. John 4:25, 26.
3. (usually l.c.) any expected deliverer.
4. (usually l.c.) a zealous leader of some cause or project.
5. (italics) an oratorio (1742) by George Frideric Handel.
Also, Douay Bible, Messias /mi suy"euhs/ (for defs. 1, 2).
[ < LL (Vulgate) Messias < Gk Messías < Heb mashiah lit., anointed]

* * *

In Judaism, the expected king of the line of David who will deliver the Jews from foreign bondage and restore Israel's golden age.

The term used for the messiah in the Greek New Testament, christos, was applied to Jesus, who is accepted by Christians as the promised redeemer. Messiah figures also appear in various other religions and cultures; Shiite Muslims, for example, look for a restorer of the faith known as the mahdi, and Maitreya is a redeeming figure in Buddhism.

* * *

      (from Hebrew mashiaḥ, “anointed”), in Judaism, the expected king of the Davidic line who would deliver Israel from foreign bondage and restore the glories of its golden age. The Greek New Testament's translation of the term, christos, became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth, indicative of the principal character and function of his ministry. More loosely, the term messiah denotes any redeemer figure; and the adjective messianic is used in a broad sense to refer to beliefs or theories about an eschatological (eschatology) improvement of the state of humanity or the world.

      The biblical Old Testament never speaks of an eschatological messiah, and even the “messianic” passages that contain prophecies of a future golden age under an ideal king never use the term messiah. Nevertheless, many modern scholars believe that Israelite messianism grew out of beliefs that were connected with their nation's kingship. When actual reality and the careers of particular historical Israelite kings proved more and more disappointing, the “messianic” kingship ideology was projected on the future.

      After the Babylonian Exile, Jews' prophetic vision of a future national restoration and the universal establishment of God's kingdom became firmly associated with their return to Israel under a scion of David's house who would be “the Lord's anointed.” In the period of Roman rule and oppression, the Jews' expectation of a personal messiah acquired increasing prominence and became the centre of other eschatological concepts held by various Jewish sects in different combinations and with varying emphases. In some sects, the “son of David” messianism, with its political implications, was overshadowed by apocalyptic notions of a more mystical character. Thus some believed that a heavenly being called the “Son of Man” (the term is derived from the Book of Daniel) would descend to save his people. The messianic ferment of this period, attested by contemporary Jewish-Hellenistic literature, is also vividly reflected in the New Testament. With the adoption of the Greek word Christ by the church of the Gentiles, the Jewish nationalist implications of the term messiah (implications that Jesus had explicitly rejected) vanished altogether, and the “Son of David” and “Son of Man” motifs could merge in a politically neutral and religiously highly original messianic conception that is central to Christianity.

      The Roman destruction of Jerusalem's Second Temple and the Jews' subsequent exile, persecution, and suffering, however, only intensified their messianism, which continued to develop theologically and to express itself in messianic movements. Almost every generation had its messianic precursors and pretenders—the best-known case being that of the 17th-century pseudo-messiah Shabbetai Tzevi. Belief in and fervent expectation of the messiah became firmly established tenets of Judaism and are included among Maimonides' 13 Articles of Faith (Thirteen Articles of Faith). Modernist movements in Judaism have attempted to maintain the traditional faith in an ultimately redeemed world and a messianic future without insisting on a personal messiah figure.

       Islām, too, though it has no room for a saviour-messiah, developed the idea of an eschatological restorer of the faith, usually called the Mahdi (mahdī) (Arabic: “Rightly Guided One”). The doctrine of the Mahdi is an essential part of the Shīʾite creed.

      Eschatological figures of a messianic character are known also in religions that are uninfluenced by biblical traditions. Even as unmessianic a religion as Buddhism has produced a belief, among Mahāyāna groups, in the future Buddha Maitreya, who would descend from his heavenly abode and bring the faithful to paradise. In Zoroastrianism, with its thoroughly eschatological orientation, a posthumous son of Zoroaster is expected to effect the final rehabilitation of the world and the resurrection of the dead.

      Many modern movements of a millenarian (millennialism) character, particularly among primitive peoples (e.g., the cargo cults (cargo cult) of Melanesia), have been called messianic; but as the expectation of a personal saviour sent or “anointed” by a god is not always central to them, other designations (millenarian, prophetic, nativistic, etc.) may be more appropriate.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MESSIAH — MESSIAH, an anglicization of the Latin Messias, which is borrowed from the Greek Μεσσιας, an adaptation of the Aramaic meshiḥa (Aram. מְשִׁיחָא), a translation of the Hebrew (ha melekh) ha mashi aḥ (Heb. הַמָּשִׁיח (ְהַמֶּלֶך), the Anointed… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Messiah —     Messiah     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Messiah     (Or Messias.)     The Greek form Messias is a transliteration of the Hebrew, Messiah, the anointed . The word appears only twice of the promised prince (Daniel 9:26; Psalm 2:2); yet, when a… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Messiah — (HWV 56, dt. Der Messias) ist ein Oratorium von Georg Friedrich Händel auf Bibeltexte in einer englischsprachigen Zusammenstellung von Charles Jennens für vier Soli (SATB), Chor und Orchester. Es interpretiert die christliche Glaubenslehre… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Messiah (EP) — Messiah EP by Godflesh Released 2003 Recorded 1994–1995 …   Wikipedia

  • messiah — ► NOUN 1) (the Messiah) the promised liberator of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. 2) (the Messiah) Jesus regarded by Christians as the Messiah of these prophecies. 3) a leader or saviour. ORIGIN Hebrew, anointed …   English terms dictionary

  • Messiah — Mes*si ah, n. [Heb. m[=a]sh[=i]akh anointed, fr. m[=a]shakh to anoint. Cf. {Messias}.] The expected king and deliverer of the Hebrews; the Savior; Christ. [1913 Webster] And told them the Messiah now was born. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Messiah — [mə sī′ə] n. [used by the Geneva translators (1560) for LL(Ec) Messias & ME Messie, both (ME via OFr < LL) < Gr(Ec) Messias < Aram měshīḥā, Heb māshīaḥ, lit., anointed] 1. Judaism the promised and expected deliverer of the Jews, who will …   English World dictionary

  • messiah — (n.) c.1300, Messias, from L.L. Messias, from Gk. Messias, from Aramaic meshiha and Hebrew mashiah the anointed (of the Lord), from mashah anoint. This is the word rendered in Septuagint as Gk. Khristos (see CHRIST (Cf. Christ)). In Old Testament …   Etymology dictionary

  • Messiah — This article is about the concept of a Messiah in religion, especially in the Hinduism, Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions. For other uses, see Messiah (disambiguation). The Last Judgment, by Jean Cousin the Younger (c. late 16th century)… …   Wikipedia

  • Messiah — ██████████1 % Traduction …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.