Man and Son of Man

Issues of Theol​ogy and Christology

S. Kent Brown

S. Kent Brown, “Man and Son of Man: Issues of Theology and Christology,” in The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations from God, ed. H. Donl Peterson and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1989), 57–72.

S. Kent Brown was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.

The issue of the anthropomorphic nature of deity is brought quickly to the fore in the following passage from the Pearl of Great Price:

In the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time (Moses 6:57).

Kindly allow me to set the stage for this remark. In discussing repentance, the prophet Enoch noted “that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence” (Moses 6:57). It is, obviously? the point that uncleanness cannot be permitted in God’s presence that led Enoch naturally to mention that even God’s name, Man of Holiness, implies this prohibition. Significantly, Enoch then observed that God’s Only Begotten was of course to be called the Son of Man, presumably a shortened form of a title something like Son of the Man of Holiness (McConkie 742–43; Talmage 142–44).

Having noted this much, I shall attempt to illuminate several things. First, I want to deal with the figure of the Son of Man in ancient literature, reviewing along the way what current biblical scholarship says about this personality, especially since he is mentioned prominently in nonscriptural sources. Second, I intend to treat the question of the anthropomorphic view of God in scripture, specifically in the Old Testament. Third, I wish to touch on the issue of the nature of the titles used for deity throughout scripture, for we all have the impression that a great many are applied to God, especially within the pages of the Old Testament. Fourth and last, I want to single out the parallels in ancient Christian and Jewish literature to the remarkable, almost singular theological position to which we Latter-day Saints are committed when we call deity a Man, whether Man of Holiness, Man of Counsel (Moses 7:35), or some similar title.

The Son of Man

In ancient literature, there are two senses in which the title Son of Man is employed: in a generic sense with the meaning “human being” and in a more formal sense, employed largely in later Jewish literature, referring to the one who is to come on the clouds of heaven to deliver the righteous from their oppressors, and to judge the inhabitants of the earth (Higgins 15–17; Fitzmyer 8, 20; Daniel 7:13–14; I Enoch chapters 37–71). In the Old Testament, it is almost without exception that the phrase represents the less formal of the two. One thinks immediately of the phrase used by the Lord to address the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:1–8; 3:1–10). In the case of his work, the prophet was addressed consistently by the Hebrew phrase ben-’ādhām, son of man. While there are those who have argued that it was this Ezekielic use of the phrase that stood behind its application to Jesus in the New Testament (Higgins 15–16), it is far more likely that the more formal sense conveyed in Daniel 7:13 lies closer to the meaning of Jesus’ sayings about the Son of Man [1]

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Although most non-LDS scholars now accept the point of view that the critical phrase is to be translated with the indefinite article “like a Son of man” and not the definite one “like the Son of man” (Higgins 16, emphasis added; Bruce 130; the Revised Standard Version), the force is hardly diminished. For it is clear that this Son of Man was to be given “an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,” plainly underscoring the formal, divinely royal sense of the appellation. And it is this notion which stands closer to what we see noted about the Son of Man in both the Similitudes of Enoch and the New Testament gospels. Let us now take up the issue of the conception of the Son of Man as it appears in the Enochian literature and then turn to the New Testament.

1. The Similitudes of Enoch.

The Similitudes of Enoch consist of the large, central section of the book of I Enoch (Chapters 37–71) which is preserved primarily in Ethiopic translation. [2] Interestingly, the book of I Enoch is still venerated as scripture by the Abyssinian Christians of Ethiopia; and, perhaps more significantly, the New Testament epistle of Jude quotes from it as scripture (v. 14 paraphrases I Enoch 1:9, Charles’s translation hereafter unless otherwise noted). According to the account in the Similitudes, Enoch saw in a vision “One who had a head of days” (46:1), that is, who was the “Head of days” (Bruce 131), which terminology is reminiscent of Daniel 7:13. Additionally, and apparently at the same moment, Enoch is said to have beheld “another being whose countenance had the appearance of a man, And his face was full of graciousness” (46:1). The appearance of this second person led Enoch to ask the accompanying angel about this person’s origin and identity, to which the angel replied: ‘This is the Son of Man who hath righteousness, With whom dwelleth righteousness” (46:3). Besides describing this Son of Man as one who is the Steward of Righteousness (cf. 39:6–7), the angel characterized him as a Revealer, a Divine Teacher, by saying that it is he “who revealeth all the treasures of that which is hidden” (38:2–3). Further, he was chosen for this role by God before his appearance, a feature which gives him pre-eminence within the heavenly realm:

The Lord of Spirits hath chosen him, And [his] lot hath the pre-eminence before the Lord of Spirits in uprightness for ever (I Enoch 46:3).

Moreover, the Son of Man will come as a judge and conqueror of the wicked, especially those evil rulers who are guilty of opposing God’s kingdom (see 46:4–8; 38:3–5). He is doubtlessly the same heavenly figure who is called “the Righteous One . . . Whose elect works hang [or: depend] upon the Lord of Spirits” (38:2), the “Elect One of righteousness and faith” whose “dwelling-place” is “under the wings of the Lord of Spirits” (39:6a–7a), even the “Anointed” one or Messiah (48:10; 52:4). Furthermore, in a passage which reflects Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6, it is asserted that the Son of Man is to be the “light of the Gentiles” (I Enoch 48:4). [3] Not least, however, is the assertion that “the Son of Man was named In the presence of the Lord of Spirits . . . Before the sun and the signs were created, Before the stars of the heaven were made” (48:2–3; see also Abr. 3:21–28; D&C 121:28–32). In fact, because of his special premortal commission by God, the “chosen” Son of Man was then “hidden . . . Before the creation of the world” in order to come forth among the “holy and righteous” to save them (I Enoch 48:6–7; see also John 1:5; Bruce 132–33).

2. The Gospels.

The above portrait of the Son of Man as the messianic king whose foreordained destiny was to reveal righteousness and to save his people accords with that affirmed for the Son of Man in the New Testament. The question still persists whether Jesus called himself such (negative view—Higgins 17–21; positive view—Bruce 174). First, the Messiah’s ministry was to consist of fulfilling “all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), a course of action which would illustrate that the Messiah possessed righteousness and that it dwelt with him, a notion found in the Similitudes of Enoch (cf. I Enoch 46:3). Second, the Son of Man was to be the advocate of the faithful and righteous as well as the judge of the faithless and wicked: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38; see also Bruce 175). Third, the Savior came as a revealer of truth to those who would receive it. If nothing else, the parables illustrate that Jesus was a bringer of divine truths which were often cloaked lest every one understood (Mark 4:2–20). The fact that the risen Jesus spent forty days with his followers implies both that there remained things not fully understood from his earthly ministry and that there was much more to explain (Acts 1:3). Fourth, the Son of Man was to continue as a member of the heavenly court. One recalls the words of Jesus to the Sanhedrin when responding to the question whether he were the Christ: “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:69). All of these various characteristics, of course, point to the notion that the Son of Man was appointed to his office. I believe it safe to assert that, when compared with the concepts in the Similitudes of Enoch (48:2–6), the New Testament too presupposes that the Son of Man had received his commission in the premortal age (see John 17:5; Heb. 1:2).

It is at this point that the view of the Son of Man in the New Testament goes beyond that of the book of I Enoch. We noted already in the passage from Mark’s gospel that the Son of Man was to come in the glory of his father and with all his holy angels (Mark 8:38). But there are more details. The most prominent consist of the Son of Man coming both “in the clouds of heaven” and “with great power and glory” (Mark 14:62; 13:26). These two features do not appear in the Enochian literature but are recorded in chapter 13 of the Ezra Apocalypse. [4] According to this text, a Man who “flew with the clouds of heaven” was to come out of the seas (13:3) to reprove the wicked nations (13:37–38) and to gather out a peaceable multitude who were identified, rather interestingly, as the ten tribes of Israel (13:40). Further, God called this heavenly Man “my Son” (13:37). Both Enoch and Abraham were called “my son” (cf. Moses 6:27; Abr. 1:17). Such notions, to be sure, find their counterparts in the New Testament sayings of Jesus regarding the Son of Man. But there is more. Jesus spoke repeatedly of what is written concerning the Son of Man: “It is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought” (Mark 9:12; cf. 9: 13; see also Bruce 175–76). This emphasis on the suffering of the Son of Man is not found in any written non-canonical source. Yet Jesus regularly referred to such. Why? Because, in fact, such was written of the Messiah, but not under the denomination Son of Man. The suffering, redeeming Messiah was the portrait found in the Servant Songs of Isaiah (see note 3; also Bruce 175–77). It is here that we find the Servant of the Lord who was to suffer and die for his people:

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . . he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4–5).

Thus, even though Jesus was not the only one in his day to associate the concepts of both the Son of Man and the Suffering Servant of Isaiah with that of the Messiah (see Bruce 176), it was clearly the Savior’s intent to apply to himself the full range of attributes associated with these two figures in both scriptural and non-scriptural sources. [5] Moreover, it is in the more formal sense that the term Son of Man is to be understood as applying to Jesus in the New Testament. Additionally, one can see that the mission of the Son of Man was to fall rather neatly into three phases: an earthly ministry, his suffering, and heavenly triumph (see Higgins 26–75).

Anthropomorphisms in the Old Testament

To affirm that deity is a Man makes a theological statement that virtually no Christian theologian is willing to venture (Origen I .i, 1–2, 9; ii.4; IV.iv.1; for contrasting view see Cherbonnier 155–73; Benz 201–21). When one looks in the New Testament, one finds not only allusions to but also detailed descriptions of God’s bodily features (TG “God, Body of—Corporeal Nature”). Some could argue, of course, that these ideas represent late, deviant developments from an earlier, purer conception of deity which was divorced—except metaphorically or allegorically—from anthropomorphic ideas. But the evidence always reads the other way. The ancients are understood to have viewed God as possessing human-like traits. It is only modern thinkers who have “freed” themselves from the naive conceptions of an unenlightened past, ignoring the wealth of information which serves to underscore the idea that God does possess a body. At this point, however, I part company with such observers, since I take seriously the testimony of the ancients.

Although we can treat this theme but briefly here, several avenues of inquiry open before us. The first has to do with the notion that God was somehow visible, and could be seen. One important passage is found in Exodus 24, a scene in which Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s two sons, and seventy elders of Israel ascended the holy mount and there in classical covenantal fashion, ratified the covenant just made between Israel and the Lord:

Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink (Ex. 24:9–11).

Please observe here that the text insists that the participants in this scene saw the God of Israel, plain and simple. No apologies are offered (see also Isaiah 6:1–11). Further, in some manner, the experience of seeing the Lord constituted an integral part of the whole covenantal experience.

The second scenario to which I wish to draw our attention occurs in connection with the call of Ezekiel the prophet wherein he saw the chariot-throne of the Lord, and more. After finally noticing the canopy over the heads of the four cherubic beings, Ezekiel observed:

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw it as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about (Ezekiel 1:26–27).

In what I consider to be an attempt to avoid the straightforward meaning of the text, the Revised Standard Version translates Ezekiel 1:26 as follows:

And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form (emphasis added).

But what can be more plain? Simply stated, Ezekiel saw the God of Israel during his call, much like his contemporary Lehi did (1 Nephi 1:8–9). Again, Ezekiel’s view of the divine was intimately linked to his calling as a prophet.

In terms of specific physical features of God, I offer two passages as illustrations, knowing that the list could be extended substantially. The first arises in connection with the call of Jeremiah. Following his initial commissioning, the prophet objected to the Lord’s invitation. As a result, the Lord reassured Jeremiah that he would be delivered from anticipated difficulties and then, Jeremiah said, “the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth,” effectively making the prophet the mouthpiece of God (Jer. 1:9; cf. Isaiah 6:7; Ezekiel 2:7–3:4; Rev. 10:9–11). Does not this description maintain a view of a physical, personal God? The second trait which strengthens the point has to do with God’s speech. For, consistent with what other prophets had experienced (see Amos 3:7), Jeremiah heard God’s voice. Lest one consider that Jeremiah and the others only thought that they heard a voice, merely hearing it in their mind or the like, one need only turn to the second example to which I shall draw attention, the gathering of the Israelites at the base of Mt. Sinai. At the opening of the account of the giving of the Decalogue, it is not clear to the reader whether God’s voice was heard by all Israel, for the text simply says, “And God spake all these words” (Ex. 20:1). But after the recitation of the ten commandments, the text asserts that the people “stood afar off” (Ex. 20:18). Why? The next verse gives us the answer. “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (v. 19). Obviously, the sound of God’s words had frightened the people, for they had heard his voice speaking. And out of fear, they appealed to Moses to be their mediator with the Lord. The simple recognition that, in the experience of ancient Israel, God possessed a voice with which he could speak illustrates the personal, anthropological conception of deity.

One further notion can be mentioned. It has to do with Israel’s God building or working with his own hands. While we might point, say, to the account of creation for an illustration, I suggest that we examine a reference which, in my view, refers to physical activity on the part of the Lord. I refer to the Song of Moses sung after the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian chariot army. Within its verses is written this tantalizing reference to the coming covenantal celebration at Mt. Sinai:

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever (Ex. 15:17–18).

Please note that the “place” (which term almost always refers to a sanctuary or holy spot) on the mountain is said to have been made by the Lord. Lest anyone doubt, the matching, complementing phrase of the poetry underscores that this sanctuary had been established by God’s own hands. That is to say, in the view of the Israelites, God himself had built a special sanctuary atop the holy mount; its sacral quality was thereby assured.

In summary, the notion of God’s visibility, the consistent mention of his physical attributes, and the concept of his handiwork all point to the notion of a very personal deity, not to an abstraction or essence of some sort (Madsen 113–25). In the view of Professor Cherbonnier, a visitor to the Brigham Young University campus several years ago, it is theologically fatal “to abandon the conception of God as Person, without which the rest of the Bible collapses” (Cherbonnier 163).

The Nature of God’s Names

Insofar as we can investigate, the names attributed to deity almost always are associated either with one of his special characteristics or with an unusual, perhaps even miraculous occurrence. Again, not attempting to be comprehensive, we note that in the latter category falls the case of the solemn oath common in the age of Jeremiah: “ . . . the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt” (Jer. 16:14; 23:7). Please notice that the appellation associated with the Lord derives from his specific, supernatural action of delivering Israel from its bondage in Egypt. A second instance is connected with the titular phrase mentioned in association with Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek: “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19, 22). The fact that this titular phrase was repeated twice is significant, in my view, for it indicates that this denomination had become frozen in speech and referred to some special act either on God’s part or on his behalf (Skinner 270–71; Anderson 2:407–17). In fact, the nature of the title points to the action of God’s being enthroned—doubtless in a representative, ceremonial manner—and being awarded possession of all of creation in the process of the ceremony. Such celebration of God’s creative acts and his resulting possession of what was created is known from a wide variety of sources (Gaster; Eliade 3–92). For a third and final example, one need only look a few verses farther on in the text of Genesis where, speaking to Abraham, God says of himself: “I am thy shield” (Gen. 15:1; see also Skinner 278). Within the covenantal setting of this statement which occurs in a discussion between Abraham and the Lord, the point of the title “shield” must lie in the notions both that God himself is the guarantor and protector of the covenant and, furthermore, that he will serve as Abraham’s protector. While the basic promises of the covenant to Abraham were to consist of land and posterity (Gen. 15:4, 7; 17:4–8; 22:17; Abr. 2:3–11; Skinner 276), there are always the matters of the guarantees and penalties in such arrangements which would extend even to this agreement between Abraham and the Lord (Mendenhall 1:716–21).

Concerning titles which were associated with some quality or even characteristic activity of deity, the Doctrine and Covenants offers a clue about what I seek to explain. In Section 19, the Lord speaks of himself in the following manner: “I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name” (D&C 19:10). A second example is to be found in one of the Elephantine papyri, discovered on Elephantine Island near Aswan and written by a member of the Jewish community which inhabited the island in the 5th century B.C. Employing a shortened form of the name Jehovah, the unknown writer referred to “Yahu, the god, dwelling in the fortress Yeb” (Pritchard 491–92). The obvious characteristic of the deity was that he was believed to inhabit the small Jewish temple constructed within the fortress on Elephantine Island, thus, the epithet.

A third and final instance occurs within the account of Moses’ call. After Moses was commissioned at the site of the burning bush, he took the precaution of asking for a name from the Lord which would be recognized by the Israelite elders and would therefore allow Moses to be accepted as God’s agent. The response is famous: “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3:14). The question is: what can we say about this name? The answer is: plenty. As George Buttrick reminds us, “In the Bible a name, whether of man, angel, or deity, sets forth the character of its bearer” (Buttrick 1:874). Significantly, the Revised Standard Version translates the name “I AM WHO I AM,” making the whole more personal, as doubtless intended. Moreover, the appellation can be rendered “I am, because I am,” pointing to God’s self-existence. It must also be noted that the tense of the verbs which lie behind this name stand in the Hebrew imperfect, the tense which is timeless in its meaning (Gesenius, 125, note 1; Lambdin 100). Thus one could translate “I shall be who I shall be” or “I have been who I have been” or the like. When seen in this light, it becomes apparent that this title points to God’s existence and life in the past, present and future, thus underlining his eternal character.

Ancient Parallels

As we noted earlier, the portrait of an anthropomorphic deity is found repeatedly throughout Jewish and Christian literature. But such an observation does not bring us full circle to what we seek, namely, a title like Man of Holiness or Man of Counsel in Moses 6:57 and 7:35. Interestingly, it is in the Nag Hammadi collection that we draw the closest to such epithets. For instance, according to the documents known as Eugnostos the Blessed and The Sophia of Jesus Christ—or the Wisdom of Jesus Christ—the father of the Son of Man is known as Immortal Man. Within the theological system of these two texts, there “are four principal divine beings: the unbegotten Father; his androgynous image, Immortal Man; Immortal Man’s androgynous son, Son of Man; and Son of Man’s androgynous son, the Savior” (Parrott 206). Before we proceed further, it is important to note that whereas the text called The Sophia of Jesus Christ is certainly a Christian production and depends substantially on Eugnostos, the latter document has been judged to be pre-Christian in its composition (Parrott 206–7). Thus, it cannot have been influenced by Christian notions about Jesus as Son of Man. The extended significance is that any portrayal of Jesus as Son of God, when interchanged with the notion of Jesus as Son of Man, would have been far too late to suggest that Jesus as Son of Man would necessarily mean that his father was called Man as portrayed in the later document called The Sophia of Jesus Christ.

According to Eugnostos, the older text under review here, the name Immortal Man appears nine times (Parrott 214–16 [4]; 219 [1]; 221–24 [4]). Two alternative titles appear once each, First Man (Parrott, p. 215, 78:3) and Man, (Parrott, p. 216, 8:31), underscoring the idea that the father of the figure called Son of Man was called Man and that his chief characteristics were his primacy—and thus his title First Man—and his everlastingness, all leading to his epithet Immortal Man (cf. Moses 7:35; D&C 19: 10–12). And there is more.

In a tractate ascribed to Adam’s son Seth and entitled “the Second Treatise of the Great Seth,” God is referred to as “the Man,” [6] paralleling directly what we just saw in Eugnostos and the Sophia of Jesus Christ. Moreover, a fuller title for God appears as “the Man of the Greatness,” (Gibbons, p. 331, 53:4–5), an epithet which bears a notable similarity to the term Man of Holiness. The most significant observation in the text is that “the Man of the Greatness” is said to be “the Father of truth,” a clear epithet for God (Ibid., 53:3–4). Furthermore, deity is also called “the Man of Truth,” (Ibid., 53:17), presenting another instance of a remarkable similarity to a title in Moses, that of Man of Counsel. The pairings are not difficult to make, the Man of Greatness with Man of Holiness, and the Man of Truth with Man of Counsel. What is more, I think it not insignificant to note that the section containing the two titles in the book of Moses is ascribed to a record of Adam, (Moses 6:51–68, esp. v. 57), and the treatise in which appear the two corresponding epithets is ascribed to Adam’s righteous son, Seth. In other words, it is in records which come from the family circle of Adam that these almost identical titles for deity appear. To be sure, similar names occur in texts unrelated to Adamic documents such as that ascribed to God in Eugnostos the Blessed. But the names recorded there do not share the notable similarities that those from the Adam/Seth texts exhibit.


In accord with the four objectives set out at the beginning of this paper, we have found ample evidence to buttress the rather daring titles for God that appear in Moses 6:57 and 7:35, Man of Holiness and Man of Counsel. It was in the earlier passage, in fact, that the Only Begotten was called the Son of Man because of his sonship to Man of Holiness. Because of this connection made within the text, we looked first at the figure of this Son of Man as he is described in both biblical and non-scriptural sources. And we discovered that the New Testament portrait of the Son of Man drew on ideas at home in Daniel’s book, the Similitudes of Enoch, and the Ezra Apocalypse, all of which point to the Son of Man as having a divine origin as well as a divinely commissioned role to play among the earth’s inhabitants. Second, we saw that the biblical record consistently portrays God as possessing anthropomorphic features, so much so that there were physical structures on the earth which were believed to have been built by his very hands. The third topic took up the issue of the associations of the names of deity with certain of his actions and qualities. There is much in a name and that proves to be the case all the more in the instance of titles for the Lord. The last section saw us refer to names of deity in an early Christian library which bore notable, even remarkable similarities to those with which we started in Moses, chapters 6 and 7. What is more, the texts whose titles for God exhibited the closest affinities to one another were the record of Adam quoted by Enoch in the book of Moses and the apocryphal record ascribed to Adam’s son, Seth. Thus, the circle is completed. Man of Holiness, the father of the Son of Man in the Adam text, is given a similar name in both pre-Christian and early Christian documents which had remained totally unknown to the modern world until their discovery in Upper Egypt and subsequent translation a few years ago (Robinson 1–25).

Could Joseph Smith have invented such titles for God which would find rather remarkable parallels in literature yet to be discovered? I shall leave the reader to answer this question for himself or herself. For myself, I have my answer. And that is that Joseph Smith is what he claimed to be, a prophet of the living God.


Anderson, B. W. “God, Names of.” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. 4 vols. ed. by G. A. Buttrick. Nashville: Abingdon, 1962, 2:407–17.

Benz, Ernst W. “Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God.” Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1978, pp. 201–21.

Böhlig, Alexander, and Frederik Wisse. ‘The Gospel of the Egyptians.” The Nag Hammadi Library. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, pp. 195–205.

Bruce, Frederick F. New Testament History. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972.

Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. The Interpreter’s Bible. 12 vols. Nashville: Abingdon, 1953.

Charles, R. H. Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1913.

Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983.

Cherbonnier, Edmond LaB. “In Defense of Anthropomorphism.” Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1978, pp. 155–73.

Eissfeldt, Otto. The Old Testament, An Introduction. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.

Eliade, Mircea. Cosmos and History. New York: Harper & Row, 1959.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. “The Aramaic Language and the Study of the New Testament.” Journal of Biblical Literature (March 1980) 99:8, 20.

Gaster, Theodor. Thespis: Ritual, Myth and Drama in the Ancient Near East. Revised Ed. New York: Gordian Press, 1975.

Gesenius, W., E. Kautzsch, A. E. Cowley. Hebrew Grammar. Second English Ed. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1910.

Gibbons, Joseph A., et. al. ‘The Second Treatise of the Great Seth.” The Nag Hammadi Library. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, pp. 329–38.

Higgins, A. J. B. Jesus and the Son of Man. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964.

Lambdin, Thomas O. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971.

Madsen, Truman G. “Can God Be Pictured?” BYU Studies (Winter 1968) 8:113–25.

McConkie, Bruce R. Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966.

Mendenhall, G. E. “Covenant.” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. by G. A. Buttrick. 4 vols. Nashville: Abingdon, 1962, 1:714–23.

Origen (AD. 185–253). On First Principles.

Parrott, Douglas M. “Engnostos the Blessed and The Sophia of Jesus Christ.” The Nag Hammadi Library. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, pp. 206–28.

Pritchard, James B. ed. “Petition for Authorization to Rebuild the Temple of Yaho.” Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Third Ed. with Supplement. Princeton: Princeton University, 1969, pp. 491–2.

Robinson, James M. “Introduction.” The Nag Hammadi Library. New York: Harper & Row, 1977, pp. 1–25.

Skinner, John. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis, Second Ed. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1930.

Talmage, James E. Jesus the Christ. 25th ed. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1956.


[1] I do not wish to enter a lengthy discussion concerning the historical Jesus, specifically whether the Jesus of history ever applied the title Son of Man to himself or whether such a connection was attributed only by members of the later Christian community. Briefly, I believe that the Jesus of history is to be found in the accounts of the gospels, including John, and that Jesus applied the title Son of Man to himself. See the judicious remarks on this subject by Bruce (174–75).

[2] It is important to note that, of the Aramaic fragments of I Enoch found at Qumran, none of those identified preserve any of the Similitudes. But even so, as Bruce assures us, this segment is doubtless pre-Christian (131).

[3] The Servant Songs in Isaiah are four, and include Isaiah 42:6 and 49:6. The passages in question, all of which speak of the servant to come, are 42:1–4, 49:1–6, 50:4–9, and 52:13–53:12 and were first isolated as units belonging together by Bernhard Duhm (Eissfeldt 333–36, 340–41). It was Jesus who applied both expectations to himself, the Servant prophesied by Isaiah and the Son of Man known from other sources (see Bruce 132, 175–6).

[4] The dating of the Ezra Apocalypse or Fourth Ezra ( = 2 Esdras) has raised questions. Bruce M. Metzger has summarized the evidence, concluding that it was composed between AD. 100 and 120 (Charlesworth 1:520; see also Bruce 133). Because this text was authored in a period when Christians and Jews had separated from one another, the Ezra document would not have been influenced by anything from a Christian text but rather represents an independent witness of the sort of expectation to which Jesus referred.

[5] The question will naturally arise whether both figures, the Son of Man and the suffering Servant of the Lord, were to be thought of as corporate personalities represented by all or a part of Israel. Evidence exists that such a view was held by the ancients (see Bruce 132–3). But there can be no doubt that Jesus personally intended to apply both expectations to himself.

[6] Second Treatise of the Great Seth, 52:36 (Gibbons 331); the same title appears in Codex Ill’s version of The Gospel of The Egyptians, 59:3, but may refer to Adam (Bohlig 202). In this latter instance, the Son of Man is mentioned directly afterward, implying a relationship between the two: ‘The Man exists, and the Son of the Man.”