Original Research

The institutionalization of Jesus' charismatic authority: "Son of Man" as case study1

Yolanda Dreyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 56, No 4 | a1807 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v56i4.1807 | © 2000 Yolanda Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 December 2000 | Published: 14 December 2000

About the author(s)

Yolanda Dreyer, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article argues that Jesus used the expression "son of man" not in a titular way, but genetically, meaning "humankind". This use of "son of man" developed into a titular usage in which Jesus is identified with "Son of Man". The study shows that Jesus' use of the expression "son of man" should be understood in the context of the "little tradition" which was reinterpreted in terms of the "great tradition" in a titular way. It is argued that this transition from "litle tradition" to "great tradition"can be seen as "false attribution". After Jesus' death when his followers reorganized themselves into a cultic community, they gave Jesus the position "founder of the cult". They did this by making use of honorary titles. The use of the title "Son of Man" for Jesus is interpreted in terms of the social theory of the institutionalization of charismatic authority. The focus is on the title "Son of Man" as it appears in legal sayings or church rules, wisdom sayings and prophetic and apocalyptic sayings.


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