Phil Long has sent along a copy of his brand new book (which I appreciate very much, thank you Phil!).
Did Jesus claim to be the “bridegroom”? If so, what did he mean by this claim? When Jesus says that the wedding guests should not fast “while the bridegroom is with them” (Mark 2:19), he is claiming to be a bridegroom by intentionally alluding to a rich tradition from the Hebrew Bible. By eating and drinking with “tax collectors and other sinners,” Jesus was inviting people to join him in celebrating the eschatological banquet. While there is no single text in the Hebrew Bible or the literature of the Second Temple Period which states the “messiah is like a bridegroom,” the elements for such a claim are present in several texts in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea. By claiming that his ministry was an ongoing wedding celebration he signaled the end of the Exile and the restoration of Israel to her position as the Lord’s beloved wife. This book argues that Jesus combined the tradition of an eschatological banquet with a marriage metaphor in order to describe the end of the Exile as a wedding banquet.