BAR 18:06, Nov/Dec 1992
Dead Sea Scrolls Research Council: Fragments
A Pierced or Piercing Messiah?The Verdict Is Still Out
Despite the unanimous and confident conclusion of Geza Vermes Oxford Forum that the so-called Pierced Messiah text (4Q285) actually celebrates the triumph of a piercing Messiah who slays his enemies,a things are not so clear. Vermes bald conclusion, The fragment does not speak of a slain messiah, surely goes beyond the evidence. It also ignores other perfectly plausible possibilities and gives the nonspecialist reader the impression that Vermes view is the only scholarly option. Given the fragmented nature of the text in its present state, all interpretations are necessarily preliminary. I offer here a number of points that might be included in this discussion.