Saadya's portrayal of the Messiah Ben Joseph

  • Harry Sysling Leiderdorp
Keywords: Saadiah ben Joseph, 882-942, Philosophy, Jewish, Messiah, Messianism, Jewish, Bible, Old Testament -- Criticism, interpretation, Jewish, Apocalypticism, Zerubbabel, (Biblical character)


The intention of this article is to describe the different elements of Saadya’s story on Messiah ben Joseph and to discover on which sources this story was based. It has been maintained by renowned scholars that Saadya first and foremost made use of the Book of Zerubabbel in presenting the elements of his description of the Messiah ben Joseph. It seems, however, quite evident that he employed other sources as well. We have shown that he relies in some cases upon the Aggadat HaMashiah as against the Book of Zerubabbel. By contrast Saadya once has a striking parallel with the Otot HaMashiah as against both the Book of Zerubabbel and Aggadat HaMashiah. His description of the appearance of Amilus and of the death of Messiah ben Joseph is surprisingly restrained in comparison with the colourful details in the Book of Zerubabbel. Use of the Otot HaMashiah can also be demonstrated in the emphasis which is laid by Saadya on the “deterioration of Israel’s relationship with the governments of the world”.
Sep 1, 1992
How to Cite
Sysling, H. (1992). Saadya’s portrayal of the Messiah Ben Joseph. Nordisk Judaistik/Scandinavian Jewish Studies, 13(2), 73-82.