Son of Man


In the Catholic Bible Personal Study Edition, the readers guide section on Daniel says current scholars are split as to whether "Son of Man" refers to Israel or Michael the archangel. HUH? Isn't the overwelming interpretation that the phrase refers to the Messiah? They seem to imply that this interpretationis outdated.


The Septuagint Law, Psalms, and Prophets and the New Testament Gospels & Epistles unanimously use one Greek term for ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου - THE Son of Man. There is never anything other than a definite article, so it cannot be a catch-all term for the whole people of Israel. Micha-el cannot be the son of any man, because he's an angel with the name "Who is like God?". That interpretation doesn't even make sense.

Remember Psalm 1? "Blessed is the Man who..." - the Church is assured that this is The Son of Man, singular and unique. It's the ancient consensus of the entire Church. Scholars who say anything other than this are just looking for limelight, or are not faithful to the Catholic Church. :(


Son of Man is employed as a poetical synonym for man, or for the ideal man. In the Old Testament “son of man” is always translated in the Septuagint without the article as “anthropou”.

“God is not as a man, that he should lie nor as a son of man, that he should be changed” (Numbers 23:19).
“Blessed is the man that doth this and the son of man that shall lay hold on this” (Isaiah 56:2).
“Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand: and upon the son of man whom thou hast confirmed for thyself” (Psalm 79:18).

The “son of man” appearance in Daniel has been interpreted by non-catholics as pointing to the Messianic Kingdom, but it can just as easily be interpreted as being the Messiah or being a perfect man.

The employment of the expression in the gospels is used to designate Christ no fewer than 80 times. It appears everywhere with the article, as “ho huios tou anthropou”. Greek scholars are agreed that the correct translation of this is “the son of man”, not “the son of the man”. The possible ambiguity may be one of the reasons why it is seldom or never found in the early Greek Fathers as a title for Christ. But the most remarkable thing connected with “the Son of Man” is that it is found only in the mouth of Christ. It is never employed by the disciples or Evangelists, nor by the early Christian writers. It is found once only in Acts, where St. Stephen exclaims: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God” (7:55). St. Paul perhaps uses something like an equivalent when he calls Christ the second or last Adam.

The early Fathers were of the opinion that the expression was used out of humility and to show Christ’s human nature, and this is very probable considering the early rise of Docetism. This is also the opinion of Cornelius a Lapide. Others, such as Knabenbauer, think that He adopted a title which would not give umbrage to His enemies, and which, as time went on, was capable of being applied so as to cover His Messianic claims — to include everything that had been foretold of the representative man, the second Adam, the suffering servant of Jehovah, the Messianic king.

Reference: Catholic Enyclopedia -


Depends on the context. It may refer to Christ and certainly does in the New Testament. But in the Old testament, it often refers to a mere human, often a prophet. Linus2nd


[quote="Linusthe2nd, post:4, topic:322337"]
Depends on the context. It may refer to Christ and certainly does in the New Testament. But in the Old testament, it often refers to a mere human, often a prophet. Linus2nd


It is not just any human. The first words of Psalm 1 say " μακάριος ἀνήρ " "blessed the man" - the male human being, "anir", not a human person "anthropou".

But yes, that's just Psalm 1. :D


Ezekiel, too, is adressed as son of man in the bible.


I’m brand new to this, and don’t know if it’s inappropriate to ask a somewhat related question: why does Jesus usually refer to himself as “Son of Man” and not “Son of God”?


Read answer #3 and hit up the source link for more info.


I remember hearing that in Hebrew / Aramaic, 'son of' was a way of designating species.

So 'son of ostriches' would mean the species of ostriches.

I'd be appreciative if any ancient Hebrew/Aramaic scholars could shed light on this.



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