Messiah Ben Joseph

Slain Galilean Messiah ben Joseph is the most enigmatic figure in rabbinic Judaism. A deeper understanding of him has profound implications for all who love the Bible. This new book traces him fully, from his origins in Genesis down to modern times.

This, the first full-length monograph on the slain Messiah of Rabbinic Judaism, details his origins, his attributes, and his significance in twelve chapters, a conclusion, and three appendices.

Paperback (May 2016).

xiv+300 pp. 6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 978-1532743924

US 19.95 UK 17.00 EU 20.05

Read introductory material and chapter 2


This immensely valuable monograph by David Mitchell offers a comprehensive account of Messiah ben Joseph from biblical times right through to the early modern period. It is the first to do so in English, and it exceeds in range and ambition the seminal little study of Dalman published in German in 1888 as Der leidende und der sterbende Messias. Not the least of the merits of this new work is the presentation in English translation of extensive quotes from sources that mention Messiah ben Joseph (by whatever name), so giving the reader not only the relevant references but also the wider contexts in which they appear.

Mitchell presents his case with great clarity and conviction. An immensely valuable monograph by an undoubted authority on this fascinating topic.

Robert Gordon, Emeritus Regius Professor of HebrewUniversity of Cambridge

David Mitchell demonstrates that the Messiah ben Joseph—who dies before the appearance of the conquering, nationalistic Messiah ben David—is a product not of the first centuries C.E. but of earliest Judaic messianic thinking. Mitchell convincingly details Messiah ben Joseph’s emergence as early as the Pentateuch, and for the first time presents every relevant text, from the Psalms and Prophets, through the Babylonian Talmud, and including medieval Jewish writings. Critically acute and authoritative, this study is essential to any future evaluation of the foundations of Jewish and Christian messianic thinking.

Alan Avery-PeckKraft-Hiatt Professor of Judaic StudiesThe College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MAEditor, Review of Rabbinic Judaism