In Norman Russell’s The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition, he says concerning Daniel 7:13:

"The 'one like a son of man' is an angel, probably Michael, entrusted with the protection of the people of Israel. Only later, in Christian tradition and in the Book of Parables (I Enoch 37-71) does he become a Messianic figure, the Elect of God" (p. 67).

Early Jews (including the New Testament authors and early Church Fathers) were familiar with the books of Enoch (they are even quoted by Judah, whose name is translated 'Jude' in English). Ignoring disputes about the original language of the Enoch texts, I am not familiar enough with literature from second-temple Judaism to know if angels are referred to as "sons of men" elsewhere in this time period. Are they?


1 Answer 1


It's actually the opposite. Angels might be referred to as "sons of God" (see Job) but never as "a son of man." It should also be noted that his wording is awkward. 1 Enoch is a pre-Christian work, as you note in your question. To refer to an angel as a "son of man" goes against everything in Jewish thinking. They simply aren't.

edit: Russell also seems to be giving Daniel an early date as opposed to dating it to the Hasmonean period as some do. I agree with Russell on that point.

  • Very interesting. So a word search of texts turned up nothing at all from this period? Not even to support your case?
    – user1985
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 0:15
  • To refer to an angel as a "son of man" goes against everything in Jewish thinking. - The ishim (literally, men) are a type of Angels in Jewish angelology, since this constitutes the most common type of angelophany mentioned in Scripture.
    – Lucian
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 10:53

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