The christological title ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ (“the Holy One of God”) appears a total of three times in the New Testament (Mark 1:24, Luke 4:34, John 6:69) and is unattested in other Jewish and Christian literature. While scholars offer a wide range of proposals concerning the background and significance of this title, no one has demonstrated the possibility of a link with messianic traditions. In this article I examine four texts (Ps 88:19 LXX, LAB 59:2, Pss 152, 153) that explicitly refer to the anointed David as God's “holy one” and two additional sources that indicate awareness of the archaic tradition that the oil used to anoint Israel's kings was holy (Ps 89:21 [88:21]; 11QPsa XXVIII, 11; Josephus, Ant. 6.157). Next I explore how the underlying logical connection between “messiah” and “holy one” in these texts illuminates certain features of Mark's Gospel: (1) Jesus's baptism as a messianic anointing and his ensuing wilderness temptation (Mark 1:9–13), (2) the logical connection between the baptism–temptation sequence (1:9–13) and Jesus's first act of public ministry (1:21–28), and (3) the exorcistic connotations surrounding the title “son of David.”
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