Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus

Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus

Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus

Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus

Synopsis

Recent years have seen the publication of various sensationalist books on Jesus that are supported neither by the New Testament witness nor by mainline Christian beliefs. This book critically examines the best biblical and historical scholarship before tackling head on some of the keyquestions of systematic christology: does orthodox faith present Jesus the man as deficient and depersonalized? Is his sinlessness compatible with the exercise of a free human will? Does up-to-date exegesis challenge his virginal conception and personal resurrection? Can one reconcile Jesus' roleas universal Saviour with the truth and values to be found in other religions? What should the feminist movement highlight in presenting Jesus? This integral christology is built around the reurrection of the crucified Jesus, highlights love as the key to redemption, and proposes a synthesis ofthe divine presence through Jesus. Clear, balanced, and accessible, this book should by valued by any student reading systematic theology, anyone training for the ministry in all denominations, as well as interested general readers.

Excerpt

In his recent Christology (The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions (London: SCM Press, 1990)), Jürgen Moltmann points to one of the major 'constraints' in undertaking such a project: 'No contemporary christology is ever completely new. Every christology is part of a grateful and critical dialogue with the christologies of [our] predecessors and contemporaries, setting its own tiny accents in this great dialogue about the messianic secret of Jesus Christ' (p. 38). In other words, to write a satisfactory Christology, you must tell a story that is at least partly familiar and cannot promise to be constantly and startlingly original.

Before presenting my own contribution in the later chapters of this book, I must first engage in some 'grateful and critical dialogue' with my predecessors in the biblical period, the patristic era, and the subsequent history of Christology. Such a critical dialogue necessarily involves being selective. The material from the Bible, the Fathers, and later church history is complex and often controversial. Exegetes, patristic scholars, historians of doctrine, and philosophers will always want to hear more. But this work introduces the biblical, historical, and philosophical contributions with the aim of setting my 'own tiny accents' in a systematic Christology which finds its primary interpretative key in the resurrection of the crucified Jesus and his presence, and not with the aim of writing a complete history of Christology. Like Moltmann and others, I am convinced that one cannot write a systematic Christology without paying attention to and drawing to some extent on what has gone before. Yet writing up the complete history of christological developments would be a quite different and much longer project.

Any 'grateful and critical dialogue' with my contemporaries in Christology also calls for selectivity. In par-

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