The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

The Death of Christ: The Cross in New Testament History and Faith

Excerpt

Although this book gives some attention to the three facets of its August theme -- namely, the external circumstances of Jesus' death, its meaning for him, and its meaning in and for the early Church -- the reader will see at once that this attention is by no means equally divided. The short opening chapter, concerned with the external historical conditions, does not presume to be more than an introductory sketch; and the last three chapters on the meaning of the Cross for the early Church also comprise a relatively small section of the book. By far the largest attention is given to the problem of the central chapters, the problem of Jesus' own understanding of his death -- which is, of course, a part of the broader problem of his understanding of himself and his mission.

The reasons for this fuller discussion of this aspect of our theme I shall speak of in a moment. Just now I want only to say that, from my point of view, the third section of this book, although relatively short, is the most important. In both of the first two sections we are dealing with questions which must be answered on the basis of the criticism of documents -- which means that they cannot be very surely answered and also that the answers cannot, in the nature of the case, be of ultimate or decisive importance. It is not until we reach the . . .

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