In accordance with the intention I expressed in 1985, this third volume in my series of systematic contributions to theology is devoted to christology. And because I have ventured to call the whole of my theology ‘messianic theology’, the dimensions of this christology are messianic. Within these dimensions, I do not wish to talk solely about ‘the Christ of hope’ in the form of an eschatological christology (although characterizations of that kind are not of course wrong). But the future hope of Israel and Judaism is already messianic; and it was from this that the Christian faith proceeded. For if we take the word ‘Christian’ literally, the Christian faith is a messianic faith. The messianic hope binds Christianity and Judaism, and divides them. In order to bring out the enduring link with Judaism, which nothing can ever destroy, I have tried in chapter I to clarify the dimensions of the messianic idea in dialogue with Jewish philosophers of religion.
I considered a whole series of titles before I decided on the one finally chosen. I thought of ‘Christ– the Hope of the World’; ‘Christ – the Coming One’; ‘Christ on the Way’; and ‘Christ in Becoming’. This shows that I am trying to think of Christ no longer statically, as one person in two natures or as a historical personality. I am trying to grasp him dynamically, in the forward movement of God’s history with the world. What I wanted was not an eternal christology for heaven, but a christology for men and women who are on the way in the conflicts of history, and are looking for bearings on that way. Of course the one does not exclude the other. But the only possible beginning is the point one has reached oneself. In a liturgical doxology of Christ we contemplate in wonder the God who has become human, and the human Christ who is deified, and we formulate the christological dogma as they did in Nicaea and Chalcedon. But men and women who are living in the exile of history, and who are searching for life, need a christology for