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Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity Paperback – November 29, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

N. T. Wright
"The question of whether the Gospels are based on eyewitness accounts has long been controversial. Richard Bauckham, in a characteristic tour de force, draws on his unparalleled knowledge of the world of the first Christians to argue not only that the Gospels do indeed contain eyewitness testimony but that their first readers would certainly have recognized them as such. This book is a remarkable piece of detective work, resulting in a fresh and vivid approach to dozens, perhaps hundreds, of well-known problems and passages."
James D. G. Dunn
"Another blockbuster from the productive pen of Richard Bauckham. . . Not to be missed!"
Graham Stanton
"Shakes the foundations of a century of scholarly study of the Gospels. There are surprises on every page. A wealth of new insights will provoke lively discussion for a long time to come. Readers at all levels will be grateful for Bauckham's detective work that uncovers clues missed by so many."
"Times Literary Supplement"
"Bauckham's careful and eloquent presentation of his argument, supported not just by careful scholarship but by admirable common sense, deserves earnest consideration by all."
"Choice"
"It will be hard to take seriously future works on the origin of the Gospels that have not interacted with Bauckham. . . Recommended."
Martin Hengel
"Fascinating! . . . This book ought to be read by all theologians and historians working in the field of early Christianity. Further, Bauckham's convincing historical method and broad learning will also help pastors and students to overcome widespread modern Jesus fantasies."

About the Author

Richard J. Bauckham is Lecturer in the History of Christian Thought at the Univeristy of Manchester, England. He holds the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Cambridge. He has published articles in The Journal of Theological Studies, The Reformed Journal, Evangelical Quarterly, and Tyndale Bulletin, and is a specialist in the area of eschatology and apocalypticism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (November 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802845592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802845597
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Bauckham argues that Second Temple Judaism was "strict", and that the high Christology of Paul could only be conceived within the context of Jewish monotheism. Both the Shema and the Decalogue make clear statements of monotheism, and in Second Temple era "there is evidence...the passage recited included not only the Shema itself but also the Decalogue. Observant Jews, therefore, were daily aware of their allegiance to the one God alone" (p 5).

In direct contrast to the hierarchy of gods pervasive among the pagans, Jews viewed God as the sole ruler of everything. It is nothing short of amazing that in this culture the highest Christology was present among early Christians "before any of the New Testament writings were written" (p 19).

Bauckham finds that "In the earliest Christian community, Jesus was already understood to be risen and exalted to God's right hand in heaven" (p 128). The Aramaic 'Maranatha' likely dates to the first years after the death of Christ and is an example of this. Doxologies and hymns offer more evidence, found in Paul's epistles, of worship that dates to the first years after the crucifixion.

Earliest Christianity was a mutation, as Hurtado has noted, of Judaism. And what is very strange about that mutation is that the Christians insisted they were still worshiping the one, sole God, while they worshiped Christ.

These are complex essays, rich and rewarding.
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This is a superb primary essay (revised from its stand alone book GOD CRUCIFIED earlier)with remarkable supporting essays and further argument about the inherent claims of Christians regarding Jesus and his relation to the monotheistic Jewish worship of one God. The initial book/essay gives the argument in broad strokes while the supporting essays fill in specific substance to the broader strokes. I have learned much from this series of studies and highly recommend it to those interested in the continuity of the claims in regard to Jesus' Divinity arising in the New Testament Church and continuing to this day. In addition to the NT evidence, Bauckham does an outstanding survey of Second Temple monotheism and its interactions with the surrounding Greco-Roman cultural religious mileu. He then demonstrates the ability of the Christians to identify Jesus with God within the monotheistic structure of extant Judaism by dealing with the IDENTITY of God. An excellent discussion of the difference between the conceptualization of identity with God rather than the ontological (nature of) being God opens one's mind to the modes of conceptualization that were available to Jesus, his disciples, and the Church as it understood more and more clearly what it practiced from its earliest days (indeed, from the Resurrection Day!)- the worship of Jesus.

If you were to read only one book of religious study this year, this should be the one. It is thrillingly enlightening and challenging! This is a text which will richly repay multiple readings and from which one may find many references worthy of further consultation. Don't miss it!
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Format: Paperback
In this fascinating book, Richard Bauckham articulates his view about Jesus and the "unique identity of God." The book makes up a series of articles that serve as an expanded version of his 1999 work, God Crucified. In it, Bauckham analyzes a plethora of Jewish background material in establishing who God is. That is, he drifts from the traditional "Nicene" views of ontology and seeks to focus on identity. In fact, Bauckham seemed at times to express some level of uneasiness with regards to Trinitarian views of divine ontology. The reason being, according to Bauckham, the Jews were more concerned with who God is rather than what God is.

The author seeks to establish his case by appealing to a wide range of Jewish texts, both Scriptural and non-scriptural (though some might infer the inspiration of some apocryphal works). To many who read this work, including me, the non-scriptural analyses might appear to be awkward at first, given that so many monotheistic and Christological works have neglected this important background information. However, by the end of the book, the reader will likely understand how important these texts are in establishing how the early Christians would have viewed Christ in relation to God's identity. That is, if we seek to view the Christological texts through the lens of the modern eye, we may very well miss some very important key elements.

Of course, these key elements are in relation to what Bauckham has repetitively inferred as "the unique identity of God." As stated previous, where many Christological works focus on the ontological aspects of God and Christ, Bauckham builds his case in establishing who God is, as second Temple Jews would have understood him.
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Format: Paperback
Richard Bauckham's book Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament's Christology of Divine Identity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008) appeared after my own recent book on monotheism and Christology, The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context, had been completed. I thus welcome the opportunity to write this review and continue the conversation between Bauckham and myself on this topic of mutual interest.

Jesus and the God of Israel is not the "big book" on this subject which he is apparently still working on, but rather includes a revised version of his earlier book God Crucified : Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament as well as several other studies, both previously published and forthcoming, several of which those of us who are interested in this topic will have heard him read as conference papers. As Bauckham acknowledges, a thorough and in-depth study of the texts and issues highlighted in this book is still needed, and he does not claim that the present work accomplishes this (pp.x-xi). Nevertheless, it contributes in interesting and exciting ways to the ongoing scholarly exploration of this area. While I am persuaded that Bauckham is wrong about certain key points, I would add that even when he is wrong he is asking excellent questions, and providing interesting and creative answers that will, even when not ultimately persuasive, nevertheless serve to move our thinking forward and open up new and fruitful avenues of inquiry.

Bauckham groups previous approaches to the topic of monotheism and Christology into two main categories (pp.
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