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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
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"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!"
"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."
"It will be hard to take seriously future works on the origin of the Gospels that have not interacted with Bauckham. . . Recommended."
"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."
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Bauckham brings it in this book! I love the way he says that the Bible (NT) gave Jesus the Divine Identity with giving him the characteristics of the OT God YHWH. This explanation of Divine Identity, to me, is a better way to approach Jesus than the doctrine of the Trinity.
I believe in a Trinitarian God but the doctrine explains God's essence or divinity in Greek philosophical language which can be hard to understand. Bauckham keeps the Divine Identity Hebrew and not Greek. He says that it wasn't about WHAT God is but WHO God is, which is, He's the Sole Creator and Sole Ruler of everything seen and unseen.
I will definitely review this book over and over again until it becomes a part of me! And I will also buy more books written by him as well.
Great job Professor Bauckham!
Having said that, the first essay was great. Baukham's approach to early Christian concepts of Christology is novel and refreshing. He has moved beyond the stale debates that high Christology represents a gradual evolution in the thinking of the early church completely separate from its Jewish background or that high Christology resultes from nascent Jewish concepts of semi-divine figures that were not YHWH. Baukham's model is well developed, supported by multiple traditions of the New Testament texts, and historically plausible.
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.
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!