Skip to main content

Exploring the Christian Way of Life: The Identity of Jesus - Wrighting the Course?

I hope all of you with me in the Midwest are staying warm.

In my earlier four part discussion of the identity of Jesus, two themes or categories stood out: Messiah and divine identity (perhaps not in Mark, but definitely in the other three gospels). The former seems to me to be the primary category. At the time when I wrote, these categories seemed to me to be distinct, with the Messiahship becoming less important over time as emphasis on divinity increased.

Over the past two months I have been reading Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Wright has argued strongly that divine identity and messianic status were entwined topics for the early church. My continued study of the gospel of John has colluded with Wright's suggestion and made me think that I need to take some time to explore that relationship. Wright, it seems to me, subsumes Messianic status within the notion of divine identity. Without considering the evidence, there's an attractiveness to that proposal because it brings the fourth century fathers into closer continuity with the primary emphasis of the New Testament.[1] However, I'm not convinced yet that it shouldn't be the other way around, with Messiah being primary and divine identity as something that Jesus the Messiah possessed. I am in strong agreement with Wright that understanding early Christian christology is critical.

So, at this point I'm Wrighting my course, and will be taking a longer look at early Christology. Specifically I'll be engaging with Wright, Hurtado, Bauckham, McCall, McGrath, and Ehrman to try to understand the relationship discussed above. Any others that I shouldn't miss?

---------------------------------
[1] I am not suggesting that Wright makes his argument for this reason, but from the perspective of conservative orthodoxy, it is a nice result.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …