Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Martin Hengel on Jesus as Messiah

Martin Hengel writes:

"If Jesus never possessed a messianic claim of divine mission, rather sternly rejected every third-hand question in this regard, if he neither spoke of the coming, or present, ‘Son of Man’, nor was executed as a messianic pretender and alleged king of the Jews – as is maintained with astonishing certainty by radical criticism unencumbered by historical arguments – then the emergence of christology, indeed, the entire history of primitive Christianity, is completely baffling, nay, incomprehensible. But this is not all – all four gospels, and above all the Passion narrative as their most ancient, component, would be a curious product of the imagination very difficult to explain, for the Messiah question is at the centre of them all. If Mark 1–10 stands under the rubric of the ‘messianic secret’, the remainder of the gospel, following the Entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-11), dissolves this step by step. Is this no more than a construct than a novelistic art and christological imagination of the Evangelist? With regard to christology, are not the gospels also a part of the Religionsgeschichte derived from the Jewish heritage?" (‘Jesus the Messiah of Israel,’’ in Studies in Early Christology [Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995], p. 14.)

What is more, for an excellent overview of the breadth and depth of Hengel's work do read Roland Deines, 'Martin Hengel: A Life in Service of Christology,' TynBul 58.1 (2007): 25-42.


J.Skjou said...

Thanks for directing us to this article. Looks interesting.

Sean said...

Yesterday it was published by T & T Clark, today by SCM?

Are you trying to trick us or what?

Good quotes!