Saturday, November 15, 2008
Jesus the Messiah
Coming out mid next year is my book, Are You the One Who is to Come? The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question (Baker 2009). I was amazed that no single monograph has appeared on this subject for some time. It was an immense topic of discussion in late nineteenth century German scholarship until William Wrede's Messianic Secret whereafter interest appears to have waned. Whether Jesus claimed to be a messianic figure is arguably one of the most important questions for a NT Theology and the history of early Christianity. My objective in this book is not to "prove" that Jesus was the Messiah to satisfy apologetic needs, rather, it is to show that the messianism of Jesus is the best way to account for the messianic dimension of the eary church (esp. as reported by Paul) and the messianic testimony embedded in our sources (i.e. the Gospels). In this respect I interact largely with works by N.T. Wright, Craig Evans, and Martin Hengel. I like to think that I'm relatively nuanced and careful in how I define a messianic figure, a messianic text, and which Gospel passages attribute a messianic role to Jesus (and the probability of their authenticity), but that will be for others to decide. I had been thinking about this topic ever since doing doctoral studies, but it was really Joseph Fitzmyer's The One Who is to Come that really motivated to write something since, as Hengel noted long ago, the non-messianic Jesus has become a virtual dogma in biblical scholarship. This volume is an attempt at a minority report. Stanley E. Porter was also kind enough to write the foreword which forms an excellent introduction to the problem being addressed in the book. It was also good to leave Paul for Jesus again and return back to the Gospels for a period of concerted study.