Saturday, May 09, 2009
Review: Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission
Over at RBL, Andreas J. Kostenberger provides a review of my first book Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission which is quite sympathetic, though Kostenberger critiques my lack of salvation-historical focus in the book. I have no problem with a salvation-historical view on the part of the Evangelists or Paul to the effect that salvation comes to the "Jew tirst and then the Gentile". Yet my reservation in applying this scheme to Jesus has always been (and which typified E.P. Sanders' critique of Joachim Jeremias) is that on such an approach you can too easily end up with Jesus offering salvation to Israel, knowing that they will reject it, so that the real mission and the real offer of salvation can then be given to the Gentiles. Instead of viewing Jesus' mission to Israel as the bottleneck which must be traversed before the real mission to the world can proceed, I prefer to see Jesus as focused on Israel so that the Gentiles get "in" but only on the back of a restored Israel. Following T.W. Manson, I have always contended that it was probably Jesus' view that a restored Israel would transform the world. On either account, Andreas offers some cogent remarks worth digesting and he himself has written a great deal on mission in relation to the Gospel of John and the New Testament in general.