Book Notice: From Messiah to Preexistent Son

Aquila H. I. Lee
From Messiah to Preexistent Son
Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005.
Available at

Aquila Lee’s book on the origins of pre-existence Christology is a quite a good book, though lesser known than Simon Gathercole’s volume of the subject in his The Preexistent Son. However, what I really like about Lee’s book is that it covers so many areas like Jewish views of intermediary figures like Wisdom and Principal Angels, the so-called Wisdom Christology, Jesus’ self-understanding as “Son,” early Christian exegesis of Pss 2 and 110, and preexistence formulas in Paul, and always well researched and with sober comments.

In a nutshell, Lee thinks belief in Jesus’ pre-existence emerged from: Jesus’ self-consciousness of divine sonship & mission —> Early Christian exegesis of Pss 2 & 110 —> Pre-Pauline “sending” formulas.

This is a book that I’ve turned to time and again, because I find myself usually agreeing with it, and think that Lee has basically put together a persuasive case. Worth knowing about, using, and even owning if you are into serious studies on Christology.

While Hengel, Bauckham, and Hurtado are the gold class of NT Christology, I certainly think lesser known works like this one by Aquila Lee (and others too like Sigurd Grindheim and David Capes) are worth consulting in the course of research.

Thanks to Wipf & Stock for reprinting this book, since you can get it now for $36.50 from them, rather than for $137.50 from Mohr/Siebeck.


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  • Andrew Bondurant

    Do you have a list of a few books on Christology that you would consider “must-read” for NT students?