Book Notice: Vernon Robbins, Who Do People Say I Am?

Vernon K. Robbins
Who Do People Say I Am? Rewriting Gospel in Emerging Christianity
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013.
Available at

This is a helpful summary of the portraits of Jesus in Q, the canonical Gospels, and even in non-canonical writings including the Gospel of Thomas, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Infancy Gospel of James, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas, and Acts of John. Robbins’ thesis is that “as early Christians used Gospels, those Gospels used them” leading to a spiral of Jesus being constantly reinterpreted in the early churches. The Gospels influenced people and they in turn created new Gospel traditions about Jesus. Robbins believes that Christians in various ways tried to explain who Jesus was by comparison to well-known types of figures from the Jewish, Roman, and Hellenistic worlds. And “as portrayals of Jesus in the Gospels grew, early Christians blended concepts together in ways that created new, emergent structures for thinking and talking about Jesus.” For Robbins even these non-canonical writings are part of the conversation about who people say Jesus is. It is a helpful volume about the various trajectories or paths that were taken in the development of diverse christologies in the first centuries of the common era.

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