High on Christology

Mike Bird today drew attention to my book The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context in the context over scholarly discussions of the development of early Christology. He says he’ll leave it to others to examine my points, so please do pay his blog a visit and examine away!

"It's questionable since the one he chose to wake up was as beautiful as Jennifer ..."

"It also has the best cameo spot in any of the original series episodes, with ..."

Doctor Who: City of Death
"Tom Baker is my favorite Doctor, Douglas Adams is my favorite script editor, and The ..."

Doctor Who: City of Death
"This is one of my favourite stories of the series, both because of Tom Baker's ..."

Doctor Who: City of Death

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jim, can you recommend a site which lays out the various Christologies out there in an easy to understand way? I'd love to see where yours lies in the spectrum. I can never tell by reading your stuff — or the post this was linked to — what your position is. When you write, it is couched in such academic caveats as to make it impenetrable for this layman. Thanx — still love your site !

  • Hi Sabio. I can't think of a web site that does what you ask. Perhaps I can blog about it (hopefully in a way that is not impenetrable). Please do clarify what you are wondering about, because "Christologies" covers a LOT – from the various depictions of Jesus in New Testament sources, to the creeds, to various more recent attempts by theologians and others to offer interpretations of the person of Jesus based on a variety of factors and considerations.Sorry – that's couched in academic caveats, isn't it? 🙂

  • James — I love your tone and joking — one reason I love your site.That would be awesome if you could blog about this. I have thought of working on something myself. For instance, to help clarify things for myself, I did this blog with diagrams on Soteriology. I was wondering if a diagram of Christologies is possible.I see something that illustrates: 100% God spectrum to 100% Man version with areas in between with all the subtleties and then tell who embraces them and councils or others that declare them heretics.Then, where is James McGrath in that spectrum.A diagram is my way of remembering. Long paragraphs with descriptions of won't help me hold it in my head.We could imagine short descriptions like this?Marcionism – Christ was a purely spiritual entityNestorianism – Jesus and Christ were two different entitiesDocetism – Jesus appeared physical, but he was really incorporealApollinarism – Jesus had a human body and human soul, but a divine mindArianism– Jesus was the son of God, not God himselfIs a start but I am interested in who hold what views now among those calling themselves Christians.Does that give direction?Thanx for considering it James.

  • Sabio, I enjoyed your charts about millenialism on your blog and perhaps I can distill the various scholarly views on the development of christology for you:Group A: Sees monotheism in Second Temple Judaism as open & fluid with several divine figures straddling the boundary and participating in divinity(Logos, Wisdom, Angel of LORD, exalted patriarchs, etc.). An early High Christology was completely compatible with Jewish views (Rowland, Barker, Boyarin, Heiser).Group B: Sees Second Temple monotheism as strict with a clear distinction between God and all other reality. Nevertheless, Christians were novel in introducing an early High Christology where Jesus is fully included in God's identity (Hengel, Hurtado, Bauckham, Wright).Group C: See Second Temple monotheism as strict and a clear distinction between God and all other reality; therefore the early Jewish Jesus followers could not have seen Jesus as God. Jesus is fully God only in the Gospel of John, where there is evidence of conflict with other "Jews" over Jesus claims to be "one with the Father" (Casey, Dunn). James McGrath somewhat fits here when he sees sacrificial worship as the dividing line between God and all other reality, except he still sees Jesus in John as the supreme Agent of God and the full deification of Jesus as God as a later Christian theological development.

  • Mike — thanx much. I will read what you wrote a few times and try to digest it. Thanx.Oh, to others, here is the link to my Eschatologies.

  • Great summaries – thanks guys!Question on group 3: Does that imply that among the "Jews" accused of not getting Jesus' divinity in John's Gospel would be, e.g., the *historical* Peter?

  • Sabio, I'm already wondering about this idea, since some of the one-line summaries you offered didn't seem to me to really communicate the essence of the view of Jesus in that particular mode of thought – and clearly the term "entities" needs definition! :)Mike, thanks for the summary, although I think there is a sense in which, while there is much I disagree with in typical expressions of viewpoint "A", by focusing on sacrifice as the practical "dividing line" I am not forced to downplay the role of mediator figures and personified divine attributes as a facet of first-century Jewish monotheism.Oliver, it is hard to know what the historical Peter might or might not have thought. But I think that there is a clear contrast between the view of Jesus in John and that in Luke, for instance.Thanks for all this interesting discussion!

  • JamesDoes this mean you won't be doing a simple summaries of the types of Christiologies out there? (I had a tough time reading through your impenetrableness.)Hope you haven't given up on us lay people!

  • lol I'll try. Maybe one short post per viewpoint, rather than trying to do justice with a single sentence?Maybe I'll stick to NT authors and let others pick up where I leave off…

  • Yeah !!And dude, keep it simple, eh?:-)

  • It is hard to imagine that the biblical doctrine of God is so obscure that it produces such a variety of conflicting ideas. Paul stated his obviously unitarian creed in I Cor. 8:4-6 by telling us that for Christians "there is one God, the Father." He could so easily have said "one God, the Father, Son and Spirit." Jesus expressed the same unitary monotheistic view of God by saying that the Father is "the only one who is truly God." The Son is then placed outside and alongside that One God of the Jesuanic and Jewish creed. The Son is the agent of the one God and distinguished from the One God.Jesus is the one Lord Christ, not the One Lord God. Psalm 110:1 is a cover text for the whole NT and the two lords are carefully distinguished as YHVH and one who is not YHVH but adoni, which never designates Deity. Jesus is introduced as the Lord Messiah in Luke 2:11. He is certainly not the Lord God, since the Lord God is only one Lord (Mark 12:29). This is the Pauline position when he carefully places Jesus outside the Shema (I Cor 8:4-6), and calls Jesus the Lord Messiah Jesus, over and over again. Jesus is the one "man Messiah" mediator between the one God and mankind (I Tim. 2:5).

  • OK, so what kind of Christology is that. I need a taxonomy ! Help !Smile