Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Bird is carefully to argue not that Jesus used the title “Messiah” but “that Jesus saw himself in messianic categories, enacting a messianic role or messianic vocation as part of his aim to renew and restore Israel though his various activities” (p.29). Birds seeks to establish his thesis by first reviewing the messianic understanding in the 2nd Temple Judaism (Ch. 2) and refuting major arguments for the denial of Jesus' claim to be a Messiah such as Wrede’s “Messianic Secret” and the early Christians’ “scripturizing of the Jesus tradition” (Ch.3).
Bird spends the next two chapters exploring the messianic question through the Jesus tradition. First, Bird examines certain patterns and themes like “the Son of Man”, “the Anointed One”, kingdom, and “I Have Come” sayings (Ch. 4) then he analyzes the stories leading to Christ’s death, his death, and it’s aftereffects on the early Church. After carefully examination of the relevant texts, Bird makes a masterfully case that Jesus saw himself in messianic categories. Finally, Bird concludes with a final chapter describing the significances of Christ being the Messiah (Ch. 6).
I really appreciate a lot of Bird’s book. I found his review of the relevant texts to be careful and his conclusions to be extremely balanced. I was also excited to see Bird emphasis “the story of Israel”which I believe is the interpretative key in understanding Jesus. He writes “The story of the Messiah can only be understood as part of the story of Israel...Jesus was not a timeless heavenly redeemer imparting esoteric truths to receptive human vessels. The vision of the New Testament authors and of proto-orthodox Christianity is that the day of salvation has been brought to the world through the Messiah of Israel” (pg. 163).
It’s important to note that this is an academic book and some might not be familiar with some of the issues, but those who do or are willing to patiently work through them I highly recommend this book.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
1. D.A. Carson's Christ and Culture Revisited
2. James Dunn's The Theology of Paul the Apostle
4. Scot Mcknight’s A New Vision for Israel: the Teaching of Jesus in National Context
5. Christopher Wright’s Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story
6. Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitness
7. Tim Keller’s The Reason of God:Belief in an Age of Skepticism
8. N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God
9.Mark A. Noll ‘s The Civil War as a Theological Crisis
10.Kaiser’s, Bock’s, Enns’ Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)