Recently I read with great enjoyment the new book by Richard Hays on the Gospels - "Reading Backwards". Hays unfolds the ways in which the canonical Gospels unveil the divine identity of Jesus. It is firmly clear, I believe, that the New Testament writings testify in different ways to their belief that Jesus Christ shared the identity of the God of Israel. This mystery, later developed and expounded into the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Son, is an astonishing idea to be found in these Jewish, Second Temple period documents. This high Christology is very early; you find it in the letters of St Paul reliably dated in the 50s CE. This means that in the lifetime of many eyewitnesses of the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth, this faith in him as worthy of worship as Divine, was a reality.
There are sceptical, revisionist scholars who think it was highly unlikely that Jesus himself had this view. But how did it arise, then, if it was not connected in some way to the historical Jesus? I am thinking about what it was in the life, teaching and activities of Jesus Christ, that led his friends to this deep mystery about his identity and nature. I will collect my thoughts and share them in this blog.
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